Microsoft Teams For Dummies: A Simple Tutorial For Beginners

With the rapid shift to remote or hybrid working, many employees simply needed to know how to use video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams. However, for the majority of the workforce, a day spent in the office meant little more than answering emails. The sudden adoption of Microsoft Teams for remote meetings and remote collaboration took some getting used to.

Given the pace at which the Covid-19 pandemic has spread, the usual adaptation period and training to adapt to using Teams simply hasn’t happened. Fortunately, Microsoft has tried to make the transition as easy as possible by providing an intuitive platform that’s packed with easy-to-use features for even the most inexperienced computer user.

However, if you’re still unsure about using Teams, we’ve put together a handy guide that goes over some of the most important features below:

Register

Sign in to Microsoft Teams

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Perhaps the most important step to using Teams is the first one: signing up. This is easily achieved by visiting https://products.office.com/microsoft-teams. Then simply enter the email address associated with your Microsoft account and select “Next”. Then enter your password and select “Login”. There may be a few more details to enter, but then you need to select “Configure teams”.

Once that’s done, it’s time to choose how you want to open and use Teams. Microsoft Teams comes in several different flavors – with Windows, Mac, mobile, and web options all available. Download or access your chosen version of Teams and the sign-up process is complete. If you want to know more about the connection, this guide will show you how.

Explore the Teams interface

The best way to understand how to use Microsoft Teams is to explore its user interface. On the left you will see the application bar, where you will find a multitude of different icons. These include “Activity”, which displays mentions, replies and other notifications, as well as “Meetings” or “Calendar”, each of which is synchronized with your Outlook calendar and provides a quick way to view all your upcoming meetings. There are also “Chat”, “Files”, “Calls”, “Store” and “Feedback”.

Apart from the app bar, the interface also includes the “Teams” section, which displays a list of the user’s teams, “Channel”, the “Command bar” and various “tabs” that allow you to move around between different team pages. There are also plenty of additional features to master, so it’s a good idea to start studying the interface to see what’s on offer.

Collaborate in a Microsoft Teams hub

To collaborate with others in Teams, you must first join or create a Teams hub. To do this, select “Teams” in the application bar, then “Join” or “Create a team”. If you’re creating a team, enter your chosen name and description, select your privacy settings, and add your members.

A team can have a maximum of 2,500 members – so the possibilities for collaboration are quite extensive. You can also assign roles to each individual, such as “Owner” or “Member”. If you’re done with a particular Teams hub, you can always choose to “Delete Team”.

Set up a Teams call

Another of the most important actions to understand in Teams is setting up a call. One way is to select the “Schedule Meeting” button during a chat to establish a call with everyone involved in the chat. Alternatively, you can select the “Meetings Schedule” button followed by “New Meeting”. Then, if you select a time from the calendar, a scheduling form will appear for you to finish setting up the meeting. Once you are satisfied with the meeting details, click “Save” and the relevant people will receive a meeting invitation.

Also don’t worry if you want to invite someone who doesn’t have Teams to a meeting. As long as you have their full email address, you can invite them. They’ll receive an email with a link to the meeting so they can join like any other attendee with a Teams license.

Participate in the chat

Microsoft Teams Chat

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Sometimes a full video call might not be necessary, so Teams allows for collaboration through its chat feature. To start a new conversation, click on the “write box” and start typing. Click “Send” to forward your message to anyone on the team or channel you’re working in.

One of the best things about the chat feature is that any new member added can view all previous messages, even those that were posted before they joined. This means it’s easy for them to catch up on a new project.

File sharing

Following the creation of a Teams hub, a SharePoint site is automatically set up, complete with a document library for each channel. Any file uploaded to Teams will be visible from the Files tab and simultaneously stored in SharePoint. If you want to open the file directly from SharePoint, you can click on the three dots after the file name and select “Open in SharePoint”.

Access help

If you feel like you’ve exhausted all the support you can find from third parties, you can always try Teams’ built-in help feature. Towards the left side of the app, you’ll find the “Help” button, where Teams provides localized guidance on a host of topics. These are organized by feature, but there’s also a “Videos” section displaying visual content on how to use the app.

Teams also has its own dedicated support Web page, which provides advice, training, and tips to get you started on how any aspect of the platform works. With all of this and the guide above, you’ll go from dummy to Teams expert in no time.

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