Teams and channels

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Teams are collections of people, content, and tools that center around different projects and jobs within an organization. In Microsoft Teams, team members can have conversations and share files, notes, and more, all in one place.

Click Teams Teams button on the left side of the app and then open a team to see its channels. You need to be a team owner to create a team or add members, but anyone on the team can add channels.

Channels are there to help keep team conversations organized. You can dedicate channels to specific topics, projects, disciplines—whatever you like.

To add a channel, click More options More options button next to the team name and select Add channel.

In this topic

Set up teams and channels

Work in teams

Add guests to teams

Work in channels

Set up teams and channels

Teams are collections of people, content, and tools surrounding different projects and jobs within an organization. Team members can share conversations, files, notes, and more.

Keep team conversations organized in specific channels. You can dedicate channels to specific topics, projects, disciplines—whatever you like.

A team and channels

Private teams can only be joined if the team owner adds you to them. They also won't show up in your teams gallery. On the other hand, public teams are visible to everyone from the teams gallery and you can join them without getting approval from the team owner.

Sorry, there's no way to search for a private team.

If you're trying to join a specific team within your organization, click Add team at the bottom of your teams list. In the search box, start typing the name of the team you want to find. Press Enter, and your teams gallery shows you a collection of teams that match your search. Find the team you're looking for and click Join team.

To join a public team, click Add team at the bottom of your teams list. You'll see your teams gallery, including a bunch of suggested teams. Go to the team you'd like to join and then click Join team.

To see all the members on a team, click More options More options button next to the team name and then click Manage team.

The best way to make sure someone on your team sees a message is to @mention them (just type @ before their name and then select them from the menu).

@mention with people and teams to select

They'll get a notification in their activity list and see a number next to the channel you mentioned them in.

To get the attention of your entire team, type @team before your message, and all your teammates receive notifications. Typing @channel before your message also notifies all your team members about your message.

Note: Your team owner has to enable @team and @channel notifications for this to work.

Only team members can see team files. To share files with anyone outside your team, go to the files list for your team. Click More options More options button next to any file, click Open in SharePoint, and then share the files you want from the SharePoint site.

To create a team, click Add team at the bottom of your teams list. Go to the first tile in the Suggested teams view and click Create a team.

From there, you can name your team, add a description, and edit the team's data classification. Once you've done that, you can invite people, groups, or even entire contact groups to join your team.

If you're a team owner, go to the teams list, click More options More options button next to the team name, and then click Add members.

Another option is to click Manage team, and add people in the Members tab. If you want, you can even add multiple people by using a contact group.

If you're a team owner, go to the teams list, click More options More options button next to the team name, and then click Add members. Then, type the name of a contact group, security group, or Office 365 group, select it from the list, and click Add.

In the General channel, you can @mention the team by typing @team or @[team name] in the compose box. That sends a notification to everyone on the team. FYI, a team owner has to enable @team mentions for them to work.

@mention menu with a team selected

You're currently limited to 250 teams per account.

Any team in Teams can hold up to 2500 people.

If you can't change team settings, it's most likely because you're not a team owner.

If you can't create a team, it's probably because your organization has decided to only enable team creation for a limited group of people.

To create a new channel, start in the team list, click More options More options button next to the team name, and then select Add channel. You can also click Manage team, and add a channel in the Channels tab.

You can create up to 100 channels per team.

Team menu with Add channel selected

If you're a team owner, you can add someone to a channel; just add them to the team that the channel belongs to.

Start from your teams and channels list, click More options More options button next to the team name, and then click Add members.

Team menu with Add members selected

Another option is to click Manage team and then add people from the Members tab. Once someone has been added to a team, they automatically have access to all that team's channels.

Once you're finished adding people to a team, it's a good idea to @mention them in your new channel so they know that it exists.

To let someone know you created a new channel, click in your compose box and @mention them (by typing @ and then their name).

@mention menu with a name selected

All the channels you've already favorited are listed underneath the team they belong to. To see them all, click Teams Teams button on the left.

To favorite a new channel, click the menu that appears under your current favorites for a team (4 more channels, for example). Scroll to the channel you want to favorite, and click Favorite Favorite button next to the channel name.

How to favorite a channel

To reorder your teams, click and drag the team name anywhere in your team list.

