As workspaces become hybrid, all professionals must be familiar with platforms like Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app used mostly by educational institutions and organizations. With the variety of features it offers, MS Teams can get quite confusing for a new user.
MS Teams offers personal and professional accounts. While a personal Teams account is easy to navigate, Teams for school or office have a lot of features that may be unfamiliar to the user.
How to Use Microsoft Teams?
There are three versions of MS Teams: mobile, desktop, and web. You can install the desktop version from the official Microsoft Site. For the mobile versions, install the application from Play Store for Android and App Store for iOS/iPadOS.
Once you open the Microsoft Teams app, the application will prompt you to sign in. Use the username your organization sent you to log in to your Teams account. Once you enter the application, you can view the navigation panel on the left side of the program’s window. The navigation panel hosts different functions available for you to use.
The activity tab on MS Teams displays general notifications from the MS Teams app. You will receive alerts if a member joins or leaves the Teams organization, a colleague mentions you in a channel, and remind you of a scheduled meeting.
If you see a number on a red circle on top of the activity tab icon, you have received new notifications.
You can indulge in private conversations or even create a private group with your colleagues in the chat tab. If you wish, you could also start a private audio or video call from this section. You can use this section to make conversations you find irrelevant to add to your Team channel.
If you no longer wish to view or participate in a conversation, MS Teams offers the option to hide, mute, or delete the conversation. When you hide a conversation, the content stays intact, but the conversation is moved from the chat section to the archives.
Muting a conversation means you will no longer receive notifications for message updates for that particular conversation. You can use this feature if you find a conversation distracting or less important.
Deleting a conversation will remove your copy of the entire conversation with a user. However, their copy remains intact until they remove it for themselves. MS Teams does not push notifications alerting recipients for either of these actions.
The Teams tab is the most used section of the Teams application. Depending on if you have permission, you can create different Teams and add employees to the created Teams.
Each Team can have different channels for discussions. For instance, you can be a part of the HR Team and the Finance Team. Under each Team, you may have a General channel for discussion or a channel to discuss your Team’s roadmap. For your accessibility, Teams has also offered the feature to Schedule a meeting from the channel view of the Teams section.
The Teams tab has multiple tabs of its own. When you head to a channel, you can see the Post, Files, and Wiki tabs. You can view more tabs if the administrator has integrated an application with the channel.
The Post view is where you can form discussions with your colleagues. You can use several features offered by MS Teams while composing a message or interacting with the message in Post view. These options are also available for private messages.
Compose a Message
To compose a message in the Post view, click on the New Conversation button. In the “Start a new conversation” you can start typing your message.
While composing your messages, you can use formatting features, attach files, emojis, GIFs, or even create a poll. To mention a user, you can use the ‘
@’ symbol before typing out their username. MS Teams also offers the feature of sending praise.
Interact with a Message
There are several ways you could interact with a message in the Post view. If you have to respond to a specific message from the conversation, you may click on the “Reply” option below the message.
Additionally, if you wish to engage with the message in other ways, hover over the message. You can react to the message or select the three-dot to perform actions like save, translate, and pin.
The Files tab in the Teams section holds all files including images and documents in this tab. Additionally, you can also upload, share, sync, and delete your files in this space. You can collaborate on files from programs such as Excel, Word, and Powerpoint with your colleagues in this view.
The next section appears differently depending on if you have Teams for school or work. However, this section acts similarly. For school, you can view notes on topics your Team administrator has added. Teams for work users can view this section as ‘Wiki’.
This section is used to keep shared notes. You can either view or create a new note of your own in the Wiki section.
Integrate Other Apps
You can add a new tab running an external application in the Teams section. Click on the +sign on the tab and wait for a new window to load. Teams will display the applications that are integrated by your administrator that you can add to your tab.
The calendar section includes a grid that displays your schedule. If you’ve accepted any meeting invites, they’ll show up in the calendar grid. You can also create, join or schedule a meeting from this section.
Create a Meeting
If you urgently have to call a meeting, you select the Meet Now option on top of the view.
- On the Calendar view, select Meet Now.
- Give your meeting a name.
- Select either Meet Now or Get a Link to Share. You will get the chance to add users from the meeting as well.
Schedule a Meeting
Teams allows you to plan meetings in advance from the calendar view.
- Select New Meeting.
- In the window, enter the details about your meeting.
- Click Save/Send.
If you’ve been invited to a meeting with a meeting ID, you can enter the meeting from the Calendar section in Teams.
- Click on Join with an ID.
- In the pop-up, enter the Meeting ID and the Meeting Passcode.
- Select Join Meeting.
Assignments Tab (Teams for School)
This tab is available if you’re using Teams for school. Depending on if you’re a teacher or a student, you can create or view your assignments. Click on the Create button to create a new Assignment or Quiz. You can also allow an existing assignment from a class.
The Assignment section has three tabs: Assigned, Returned, and Drafts.
As the name suggests, you can view the assignments that are assigned in this section. Next to the assignment, you can view the number of students that have turned in their assignments.
After your students submit their assignments, you can access them from the Returned section.
All the assignments that haven’t been assigned yet are stored in the Drafts section. This section is useful if your organization requires you to gain approval before assigning tasks.
The calls section has Phone and Contacts tabs.
You can make calls, view, or add a speed dial and call history from this section. The call history holds sections that include All, Missed, and Incoming calls. If the recipient has left a Voicemail, you can also access it under the History section.
You can view the contacts you’ve added in this section. If you wish to add a contact, click on the Add Contact button and enter either the contact’s name or number. You can add contacts inside or outside your Teams organization.
The Files tab helps you view all files you’ve received either in private chats or in a Teams channel. You may also view the files you’ve created or that someone has shared with you stored in your OneDrive.
To open, download or copy the link of a document in the File section, head to the location the file is stored and select the three-dot menu. Click one of the options to complete your action.
How to Configure Microsoft Teams Settings?
Microsoft Teams has additional settings that help you personalize your Teams experience. From the settings, you can perform actions like changing the display, privacy settings, and managing devices used by the Teams application.
You can visit the settings by clicking on the three-dot menu next to your profile icon in the top-right corner.
The general section helps you set up the Theme, Layout, Language, and your Teams login screen. You can also set up automatic replies for when you’re offline in the General section.
If you have multiple accounts under the same Teams credential, you can manage them from the Accounts section.
The privacy section helps you manage your contacts, notifications, and other interaction settings. You can manage Do Not Disturb, Blocked contacts, Keyboard shortcuts, Read receipts, Surveys, and Other connected experiences.
You can track your email activity, and change notification appearance and sound. You can also manage the notifications you receive from Teams chat, and meetings, and view other users’ activity status.
You can manage your audio and video devices from this section. If you have multiple input devices connected, you can choose which device you want to use in the Teams app. You can also configure your devices by enabling Noise suppression.
Other settings include App permissions, Accessibility, Captions and transcript, Files, and Calls. Microsoft Teams has included a description under each option to assist you in configuring your settings.