Emails, phone, Facebook Facetime, text, Slack, Skype, Discord, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+… If you’re like most people who work for a living, you may feel like keeping track of all the communications media and platforms you use at your business is taking up more and more time, stifling productivity. With this in mind, Microsoft Teams is trying to be the go-to all-communications too.
To do this, they’re leveraging their nearly ubiquitous Office 365 suite with Microsoft Teams.
Because Microsoft Teams is competing with Slack and others, it’s available in multiple free ways: (1) As a free trial,currently from 1 to 6 months depending on the size and nature of your organization. Or (2) as a free tier as part of the Office 365 suite – you can see how it compares here.
Microsoft Teams’ free versions provide unlimited chats, audio and video calls - it’s planning to retire Skype for Business later in 2020.
The free version also provides 10GB of file storage for an entire professional team, all within one window/application. It also provides 2GB of personal storage for each person in the team.
Microsoft Teams is fully integrated with all Office programs and apps, including Word, PowerPoint,Excel, and OneNote, along with dozens of outside business apps.
A number of Office 365 plans include Teams. If you already have Office 365 but just want to try out a free version before committing to the integration, try signing up with a different email account than the one you’re using for Office 365.
That’s because once apps get integrated with Teams, you’ll have to access them through Teams. You probably want to take it for a test-drive before making the commitment.
Here’s a quick guide to setup, and the link to Microsoft Teams’ main page.
You will enter a username for the account you wish to use. Then click your intended use for Teams—work, school, family, friends. Type your password. Enter your professional info or, if it’s auto-filled, double-check before confirming. When you’re ready, click Set up Teams.
Teams’ web app seems to handle the basic features fine. To take Teams to the next level, install the desktop app. But you don't have to make a final decision right now: you can start on the web immediately and download from the Teams website later.
If you’re installing the desktop app for Microsoft Teams, you might as well install the mobile version too – either iOS or Android.
Here you select or confirm your Teams organization name, then click Continue.This is a good time to Invite People to join. You can choose to then send them either a shareable link, a copy of your own email contact list, or a direct email. Click Send Invites. You or they will can choose a display name and add a photo. Once that’s done, you can all start using all the features in this free version of Microsoft Teams.
You can click on the Teams tab, then the text field inside to begin typing your first message. Below the text field, you should see icons for attaching files, formatting text, adding GIFs and emojis, starting a video call, etc.
To share a file with everyone on your team, click the paper clip Attach icon& select the desired file. You can choose a file from your Microsoft Teams site, from OneDrive, or from your computer.
If it’s a Microsoft Office file – Word,PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote – everyone on Teams can view it with the Teams interface. They can also edit it in the browser on the web, or – if you get the full version installed – in the Office application.
For private conversations, click the Chat icon on the left toolbar, then click Private Chat and Calling to see a short intro video on chat.
To start a normal chat, click on New Chat on the top of the screen and enter the name of the person or people you want to talk to. Type in the New Message field at the bottom & click Send when you’re ready. Those chats get saved on the left-hand side.
Teams is unique among digital workplaces in having an innate tool for audio and video conferencing.The catch? You need to work in the Windows Teams desktop app, Google Chrome, or Microsoft Edge.
Click on Meet Now – it’s a camera icon – below the text field.The first time, Microsoft Teams will ask permission to use your camera and microphone. You’ll be able to add a subject for your meeting and decide whether it should be audio or video.
Clicking on Meet Now will launch the meeting. In the meeting window, you can click names of people you want to join, control audio and video, move screens, edit other settings, and end the meeting when you’re ready.
Click the Apps icon,located at the bottom of the left-hand menu bar. Check to see if the app you want is available, and if so, select it. At the setup screen, choose your team and then click Install.
Teams can also integrate with many different Microsoft and third-party services, like project management apps Trello and Asana, productivity apps like Evernote and SurveyMonkey, utilities like Pollyand GitHub, and much more. Note: Once an app is integrated, you access it directly from Teams.
For up-to-date info on Microsoft Teams and other workplace tech, Lance Whitney at PC Mag is a great person to follow. And here again is the Microsoft Teams Insider Blog by Switch4Teams