Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform that provides teams with the ability to work together and share information in a common space. It is the perfect tool for teams dispersed globally or remotely. With features like workplace chats, file storage, video meetings, and app integration, your team can work in harmony in a single shared workspace.
Especially now, with people working from home, a platform like this is exactly what the world needs. You can use Microsoft Teams for free with the ‘Microsoft Teams Free’ version. It offers a desktop app for Windows, Mac, & Linux, Web app, and Android & iOS apps as well, so users can work with ease from anywhere.
How to Set Up Microsoft Teams
Go to teams.microsoft.com and enter your email address to create a Microsoft Teams account. If you already have a Microsoft account, you can also use that email.
Then on the ‘How do you want to use Teams’ page, you will have three options: For school, For friends and family, For work. You can select the option which suits you the best. To set up Teams for your organization, select ‘For work’ and click on ‘Next’.
Then, you have to sign in using your Microsoft account. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you can create one using the email address you entered previously. Now, enter your first and last name, and the name of your organization. Your country/ region will already be selected. Click on ‘Set Up Teams’.
Teams will start creating your organization on Teams. It may take a few seconds.
Once Teams for your organization is set up, it will ask you to either ‘Download the Windows app’, or ‘Use the Web app instead’. You can choose either option, but downloading the desktop app is a better bet if you have to use it regularly. Also, some features like ‘Screen sharing’ work better in the Desktop app compared to the web app of Teams.
Whether you open Teams on the desktop app or the web app, the interface and most of the functionality is the same.
How to Invite People to Your Organization in Teams
You will receive an email from Microsoft Teams with a link to share with people. Teams will also show you the link when you open your Teams account for the first time. You can access this link at any later time from the Teams app too. Forward this link to your colleagues and teammates, and when they use it, you will receive a request from them to join your organization.
To approve requests for teammates to join your organization, open the Teams app (either desktop or web), and go to the ‘Invite People’ option.
Then, click on the ‘Pending Requests’ option to open pending requests and invites page.
Click on the ‘Approve’ button next to the request of your colleague.
You can also invite people using email or from your contact list. In the Teams app, click on the ‘Invite People’ option. The next screen will open where all the ways to invite someone will be listed. Click on ‘Invite by email’ to send out an invite using the email address if you know the email address of your teammates.
Enter the email addresses of your colleagues and click on the ‘Send Invites’ button. The invites you send out through the email will be listed in the ‘Pending Invites’ section.
Your colleagues will receive an email to join the organization. When they click on the ‘Join Teams’ button in the email, they will be redirected to Microsoft Teams. If they do not have a Teams account, they can create one from the same link. And they will become a part of your organization in Microsoft Teams.
How to Use Microsoft Teams
Open the Microsoft Teams app, and click on ‘Teams’ on the left toolbar. This is where all the teams that you are a part of are listed.
You can create more teams or join other teams from the Teams app. Click on the ‘Teams’ option on the left, and then click on the ‘Join or Create a Team’ option at the bottom of the screen.
Click on the ‘Create Team’ button to create a new team or go to the ‘Search teams’ option to join a team.
You can manage a team by clicking on the ‘More’ option next to the team’s name and selecting the ‘Manage team’ option. Options available for managing vary for owners and members.
The ‘Manage Team’ screen allows you to manage all aspects related to a team from a single place. You can manage members, add members, create new channels and apps, and manage permissions from here.
The owner can also make other members of the team owners, hence giving them admin privileges. Click on the ‘Member’ next to a member’s name and select ‘Owner’ from the drop-down menu.
Using Team Channels
Teams are made up of channels. A ‘General’ channel is present by default in all teams. You can create any number of channels you want to by clicking the ‘Create more Channels’ button in the General Channel.
You can also create a new channel by clicking on the ‘More’ (three dots) option next to the team name, and click on ‘Add channel’.
Channels can be built based on the topic, departments, or any other classification. New channels can be accessible to everyone on the team (Standard), or a specific group of individuals (Private) from the ‘Privacy’ option.
Channels are where the real work is done. You can communicate with the team, share files, and hold meetings.
Managing Tabs in Team Channels
A channel has ‘Tabs’ at the top. Tabs are quick links to your files, apps, and services. Any channel has three tabs by default: Posts, Files, Wiki. You can add any number of tabs to a channel. Click on the ‘+’ icon to add a tab.
You can also rename or remove the Wiki tab. To rename or remove it, go to the tab and click on the arrow next to it. A drop-down menu will list the ‘Rename’ and ‘Remove’ options.
All teammates can edit the files that are shared in a channel post at the same time and also share their thoughts with the team while editing the file. Click on the ‘More’ option (three dots) next to the shared file and then select ‘Edit in Teams’.
To view all files shared in a channel, go to the ‘Files’ tab. To see all files shared across teams, select ‘Files’ on the left.
Chat in groups or privately
You can talk with people or groups privately. Go to ‘Chats’ on the left and click on the ‘New Chat’ button and type the name to start a conversation.
Making Audio and Video Calls
You can also call make audio and video calls to individuals and groups from Teams from the ‘Calls’ option on the left. You can add members to your Speed Dial for quick access. The free version even supports screen sharing and background blur options on video calls.
Integrating apps and services to Microsoft Teams
The various integrated apps and services can be accessed from the ‘Apps’ option on the left. You can also add these apps as tabs in Team channels.
Any app that you add to your Teams will be available under the ‘More’ option (three dots) on the left.
Microsoft Teams is a great collaboration platform for teams to work seamlessly. You can communicate, share files, use integrated apps with your teammates to work efficiently from anywhere in the world. The free version provides an excellent number of features but users can also upgrade to a paid version that offers a lot more.