Microsoft Teams For Dummies book cover

Microsoft Teams For Dummies

By: Rosemarie Withee Published: 04-20-2021

Work seamlessly together with Microsoft Teams

It was only a matter of time before Microsoft 365 built an actual virtual office. And Microsoft Teams is it, rocketing from 13 to 75 million daily users in a single year. The new edition of Microsoft Teams For Dummies gives you an in-depth introductory tour through the latest version of the app, exploring the many different ways you can chat, call, meet, work remotely, and collaborate with others in real time—whether you're using it as an all-in-one tool for working from home or as an extension to your brick-and-mortar office. Available as a stand-alone app or as part of Microsoft 365, it allows you to work seamlessly with almost any other Microsoft app.

The friendly onboarding provided by this book takes you from the basics of file-sharing, organizing teams, and using video to must-have insights into less obvious functionality, such as posting the same message to multiple channels, muffling background noise (useful if you're working from home!), and choosing more than one feed to concentrate on when video-conferencing (allowing you to pay attention to the speaker and your team members at the same time). As well as clueing you in on how things work, you'll also find advice on the most effective ways of using them, with best-practices recommendations and tips on integrating Microsoft Teams into your existing workflows.

  • Set up the interface
  • Communicate on chat and video, inside and outside your org
  • Integrate Microsoft Teams with your other Office apps
  • Optimize your approach to meetings, working across large teams, and more!

Whether you're using Microsoft Teams for work, within your family, or for a collaborative hobby, you'll find everything you need to get everyone on the same page in the same virtual room.

Articles From Microsoft Teams For Dummies

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Microsoft Teams For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 03-31-2021

Microsoft Teams is a communications and collaboration product that was announced only a few years back. It then went on to become the fastest growing product in the history of Microsoft. Teams supports just about any manner of instant and asynchronous communication. For example, you can send messages, call others using audio and video, and conduct online meetings — all within Teams. In addition, you can share digital content and collaborate in real time. Think of Microsoft Teams as a dashboard into your online work. And, of course, Teams integrates closely with the rest of the Microsoft products such as SharePoint, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook, just to name a few.

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How to Manage Your Microsoft Teams Team and User Settings

Article / Updated 05-13-2020

You can control many different settings in Microsoft Teams, such as adding and configuring channels, users, and chat behavior. The settings you will likely use the most frequently are for your specific teams. These include adding and removing owners, members, and guests; adding and deleting channels; and working with apps. Managing your Teams settings To open the settings for a team, click the ellipsis next to the name of the team to open the more options drop-down menu and select Manage Team. The settings screen for a team contains the following tabs at the top, as shown: Members: The Members screen is where you add new members to the team. You can add people as members of the team or as guests. A guest user is a user who has access to Teams and can chat with you, but does not have access to the rest of your Office 365 ecosystem. Channels: The Channels screen is where you can add channel. A channel is an area of a team where you can chat about a common topic. For example, you might have a channel for carpooling, a channel for accounting, and a channel for clients. Settings: The Settings screen is where you manage the settings for a team, as shown. On the Settings screen you can set the team picture, set the permissions of users including what permissions you want to give to guest users, set how @mentions work (pronounced “at mentions”), get a link to the team that you can share so others can join the team, and other fun stuff such as adding virtual stickers. An @mention is when someone uses the @ (“at”) symbol followed by the name of a user in a message. It is essentially tagging the person so that Teams knows who the person is that is being mentioned. When your name is @mentioned, you will get a notification that someone has mentioned your name in a message. This will help you scroll through and find messages that are pertinent to you. Apps: The Apps screen is where you can add apps to the team. You can see that some apps are installed by default. You can also add more by clicking the More Apps button. Managing your user settings Several settings are unique to each individual Teams user. I like to think of these as your user settings; you can also think of them as your profile settings. These settings are found in the drop-down menu that appears when you click your profile image in the top-right corner of the Teams window, as shown. You can use this menu to: Set your current status such as Available, Do Not Disturb, and Away. I sometimes even set my status to Appear Away so that I can get work done without people knowing I am busy on my computer. Set your status message so that others see a message and know what you are up to or what you want people to know. For example, I sometimes set this to the music I am listening to or a quote that I find particularly captures my current mood. View chats and messages you have saved throughout Teams. Open your profile settings (more on this shortly). Adjust your zoom settings to zoom in and make items in your Teams window bigger or zoom out to make things smaller. Change your keyboard shortcuts so you can maneuver around Teams with a few taps of your keyboard. Learn more about Teams such as the version number you are currently using and legal notices. Check for any updates to Teams so that you can be sure you have the latest version. Download the mobile app so that you can have Teams on your smartphone and in your pocket so that you are never out of touch. Sign out of Teams. I rarely do this, but have used it plenty of times while writing this book when I’ve needed to sign in and out of various accounts. You might use this if you are a member of multiple organizations and you need to sign into one account or the other. When you select the Settings option from your profile menu, you can change several things that are specific to your account. The settings menu, shown here, includes settings for six different categories: General, Privacy, Notifications, Devices, Permissions, and Calls. I provide a brief overview of these sections here, and cover these settings in more detail throughout the book. General The General section includes settings for the theme you are using, how the application behaves, and the language you want to use. You can change the way Teams looks by changing the theme you are using. For example, maybe you prefer a dark or high-contrast theme to the default. In the application section, you can decide how you want Teams to behave on your computer. For example, do you want Teams to start up automatically when you boot up your computer? Or do you want it to stay running in the background when you click the X button to close the Teams app? In this section you can also associate Teams as the chat app of choice for the rest of your Office products. This option is useful when you are part of an organization that is moving from Skype to Teams. You can choose to use Teams instead of Skype by default using this option. Finally, you can change the language format and keyboard layout you are using. Privacy In the Privacy section, you will find settings to manage priority access, turn on or off read receipts, and turn on or off surveys. Priority access defines who you will allow to interrupt you when your status is set to Do Not Disturb. For example, you might want your boss to be able to send you messages at any time, but everyone else must wait until you set your status to Available. Read receipts is used to inform others when you read their messages. If you don’t want people to know that you have read a message, then you can turn this off. The surveys option is a tool Microsoft uses to improve Teams. If you don’t mind giving feedback, you can leave this option on. If you don’t want to be bothered with it, then turn it off and Microsoft won’t survey you for your opinion on how to improve Teams. Notifications The Notifications area is where you set your preferences for how Teams should notify you about things. You can set various events to show up in your banner (a pop-up window that appears in the lower-right corner of your computer) and through email, only in your Activity feed, or turn them off completely. Devices You configure the devices you are using with Teams in this settings section. A device includes things like your speaker, microphone, phone, headset, or camera. Permissions You can turn on or off permissions for Teams in this section. For example, do you want Teams to be able to use your location or be able to open external links in your web browser? You configure those permissions here. Calls Teams provides a full voice solution. What does this mean? It means that Teams can replace your regular telephone. In this section, you can configure how incoming calls are answered as well as setting up and configuring your voicemail and ringtones. You can also set accessibility options such as using a teletypewriter (TTY) device for people who are deaf or hearing impaired.

