Once your organisation has access to Teams, you can: download the desktop application, access Teams through your browser or download the mobile app.
Teams and Channels
To start your teamwork collaboration, you need a team. Setting up Teams is easy and done in a few clicks, requiring a Team name and a description; this then allows team members to be added. As mentioned above, a new Team will create a matching Office 365 Group, OneNote, SharePoint site and Plan—so this does need to be done with some caution.
Each Team has subsections, which are called Channels, and a General Channel will automatically be created. You can have multiple Channels within a Team; for example, you could have a ‘Marketing’ Team and then Channels such as ‘Social Media’, ‘Product Launch’, ‘Blogs’ etc. Or a Company could be a Team and Channels can relate to departments – you can choose whatever suits your organisation’s way of working. Whenever there is a new notification or activity, the Channel will become bold.
Each Channel all have their own tabs along the top. Conversation (group chat), Files (shared documents) and Notes (shared OneNote) are automatically created and you can then add your own tabs.
Conversations are one of the key features of Teams, allowing each Team to have a centralised discussion that is saved and easily searchable. Conversations are the central component where all teamwork is recorded—from file sharing to video calls.
The use of @mentions allows you to tag participants or even whole teams to notify others. Users that look at Conversations will easily see where they have been mentioned through the red @ symbol to highlight areas of importance to them. On top of this, your desktop app will notify you through an alert. As well as tagging, users can ‘like’ content and share emoticons or GIFs.
In your Teams window, you can perform a variety of tasks directly within that window or browser, so that you avoid flicking between different applications. These tasks include the ability to delete, download, move files, open, copy, edit or get a link to share with others – giving you all the key features you would get in the native apps.
You can also start a Group chat alongside the file, to allow team discussions while all working on the files – and this conversation will appear in your Conversation thread.
View team files, edit, upload and create
Notes takes you to the Team shared OneNote. Within Teams you can view and edit your OneNotes (directly within the Teams window) or you can click to edit in the OneNote app.
Edit within Teams
Edit in OneNote
As mentioned, as well as these three automatic tabs you can also add your own, which currently include Planner, Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, Power BI dashboards and more.
Microsoft products can easily be added now, but there are also many future integrations coming to Teams, such as Asana integration. With integration between systems being so vital to teamwork, we can expect to see many more partnerships and out-of-the-box integrations!
Along the left-hand side you can navigate to different areas within Teams, such as Chats, Meetings, Files and Activity. Most of these are fairly self-explanatory:
Activities: Shows you the last activities of the Teams that you are part of.
Chat: This holds your Skype for Business conversations, providing a complete chat history. However, for a chat within a Team you should use the Teams menu and hold the group chat in ‘Conversation’.
Teams: An overview of all your Teams that you are part of and allows you to drill-down into each Channel within the Teams. This is also where you can create Teams.
Meetings: The Meetings tab pulls your meetings in from Outlook and also allows you schedule meetings within the Meetings tab that are sent to a Team. If you want to schedule other meetings with external users or individuals, you will still need to use Outlook, as the Teams Meeting tab is only to schedule a meeting with a Team. (Remember the aim is team collaboration, not calendar management).
Files: Within Files you can quickly find and view files across OneNote, OneDrive and within Teams (stored in their own SharePoint sites). There’s also a very helpful ‘Recent’ tab so you can quickly access the latest documents you were working on, as well as a shortcut to your Downloads.
Last Update: April 17, 2020