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Microsoft Viva Topics - walk-through of set-up

5 February 2021

Want to know how to set-up Microsoft Viva Topics? Here is a short walk through of the steps to get Microsoft Viva Topics set-up in a Microsoft 365 tenant.

Want to know how to set-up Microsoft Viva Topics?

Here is a short walk through of the steps to get Microsoft Viva Topics set-up in a Microsoft 365 tenant. Microsoft Viva Topics is the name announced on Feb 04 2021 as the official name for what was until now known as Project Cortex Topics, Topic Experience or Intelligent Topics. Microsoft Viva Topics is the second product coming out of the Content Services / Project Cortex work, the first product being SharePoint Syntex which was released on Oct 01 2020.

Our team is proud to be a Microsoft Launch Partner for Viva Topics (formerly known as Project Cortex), and a Preferred Partner for Microsoft Content Services.

So it is only fitting that we got the official license installed into our own Microsoft 365 production tenant within 24 hours of Microsoft Viva Topics going to GA (General Availability).

Enjoy the walk-through of how to set-up Microsoft Viva Topics.

Considerations when setting-up Microsoft Viva Topics

The video below provides you with information on a few things to consider before you go ahead and configure this in your own tenant.


Other things to consider (prerequisites):

What will you allow Microsoft Viva Topics to discover?

The easiest is to let Microsoft Viva Topics discovery everything. That being said, it will naturally respect any content permissions and search crawl exclusions that are configured. 

You might prefer to start more on the cautious side and choose some specific areas to include. 

Either way, please consider that for Microsoft Viva Topics to have a reasonably good discovery outcome, it will require many pieces of content for its NLP/ML (Natural Language Processing/Machine Learning) to have a fair chance. Typically we recommend no more than 10,000 content items.


Who will need access to Microsoft Viva Topics?

The set-up allows you to configure three levels of access, effectively corresponding to Viewers, Contributors, Managers. We recommend that you manage this through three Security Groups in the same way as shown in the walk-through.

NOTE in relation to licenses. Anyone that can interact with any Microsoft Viva Topics content will require a license.


How will you surface Microsoft Viva Topics to your organisation?

Your users will be able to see the Microsoft Viva Topics experience through the automatic highlighting within specific content, and from here hover to view the Topics Card and click through to the Topics Page. 

But what if you want Microsoft Viva Topics to light up in your intranet, in your communications pages, in your knowledge portals or where you actively collaborate with your colleagues. 

This requires Microsoft Viva Topics to be considered for your wider digital workspace experience. We recommend that you design this in alignment with your wider information architecture and taxonomy strategy that underpins your digital workspace.

For Atlas customers, it effectively means you are ready to go as this is already baked into the underpinning architecture (IA/taxonomy) of every Atlas digital workspace roll-out.


Microsoft Viva Topics is retired

On February 22, 2024 Microsoft announced that Viva Topics will be retired (

If you are looking for an alternative to Viva Topics, Atlas Knowledge Topics provides enhanced functionality and outcomes compared to Microsoft Viva Topics. 


Other Microsoft Viva Topics blogs in this series

Microsoft Viva Learning interactive image


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Author bio

Gabriel Karawani

Gabriel Karawani

Gabriel is Co-Founder of ClearPeople, responsible for the overall technical and Atlas Intelligent Knowledge Platform vision. He works closely with colleagues at Microsoft on roadmap alignment and innovative Content AI Services programs such as Microsoft Viva Topics and SharePoint Premium (previously known as Syntex). Gabriel was part of Microsoft's partner program for Project Cortex.

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