Microsoft Teams - What is it and how do you use it?
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
What is Microsoft Teams? Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app that helps your team stay organized and have conversations all in one place. Here at Solution Systems we feel that this is one of the most important apps out there right now, because it will help you work from home during the Coronavirus quarantine period that is upon us. Because of the power of this app and the times that we are currently in, we’ve partnered with Microsoft to bring you 6 free months of Microsoft Teams. Reach out to us at 847-590-3000 or by email at email@example.com to get started.
Out of the box Teams comes with 6 sections: the Teams section, the Calendar section, the Activity section, the Chat section, the Calls section, and the Files section. Each section serves a different purpose to help you collaborate with your colleagues.
The first section I want to explore is the Teams Section. This is where you’ll see a list of all the teams that you’re a part of. These Teams are then made up of channels that can be built by department, topic, or just for fun. This is really where you’ll hold meetings, have team conversations, and share files. One of the features I like within these Channels is the ability to create individual group chats. These group chats are particularly useful if you have a lot of people working on a project.
The second section I want to explore is the Calendar Section. This section is where you can see everything on your calendar and where you’ll schedule meetings that automatically sync with your Outlook Calendar. It’s basically your Outlook calendar within teams.
The third section I want to explore is the Activity section. This is simply where you can see you’re unread messages, whether or not anyone has mentioned you, or replied to something you posted.
The next section I want to explore is the Chat section. This section is where you’ll see a log of all the recent individual chats that you’ve had on Microsoft Teams. It’s a great tool if you want to reference back to something quickly.
Next up we’ve got the Calls section. In this section you’ll find your contacts so that you can create a quick Teams call with them if needed. Also, if your organization has subscribed to a calling plan this is where you’ll be able to make calls to anyone who has a phone.
Finally, we’ve come to our last section and that is the File section. This is where you’ll be able to see and access your files on Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams has a lot of collaboration features that work within these sections that you can utilize with your team while working remotely. Some of my favorites are the Background Blur, the WhiteBoard, and Connectors.
The background blur will do just that, blur your background. This is great if you’re working in a place with a lot of activity because it’ll keep meeting participants focused on you and not your background.
The Whiteboard allows you to open up a digital whiteboard for collaboration that can be seen by everyone attending your meeting. The WhiteBoard as is lets you draw and add a few colors. However, the real magic happens when you download the free Microsoft WhiteBoard app to your computer from the Microsoft Store. Once you have the app, the next time you do a WhiteBoard meeting in Teams you can then click “open in app” and the downloaded app will launch giving you more features, and still allowing your meeting participants to see. Some of the features in the WhiteBoard app are the ability to change marker size, add more colors, add post it notes, and you can even add a picture on the WhiteBoard that will be converted so that it can be edited on the WhiteBoard.
More Teams Features
Allow you to connect to popular services and receive updates that are pushed directly into your Teams Channel. An example of this would be to setup an RSS Feed from your organization’s blog and the connector will push all the blog posts into the channel for your sales team to utilize.
Microsoft Teams Command Box
This is located at the top of your Microsoft Teams and it’s used for searching specific items or people, apps, and other quick actions.
Inline Translation Chat Feature
Allows you to translate languages into your own language. Great for collaborating and communicating with people all of the world. Microsoft Teams supports 44 languages.
Team Secure Guest Access
Allows you to add customers, vendors, etc. to your conversation. They are labeled Guest so that your organization’s employees can quickly identify them.
File is actually uploaded into Teams file repository, and the backend is using SharePoint so you get all those securities too.
Files uploaded to personal chat are not added to your SharePoint file database. Files uploaded into Teams are added to your SharePoint file database.
Are recorded and saved in Teams. You can then go back and watch the video. You can also turn captions on because Teams automatically transcribed the video. Then you can search for a specific keyword and see where that is in the video.
You can add an email to a channel.
You can save messages within a chat and then view the saved messages by hovering over your profile picture.
You can add an app to a tab within a Teams Channel. An example of this is the Power BI App. If you currently use Power BI the app will connect with your Power BI and create a ta at the top of your Teams Channel. In this tab you can choose which Power BI workspace you’d like to share. A nice feature is this tab also has it’s own chat space that is separate from your channel’s chat.
Microsoft Teams Features That Need to be Added
Switching Your Channels Privacy Setting – Currently if you create a new channel in Microsoft Teams once you set that the channel’s privacy setting to either Public or Private you cannot go back and change this setting.
There’s not a feature to be able to take a quick picture with your laptop and add it to a channel. This is currently only available in the mobile app.
And there you have the quick run down on Microsoft Teams.