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Send More than Text When Chatting in Microsoft Teams

Article / Updated 05-13-2020

Entering text into a Microsoft Teams channel or chat is the most common way of sending your message to others on the team. However, you can send more than just text. You can send emojis, GIFs, stickers, and even attach files. These options appear at the bottom of the text box where you type in your message, as shown. Adding emojis, GIFs, and stickers Emojis are little icons that display an emotion. For example, a smiley face shows happiness and a sad face shows sadness. You will find emoji icons of all shapes and sizes and meanings. You can send an emoji by clicking the emoji icon and then selecting the emoji you want to use. Teams includes text shortcuts you can type so that you don’t have to select an emoji with your mouse from the list of options. For example, to send a happy face, you can type a colon (:) followed by a closing parenthesis ( ) ). When you type this sequence of characters, the happy face emoji will automatically be added to your chat. You can also type a keyword inside of parenthesis in order to create an emoji icon. Some of the common emoji and their shortcut words are shown. The entire list can be found at the Office 365 training portal. A GIF is an animated picture. Microsoft Teams includes several GIFs that are popular. For example, there might be a cat yawning or a reaction of a character from a popular television show. You can include these short video clips in your chat message as GIFs by clicking the GIF icon at the bottom of the text box. Stickers are short little comic strip–type images. For example, a drawing with a speech balloon over the person. If you have ever read the Dilbert comic strip, then you can picture what these stickers look like. Microsoft Teams includes a lot of popular stickers, and you can add your own as well. Adding a sticker to your message is shown. Adding a file In addition to fun emojis, GIFs, and stickers, you can also add a file to the chat message. For example, you might be working on an Excel spreadsheet and you want to include it in the chat. You can add the file to your chat message using the paperclip icon, as shown. You can choose a recent file you have been working on, browse the files already uploaded to Teams, choose a file from OneDrive, or upload a file from your local computer. When you attach a file to a channel, the file appears in the Files tab at the top of the channel. The Files tab is a SharePoint site behind the scenes. You can spot the Files tab at the top of the figure in between the Conversations tab and the Wiki tab. Reacting to chat messages When someone types message, you can react to it instead of or in addition to responding to it. To react to a message means to acknowledge you’ve seen the chat. For example, you can react with an emoji such as a thumbs up, a surprise emoji, or many others. To react to a message, you either hover your mouse over the message or select the ellipsis if you are using a mobile device and touch screen, and then select the reaction. In the following figure, I am reacting to a message with a thumbs up emoji to indicate that I like the message and acknowledge it. If someone else has already giving a reaction, such as a thumbs up, then your reaction will increase the number that appears next to the same reaction. For example, if your coworker gave a thumbs up, and you reacted with the same thumbs up, then a small number 2 will appear next to the thumbs up emoji. Reactions can be important to acknowledge a message without having to type out a response.

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10 Tips for Better Microsoft Teams Meetings

