How to use Microsoft 365: Teams

In this blog Dan May demonstrates how to use Microsoft 365 Teams.

Teams helps organisations to communicate more effectively through group chat, online meetings, calling, and web conferencing. It allows users to collaborate on files with built-in Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. It also has the functionality to add in your favourite Microsoft apps and third-party services to keep the business moving forward.

Find out more about Microsoft 365


Teams Video Transcript

Hi, this is Dan May from ramsac and this is part of a series of video blogs, looking at the applications in Microsoft 365, that perhaps you’re not quite so familiar with, as the traditional Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In today’s blog, we’re going to look at Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is designed for organisations that want to perhaps rely a bit less on traditional email, and really want to increase collaboration amongst their organisation. So, it’s designed to bring organisation groups together to work collaboratively on files, with video calls, with shared documents and have a more informal instant Messenger (WhatsApp) type chat experience for groups of people that need to collaborate on a project, a piece of work or a particular work stream. When going through this application you’ll see that actually Teams is effectively a single pane of glass that brings together a number of different Microsoft 365 applications and rather than going into detail of each individual application that we’re going to look at it today. I’ll just refer you back to our ramsac blog at because there’s a whole load of blogs on there looking at the individual applications like, Planner, OneDrive and OneNote for example, all of which we are going to see in this brief demonstration of Teams.

So today, I’m going to focus on Teams itself. Let’s get started, so first of all if I hover over the Teams button here. You’ll see that there is a whole load of teams listed that I’m a part of. These are all the teams I am a part of, that I’ve added to my favourites. So that I see them regularly. But it’s really easy for anybody to join or create a team on the fly. So, we’re going to start off just by creating a new Team, which we do by clicking on this button at the bottom that says join or create a team if I click on that, then I can create a team here or I can join any organisational teams that are open that I’ve not currently joined. I’m going to create a team, so I click on that button. I’ll give it a name. I’m going to call this Example Team and I decide at this stage, what my privacy settings are going to be. And it is really straightforward.

There are 2 options; a private team means that I own it. And I decide who gets to join and a public team means that anybody in my organisation can join. So, for now, I’m going to select private. Click on next, this going to very quickly create the team and now I need to add team members, I’m just going to add Louise and Simon, who work with me in my team. I’ll click add and I can decide if I want them to also be owners of this group, which would give them those same rights to be able to change the privacy settings and add new people into the group. But for now. I’ll just leave them both as members. I click on close and that’s it. There is my example team created. Now within teams. It’s possible to break a team down into a number of channels, so, the example team here. I can see that it’s created a general tab, in Blue Peter style. I’m going to go to an example. I created earlier.

So, here is a test team and if I expand that team out, you’ll see that I’ve got the general channel that was created and then I’ve created these various other channels. So, channels are a way of breaking down a team into more specific areas of focus so if I’m a member of a team I can see all of the channels within it. It isn’t a privacy setting where you’d put some people in some channels and not in others, but rather it’s there to ensure that you can segment conversation into different categories, so that people can find what they’re looking for easily. Just as an example, we create a team for every client that we work with. Because we recognise that we have colleagues in our Support department, our Technical Department, Our Project team, etc who all interact with the client. So, we create a client team and then within that client team we create an individual channel. For every project that we might be working on, so we might have a Microsoft 365 migration channel. We might have a desktop infrastructure upgrade channel. We might have an office move channel. For example, and then it’s easy for the technical consultants to see which channel they will find information relating specifically to the piece of work that they’re working on.

So, if you look next to the test team. You’ll see, there’s these 3 dots. If I click on that it gives me some more options. This is where I can favourite or unfavourite a team, so that it always appears in my navigation bar. I can manage a team which allows me to change the privacy settings. Here is how I add a new channel. So, I’ll just click on our channel, then I could call it. Project. A and there, it is so I’ll just go back to those options. I can add new team members. I can leave the team myself, I can edit the team settings, the team name or I can get a hyperlink so that I can easily send somebody a hyperlink in an email to ensure that they are visiting the team when I want them to.

So, I’m just going to go into the general tab and the first thing you’ll see is windows, now all of this chat window and the meeting functionality that I’m about to show you are based on Skype for business technology and again as I said at the beginning of this blog. I’m not going to go into Skype for business in huge detail because there is a separate post on to help explain a little bit more about Skype for business. But I suppose the main difference between using this as your conversation window as opposed to using regular Skype for business instant Messenger conversation. By default, with Skype for business really once you’ve left a conversation it’s pretty much gone. I mean, it is actually there in your history, but to all intents and purposes. It’s not on view anymore and generally speaking, Skype for business conversations tend to happen, you know sort of on the fly between a couple of people. Whereas I think of this more as a WhatsApp group really it enables a history to build within the channel of all the conversation and all the activities going on, so, if I want to go back to it at any point. And see what the activity was, I can use the search bar at the top to look for a particular key phrase so that I can find perhaps something that we were discussing a few weeks ago and because teams is designed for collaboration. It means everybody that is entered into this team can see the history of the conversation as well.

