Getting Started With Microsoft Teams

Here are my notes and thoughts on getting started with Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams has gained a lot of popularity these days. Since it is included in Office365, it has a lot of exposure and gains new users quickly. This is because it has been adopted by organizations and a lot of users are required to use it. It is pretty easy to learn, though.


Microsoft Teams is a productivity and collaboration tool. It is included in Office365. So, individuals and companies both use it liberally. It has many chat, channel, and video options available to you. A particular Team can contain many thousands of users. You can also break a Team down into individual units, which is very helpful for large organizations. 


Microsoft Teams is free to use to a certain extent. A paid plan will get you more features, though. However, for most individuals, the free plan works great. The free plan gives you access to meetings, storage, and Office apps.


 Create A Team

Creating a Team is probably one of the first things you will want to do. You can join others and make your own.

  • Open the tab on the left side
  • Choose create a Team at the bottom of the screen
  • Choose Build from scratch
  • Choose whether you want it private or public
  • Enter a name for your Team
  • Click Create Team

Once the Team is created, you will see the main chat. You can make additional channels and have conversations with members you invite.


Starting A Chat

Starting a chat with someone is the quickest way to get a quick answer to a question or just say hi. The conversation will not be visible to the rest of the channel. To start a chat:

  • Open chat tab on left side of screen
  • Click New Chat
  • Enter person’s name
  • Write your message
  • Hit send

A group chat is done the same way. You just type out all the users that you want to include in the group chat. Chats can also be pinned so you do not lose track of them. This is useful if you are having an ongoing conversation with someone. 


Create A Meeting

Meetings are handy if you prefer talking to someone face to face. They are also easy to start up. You can start one manually or schedule it.

  • Open a chat
  • Choose Schedule a meeting

When you are in a meeting, you can share your screen or share files. 

  • Once in a meeting, choose Share at top right corner
  • Choose whether to share screen, window, or a document
  • A red border appears around what you are sharing for a friendly reminder
  • Choose Stop sharing when you want to end sharing


Deleting Chats

To get rid of many old conversations, you just need to delete the chats. To do this you can delete your own messages or hide entire chats. To delete a specific post of yours, put cursor on message, choose more options, then choose delete. You cannot delete a chat but you can hide it. Put cursor over chat, choose More options, choose Hide.


Installing Apps

Installing apps into Microsoft Teams is a great way to personalize your experience and make it more useful to you. You can do so for yourself or for your entire Team. There are multiple ways to add apps but the easiest way is to use the Apps button at the bottom of the screen. You can search and choose from there. 


Changing Your Background

Changing your background can be fun and useful. Sometimes we just want to personalize our environment more and this is ok. Other times we can hide our environment, like a messy home office. You will usually do this when you are on video calls. 

  • In the Meeting menu, choose More options
  • Choose Show background effects
  • Choose Blurred background or Virtual background
  • You can also add your own picture but choosing Add new at top of setting window


Keep Your Status Active

Sometimes Teams will mark you as busy or away even when you are not. So the solution is to keep yourself active. 

  • On Windows go to Settings
  • Choose System
  • Choose Power and battery
  • Choose Screen and sleep
  • Adjust the Screen turn off and Sleep durations


Microsoft Teams is HIPAA compliant. Your admin may need to change some settings to enable this.



Teams also has a few basic games. You can find these in the menu.


Teams On Linux

Teams is also available on Linux. For example Ubuntu and Fedora both have it. Don’t forget you can also use the browser if your distribution is not supported.



All recordings are stored on either OneDrive or Sharepoint