Article / Updated 05-13-2020

Meetings come in all shapes and sizes with the only constant being that they fill up our schedule. With so many meetings on our plates, it is important to be as efficient as possible in organizing, scheduling, and conducting a meeting. Fortunately, Microsoft Teams includes several features that are particularly useful for meeting efficiency. Chatting during a Teams meeting The most common activity I do in Microsoft Teams is chat with other people. And I find it especially helpful to be able to chat with colleagues during a Teams meeting. A group chat is created automatically at the start of every Teams meeting that includes all the meeting participants. The chat window appears on the right side of the screen. While a meeting is going on and people are presenting and talking with audio, other people can be chatting in the chat window. This simple mechanism proves to be incredibly powerful. For example, suppose you missed something the presenter said. Rather than interrupt the entire meeting and ask the presenter to repeat him or herself, you can just type in the chat and ask someone in the chat for clarification or to fill in a gap. I find I do this all the time in large meetings. After a meeting has ended the chat continues to be active and anyone can continue posting messages. For recurring meetings, the chat will carry over from meeting to meeting, so there is always a record of past meetings and anyone on the meeting invite can jump into the chat for upcoming meetings. I have seen larger companies use this to keep track of agenda items for upcoming meetings. People will post in the recurring meetings chat through the week and then during the meeting the team will review the chat and discuss the items during the meeting. I like to turn off message notifications during a meeting if a lot of people are chatting while someone is speaking on audio. A notification will chime with each new message, and I find it can be distracting. You can find the option to turn off sound for incoming messages on the notifications section of your settings. Click on your profile picture that appears in the top-right corner of the Teams screen and select Settings. In the drop-down menu that appears, select Notifications and look for the section called Other. There you will find a setting for Notification Sounds that you can set to Off. Capturing a Teams meeting with a recording I cannot tell you how many times a recording of a meeting has saved my team a lot of headache. A recording captures everything that happened in the meeting. A recording can be shared with others who were not part of the meeting, and reviewed by those who were part of the meeting. If everyone understands and agrees that meetings will be recorded, I highly recommend recording meetings. Teams won’t let you record a call with two people or fewer due to privacy considerations. Once a call has more than two people, it becomes a meeting and you can record it. Teams notifies the meeting attendees when a recording begins. However, I like to make sure everyone is completely clear and comfortable with recording the meeting beforehand so that there aren’t any issues down the road by mentioning at the start that I intend to record the meeting. Recording a meeting is easy to do in Teams. To begin the recording: Join an existing meeting or start a new one. Open the meeting controls by selecting the ellipsis from the toolbar. Select Start Recording from the pop-up menu that appears, as shown. Once the recording starts, everyone in the meeting will be informed. To end the recording, click the ellipsis again and select Stop Recording. You can also end the recording by ending the meeting. The recording will be made available to the meeting channel, as shown. Anyone in the channel can click the recording to view the meeting. A recording of a meeting is an incredibly powerful thing. You can share it with others who weren’t able to attend the meeting, or use it down the road as a reminder of what was discussed and/or decided upon. The recording itself is in a service called Microsoft Stream. You can get a direct link to the meeting by selecting the ellipsis from the recording in the channel and then selecting Get Link, as shown. In addition, you can open the recording directly in Stream or even make the recording its own tab in the channel. Keeping noise under control with mute When I am in a meeting, I like to keep my microphone muted unless I am speaking. That way the other participants don’t hear any background noise that might be happening around me. Most people follow this same meeting etiquette, but everyone forgets from time to time. Someone might ask if everyone could please mute their microphone, but this can be disruptive to the meeting. When you are in a Teams meeting, you can mute the microphone of other participants. I have used this many times when someone’s microphone is picking up background noise, such as a barking dog, but I don’t want to disrupt the meeting by asking the person to mute his or her microphone. To mute one of the participants of the meeting, go to the meeting roster that appears along the right side of the meeting window, select the person’s name, and choose Mute Participant. To mute everyone, select Mute All from the roster. Both options are shown here. The participants you mute will be notified that you muted them, and they can unmute themselves at any time. After you mute someone, it is a good idea to send that person a private chat message to let him or her know you did it. Almost every time I have done this, the person thanks me and lets me know that he or she just ran to grab a coffee or use the bathroom and forgot to mute the microphone. Blurring your background I love the flexibility of being able to hold a meeting with team members anywhere I have an Internet connection. And using video adds tremendous value to the meeting; however, it also introduces a challenge. What if you find yourself working somewhere you don’t want everyone to see? For example, I often take a meeting from home instead of walking into my office. When I am sitting at my kitchen table, you can see our makeshift open pantry in the background. It would be a great background if I was in a meeting with chefs, but it can be distracting for any other type of meeting. Teams has a cool feature that lets you blur your background but keep your face in focus when on a video call. Everyone in the meeting can see you clearly, even when you move your head around while you are talking, but whatever is behind you and in the background is blurred. No more worrying about any dirty laundry, literally, that might be making an appearance without your knowledge! Before you join a meeting, you are presented with toggles to turn on your camera and microphone. In between those toggles is a blur toggle, as shown, that you can use to blur your background. When you toggle on the blur option, your background will be become blurry, but your face will stay in focus. If you have already joined the meeting, you can find the blur option in the More Actions pop-up menu, as shown. If you don’t have a video camera that supports the blur option connected to Teams, you won’t see the toggle to turn on your camera and blur your background. This is a common theme in Teams and Microsoft products in general. Elements of the user interface will appear and disappear if a required component (like a camera that supports the blur feature) is not attached. Taking notes Recording a meeting is ideal for capturing the meeting in its entirety, but as a practical matter, what you usually need at the completion of a meeting are meeting notes. You can use the notes, also called meeting minutes, to capture a record of key decisions and action items. Teams has a feature designed for capturing meeting notes. The notes are shared so that everyone in the meeting can contribute and view notes as they are added. