Topics Map > Communication & Collaboration > Virtual Collaboration Spaces > Microsoft Teams
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What is Microsoft Teams and how do I use it?

Microsoft Teams is what Microsoft calls a "chat-based workspace" that facilitates real-time collaboration and allows people to come together to have casual conversations and create work plans.

In essence it is a group chat app, which is significantly easier to use than email for managing multiple conversations in a team environment. Microsoft Teams is a cross-platform app (available for desktop and mobile, for Android, iOS and Windows Phone) that integrates Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Planner.

MS Teams allows conversations to be separated into various channels (topics) and across teams, of which you can be a member of as many as you like. There can be both open group chats and direct messages, and Microsoft Teams supports the use of memes, GIFs, stickers and emoji. 'Connections' allow you to also bring in content from elsewhere, such as Twitter.

Who Can Use MS Teams?

All UIC students, faculty and staff can use MS Teams. You can use Teams on the web at or download and install MS Teams for your desktop, iOS, or Android device. The download files are available at


  • Full video conferencing
  • Group Chat
  • Threaded conversations
  • View a file with conversations along side it
  • Private Chat
  • File Sharing
  • Attend/Schedule meetings
  • Screen Sharing
  • Meeting History
  • Task Planner
  • Connect to popular services like Twitter. (
  • Background effects in Teams meetings
  • Bots for completing tasks (

User Abilities

Team OwnersTeams Members
Owners can:
  •  Add new members and other owners
  •  Manage Team settings:
  •  Enable\Disable @Mentioning
  • Allowing Fun Picker items, and   moderation settings
  • Rename the Team
  • Delete the Team

NOTE: There can only be 10 owners per Team

  • There can be as many as 600 members per Team
  • Members can add additional channels to the team

Common Terms/Actions


Teams are the overall group of people working on a project. They can range in size from a small product team to a  larger organization.

Creating Teams

Create teams by adding member individually by email aliases or security groups. Every new team will have a default  favorite channel called General, you can use it for whatever you like.



Teams are made up of Channels, each covering a different topic. Only favorited Channels will show up in the left  pane, other channels will show up if there is a notification for you. The remaining channels can be accessed by  clicking more.


Creating Channels

Channels are open to everyone on the Team, so anyone can drop in and see what everyone is talking about.  Channels can be created to cover Topics, Departments, or Projects.


Like and Save messages

At the top right corner of all messages in Channels, you have an option to like messages or save them for later. Saved  messages will be kept in Saved along the left rail.


Mention Team Members

You can also bring people’s attention by @Mentioning them, just type the @ symbol before their name. And if you  admin enables it, you can @mention your whole team or any channel.


Private Conversations

Open team channels are great for collaboration, but sometimes  you need to talk privately


By selecting Chat along the left rail, you can have private conversations with your teammates.


Group Chat

Simple click the new chat icon and type the names of the people you want to add to a conversation. You can add up  to nine people in a group chat.


Sharing Files

You can add files from your computer or OneDrive for Business account



Microsoft Teams makes it easy for people in a channel to go from a  group conversation to a meeting. 

Start a meeting

In a channel conversation, click the Meet Now icon in the compose box. Or keep all the context of an existing  conversation by clicking the Meet Now icon in the reply box.


NOTE: In late April 2020, there will be a new experience for launching instant channel meetings: Users will now see the Meet Now button in the Channel header in the top-right corner.

new Meet Me tab at the top

Notify Team Members of the Meeting

Once you’re in, you can invite the people from your conversation, or anyone from the team by clicking on their  name.

Find a Meeting

While you’re waiting for people to join, other team members who follow the channel will see that a meeting has  started. They don’t need to join the meeting to see who’s in attendance. One click, and you are in the meeting


Record a Meeting

Meetings can be recorded and are automatically published to MS Stream. A notification will be sent to the person who organized and recorded the meeting when the recording is available to publish, view, edit or share.


Tabs are always visible at the top and stay with the conversation, so everyone can get to them easily.  You can even start a conversation inside a tab.


Background effect in Teams meetings: Users will be able to select Microsoft provided background images prior to or during a video call.

Add background effects

Joining a meeting via a link

Beginning in late April 2020 you'll find an Improved Teams meeting join launcher experience: When launching a Teams meeting from a link, you will be provided with clearer options for how youwould like to join the meeting..

New experience with launching a meeting via a link

Keywords:skype, teams, virtual collaboration, msteams,   Doc ID:83472
Owner:Dean D.Group:University of Illinois Chicago Technology Solutions
Created:2018-07-09 08:49 CSTUpdated:2020-05-25 10:06 CST
Sites:University of Illinois Chicago Technology Solutions
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