How to Use Microsoft Teams: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

how to use ms teams

Are you and your organization using Microsoft (MS) Teams for collaboration, communication, socializing?

Microsoft Teams is a unified collaboration and communication platform to allow you to connect with your team members and work together on projects.

So if you’re new to MS teams or using it, read this guide to learn how to use MS Teams.  

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • Microsoft Teams tips, tricks and hacks
  • MS Teams commands and keyboard shortcuts
  • Essential MS Teams apps to get you started

Recommended: Play Trivia right inside Microsoft Teams: Make Remote Work Fun with quizzes, puzzles, and other interactive games!

How to Use Microsoft Teams Effectively (MS Teams Tips and Tricks)

1. Sign in to MS Teams

On Windows, click Start > Microsoft Teams. On Mac, go to the Applications folder and click Microsoft Teams. On mobile, tap the Teams icon. Then sign in with your Microsoft 365 username and password. (If you’re using Teams free, sign in with that username and password.)

On the web, go to https://teams.microsoft.com.

ms teams 1

2. Go to a Team and Channel

A team is a collection of people, conversations, files, and tools—all in one place. A channel is a discussion in a team, dedicated to a department, project, or topic. 

Go to Teams >>> And choose a team >>> Pick a channel to explore Posts, Files, and other tabs.

ms teams 2

3. Create a Channel

Find the team name and click More options > Add channel. You can also click the Manage team, and add a channel in the Channels tab. 

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4. Make a Channel Private

Go to the team you want to create the private channel for and choose More options >>> Add channel >>> Enter a name and description for your channel >>> Under Privacy, select the down arrow on the right, and then select Private – Accessible only to a specific group of people within the team >>> Select Add

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5. Start a Conversation

Start one-on-one and group chats:  Select New chat at the top of chat list >>> Enter the person’s or group’s name >>> Compose your message in the box >>> And Click Send.

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Want to send a message to the whole team? Select Teams >>> Pick a team and channel >>> Write your message >>> and click Send.

6. Message Formatting

There are lots of formatting options for messages. Select Format  beneath the box where compose your message >>> Select the text you want to format >>> Click Send once you’re done.

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7. Add Teammates to the Conversation

Click Add people (or View and add participants in group chat) in the top right corner of Teams >>> Enter the names of the people you’d like to chat with >> Select how much of the chat history to include >>> And click Add.

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8. Mute a Chat

Select Chat to open the chat list. Find the name of the chat you want to mute. Then, select More options >>> Mute.

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9. Pin a Chat

Select Chat to open the chat list. Find the name of the conversation you want to pin. Then, select More options  >>> Pin

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10. Start an Instant Meeting

To start an instant channel meeting: Go to Teams on the left side >>> Choose the channel you want to meet in from the list >>>  Select Meet now under the area where you type a message >>> Give your meeting a title >>> Hit Join now >>> Start inviting people.

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11. Record a Team Meeting

To start recording, go to the meeting controls and select More options > Start recording >>> Everyone in the meeting is notified that recording has started.

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12. Start a Video or Audio Call

You can make personal or group calls with anyone in your team directly from a chat. 

Go to your chat list, and click New chat icon  >>> Type the name or names into the To field at the top of your new chat >>> Then click Video call or Audio call to start a call.

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13. Reply to a Post

Channel posts are organized by date and then threaded. Find the thread you want to reply to >>> Click Reply >>> Add your thoughts and click Send.

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14. @mention Someone

To get someone’s attention, type @, then their name (or pick them from the list that appears). Type @team to message everyone in a team or @channel to notify everyone who favorited that channel. 

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15. Send an emoji, GIF, or Sticker

Emoji, animated GIFs, and stickers add a fun element into your conversations!

To insert an emoji in a message, select Emoji beneath the message box >>> Select the emoji you want from the emoji gallery >>> Click Send.

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To send ad GIF: Just select GIF beneath the message box >>> Use the search bar to look for something specific (like “cats dancing”) or browse the collection of popular GIFs.

ms teams gif

To send a meme or sticker: Click Sticker under the box where you type your message >>> Then pick a meme or sticker from one of the categories.

ms teams sticker

16. Arrange Your Team List

To reorder your teams, select Teams >>> Then click and drag the team name anywhere in your teams list.