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in a meeting and someone took down notes incorrectly. A simple miscommunication can have ripple effects down the road. When everyone is reviewing and adding to the meeting notes in real time during the meeting, the possibility of miscommunication is greatly reduced. You can add notes about a meeting before the meeting starts or during the meeting. If a meeting was set up and tied to a Teams channel, you can go into the channel and discuss the meeting there. If the meeting did not have a channel, you can still add notes. To add pre-meeting notes, follow these steps: Open your calendar and select the meeting you want to add notes to. Choose to chat with participants, as shown. Teams will create a chat for the meeting, and all meeting participants are automatically added to it. When the meeting takes place, the chat will be part of the meeting. Once a meeting starts, you can add official notes to the meeting beyond chat. To open the meeting notes or to start taking notes, follow these steps: From the meeting options menu, select the Show Meeting Notes option. If you have already created notes for the meeting, the meeting notes will open on the right side of the screen, as shown. Or, if notes haven’t been added to the meeting yet, will have the option to create notes for the meeting once the meeting has started, as shown. To create new meeting notes, continue to Step 2. Click the Take Notes button. Teams will create meeting notes for the meeting, and you will be able to see the new notes section along the right side of the screen. You can now add notes or review any pre-meeting notes added before the meeting started. When you add meeting notes, members of the channel, or meeting chat, will be notified so that everyone can follow along and add their own notes or review existing notes. You can even add the meeting notes as a tab to the meeting. You find the option to add the meeting notes as a tab by clicking the ellipsis toward the top of the notes screen and choosing to add the notes as a tab. Using a Whiteboard in Teams Some of the most productive meetings I have had over my career are with a group of people standing in front of a whiteboard sketching out ideas. It is an aspect of communication that is hard to beat. Microsoft has recognized this and added a feature to Teams called Whiteboard. Microsoft Whiteboard is a shared screen that allows you to sketch diagrams. The way you draw on your screen depends on your device. If you are using a standard desktop computer, you use your mouse or a graphics tablet that connects a digital pen to your computer. If you are using a device that has a touch screen, you can use your finger to draw on the screen. My favorite way to sketch on the Teams Whiteboard is with the stylus pen on my Surface laptop. I find it very natural and easy to use. To use the Whiteboard feature in Teams, follow these steps: Join an existing Teams meeting or start a new one. From the meeting controls, expand the Share dialog box by selecting the icon that looks like a computer monitor with an arrow going through it. The bottom of the screen will expand, and you will see options for sharing your screen, a window on your screen, or a PowerPoint file. On the right side of your screen you will see the option for Whiteboard, as shown. Select Whiteboard and the screen will update, displaying a digital whiteboard, as shown. You can select the pen color and pen width and begin drawing on the screen. Everyone in the meeting will see what you are drawing, and they can jump in and add their own drawings or edit an existing drawing. The whiteboard persists even after the meeting so that you can always go back to it and add new sketches or modify existing sketches. Once you activate the whiteboard, it will be displayed as a tab on the channel or chat. You can export the state of the whiteboard at any time by clicking the settings icon in the top-right of the screen and choosing Export Image. I like to do this in order to lock the whiteboard and capture the state at any given time. This is much the same as taking a picture of a physical whiteboard to make sure you have the drawing on hand in case anyone comes along and erases it. Every team in Teams has a digital whiteboard that can be used for meetings. Sharing your screen Screen sharing is one of my favorite aspects of digital meetings. I use screen sharing all the time. I even use screen sharing when the people I need to share with are in the same room as I am. Without screen sharing, I would have to have everyone huddle around my computer so that I could show them my screen. With screen sharing, I can share what I am seeing on my screen and they can see it on their screens. It is much easier to look at your own computer screen than to look over the shoulder of someone else. Using Teams, you can share your screen with others, and they can share their screen with you. During a Teams meeting, you can share your entire screen, a specific window, a PowerPoint presentation, or a whiteboard (covered in the previous section). Personally, I like to share just the window or PowerPoint slide I am talking about in the meeting. For example, if I am showing a website, I just share the web browser window instead of my entire desktop. If I am walking through a PowerPoint presentation, I just share the PowerPoint window. There are many reasons you might not want to show your entire desktop. For example, your digital desktop might be messy with various files that you are in the middle of organizing. Or, you might have sensitive material that should not be seen or recorded by everyone in the meeting. Regardless of the reason, you can share just what you want the team to focus on and leave the rest of your desktop hidden. To share your desktop, a window, or a PowerPoint presentation, follow these steps: Join an existing Teams meeting or start a new one. From the meeting controls, expand the Share dialog box by selecting the icon that looks like a computer monitor with an arrow going through it. The bottom of the screen will expand, and you will see options for sharing your screen, a window on your screen, or a PowerPoint file. Select the option you want to share with the meeting. A red box will outline what is being shared with others so that you know exactly what they can see. To stop presenting, select the Stop Presenting button at the top of the display window, as shown. Taking control of someone else’s screen In the previous section, you discover how to share your screen with others. You can also have someone else take control of your screen or ask to take control of someone else’s screen. When you take control of another person’s screen through Teams, you can move that person’s mouse around and type on his or her screen using your own mouse and keyboard. I use this frequently when I want to show someone how to do something on his or her computer. Someone cannot take control of your screen without your permission. If someone requests to take control of your screen, you will see a message appear asking if you want to allow the person to take control of your screen or not. If you approve the request, that person will be able to control your mouse on your screen; however, if you deny the request, that person won’t be able to take control. To give control of a shared screen, select the Give Control button that appears at the top of the sharing area. When you select this button, a drop-down menu appears that lists everyone in the meeting. You can choose who to give control of your screen to. You can take back control using the same method. Organizing teams to fit your meeting needs I tend to like the defaults of how Teams is laid out for most meetings. Teams will often make smart decisions and switch between showing people on the main screen and showing a presentation on the main screen. Teams will also detect who is speaking and enlarge that person’s video so that you can focus on the person speaking. However, you might want to take control and shift how you view things. You can switch between people and presentations by clicking on the videos of the participants or the presentations. You can also take the video of a participant and pin it so that it is always displayed. Sometimes I like to pop a video out of Teams and drag it over to another monitor. All this flexibility ensures you can adjust a meeting to fit your needs. Using Teams while a meeting is in progress During a meeting, most of the Teams screens are dedicated to the meeting. This is valuable when you want to focus on the meeting. However, you can still use other parts of Teams when a meeting is in progress. For example, if there is a large meeting that I need to listen in on but not focus all of my attention, I will minimize the meeting and use other portions of Teams. Minimizing the meeting is as simple as clicking on another portion of Teams, such as another channel or chat. When you click outside of the meeting, Teams automatically minimizes the meeting into a small window at the top of the left navigation pane, as shown. To go back to the meeting and maximize the window on your screen, simply click inside the meeting window.

