June 5, 2023

Teams and Teams channel : a guide to getting started



5 min reading

Still not sure how to use Microsoft Teams' flagship features?

Are you new to the Microsoft Teams collaborative platform and don't yet know how to use its flagship features: Teams and Teamschannels? Then you've come to the right place.

In this article, Mozzaik365 explains what a Teams team and a Teams channel are. We'll also give you the keys to getting started with these tools and making the most of them on a daily basis.

Follow our guide to get started with Microsoft Teams .

The ABCs of getting started with Microsoft Teams

With over 300 million monthly active users by 2023, Microsoft Teams is now famous the world over. But do you really know what it's all about?

Microsoft Teams: a work and collaboration application

Microsoft Teams is a collaborative platform created by Microsoft in 2016 in response to the success of Slack.

More than a conversation space, Teams is now a true work application and collaboration hub, adapted to hybrid working. Microsoft Teams centralizes all Microsoft features. A true Digital Workplace, it facilitates the sharing of content, knowledge and digital tools.

What's more, Microsoft Teams is regularly enhanced with new features designed to simplify teamwork and individual productivity. For example, the Viva collaborative experience platform, integrated into Teams, enhances user engagement and well-being.

🚀 Find out more about Microsoft Viva https://www.mozzaik365.com/blog-posts/microsoft-viva-experience-employe

Basic Microsoft Teams features

Despite its many features, the Microsoft Teams interface is still very intuitive to use.

Users can find their essential tools in the vertical toolbar on the left of their screen. This area includes the following applications: activity (notifications), conversation ("Chat" messaging), teams (workgroups), calendar, calls (voice), files (Office 365, OneDrive, SharePoint, etc.) and help. More details on each application below.

The Microsoft Teams vertical toolbar contains buttons for different main views. Each selected view modifies the contents of the main area to match that view. The main views are as follows:

Activity view: Displays an activity stream with a summary of events in the team channels followed.

Conversation view: Displays a list of recent conversations, with the most recent conversation open.

Good to know: Instant discussions between colleagues take place in the main "conversation" tab. But, to maintain visibility of important exchanges and to centralize information, you can interact via your Teams or Teams channels themselves.

Teams view: Displays a hierarchical list of teams and associated channels. Allows you to join, create and manage teams, as well as create and track channels.

Calendar view: Displays a weekly or daily calendar, allowing you to plan meetings and events.

Calls View: Displays four tabs: Speed Dial, Contacts, History and Voicemail. Allows you to make calls, manage contacts and view history and voicemail.

Files view: Displays a list of file tabs, including recent files, Microsoft Teams files and downloads, as well as configured cloud storage.

Once open, each of these main applications gives access to a series of secondary tabs, forming a horizontal strip at the top of the screen. For example, a Teams team (workspace) or channel (section of a Teams team) will open up to different modules: publications, files or even wiki (notes), specific to the workgroup.

You can also add features to your Microsoft Teams platform by simply integrating your favorite applications (Microsoft Viva, Tasks, OneNote, Wiki, etc.) either in your vertical toolbar or in your horizontal menus. The result is an "all-in-one" work interface, smoother navigation and enhanced productivity.

These applications are available on the Microsoft Teams Marketplace, an online platform provided by Microsoft specifically for the Microsoft Teams application. It offers a wide variety of third-party applications, extensions and integrations that extend the core features of Microsoft Teams. These applications can be used to add team-specific features, automate tasks, integrate third-party services and much more.

Teams & Teams channels

Reorganize items and pins in the Microsoft Teams sidebar

There are many ways to customize Microsoft Teams. You can add new applications, try out a dark theme, enable playback confirmations and more. Reorganizing items in the sidebar will allow you to highlight the aspects of Teams you use most often, whether it's the calendar, chat, planner or any other Teams application or service.

Here's how to customize the Microsoft Teams sidebar to focus on the applications you use most:

  1. Click on the "..." icon at the bottom of the Microsoft Teams screen.
  1. Find the application or feature you wish to pin in the sidebar.
  1. Right-click on the application or feature and choose "Pin".
  1. The pinned item will now appear in the Teams sidebar.
  1. To rearrange pinned items, hold your click on the pin icon you wish to move, then drag it up or down in the sidebar list.
✨ Need inspiration to enrich your Microsoft Teams platform? Discover 11 tools to urgently integrate into your Teams application.

What is a Teams team?

Teams are one of the key features of Microsoft Teams . But what are Teams? Let's find out.

Teams team: definition and uses

A Teams team is a workspace in Microsoft Teams that brings together a set of people, applications and content. In a nutshell, a Teams team serves to centralize everything that people collaborating on a common task, project or goal need: discussions, tools and information. A Teams team can have up to 10,000 members.

Creating a Teams team lets you organize your Microsoft Teams interface so you can collectively gain in productivity and work comfort. Teams can also be used to configure access for collaborators, allowing them to follow a project (or not).

A Teams team could, for example, bring together members of a project group, a functional team or a particular department within the company. They will then be able to chat with each other, easily access their applications, share and co-edit documents, and effortlessly retrieve information.