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17. Hide a Team or Channel

Don’t want a team or channel to show in your list? Head to a team or channel name >>> And select More options button >>> Hide.

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18. Pin a Channel

To pin a channel, go to a channel name and select More options >>> Pin.

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19. Stay on Top of Things with Activity and Notifications

Click the Activity icon on the left. The Feed shows you all your notifications and everything that’s happened lately in the channels you follow. To set up notifications for a channel, Select three dotted lines next to the channel name >>> then Channel notifications.

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20. Add a tab in a channel

Click Add a tab at the top of the channel or chat >>> click the app you want, and then follow the prompts >>> Use Search if you don’t see the app you want.

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21. Share a File

Click the Attach icon under the box where you type messages, select the file location and then the file you want. Depending on the location of the file, you’ll get options for uploading a copy, sharing a link, or other ways to share. 

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22. Search for Messages, People, or Files

You can search across teams, channels, and files. 

Type a phrase in the Search box and hit enter to start a search >>> Select Messages, People or Files >>> You can click the Filter icon to sort or filter your search results.

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23. Work with Files

Click the Files icon on the left to see all files shared across all of your teams. Click Files at the top of a channel to see all files shared in that channel. Click “More options …” next to a file to see what you can do with it. In a channel, you can instantly turn a file into a tab at the top! 

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24. Get Help In Teams

Click Help on the left >>> Then choose Topics, Training, or What’s new. In help, browse the tabs or search for a topic you’re interested in. 

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25. Add Apps

Click Apps on the left. Here, you can select apps you want to use in Teams, choose the appropriate settings, and Add.

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26. Forward Emails into a Channel

Go to the channel name >>> And click More options three dotted icons >>> Get email address.

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27. Translate Conversation

To translate a message to your preferred language, Tap the ellipsis (three-dot) button next to the text in the conversation >>> And select Translate.

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28. Mark a message as saved or unread in Teams

If you want to remember to read a message later, you can mark it as saved or unread. Go to the top of the message and select More Options > Save this message or Mark as unread.

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29. Bookmark Messages

You can also bookmark texts, images, or some other content in a conversation to check them out later. In a message, just click on the bookmark icon.

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You can view your bookmarked messages by typing “/saved” in the search box.

ms teams 29-1

30. Use the Power of Slash Command

Some of the best slash commands include:

/goto – helps you jump to a team or a channel

/call – call someone directly

/chat – send a quick message to someone

/activity – to view someone’s activity

/whatsnew – to see what’s new with the team

/mentions – view all your mentions

/saved – to see your saved list

/unread – to view your unread activity

/keys – to view a list of all keyboard shortcuts

/available (or away, brb, dnd, and busy) – to set a status

31. Immersive Reader Mode

Immersive allows you to focus and display just the message. Hover over a message with your cursor or tap with your finger on a touch screen device. Select More options  , and then Immersive Reader .

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32. Change Your Background During a Meeting

Go to your meeting controls and select More actions  >>> Show background effects >>> Select Blur to blur your background, or choose from the available images to replace it. 

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33. Change Themes

Click your profile picture at the top of the app, then select Settings >>> General. In the Theme section >>> click High contrast (You can also select the Dark or Default theme.)

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Keyboard Shortcuts for MS Teams

Here you’ll find some keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams on Windows and MacOS.

To do ThisWindows CommandsMac Commands
Show keyboard shortcutsCtrl+Period (.)Command+Period (.)
Go to SearchCtrl+ECommand+E
GotoCtrl+GCommand+G
Start a new chatCtrl+NCommand+N
Open SettingsCtrl+Comma (,)Command+Comma (,)
Open HelpF1F1
CloseEscEsc
Open ActivityCtrl+1Command+1
Open ChatCtrl+2Command+2
Open TeamsCtrl+3Command+3
Open CalendarCtrl+4Command+4
Open CallsCtrl+5Command+5
Open FilesCtrl+6Command+6
Go to previous list itemLeft Alt+Up arrow keyLeft Option+Up arrow key
Go to next list itemLeft Alt+Down arrow keyLeft Option+Down arrow key
Move selected team upCtrl+Shift+Up arrow keyCommand+Shift+Up arrow key
Move selected team downCtrl+Shift+Down arrow keyCommand+Shift+Down arrow key
Go to compose boxCC
Expand compose boxCtrl+Shift+XCommand+Shift+X
Attach fileCtrl+OCommand+O
Accept video callCtrl+Shift+ACommand+Shift+A
Accept audio callCtrl+Shift+SCommand+Shift+S
Decline callCtrl+Shift+ACommand+Shift+D
Start audio callCtrl+Shift+CCommand+Shift+C
Start video callCtrl+Shift+UCommand+Shift+U

