How to get started with Microsoft Teams

Daniel Strain 25-Aug-2020 00:00:00
A working from home employee logging into the Microsoft Teams app on their mobile

Over the past few months, Microsoft has been busy adding lots of new features to Microsoft Teams to make managing teams remotely, easier.

You could say that Teams is Microsoft’s answer to competing platforms like Slack. Microsoft Teams is a communication and collaboration platform for Microsoft Office 365 customers, perfect for business professionals, and designed to simplify group work internally and externally.

What does Teams have to offer?

With tight integration with Microsoft, users can work on a variety of key Office 365 apps and tools, all in one window to help them work more effectively.

  • Link Outlook calendars and meetings
  • Create, share, edit and find content via SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote
  • Audio or Video call one on one or groups of people (internally and externally)
  • Chat-based instant messaging (internal and external users)

Key benefits of Teams:

  • One centralised hub
  • Office 365 integration
  • Customise Teams through APIs and bot frameworks
  • Enterprise security & compliance
  • Azure Active Directory integration
  • No extra cost to Office 365 users

Microsoft Teams Overview

For maximum team collaboration there are different ways you can use Teams: download the desktop application, access Teams through your browser or download the mobile app. You can also grant guest access for those outside of your organisation.

Teams and Channels

When you create a new Team this will also create a matching Office 365 Group, OneNote, SharePoint site and Plan, so the last thing you want to do is make too many teams. Top tip: Think about how various groups within your organisation communicate with each other, this will help you structure your Teams. For more in-depth advice on how to structure your teams, read this blog post.

Each Team has subsections called Channels, a General Channel will automatically be created. You can have multiple Channels within a Team; for example, you could have a ‘Finance’ 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.

Channel Tabs

Every channel has its own set of Tabs along the top. Conversation (group chat), Files (shared docs), and Notes (shared OneNote) are created by default but you can add your own tabs too.


Conversations are the heart and soul of Teams; each Team has 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. As well as tagging, users can ‘like’ content and share emoticons or GIFs.

Meetings and conferences

Chats and conversations are a great way to communicate with team members, however, sometimes its more efficient to have quick audio or video call. During these calls, you can share your screen, take notes and more.


The ability to upload, edit and collaborate in real-time, download, all within one window makes Files one of Teams more desirable features.

You can also start a Group chat alongside the file you are editing, to allow team discussions – this conversation will appear in your conversation thread.


The Notes tab opens the team shared OneNote. You can view and edit your OneNote directly in the Teams window or click to open it in the OneNote app, or browser.


On the left-hand side, you will find your Microsoft Teams menu, this is where you can navigate to different areas within Teams, such as Activity, Teams, Chat, Meetings and Files.

Activities: Shows you the last activities of the Teams that you are part of.

Chat: This holds your conversations and provides 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 allows you to schedule meetings within the Meetings tab that are sent to a Team.

Files: Quickly find and view files across OneNote, OneDrive and within Teams.

Command bar

Teams is easy to find your way around, but if you need quick assistance, the Command bar is your one-stop destination for help. You can do a search across conversations, users, files, and apps. For example, if you enter the word “dog” in the command bar, the left pane will display the search results grouped by Messages, People, and Files.

Microsoft Teams is already a robust offering and is benefiting from lots of new features and integrations but what makes it even more appealing is the fact that is it included with Microsoft 365. For Office 365 users, this means that those who are already using other paid teamwork software can remove the licence expense, and those that aren’t can gain access to a useful new application that competitors might be using – at no extra cost.

What next?

If you're new to Microsoft Teams and really aren't sure if you're ready to take the plunge, we've created a handy guide that will run you through everything you need to know. Including:

  • Connecting to Microsoft Teams
  • How to structure Teams and Channels
  • How to link apps
  • Plus some of our Top Teams Tips

Download your copy using the link below. Or if video is more your thing, we have a great on-demand webinar that will help your team increase their productivity, all thanks to Microsoft Teams. 

Download Your Guide to Getting Started on Teams