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How to Chat in Microsoft Teams

Article / Updated 04-20-2020

You might be forced to use Microsoft Teams because it is included with your organization’s Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription, or you might decide to start using it on your own. Regardless of how you start using Teams, you will likely spend your initial interactions sending messages to other people on your team. Instant messages in Teams happen in channels. Channels are a place where people can type messages, add files, and share links. I like to think of a channel like a virtual water cooler. You go there to communicate with colleagues, learn and share gossip, and generally stay in touch with your social circle. A channel lives inside of a team, and a team can contain multiple channels. You can name a channel anything you want. I recommend using a name that describes the purpose of the channel. For example, you could name your channels channel01, channel02, channel03, and so on, but these titles aren’t descriptive. Are you creating a channel that people in your team will use to discuss carpooling to and from work? Name the channel Carpooling. Or do you want to create a channel for accounting and another for human resources? Name them Accounting and Human Resources, respectively. Or perhaps a group of people want to discuss the new policy of allowing pets in the office. Create a channel called Pets. You get the point. A channel can contain multiple conversations happening at the same time. To try to make these threads of conversation easier to follow, Teams groups them together in what are known as threads. A thread is simply a topic of conversation. When someone types a brand-new message, it appears in the channel, and any replies to that original message are placed underneath. If someone else types a different message for a different topic, it will become its own thread and any responses to that message will be grouped under the original message. In the figure, you can see that I am creating a brand-new topic of conversation (“Hello world!”). If I want to reply to the existing topic, I would click the Reply link at the bottom of the thread that starts with “Hello and welcome to the team!” Replying to an existing topic of conversation (a thread) and creating a new topic of conversation are simply a matter of which Reply link you click and which text box you start typing in. One mistake many people make when first using Teams is to reply in the primary message box for the channel instead of in the reply message box for the thread. It can be confusing at first, but once you notice the two boxes, it quickly becomes second nature. Sending Messages in Channels Whenever you create a new team, a channel is created for that team automatically. Called “General,” this channel is perfectly acceptable to use to start chatting with others on the team. To send a message in the General channel, follow these steps: Select the Teams icon in the left navigation pane to view all your teams. Under each team, you will see a list of channels that are available to you. If this is a new team, you will only see the General channel until more channels are created. In addition to the channels available to you, there may be private channels in the team that you don’t have access to. There could also be channels that are public, but that you have not joined. The list of channels you see under a team might not be inclusive of every channel that team contains. Select the General channel, as shown. When you click a channel, it opens in the main part of the screen. Type a message in the text box at the bottom of the screen and click the Send icon (or press the Enter key), as shown earlier. Your message appears in the General channel screen. Congratulations! You are sending messages! Notice above your message that Microsoft Teams is giving you some hints about adding more people, creating more channels, and opening the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). These buttons that appear in new channels are shortcuts for you. You can achieve these same tasks without using these shortcuts, and you will find out how in the next sections. Creating a New Channel As you use Teams more and more, you will likely want to create chat channels for other topics so that everything doesn’t happen in one “general” channel. For example, you might want to create a channel for your team to discuss finances, and another for carpooling, and another for team morale events. Team conversations can be organized in seemingly endless ways. The only thing that matters is what works for your team. To create a new channel in your team, follow these steps: Select the Teams icon in the left navigation pane to view all your teams. Click the ellipsis to the right of the team you wish to add a channel to open the More Options drop-down menu. Choose Add channel, as shown. If this option isn’t shown in the drop-down menu, you don’t have permission to create a new channel. If you are a guest to a team, your ability to create teams and channels can be limited. Enter a name and description for the channel in the dialog box that appears and then click Add, as shown. Note that you can also select the box to have this channel automatically show up for every person in the team. If you don’t select this box, the channel will show up as hidden, and people will need to click a button to see it in the list of channels in the team. The new channel appears under the team as shown. You can create chat channels for any topic you want. I have seen teams have a lot of success breaking out core work–related channels from non-core work–related channels, such as morale events in one channel and budget discussions in a different channel. A channel is part of a team. A team can contain multiple channels, and each channel can contain its own threads of conversation. Configuring a Channel You can configure many different settings for a channel via the More Options dialog box. As shown earlier, you access these additional options by clicking the ellipsis next to the channel name you wish to manage. The following figure shows the More Options drop-down menu that appears next to the new channel we created. The options that appear for a channel you add include the following: Channel notifications: You can configure the notifications you receive for this channel. This is important as your organization’s use of Teams increases. Teams can quickly become noisy with everyone chatting about all manner of topics. You can use this setting to turn down the noise for channels that are less important to you and turn up the volume for topics you need to pay close attention to. The channel notifications dialog box is shown. Hide: Select this option to hide the channel from the list of channels you have in the team. You can always unhide the channel at any time. You will see a little message that lets you know how many channels you have hidden, and you can click it to see those hidden channels. Manage channel: This option allows owners of the channel to manage the permissions for the channel, as shown. You can allow others to moderate the channel and control who can post new messages to the channel. Get email address: A cool feature I use all the time is the ability to send an email message directly to a channel. You can configure the channel so that if you send an email, the message appears in the channel. (I send a copy of my email messages to my channels all the time!) The following figure shows the email address for the private channel. Whenever I send an email message to this address, it appears in the channel, as shown. Get link to channel: You can quickly get overwhelmed with the number of teams and channels in your organization. When you want to tell people about a channel, you can send them a direct link to the channel. You can get the link by using this option. Edit this channel: When you first created the channel, you set the title and description. You can change those settings with this option. Connectors: Connectors are add-on apps. Think of them as custom extensions to Teams that you can add to a channel in order to connect with other software services. They allow you to connect other apps to your channel. There are many types of connectors, as shown. For example, you can connect your channel to Jira or Twitter or seemingly any other app out on the Internet. Delete this channel: When you are ready to remove a channel, you can choose this option to delete it.

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How to Move from Microsoft Teams Channels to Chats

Article / Updated 04-20-2020

The various ways you can communicate within Microsoft Teams can quickly become confusing. As a quick recap, a team is a group of people, and a channel is an ongoing conversation within the team. You can be in multiple teams and each team can have multiple channels. The nice thing about this system of communication is that it has structure. You can always select a team from the left navigation pane and see the channels in that team. However, you might also need to just chat with someone or with groups of people, and you don’t want to go through the process of setting up a new team or channel. Teams has you covered with a concept called chat. You find the Chat icon in the left navigation pane just above the Teams icon, as shown. A chat is an ad-hoc conversation between two or more people. Click the Chat icon to see a list of all your open chats. If you remember using AOL Instant Messenger, Skype, or most any other chat application, you may recognize that each chat item is like a window. However, instead of a new window for each chat, each chat appears as an item in the list. Click a chat and you see the main window refresh to show that conversation. Starting a private chat You can start a private chat by selecting the New Chat icon, which is located just above the Filter icon at the top of the chat list. The new chat icon looks like a piece of paper with a pencil on it. When you select the icon, a new chat appears on the right side of the Teams workspace. You type in the name of the person you want to send a chat message to in the To: field, and then click that person’s name to add that person to the chat. Once you have added the person to the chat, you can send a message just like you do in a channel. You type your message in the text box at the bottom of the chat area and press the Enter key on your keyboard or select the Send icon, which looks like a paper airplane. Adding multiple people to a chat The previous section covers how to start a new chat. You can chat with multiple people by adding them in the To: line when you start the chat. However, you may find that you want to add more people to an existing chat. To add more people to a chat that has already started, select the Add People icon that appears in the top-right corner of the chat window. Then, type in the names of the people you want to add in the Add dialog box. If you are chatting with only one person and you add another person, a new chat will appear with the three people in the chat. If you already have three people in a chat and you add a fourth person (or more), you will be presented with the option of including the chat history for the new people you are adding, as shown. If you are chatting with one person, you cannot add another person to the same chat and share the history of the personal chat with the new third party. The feature of adding people and keeping the history of the chat only appears when there are at least three people already in the chat. Microsoft has said that this is done for privacy reasons and the expectation that if there is a one-on-one chat happening, Teams should not allow one person to share that confidential chat with other people. Giving a chat a title By default, a chat is listed in your chat list with the names of the people in the chat. Often a chat will take on a life of its own as more and more people are added, and the chat becomes the central point of communication for a topic. When this happens, I find it helpful to give the chat a title so that when I am looking through my list of chats, I can quickly remember the topic of that chat. To add a title to a chat, click the pencil icon at the top of the chat and type in a name, as shown. Pinning a chat to the top of the list In addition to giving a title to a chat, you can also pin a chat so that it always appears at the top of the list. By default, chats are listed in order with the most recently used chat at the top. What I will do is pin a chat to the top of the list so that I can quickly get to that chat even if it has been a few days since anyone has added a message to it. To pin a chat, select the ellipsis next to the chat in the left navigation pane and choose Pin from the More Options drop-down menu, as shown.