How do I create a Teams team?

Have you decided to create a Teams team? Here's how:

  1. Click on the "Teams" tab in the main (vertical) menu on the left of your screen;
  2. Click on "Join or create a team" at the bottom left of your screen, in the list of teams;
  3. Click on "Create a team" in the main field of your screen;
  4. Choose whether you want to create your team "from scratch" (from A to Z), from an existing Microsoft365 group or from a template;
  5. Select the desired level of confidentiality: private team (accessible by invitation), public (accessible to all company members) or organization-wide (all employees are automatically added to the group);
  6. On the next screen, enter your team name and description.

And that's it, your team is created! You can now add members (private team), invite external users (service providers, for example), appoint other team members as co-owners (administrators), choose a team image by going to "settings", or create Team channels.

What is a Teams channel?

Channels are another must-have feature in Microsoft Teams . Here's what you need to know to get started with this tool:

Canal Teams: definition and uses

A Teams channel is a section of a Teams team.

Teams are made up of Teams channels dedicated to each department, theme or project. InTeams channels, employees can exchange information, send messages and share files, as well as plan and monitor the progress of projects. By way of example, an "admin" Teams channel can be used to centralize invoices, quotes and purchase orders associated with the project being carried out by members of theTeams team.

There are different types of Team channels.

By default, each Teams team has a general channel. This acts as a diary, indicating who has joined or left the group. It can also be used to make announcements or pass on general information, such as the success of a project.

In addition to the general channel, users can add other channels, rename them, and choose to hide or show them. They can even organize periodic meetings in channels. The information and files shared are stored in the channel. Users can also find their notes and recordings in the channel - a real time-saver!

You can create :

  • standard channels, open to allteammembers;
  • private channels, accessible toTeams group members by invitation;
  • shared channels, reserved for selected people inside and outsideTeams.

We provide more information on how to create a Teams channel, below.

Guide : Teams and Teams channels

How do I create a Teams channel?

To add a Teams channel to your Teams team :

  1. Click on "..." next to your team name (in the team list on the left of your screen);
  2. Click on "Add a channel";
  3. Enter a name, a description and select the desired level of confidentiality (standard or private channel), then click on "add" or "next";
  4. If you'readding a privateTeams channel, type in the names of the people you want to include in this group (Teams team members or guests) then click on "add".

You've just created your Teams channel!

Good to know:

  • Members of your Teams team are not automatically invited to join your private and shared channels. So don't forget to invite them, unless you're launching a standard channel.
  • Subscribers to a channel receive notifications via the "activity" tab in Microsoft Teams, alerting them to posts and mentions made on that channel. These notifications can be disabled or customized by clicking on "..." next to the channel name.
  • Each Teams channel is associated with a SharePoint folder. Teammates can therefore share files, organize them and collaborate simultaneously on the creation of media directly in a Teams channel.
  • To facilitate access to information and knowledge, it is possible to add "wikis" to a Teams channel , and even pin useful links to them.
  • To organize exchanges in a Teams channel, collaborators can interact with publications by clicking on "reply". In this way, each discussion is condensed into a single point, and users can easily retrieve the desired data.
  • A Teams channel is a workspace. To facilitate the planning of tasks assigned to participants, Task, List and Planner applications can be added directly to the Teams channel.
  • A Teams channel is also a communication space. Users can not only interact asynchronously, but also hold video meetings. All they have to do is click on "Start a meeting" in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  • Finally, to centralize all exchanges linked to a project or subject, you can obtain the link to a Teams channel and copy it in your emails. To do this, click on "..." next to the channel name, then on "Get an email address".

Channels have tabs

When you access a channel in Teams, several tabs are displayed by default.

The first tab is "Publications".

All those with access to the channel can view messages in the "Publications" tab. This is a group conversation where replies to a message remain attached to the original message. So anyone reading the conversation can easily follow the whole thread. That's the beauty of threaded conversations.

  • To reply to a message in the channel, simply select the "Reply" link below the message.
  • To start a new conversation in the channel, simply type your message in the box at the bottom of the conversation, then select the "Send" icon in Teams.

Then there's the "Files" tab, where all the files shared in the channel are stored. There are two ways to share files in a channel:

  • Go to the channel and select the "Files" tab. Highlight the file, choose "Other options" (Teams "Other options" icon), then copy the link and paste it directly into a message.
  • In the toolbar below your message, select the "Attach" button ("Choose a file" button) and upload your document.

You can also add other tabs. To include applications and files in tabs at the top of a channel, simply select "Add tab" next to the tab name. You'll be presented with a list of items to add (favorite applications and files). You can also perform a search to find a specific item you'd like to add.

Teams and Teams channels: intuitive, comprehensive features

Now you know what Teams and Teams channels are and how to use these Microsoft Teams features.

As we've seen, these two flagship Microsoft Teams tools are easy to learn and use.

And yet, these tools offer a wealth of possibilities (personalization, content sharing, holding meetings, adding applications, etc.) that we invite you to discover more about in order to get the most out of the Microsoft Teams collaborative platform.

👉 To find out more, visit our blog.

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