15 Essential Apps to Get You Started

OneNote

OneNote is your very own digital notebook. Whether you have a million ideas, a million things to do, Or a million things to remember, OneNote is the perfect app for capturing pretty much everything.

one note

2. Trello

Quickly create, edit, and comment on cards on your Trello boards without leaving your inbox.

Trello

3. Asana for Outlook

Asana is the easiest way for teams to coordinate and manage their work. With Asana for Outlook, you can turn emails into actionable, trackable to-dos and helpful context—without switching tools.

Asana

4. Mailchimp

Connectors keep your team current by delivering content and updates from services you use directly into a channel. The MailChimp connector sends notifications about your email marketing campaigns.

mailchimp

5. Zoom for Teams

With the Zoom integration for Microsoft Teams, frictionless video communication is as simple as toggling your Zoom Meetings tab or using @mentions from your preferred channel.

zoom

6. Hubspot

Organize leads, track email opens and clicks, and send email templates all in one place. HubSpot automation makes it possible to instantly notify your users where they spend their most time collaborating — Microsoft Teams.

hubspot

7. Dropbox

Access your Dropbox files directly in Microsoft Teams when you add Dropbox as cloud storage. Any Dropbox user can add Dropbox as cloud storage in their Microsoft Teams account.

dropbox

8. Wrike

Bring project management into Microsoft Teams and transform conversations into structured work.

Wrike

9. Hive

Hive is a productivity tool that helps employees to manage their workflow in a way that works best for them.

hive

10. Zoho Desk for Teams

It brings chats, files, and apps together, so much so that users can start working on Zoho Desk tickets from within the Teams workspace.

zoho

11. Google Calendar

Google Calendar to Microsoft Teams integration template will send a message to the desired channel in Microsoft Teams every time there is a new event added in Google Calendar.

calendar

12. AttendanceBot

AttendanceBot can be summed up as the one app to track vacations and PTOs, sick days, work from home and remote work, employee shift planning and hours. It is especially helpful for remote teams.

attendancebot

13. SpringEngage

SpringEngage is a peer-to-peer employee rewards and recognition platform that helps foster a culture of recognition, enhances employee engagement and helps the organization celebrate accomplishments – both big and small.

springengage

14. Adobe Creative Cloud

With the Creative Cloud app for Microsoft Teams, designers can easily share their work, get feedback and stay up-to-date on actions taken on their assets all within Microsoft Teams.

Adobe creative cloud

15. Trivia

Trivia is the new way to connect with your remote team while playing exciting quizzes on Slack and Microsoft Teams! Get summarised results at the end of every Trivia quiz and find your very own Quizzard!

Trivia

MS Teams FAQs

What is Microsoft Teams and how does it work?

MS Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool that helps global, remote, and dispersed teams to communicate and work together and share information.  It has cool features like document collaboration, one-on-one chat, video conferencing, team chat, and more.

You can read Microsoft Teams tutorial to learn more about its functioning.

Microsoft Teams for dummies: What are the basics?

Read above mentioned MS Teams hack and learn the basics!

Why should I use Microsoft teams?

Here are some reasons to use MS teams:

It’s more than a chat communication tool. You can share files and make video/audio calls.
You can create meeting notes and to-do lists and share it with your teams.
No more emails!
Stay with your team in one click, anytime, anywhere!

Is MS Teams free?

Yes! The free version includes:

Unlimited chat messages and search.
Audio/video calls.
10 GB of team file storage.
Integration with other office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Want to bring your teams together? Trivia is the new way to connect with your remote team while playing exciting quizzes on Slack and Microsoft Teams. Get Your Free Trial Now!

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