Microsoft Teams has become one of the go-to apps for online collaboration with the surge in people working from home. For many users, setting the app up has been simple. For others, the app’s unconventional set up is confusing.
Microsoft Teams account/license
Microsoft Teams can be used for free, or with an enterprise license. You can purchase an enterprise license here if your organization hasn’t issued one to you.
To use Microsoft Teams for free, follow these steps.
- Open your browser.
- Visit this link.
- Click the ‘Sign up for free’ button.
- Sign in with a Microsoft or Outlook account.
Download and Install Microsoft Teams
Now that you have a Microsoft Teams account, you can install the app on your desktop. You should know that you can use the web interface if you want. Using the desktop app is a matter of convenience for most.
- Visit this link in your browser.
- Click Download for Desktop.
- Download the app for your system.
- Run the file to install it.
- Once installed, open Microsoft Teams.
- Sign in with the account you created, or the account issued to you by your organization.
Using Microsoft Teams
If this is your first time with the Microsoft Teams desktop app, go through the brief instructions below to find out how you can start using it.
1. Select and join team
You may have been invited to join a team or you may already be added to a team.
If you’ve been invited to join a team;
- Visit your email inbox. This should be the same email the invitation was sent on.
- Look for an invite from Microsoft Teams.
- Click the Join Team button.
- Microsoft Teams will open.
- You will be added to the team.
If you’ve been sent a link to a team;
- Paste the link in your browser.
- Sign in to Microsoft Teams in your browser or open the desktop app.
- You will be added to the team.
2. Start a conversation
In Microsoft Teams, you can have one-on-one conversations, and calls with individual members of the team, or you can have group/channel-wide calls.
To start a one-on-one call or conversation;
- Select Chats in the column on the left.
- Click the new chat button at the top right of the column.
- Enter a team member’s name.
- Compose a message, and send it.
To start a channel-wide conversation or call;
- Select Teams in the column on the left.
- Expand the team so that you can view all channels under it.
- Select the channel you want to start the call/conversation on.
- Enter a message and it will be sent to everyone or click the call button at the top right to start a channel-wide call.
3. Mention and reply
In group conversations, i.e., conversations held over channels, messages appear in the order they’re sent and it’s hard to distinguish who a message is for. To make the conversation easier to follow, you can either specifically mention i.e., tag someone in a conversation, or reply to one to create a thread.
- Open the Teams channel you want to send a message over.
- Enter the
- Select a team member from the list that populates.
- Enter your message and send it.
- The user will be tagged and will receive an alert telling them they’ve been mentioned.
- Open the Teams channel you want to reply to a message to.
- Locate the message.
- Click the Reply option under it.
- Enter and send the reply.
- The reply will appear under the original message in threaded form.
4. Find files and team activity
Microsoft Teams lets users share files and collaborate on them. The files are shared over a channel or a one-on-one conversation. To find files that have been shared or any new activity, follow these steps.
- Select the Teams channel that you want to view shared files for.
- Select the Files tab on the channel.
- To view all files that have been shared across teams, click the Files tab in the column on the left.
- To view team activity, click the Activity tab in the column on the left.
Microsoft Teams may appear complex but it works a lot like other chat apps in most cases. You may run into errors now and then but that has more to do with how Microsoft Teams is set up for an organization. End-user problems are rarely the sort that cannot be solved and the app is, for the most part, intuitive to use.