Microsoft Teams is a workspace-centered communication tool. It is an application that brings the entire workspace experience, including people, files, conversations or schedules/tasks, together in one place. It is a part of Office 365.
In order to use Microsoft Teams, you will require an Office 365 account with the right type of license plan. What this means is, you can’t access Microsoft Teams with a personal Officer 365 license. You will need either one of the following four license plans:
- Business Essentials
- Business Premium
- Enterprise E1, E3, or E5
- Enterprise E4 (if you purchase it before its retirement)
So, for you to be able to use Microsoft Teams at your workplace/school, your IT administrator needs to sign the company up for the right kind of Office 365 license. They may further be required to make configuration adjustments, such as updating firewall policies. If all is good, and you’re up and running, here’s a brief introduction on how to actually use Microsoft Teams.
Setting Up/Signing In
- Sign into Microsoft Teams
Go to this link : https://teams.microsoft.com, and sign in with your work/school account.
- Download the appropriate app
You can now download Microsoft Team for your Windows PC, or for your Android or iOS devices. You can download the apps from here : https://aka.ms/getteams. You can also download Microsoft Teams as a web application. For this, simply go to https://teams.microsoft.com.
Getting Started With Microsoft Teams
Selecting a team and channel
The best way to get familiar with teams and channels is of course to start exploring and experimenting yourself. A team is collection of people, with files, tools, and conversations, all packed into one space. A channel is a distinct discussion topic within a team. It could be anything from personal or recreational conversation between the team members or more serious work related discussions.
- Click on the Teams icon.
- Select one of the teams.
- Select one of the channels and explore the Conversations, Files, and Notes tabs within it.
Starting a new conversation
- Select a particular Team and a particular channel within it. Alternatively, create a new channel by pressing the “+” icon below the team name.
- You should find the Start a new conversation box,
- Add your message in this box and hit Enter to send.
Replying to a conversation
- Find the conversation thread that you want to reply to,
- Select Reply,
- Enter your message into the Reply box and hit Enter to send.
Mentioning someone via @mention
Messages directed at someone could possibly get lost amidst the chaos of the conversation. In order to ensure the other person sees your message, you can @mention them before sending the message. This way they will receive a notification of your message and will be able to find it later. Follow these steps:
- Find the Start a new conversation box or the Reply box, depending on where you want to mention the person,
- Type the @ symbol and type the first few letters of the person’s name,
- Select the right person from the Suggestions box,
- Repeat steps 1 through 3 for as many people you want to @mention.
- Type in the message and hit Enter to send.
- An @ should show up on the Team icon of the person you’ve tagged. The same will happen for you if someone @mentions you.
Other things you can do with Microsoft Teams
Search for specific messages, people and files
Being able to search for files, conversations and notes across teams and channels, makes Microsoft Teams better at what it does. Here’s how you can do it:
- In the search box, type the phrase/name you want to search,
- Click on the Search icon,
- Select the appropriate file/conversation from the search results.
- You may also filter the search results to suit your needs.
Use emojis, memes, and stickers
Conversations can be a lot more fun with the use of emojis, memes and stickers. Here’s how you can access them:
- Go to a particular Team and channel,
- Select the Smiley Face icon in the compose message box and select the appropriate emoji.
- Or select Office Drama or one of the stickers/memes.
- Select one of the stickers/memes, put a clever caption, and hit Enter to send.
- You could of course @mention your co-workers to direct a sticker/emoji/meme to them.
Make full use of Activity and notifications
Make sure you have your notifications up. You can be up to date with the conversation by checking the numbers on the Activity and Chat icons. You can also check if someone has @mentioned you, by looking for an @ sign at the Teams icon. Follow these steps to keep up with the conversation:
- Click on the Activity icon,
- Select Notifications,
- Select Recent. You should be able to view up-to-date conversations.
Finding Help and Training
Microsoft Teams is an intuitive and easy to use application. However, you may still require assistance at some point while you’re using it. Consider asking your questions to the in-build bot T-bot.
You can find T-bot in the Chat section. Simply type in your question and hit Enter to send. T-bot will detect specific keywords and phrases in your queries and present you with the appropriate answer.
Microsoft Teams is a great app that you’ll grow to love. Here’s the promotional video by Microsoft:
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