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

Let's team up and get started.
Ash Ash (310)
Total time: 15 minutes 

Starting out with Microsoft Teams can be tricky if you're unfamiliar with the tool. Thankfully, it's cross-compatible with a number of devices, making it much easier to get started. You can use whatever device is most convenient to you, ranging from PC to tablet, including Apple devices.

What is Teams?

Microsoft Teams is designed to centralize instant messaging and file sharing across the Office 365 platform. It provides tools to create and manage teams, assign permissions, and organize projects. Teams integrates Office applications like Outlook, Excel, SharePoint, and more.

How do I use Teams?

With Teams, you can chat with coworkers, upload files and documents, and choose who can access what. You can create multiple teams for different projects to help organize workflow. Teams can synchronize with apps like Outlook to import meetings and more, keeping everything you need in one place and one window.

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Microsoft Teams is accessible on both mobile and PC devices. Teams is free to install, but you will need an Office 365 account to use it.

Get Teams for desktop

  1. Download Microsoft Teams from the Office website.
  2. Run the installer.
  3. Reboot and launch Teams.

Access Teams online

  1. Visit 'teams.microsoft.com' in a browser window.
  2. Log in to your Microsoft account.

Get Teams for mobile

  1. Download the Teams app for your mobile device. iOS users can download Teams from the Apple App Store. Android users can find the app on Google Play.
  2. Launch Teams.

Setting up Microsoft Teams

Once you have Microsoft Teams, the setup process is easy. These steps will work for both the mobile and desktop applications.

  1. Launch Microsoft Teams.
  2. Log in to your Office 365 account. If you switch devices, your teams and settings will move with you.

You may want to disable Teams from opening on startup.

Create Team Microsoft Teams

Creating a team is at the core of this whole application! You can create multiple teams or just one—whatever your project calls for. Teams make it easier to allocate work and content into specific groups. For example, you could have a team dedicated to marketing and another one for sales.

How to create a team

  1. Launch Teams and log in to your Microsoft account.
  2. In the bottom-left, choose Join or create a team.
  3. Click Create a team
  4. You can create a new team from scratch or import a group from another Office application.
  5. On the next screen, set the group to public, private, or shared.
  6. Enter a name and brief description for your new team.
  7. Click Create.

Add members to a team

You can edit existing teams to add new members.

  1. Locate the team you want to add members to and select it in the left panel.
  2. Click the icon that looks like three dots next to the team name.
  3. Choose Add a member.
  4. To add a user, search using their name or enter the email address of the person you want to add.

Remove members from a team

  1. Locate the team you want to edit in the left-hand panel and click the icon that looks like three dots.
  2. Choose Manage team.
  3. Under the Members tab, click the X icon next to the member you want to remove.
Microsoft Teams New Channel

Channels separate your team's work into categories. Each channel has a file repository tab, a wiki tab, and a chat tab by default. You can create and remove custom tabs that pertain to specific Office applications.

How to add a new channel

  1. Look for the team you want to create a channel for in the left-hand panel.
  2. Click the icon that looks like three dots next to the team name.
  3. Choose Add a channel.
  4. Enter a name and brief description of the new channel.

How to edit a channel and apply permissions

Once you create a channel, you can edit it and apply custom permissions.

  1. Locate the channel you want to edit in the left-hand panel.
  2. Select the icon that looks like three dots.
  3. Choose Edit channel to change the name and description.
  4. Choosing Manage channel instead will allow you to adjust permissions.

How to delete a channel

  1. Locate the team with the channel you want to remove from the left-hand panel.
  2. Click the icon that looks like three dots and choose Manage team.
  3. Under the Channels tab, locate the channel you want to remove.
  4. Click the icon that resembles three dots next to the channel and choose Delete this channel.
Microsoft Teams Tabs

Tabs are found within each channel and provide specific functions like file-sharing or instant messaging. By default, all channels have posts, files, and a Wiki tab. These default tabs cannot be removed. You can create your own tabs for each channel that cater specifically to the applications used by the team. For example, you can create tabs for just PDFs or just Excel files.

How to create and edit tabs

  1. Use the '+' icon to add a new tab. You will be prompted to choose an Office application to associate with the new tab.
  2. To edit a tab, click the drop-down arrow next to the tab and choose Settings. You can use this same menu to rename the tab.

How to remove a tab

  1. Open the channel with the tab you want to remove.
  2. Locate the tab at the top of the window.
  3. Open the drop-down arrow and choose Remove.

How to delete posts and conversations

The Posts tab (formerly known as conversations) cannot be removed. Posts have to be manually removed one at a time.

To prevent new posts, the tab permissions must be adjusted so that only the channel owner can add posts.

If you decide teams isn't for you, you may want to check out our guide on how to uninstall Teams.