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How to Create a New Microsoft Teams Team

Article / Updated 04-19-2020

When you first log in to Microsoft Teams, you will see that a default Team is created for you automatically using the account information you provide when you first sign up for Microsoft 365, Office 365, or the stand-alone Teams app. My default team is called Portal Integrators LLC, because that is the company name I provided when I signed up for the Office 365 trial. (For a reminder on how to log in to Teams, see "How to Download, Install, and Open Microsoft Teams.") I suspect many people just use the default Team and don’t realize they can create more teams. (Perhaps they also didn’t make the wise decision to read this book like you did.) However, creating new teams involves only a few steps. When you create a new team, you can customize it and build it out the way you want for your specific situation. For example, you might want the team to be private instead of the default org-wide team that is created that everyone is automatically a member of. You might also want to create a team for a focus area, such as carpooling or human resources or accounting. Once you have spent a little bit of time in Teams, you will find yourself creating new teams and trimming old teams as a regular habit. To create a new Team, follow these steps: 1. Open Microsoft Teams. 2. Click the Teams icon in the left navigation pane and then click the link to “Join or create a team” that appears in the bottom-left corner of the screen, as shown. Join or create a team appears in the main Teams workspace. If you don’t see the “Join or create a team” link, as shown, two situations may be at play. The first, and most likely, is that you are a guest user to Teams and, thus, have restricted access to the Office 365 — and Teams — products. If you are a licensed member of the organization but still don’t see the ability to create a new team, then your administrators have likely locked down the Office 365 tenant your organization is using. If that is the case, you will need to contact your administrator in order to create a new team. 3. Click the Create Team button, as shown here. The Create Your Team dialog box appears. You can choose to create a team based on an existing group of users in Office 365, or create a team from scratch. For this example, let’s create a team from scratch. 4. Select the Build a Team From Scratch option, as shown here. Next, you need to decide what type of team you want to create. You have three options: Private: A private team requires members to have permission to join. Public: A public team is one that anyone can join. Org-wide: An organization-wide team is one that everyone in the organization belongs to automatically when they log in to Teams. For this example, let’s create an org-wide team that everyone belongs to automatically so that we don’t have to worry about adding people. 5. Select the Org-wide option, as shown here. As your organization becomes larger, you probably want to start using either private teams or public teams. This is because the number of teams within an organization can grow quickly, and if everyone in your organization is automatically joined to them, Teams can become very noisy and people may start to ignore it. 6. Enter a name and description for your new team and then click Create, as shown here. Teams will take a few moments and go about its work of creating a new team for you. When it is done, you will see the new team appear in your list of teams in the left navigation pane, as shown. Notice that when the new team was created, a channel called General was automatically created. As a user of Teams, you can either be a team owner, a team member, or a guest. Note that a team owner is not limited to the person who created the team. A team can have up to 100 team owners. Team owners can manage the team, which includes the ability to add members, approve or deny requests to join the team, create channels, change the team settings, view analytics, and add apps. A guest user is a non-licensed user that has limited access and who must be invited to each team explicitly. A user can join a team either by receiving an invite to join or request to join an existing team. If a team is set up as private, then new users will need to be invited as they won’t be able to see the team and ask to join.

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How to Download, Install, and Open Microsoft Teams

Article / Updated 04-19-2020

You can use Microsoft Teams in three primary ways: You can use the web-based app, you can install the client on your laptop or desktop computer, or you can install the Teams mobile app on your smartphone or tablet. Regardless of how you use Teams, the concepts remain the same. Let’s first log in to the web-based app and then install the client on your desktop. To log in to the web-based version of Teams, follow these steps: Open your favorite web browser and navigate to Microsoft.com. Log in using the account credentials you created when you signed up for the Office 365 trial. When presented with the option to download Teams or use the web app, click the Use the Web App Instead link. After logging in, you are presented with the main Teams app running inside your web browser, as shown. Many people just use this web-based experience to use Teams. However, I prefer the client that I download and install on my local computer. I find it has much more functionality and integrates better with devices like my headset for making phone calls and my webcam for making video calls. To install the Teams client on your Windows laptop or desktop computer, follow these steps: Open your web browser and navigate to Microsoft.com. If you have not yet logged in to the web app from the previous set of steps, you will be asked to log in. If you have already logged in, you will see the Teams web app displayed in your browser (shown). Log in to the Teams site by entering the credentials you set up in Chapter 1 if you aren’t already logged in. When you first log in to the Teams site, you are presented with an option of installing the Teams client or continuing to the web app. In the previous set of steps, we continued to the web app. Here, we will install the desktop client. Click your profile icon that appears in the top-right corner and choose Download the Desktop App as shown. Save the file to your computer. You can set the location on your computer’s hard drive where your web browser downloads files. By default, files are usually set to download to a Downloads folder, which is where all downloads are stored. If you can’t find the file you downloaded, check the configuration for your web browser to see where it places files it has downloaded. Once the Teams setup file has downloaded, open and run the file. After a few moments, a dialog box appears asking you to sign in, as shown. Enter your username and click Sign In. If you have already signed in to Teams using your web browser, you won’t be asked for your password again. The Teams client loads and let you know that there is one last step to get Teams set up and connected to Office, as shown. Click Let’s Do It to continue and then click Yes to allow Teams to make changes to your computer. Teams works in the background to connect with Office on your computer and then loads the Teams application, as shown. Congratulations! You now have Teams running on your local computer.

