How to Work in Microsoft Teams from Office 365 - dummies

How to Work in Microsoft Teams from Office 365

By Peter Weverka

Whereas SharePoint document libraries and task lists represent more or less permanent data repositories, Microsoft Teams is meant to serve the ever-changing modern workplace. In the course of a year, you may find yourself on several different teams. Within the same team, you may find yourself participating in several channels.

This article explains what teams and channels are. It shows how to tell coworkers when you are busy or available for collaborations and how to conduct searches.

Introducing Microsoft teams and channels

How you run the Teams application is up to you. Run it as a desktop application, a web browser app, on a Macintosh computer, or on a mobile phone. The Teams interface is nearly the same across all formats, which is one reason that businesses like Teams.

In most instances, a systems administrator or manager assigns individuals to teams. If you have the proper privileges, however, you can create a team of your own. Each team can have one or more channels. A channel is a workspace devoted to a specific project or a specific group of employees. Typically, administrators invite coworkers to participate in previously created channels. Depending on the privileges assigned by the administrator, individuals can sometimes create and archive channels on their own.

These pages explain how to visit teams and channels and declare a team or channel a “favorite” so that you can revisit it easily.

Opening a team and viewing its channels

Follow these steps to go to a team and visit its channels:

  1. Click Teams on the Navigation bar.
    The Teams tab appears, as shown. You see the names of teams to which you’ve been assigned. Starting on this tab, you can create a team (if you have permission to do so) and join a team by entering the team’s redemption code.
  2. Select the name of a team to which you’re assigned.
    Each team consists of one or more channels. Channel creators choose the name and purpose of each channel. You can create a channel if you have permission to do so.
  3. Select a channel and browse its content.
    Channels offer the following tabs:
    • Conversations: Discuss topics online with coworkers.
    • Files: Upload and edit files for a project.
    • Meeting Notes: Track meeting notes in a collaborative, multi-editing environment.
    • Add a Tab: Add new tabs to the channel if you have permission.
  4. Click Teams to go back to the Teams list.
Teams tab in Office
The Teams tab lists teams to which you belong.

Putting a team or channel on the Favorites list

Put the name of a team or channel on the Favorites list so you can revisit it in a hurry. The following figure shows the Favorites list. To see this list, all you have to do is click Teams on the Navigation bar. From the list, you can click the name of a team or channel and go there directly. Follow these steps to bookmark a favorite team or channel you intend to revisit often:

  1. Click the Teams tab on the Navigation bar.
    You see the lists of teams you belong to.
  2. Select a team.
  3. Click the ellipsis link next to a team to add a team to the Favorites list.
    The team you made a favorite appears first in your team list.
  4. Browse to a channel you visit often.
  5. Click the star icon to the right of the channel’s name to add your channel to the Favorites list.
    As shown, the start icon is filled in to show that the channel is a favorite. Favorite teams and channels are listed first on the Favorites list to make it easier to find the teams and channels you need.
Teams Favorites list
Put teams and channels you visit often on the Favorites list.

How to set your status in Teams

Indicating your status makes it easier for colleagues to check your availability for communication. Get in the habit of setting your status so that team members know whether and how they can reach you. Follow these steps to manage your status in Teams:

  1. Open your user menu.
    This menu is located in the upper-right corner of the screen. When you open it, you see a drop-down menu similar to the one shown.
  2. Move the pointer over the status option, the first option on the menu, to see a drop-down list of status options.
    The figure shows the status list. Choose Available, Busy, or another option.

Suppose you want to find out whether a colleague is available, busy, or away? Place your cursor in the Search bar at the top of the screen and start typing your colleague’s name. The name of your colleague should appear on a drop-down list. Select your colleague’s name to go to his or her conversation page.

Teams status
Declare your status so that coworkers know whether you’re available.

How to filter and search in Microsoft Teams

Sometimes it pays to cut down on “noise” and drill into content that is relevant to your professional interests. Starting on the Activity tab, you can filter team activity to see only what interests you. You can also conduct powerful searches. The Activity tab is a one-stop shop for pinpointing what is pertinent to you — channels, conversations, chats, files, and so on.

Filtering your activity feed

The activity feed presents actions you can take in the channels to which you participate. Many people start their workday by seeing what’s up on the activity feed, where you find mentions, replies, and other notifications.

Follow these steps to filter your activity feed to focus on the information you need:

  1. Click Activity in the Navigation bar.
  2. On the Activity selector, choose Feed (if it isn’t already selected).
    The Activity selector is located at the top of the Activity pane, as shown. The selector offers two choices:
    • Feed: Shows all your mentions and post replies.
    • My Activity: Shows posts you initiated.
  3. Click the Filter button and select an option on the drop-down menu.
    You can filter your activity feed using different criteria, as shown.
Teams activity feed
Filter the Teams activity feed to see only the events that interest you.

Searching Teams for content

How do you find the file your manager mentioned in passing last week? Or recall the name of the movie a colleague suggested during a private chat three months ago? Here’s how to search Teams for a specific post, message, or file:

  1. From any page in Teams, place the cursor in the Search or Type a Command box.
    This text box is located across the top of the screen.
  2. Type a search term or, alternatively, enter a forward slash (/) command followed by a search term.

    An example of a search term might be “Sales department reports” or simply “reports.” Use forward-slash commands to combine a search for a person, channel, group, or file with a concrete action. When you enter the forward slash, a drop-down list of commands appears. Choose a command and enter a search term. For example, choose /chat and send Mark a chat message.

  3. Press Enter.
    Search results appear on three tabs: Messages, People, and Files.
  4. Select a tab to steer your search in the right direction.

How to choose notification settings

Teams can notify you when a coworker mentions your name, posts a particular file type, or does a handful of other things worth knowing about. Follow these steps to tell Teams what you want to be notified about:

  1. Open the user menu and select Settings.
    The user menu is located in the upper-right corner of the screen. The Settings window appears.
  2. Select Notifications.
    Notifications options appear, as shown.
  3. Choose notification preferences.
    Close the Settings window when you finish. Teams saves your settings as soon as you make them.
Teams notifications
Choosing how you want to be notified.