An Introduction to Microsoft Teams

Put simply, Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool that allows direct and group chat, online meetings, web conferencing, and much more.

Teams can be used as a tool to enable quick and direct communication between individuals or teammates in a style similar to Skype, Slack, Google Hangouts and other popular group chat applications, speeding communications and taking some of the weight off of your inbox.

You can use it to run much of your workday, or to simply make a call to a coworker on the other side of the building (or country!). Once you and your team members spend time with Teams, you’ll realize how it can be used as a “dashboard” due to how well it integrates with Office 365 by bringing meetings, Office files, note-taking, chat, Microsoft Planner and other aspects of your work day together in one place.

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A few things that Teams can do:

This document is intended to cover the basics. Additional guidance as to how to use Teams appropriately in other aspects is coming shortly.

Chatting

Direct or Group Chats

Teams makes it easy to quickly engage in IM-style chat with your colleagues, complete with images, emojis, formatted text, and even importance. To chat with one (or more!) colleagues,

  1. Start by opening Teams, then clicking the New chat button in the toolbar.

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  2. Next, enter who you'd like to send your message to.

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  3. (optional) Click the Add people button to add additional recipients, or just keep typing and hitting return to accept.
  4. Finally, enter the message you'd like to send in the chat box below, then click Send.

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Channel-based Chat

Also known as Conversations, you can chat with Teammates via channels within a Team. Teams supports "threaded" conversations, which allows participants to reply to specific messages, which can help avoid confusion, especially in busy channels.

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To start,

  1. Navigate to the Team—and channel—you wish to converse within.

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  2. If you wish to start a new thread (as opposed to replying to an existing thread), click in the Compose box (which contains the hint text "Start a new conversation"...), compose your message and click the Send button (the paper airplane in the lower right of the compose box).

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  3. If you wish to reply to an existing thread/message, click on the ↩ Reply button:

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    ...compose your message, and click the Send button (the paper airplane in the lower right of the compose box).
  4. Done!

Further information about how channels and teams work in Microsoft Teams can be found here.

Voice and/or Video Conferencing and Calling

For one-to-one or one-to-many, just like other conferencing solutions out there (i.e. Zoom, Webex, GoToMeeting, etc.), Microsoft Teams is great for making calls, both voice and video. In fact, Teams supports up to 250 participants (with an Events option for up to 10,000!) in a single call (including both internal and external participants), with no account or software required to participate: while anybody can use the Teams software, it is not required to join a meeting.

Note: a traditional conference bridge is not needed to conduct a conference call—in fact, using the native Teams application, on desktop or mobile, will yield a much clearer experience!

Starting a call with Teams is virtually identical to how you'd start a text chat:

  1. Start by opening Teams, then clicking the New chat button in the toolbar.

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  2. Next, enter who you'd like to send your message to.

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  3. Once you've entered your recipients, press Return (or click in the message box at the bottom) to accept the list of recipients. The top of your message window will change, presenting you with conferencing options:

  4. (optional) Click the Add people button to add additional recipients.
  5. Click the camera button to begin a video call, the phone button to begin a voice call, or the screen sharing button to begin a screen sharing session.

Bedrock Support is building a library of help documentation on using Teams, but in the meantime, further details can be found in Microsoft's support documentation:

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