6 Things You Need To Know About Using Microsoft Teams

No 'I' In Team

Microsoft is looking to bolster its collaboration game with the debut of a new app for Office 365, Microsoft Teams. The app, which Microsoft is describing as a "chat-based workspace," aims to provide easier group communication (like Slack) while also hosting online meetings and integrating with other apps (both from Microsoft and outside vendors). First unveiled in November, and with 50,000 organizations having used it so far, Microsoft Teams is now generally available as part of Office 365.

In the following slides, the CRN Test Center summarizes what you need to know about using Microsoft Teams.


Once you launch Microsoft Teams, you have essentially four places to visit (which are accessible via tabs on the left-hand side of the Teams app). One is "Chat," where you can chat one-on-one with people in your organization. The second is "Teams," groups that you've been added to or joined. The third is "Meetings," which allows you to schedule online meetings. And the fourth is "Files," which provides access to files from your teams.


If you want to chat one-on-one with a colleague inside Microsoft Teams, there's a tab on the left-hand side marked "Chat." There you can search for colleagues by name and launch new chats. Many organizations using Office 365 no doubt already have chat, via Skype for Business. The Teams app will in fact alert you to the fact that a colleague you're searching for is currently on Skype for Business – and will then give you the chance to send them an invitation to start using Teams.

Most likely, the Chat option will be helpful for organizations that are moving over to Teams from Skype for Business. Otherwise, there could be some confusion among users about where chats are supposed to take place.


The Chat tab is also where you can add and communicate with bots. The built-in bot with Microsoft Teams is the T-Bot, which aims to answer questions about how to use the app. You can also add bots that can bring additional functionality to your one-on-one conversations. For instance, the Polly bot allows you to send out a poll to your colleagues; the Hipmunk bot will provide travel planning options, and the Zenefits bot will provide your company's organizational chart within Teams. Users can find their bot options by clicking on the search bar within Chat, and clicking on the "Discover Bots" link that pops up.


The Teams tab within Microsoft Teams is where group chats occur (and which is arguably the biggest thing that Office 365 has been missing to date). Different teams can be created specifically for different topics. Users are allowed to create a new team themselves and invite colleagues to join. There is no predefined "master team" right off the bat. Instead, Microsoft seems to be encouraging users to organically create Teams as needed.

Both private and public teams are possible. If the team is kept private, it will then feature group chat that is restricted to the members of the team.


Each team will start with at least one channel – or chat room – which is named "general." But users can create additional channels if they want to be able to discuss a specific subject. A new channel could be created for the purpose of discussing a certain project, for instance. The channels are open to all members of the overarching team. Besides entering text, the channels have file-sharing, emoji, gif and sticker options built into the chat window. Users can flag colleagues in their messages using the "@" symbol.

Meetings And Files

The Meetings tab allows users to hold impromptu meetings within Microsoft Teams, or to schedule meetings. Voice and video meetings are among the options within the app. The meetings tab also integrates with your Office 365/Outlook calendar to show you details on upcoming meetings that are already scheduled.

The Files tab provides access to publicly shared documents that colleagues are actively working on, as well as to your own files that are stored in OneDrive.