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How to Get Started with the Microsoft Teams App

Article / Updated 04-19-2020

Microsoft Teams is available either as a free, stand-alone app that you can download from the Internet, or as part of a bundle of software, such as Microsoft 365 and Office 365. The free, no-commitment version of Teams offers such features as unlimited messages and search capabilities, 10GB of shared storage across the app, and audio and video calls between members. The more robust version of Teams available through a subscription to Microsoft 365 or Office 365 provides all of those features as well as a whole host of others including 1TB of storage per organization; Exchange email hosting; access to OneDrive, SharePoint, and other Office 365 services; enhanced security features; and 24/7 phone and web support among other administrative tools. Explore the details about the differences between the various Teams versions (see the following figure). Microsoft 365 and Office 365 are similar umbrella marketing terms for a bundle of subscription services. Office 365 is focused on Office products, while Microsoft 365 includes additional subscriptions such as Windows and Microsoft’s cloud-based mobile device management service called Intune. The Office 365 subscription includes services like SharePoint, Word, Excel, Teams, and many others. The Microsoft 365 subscription is a bigger umbrella that includes these Office 365 products and other products like Windows, Intune, and more. Download Microsoft Teams for free You can sign up for Teams for free without buying the Microsoft 365 or Office 365 bundle. You won’t get all the integrations and benefits Microsoft 365 and Office 365 provide, but you will get Teams. To sign up for the free version of Microsoft Teams, follow these steps: Open your favorite web browser and go to Microsoft Teams. Click the Sign Up For Free button. Enter your email address and either sign in with your existing Microsoft account or create a new one. If this is the first time you are using a Microsoft service, you will be asked to verify your email address. A code will be sent to your email address and you will be asked to enter that code. After you verify your account (or sign in with your existing account), you will be asked to either download the Teams app to your local computer or use the web-based version as shown in the following figure. For this example, you see the web version. Click the option to use the web-based version. Your web browser will refresh and sign you in to the main Teams web application. A message then will display letting you know how to invite people to join your team, as shown. Click Got It to then be taken to your new Teams workspace in your web browser, as shown. Congratulations! You are now using Microsoft Teams for free. When you invite guest users to your Teams channel, they will go through a very similar process as you just went through to sign in to Teams. However, instead of having to navigate to the Microsoft Teams website, they will get an email inviting them to join your Teams channel. I have found the value of Teams comes from how it integrates and works with other Microsoft software, such as Office. For this reason, I recommend using Teams with Microsoft 365 or Office 365 instead of as a stand-alone free chat app. I talk about accessing Teams through these subscription-based services next. Download Microsoft Teams through Office 365 You can sign up for Teams by signing up for Office 365. Office 365 offers a free trial, so you can get started with it without having to pay up front. Here’s how: Open your favorite web browser and navigate to Microsoft Office. Click the Get Office button, as shown. To get Teams, you will need a business plan subscription. (The personal plans do not include Teams.) Click the For Business tab to see the available business plans, as shown. You can choose between the Office 365 Business Essentials plan or the Office 365 Business Premium plan, which includes the latest Office clients like Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. For this example, I chose the Office 365 Business Premium plan. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Try free for 1 month” link under the Office 365 Business Premium plan. Provide the requested information and walk through the setup wizard to get up and running with Office 365. Note that you can use your own name as a business name and choose that your business size is 1 person. Next, you will be asked to choose a domain name that is .onmicrosoft.com. This is your Office 365 domain. In this example, I chose teamsfd.onmicrosoft.com for the domain. You can always add a custom domain later down the road if you prefer. For example, I might connect teamsfordummies.com to our Office 365 account and get email there, too. Once you have filled out the information, your free trial will be created, as shown. This can take a few minutes, so be patient. teams-trial-page Click the Get Started button. A tutorial walks you through adding a domain and additional users. After you walk through the setup, you are presented with your Office 365 dashboard where you see a quick tutorial. After the tutorial you are presented with the Office 365 main landing page, as shown. Congratulations! You are now up and running with Office 365 and Microsoft Teams. You can always get back to your Office 365 dashboard by opening your web browser and going to Microsoft Office and logging in with the username and password you created. For more information on using Office 365, check out Office 365 For Dummies, 3rd Edition (Wiley).

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The Microsoft Teams Mobile App

