How to sideload an App

Microsoft Teams allows to sideload apps, bots and tabs - be it for testing reasons or because the connection to the app store is not allowed in your company. Read on this article to get a step by step instruction on how to use the sideloading feature to add an app to your MS Teams using the BlueBridge Glossary as an example.

There are two and a half steps to get an app (no matter if it is a bot or a tab) sideloaded to MS Teams.

  • Make MS Teams side-load-ready (admin permissions required)
  • Upload zip package
  • The bot or tab can be added and used

Make MS Teams side-load-ready

To get MS Teams ready for sideloading apps, you need to configure the settings in your Office 365 tenant. This can only be done by a tenant administrator account. Navigate to any Office 365 page, click the icon in the upper left-hand corner and click the Admin tile.

In the left-hand side navigation look for the menu group “Settings” and click on the “Services & add-ins” link below. Click the “Microsoft Teams” link to open up the settings. Open up the section “Apps” and set “Allow external apps in Microsoft Teams” and “Allow sideloading of external apps” to “On”.

Save your changes to finish the preparation for the sideload.

Upload zip package

Download the zip package for the respective app (e.g. the BlueBridge Glossary) and save it on your computer.

Open the MS Teams in the client application or the browser and - if necessary - log on with your credentials. Click the three dots next to the channels name you want to add the BlueBridge Glossary to.

Navigate to the ribbon “Bots” or “Apps” (this heading seems to vary in different browsers) and click the link in the lower right-hand side corner “Sideload a bot or tab”.

Afterwards your new app can be found in the list of available apps.

Add app to the team

Now the team is fully prepared to add the app. For adding a tab, select the app after you have clicked the plus sign next to the already existing tabs.

After the following setup process, you can start using the app.