Reordering the list of teams

Work in teams

Click More options More options button next to a team name to see the team management actions you can take.

If you’re a team member, choose Manage team to see the tabs for Members, Channels, and Bots.

Team menu with Favorite selected

If you're a team owner, choose Manage team > Settings to see the options for Team picture, Member permissions, Guest permissions, @mentions, and Fun stuff.

To remove a team from your favorites, click More options More options button next to the team name, then select Remove favorite. This is a great way to clean up your list and hide teams that aren't very active. Remember, un-favoriting a team will remove it from your teams list, but you can always access or favorite it again by clicking More at the bottom of the teams list.

If you're a team owner, go to your teams list, click More options More options button next to the team name, then click Add members.

Another option is to click Manage team, and add people in the Members tab. If you want, you can even add multiple people by using a contact group.

If you hover over a teammate’s profile picture, you’ll see a profile card containing their details. You can start a chat, call, or send an email to someone from their profile card.

You can upload files directly to the Files tab in any channel. Just click Files at the top, then click Upload. To create a new file, click New.

Files tab with Upload button selected

While you can't add existing notebooks, you can add new ones in new tabs.

Every team you belong to shows up in your teams list, either in your favorites or inside the More menu at the bottom of your list.

  • Post something in the team's General channel. The channel name appears bold for every team member.

  • Type @channel in the General channel. A notification goes to every team member that they were @mentioned in that channel.

  • Type @team and Teams autofills the name of the team you're working in. A notification goes to every team member that they've been @mentioned, even if they're not following the channel.

FYI, a team owner needs to turn on @team and @channel mentions for a team.

Team owners can add and remove members, edit or delete a team, and change the team picture. They can also:

  • Set team members' permissions for channels, tabs, and connectors.

  • Control @[team name] mentions that notify everyone on the team.

  • Allow @channel or @[channel name] mentions, which notify members who’ve favorited the channel.

  • Allow usage of GIFs, stickers, and memes.

If you're a team owner, you can change the team name, description, and privacy settings with a few clicks. Just click More options More options button next to the team name, and then click Edit team.

Edit team option to access team settings

If you’re a team owner, there’s a lot you can do to customize your team. Click More options More options button next to a team name, and then click Manage team.

Team menu with Manage team selected

From there, you can access your team Settings tab, which lets you:

  • Change the team picture.

  • Set member permissions (like allowing them to create, update, or delete channels and tabs).

  • Enable @team or @[team name] mentions in a channel.

  • Enable team members to send GIFs, emoji, and stickers.

Does your team need a new name? Team owners can take care of that.

Click More options More options button next to a team name and then click Edit team.

If you're a team owner, you can change the picture in team settings. Click More options More options button next to the team name, then click Manage team.

Team menu with Manage team selected

In the Settings tab, click Team picture > Change picture.

If you want to make someone an owner or view who's an owner of an existing team, click More options More options button next to the team name, and then click Manage team.

The Role column tells you if someone is a team member or owner. To make someone an owner, click Member and then select Owner.

You can also make someone a team owner while you're creating a team. When you're adding team members, designate whether each new person is going to be a team member or team owner by clicking Owner under the Member menu.

To change the privacy settings for your team from public to private (or vice versa), click More options More options button next to the team name in your teams list and then select Edit team. In the Edit team dialog box, under Privacy, select either Public or Private.

To add a Microsoft Teams team to an existing Office 365 group, first click Add team at the bottom of your teams list, then click Create a team. You'll see a link that will take you to a list of all the Office 365 groups that you're currently able to add a team to. From there, all you have to do is select the group you want, and add your team. You'll end up in the General channel for the team you decided to add to your Office 365 group.

If you want only certain people to be able to create teams, contact your IT admin, who can set permissions for your organization.

You can leave a team at any time by clicking More options More options button next to the team name and selecting Leave the team.

Team menu with Leave the team selected

If you're a team owner, you can absolutely remove someone from your team. Click More options More options button next to your team name, select Manage team, then click the Members tab.

From your team member list, click the X to the far right of the name of the person you'd like to remove. To remove another team owner, first change their role from owner to member, then remove them.

Once you remove someone from a team, you can always use Add member to add them back to the team later on.