Article / Updated 04-17-2020

Learn how to use Microsoft Teams on your mobile device and smartphone. Install Microsoft Teams and learn about some of the ways working with Teams on your phone can make you a lot more productive. How to install the Teams mobile app You can install Teams on your mobile device in a few different ways. The easiest way is to open the Google Play Store (on Android devices) or the Apple App Store (on iOS devices) and search for the Teams mobile app. Another way is to use your mobile web browser and sign into Teams and then tap the icon for installing the mobile app. The icon on the website to install the mobile app is a shortcut that takes you to the relevant app store. You'll probably find it easier to just go straight to the iOS or Android app store and search for Microsoft Teams instead of trying to navigate your mobile web browser to the Teams website. Installing on iOS To install the Teams mobile app on your iPhone or iPad: Open the Apple App Store on your iOS device. Tap the Search icon in the store and type Microsoft Teams. Make sure you choose the Microsoft app, as shown. Tap the download link to install the app on your device. Once the app has finished downloading and installing, tap the Open button. Installing on Android To install the Teams mobile app on your Android phone or tablet: Open the Google Play Store on your Android device. Tap the Search icon in the store and type Microsoft Teams. Make sure you choose the Microsoft app, as shown. Tap the Install button to install the app on your device. Once the app has finished downloading and installing, tap the Open button. When you first open the Teams mobile app, you are presented with a sign-in screen where you can choose to sign in to Teams, as shown. Tap the Sign In button and then enter your Office 365 credentials that you created when you signed up for the Office 365 trial in Chapter 1. Teams loads and walks you through some tips on using the app. Once you get through the tips, you can start working with Teams, as you will see in the next section. If you have already signed in to any other Office 365 app on your mobile device, such as Outlook, you can just select that account and Teams will automatically log you in using the credentials that are already cached on the device. If you want to skip signing up for Office 365, you can also sign up for a free account just by downloading the app on your mobile device and then tapping the Sign Up for Free button shown. Find your way around the Teams mobile app One thing I really love about Teams is that it doesn’t matter what client I am using — the desktop and laptop version or the mobile app — the concepts and placement are all the same. I have used the Teams client on my Mac, iPad, Android phone, Windows laptop, and my iPhone. Because Teams is a new application that was only created in the last few years, Microsoft took the opportunity to build all the clients at the same time. The interfaces are slightly different because they are optimized for the device you are using, but once you get familiar with the concepts in Teams, you can use any client and feel comfortable in how to use it. If you are a Linux fan, you will be happy to learn that Microsoft announced a Teams client for Linux. It is already in early preview and expected to be generally available in 2020. Throughout the previous chapters, I discuss the left navigation pane in the Teams web and desktop and laptop apps. The Teams mobile app is similar except instead of accessing the Teams icons in the left navigation pane, the app includes tabs across the bottom of the screen, as shown. You get to your profile settings by tapping the Settings icon, which is also called the hamburger menu because the icon’s three layers look like a hamburger. Here you can do things like set your status and status message, turn on or off notifications, learn about new features, and access additional settings specific for the mobile app. Three settings control the settings for the Teams mobile app in general, as shown in the following figure: Dark theme: When you enable this feature, the colors of the app switch to dark colors. By default, Teams uses lighter colors, but you may prefer the darker colors when using the app in low-light situations. Notifications: Use this setting to update how you get notified by Teams. You can set the hours you want Teams to be quiet and not send you notifications; set if you want the Teams mobile app to only send notifications when you are not active on the desktop app; configure notifications for incoming calls, missed calls, ongoing calls, chats, likes, and reactions; and set other notification-related settings. Data and storage: It would be nice if everyone had unlimited data on their mobile devices, but unfortunately this is not the case (as I can attest). Using these settings, you can set the quality (size) of images you upload, clear temporary files and app data, and clear your chat history to help manage the data load on your mobile device. Additional settings may be set for each specific team, as shown in the figure following this list: Profile: You can set your profile picture and view your activity, organizational chart, email address, and phone number with this setting. Messaging: Use this setting to show channels in your chat list. When you tap the Chat tab at the bottom of your mobile screen, you will then see your channels in addition to your private chats. Shifts: Shifts is a new feature that stems from a service called StaffHub. The Shifts functionality is designed for shift workers. You can set up reminders for your work shifts, set timing on when notifications should appear before your work shifts, and clear shifts app data. About: This setting provides information about the mobile app, such as the version, privacy and cookies, terms of use, and third-party software notices and information. Help & feedback: Click this setting to view help information and provide feedback to Microsoft about the app. Rate us: Use this setting to rate the app on the relevant app store. Report an issue: Use this setting to report an issue about the app to Microsoft. Add account: With this setting you can add an additional account to use the app. I do this when I work with clients that set up an account for me in their Office 365 subscription. I can use multiple accounts with my Teams app on my phone. Sign out: Use this setting to sign out of the Teams app. This is useful if you are lending your phone to someone else and don’t want someone else to access the app with your credentials. Tapping your way through Teams The Teams mobile app, like any other mobile app, is designed to be used by tapping your fingers on the screen of your phone or tablet. I have found Teams to be intuitive; however, there are a few differences between using your keyboard and mouse and using your fingers. Interacting with messages Using reactions, you can add a happy face, a thumbs up, or any number of different emojis to your chat messages. In addition, you can interact with messages in a number of different ways. You can Save a message so that you can quickly find and review it later. Mark a message as unread so that it continues to show as new in Teams. Copy a link to the direct message. Open the message in the immersive reader, which will read the message for you and show you each word as it is read. Turn on notifications for the message thread. Create a new poll that will be attached to the message. (This is handy when someone brings up a topic that needs input from others.) If you are reacting to your own message, then you have additional options such as being able to edit or delete the message. If you don’t see these options for your own messages, then your administrator has turned off your ability to edit or delete messages. When you are using Teams with your keyboard and mouse, you can hover your mouse over a message or click the ellipsis to see these interactions, as shown. However, when you are using Teams on your mobile device, hovering your finger isn’t an option. Instead, you need to tap and hold on the message in order to bring up the same menu, as shown. If you get stuck and cannot find a menu when navigating Teams on a mobile device, try tapping and holding as an option. Using a mouse, you can hover your mouse over elements of the interface to see menus, but hovering is not an option when using your fingers. If you are reacting to a message in a chat, you must tap and hold to access the reaction options, but if you are reacting to a message thread in a channel, you will see a tiny ellipsis and you can tap that, too. I find it easier to just tap and hold a message in either a chat or a channel in order to bring up the menu shown in the figure. Getting used to navigation As mentioned earlier in this chapter, navigation through the Teams mobile app is slightly different than when using your keyboard and mouse. Rather than clicking navigational icons along the left side of the app, in the mobile version these icons are found along the bottom of the app. The experience is optimized for mobile devices, which means the flow is slightly different in the mobile app because the amount of space on a mobile device is much smaller than a laptop or desktop computer screen. One key difference in navigation is that the screens you navigate may require more taps to the screen than the associated clicks with your mouse. For example, when you tap the Chat icon at the bottom of your mobile app, you will see all the chats you currently have going on. Navigating into your chats on your mobile device is very similar to the keyboard behavior. However, if you tap the Teams option, you will be presented with all the teams and channels you have. You then you need to tap again to open one of those channels, as shown in the following figure. On a large monitor you can see all the teams and channels at the same time you see the associated messages in the channel. With the mobile app, you need to make another tap in order to get into the channel, and if you want to change channels, you need to tap the back icon and then select a different channel. Navigating Teams on a mobile device can take more taps than the associated clicks when using Teams on a laptop or desktop. Even though the mobile app takes more work to navigate, it is worth the effort because the experience on a mobile device is designed for smaller screens and using your fingers instead of a mouse.

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