So, I can start a conversation down here. It says here start a new conversation or type @ to mention somebody so I can say hi everyone this is a message. I might want to make sure that somebody in particular on this team season action for them, so if I use the @ symbol and just start typing. I can say @Lawrence. Can you make sure that you see this and because I’ve tagged Lawrence by name, he will get an alert in the same way that you would get another if you had a new email in outlook. Lawrence will get an alert or even an email to his inbox. If that’s how we set your settings up to let him know that he’s been tagged in a conversation.
Here, I can I can attach a file I can add an emoji, which could be considered important and I can even add that’ll sort of memes and stickers if you’re so inclined. I’m typically not! So, there’s a little instant chat and I can send that and again everybody in the team can see can see this conversation.

Where this, I think then becomes really powerful is I can now create an on the fly meeting using this little camera icon at the bottom so if I’m just going to click on that I can give this meeting a subject. It’s using my webcam. So now you get to see me recording this to you, which is a little unusual, so I can say this is a test meeting. I can turn my camera on or off I can choose which camera. I want to use perhaps if I’m using a front or rear facing camera and I can either, at some point in the future or I can click meet now to make meeting happens between. So, this meeting is going to start happening. I’m in it, and it immediately suggests everybody, that’s in this team that I might want to quickly add in, so I could I could add Simon. I could add as many of these people as I like with Skype for business. You can have numerous people involved, so there comes Simon. I’m just going to end that so he doesn’t come into the vlog.

The other great thing in this tool is within the team settings. One of the things that’s really useful is if I just click on the little 3 dots here and I have an option to record the call, so I can start recording that is a really useful function because if this was a team meeting or a team briefing, I can start the recording and at the end of the meeting that recording will automatically go into the team, so that those people that weren’t available. Perhaps they will leave when they were on the client project they can go back and see the full recording of the team meeting.

Other things, I can do in this in this window here. If I click on this share tray. I have the option to share either my desktop, a particular window on my desktop that I’ve got open or an individual sort of PowerPoint presentation. So now you can see that this could be used to run team briefings or just for sort of your weekly sales huddles where staff are perhaps working from home or working on client sites or if your multi-site organization. So, again there’s lots of information on how to do that in our Skype for business vlog so I’ll leave you to look at that separately, but you get the idea from this conversation window. I have started a meeting. I’ve put it into a recording mode, so that colleagues can see that in the future and I perhaps shared documents and again that will be included within the presentation.

Going to conversation, so, I can see someone just replied to the meeting that I invited him to and mention that the sound is OK. So pretty into good, so there’s our conversations. The other thing we can do in teams is we can start to create document libraries, and this is specific to each channel that you’re working in so remember the channel being that kind of the subgroup within the team, so if I go into files. I can start uploading documents. I can create new documents on the fly. Now, what’s really good in Microsoft 365, is these documents cannot be worked on simultaneously so with this Health check documents if I open it, it’s entirely possible for multiple people to work on the same document at the same time, so I could be doing this within my meeting that I previously set up or we could just have this is an open document so for example, in Excel spreadsheet that multiple people on the team will need to have access to they can all open the document at the same time.

So, I can have a little text-based chat to whoever else is online and in this document, so I could say Please can everyone look at the info on page 3 or again, I could decide actually able to do this via text. I want to just turn this into a quick meet now video call, so all of the options are there for us to have a document storage specific to this team that everybody in the team has access to and then if needs be multiple people can collaborate on all at the same time, so you can see this is a really powerful collaboration tool. I was going to close that I can then create all kinds of other tabs alongside teams, so if I click on A. There are all kinds of applications that I can add in so you’ll see you’re familiar document so I can have an Excel document or a word document for example, actually permanently open as its own tab within the team. If you’re using power BI for business information reporting, you can have that live integrated into your team. If you use planner, which is a brilliant online planning tool and again, there’s a separate blog about planner on the ramsac website

There’s a whole load of third party addons that come into there, so if you use ignite for document storage for example, then there’s no reason you can’t include that there’s a whole load of ready built applications. So, if you’ve got team websites that you access all the time that can all start to build in these tabs so just as an example in this particular test tab. I’ve added meeting notes that’s using Microsoft OneNote, but instead of having to go into OneNote separately. It’s all just going to be here within my teams again. There’s a separate blog on OneNote that explains how that works in more detail, on my test team tab here is actually a Microsoft planner. If you’re using planner and as I say there is a separate blog belt shows you how to use this as a planning tool and that’s all there within your team environment so in a nutshell that covers most things I can see at the side here. I’ve been tagged in new activity. So, I’m getting alerts in the same way that I would in my inbox, so I can see what’s going on. There’s a new message for me here in general and I can see that Lawrence has replied to the message. So that comes in handy and just one of those little tips that I think is really useful is within each channel. You can also create an email address, so if I just click on the more options here and I say get email address that will create a specific email address for test team project. I can copy that email address share that with colleagues and actually what we do internally is we just set up a rule, so we make it something nice and memorable. Then if we’re running a project any email communication to the client no matter who on the project team is sending that email communication. We copy in the team’s email address and it automatically stores a copy of that email within the team’s window, so again just bringing Outlook into the picture. Now we start to build up a really all-encompassing set of data regarding the project or the workflow that we’re working on.

So that’s Teams, it’s downloadable from your Microsoft 365 apps portal if you have any questions about it, please feel free to get in touch, either via our website at or feel free to give us a call on 01483412040 and be sure to visit our blog to see the other video vlogs around 365 applications that you might find useful. Many thanks, bye.