If you want to delete a team (and you’re the team owner), click More options More options button next to your team name and select Delete the team. Your team will be permanently removed.

Remember: Deleting a team will also remove the team mailbox and calendar from Exchange.

Team owners and IT admins can recover deleted teams for up to 30 days. For more info, see Restore a deleted Office 365 Group.

Add guests to teams

If you're a team owner, you can now invite guests to your team. From your teams list, just click More options More options button next to the team name, and then click Add members. Enter the guest's email address.

Note: Guests need a work or school account for Office 365.

For guests, you need to set the name other people will see. Click Edit guest information Edit guest name button and then type their name. Be sure to take the time to add their name now—you’ll need the help of an IT admin to add it later.

Edit guest information dialog box

If you're a team owner, you can change guest permission settings by clicking More options More options button next to the team name, and then clicking Manage team.

Team menu with Manage team selected

Go to the Settings tab, and then click Guest permissions. Currently, you can give guests permission to add or remove channels.

To switch between a guest account and other Teams accounts, click your profile picture, then pick the account you want under Your accounts.

To see if your team has any guests, just check below the conversation header.

Channel header indicating a guest in the group

You can tell if someone is a guest by looking anywhere their name appears—the word “Guest” appears after it. You can also see everyone’s roles in the Members tab of a team.

When you add a guest, only their name gets added to their profile card. To add or change other info (such as phone number or title), contact your IT admin.

Need to work with someone from outside of your organization? Add them as a guest! Guests can participate in channels, conversations, chats, and meetings; they can share files in channels, add new channels, and use Wiki.

Capability

Team member

Guest

Create a channel

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Participate in a private chat

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Participate in a channel conversation

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Share a channel file

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Share a chat file

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Add apps (such as tabs, bots, or connectors)

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Can be invited via any work or school account for Office 365

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Create a team

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Delete or edit posted messages

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Discover and join public teams

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Post in the General channel

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View org chart

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Work in channels

Channels keep team conversations organized around specific topics or themes. Anyone on the team can add a channel and participate in the channel conversations.

This Teams and channels video reviews how to create a team and then shows you how you can create and favorite a channel.

Channels allow teammates to have focused conversations about specific topics. Every team has its own set of channels (starting with the General channel), and the members of that team get to decide what they want the rest of their channels to focus on. Some channels are devoted to specific projects, some are for areas of interest. Some channels are just for fun. Every channel belonging to a team is completely public to all the team members, so everyone can feel free to join in a channel conversation.

If you spot a channel that looks interesting or is relevant to you, you can favorite or follow it.

When you favorite a channel, it stays visible in your team list. From within the channel, click Favorite Favorite button next to the channel name.

Click Favorite to follow a channel

You can also favorite channels from the more channels menu beneath the channels list.

Favorite a channel from the More options menu

To follow a channel, click More options More options button next to the channel name and then select Follow this channel. From then on, you'll receive direct notifications whenever there's new channel activity.

You can catch up on all your followed channels in your Activity feed. Click Activity Activity button > Filter Filter button > Following.

You know you have unread messages and unseen activity in a channel because its name appears bold. If you favorite the channel, it stays visible in your list.

Bolded team channels

You also receive notifications when someone @mentions you or replies to a conversation you're in, so that's another way you know a channel is active.

Activity and mentions

If you're worried about knowing whether a conversation is going on that needs your attention, rest assured: All your notifications appear in your Activity feed, so you'll never miss a thing. You get a notification whenever someone:

  • @mentions you (you also see your @mentions in the conversation).

  • @mentions teams and channels you belong to.

  • Replies to conversations you're part of.

  • Replies to your replies.

A channel

You'll also see a number next to the bolded channel name, which lets you know you were mentioned in that channel.

Activity in a channel

Being @mentioned means you'll be notified when someone wants to get your attention on a particular message (by typing @ before your name).

@mention menu with a team selected

From the notification, you can click directly into the point in the conversation where you were mentioned.

Just type @ before someone's name to get their attention in a conversation. They'll receive a notification.

You can also type @team to message everyone on that team. FYI, this feature needs to be enabled, and it's definitely most effective when used sparingly.

@mention with suggested people

Bolded channel names indicate that there are new messages in the channel. The number count refers to the number of times you've been specifically mentioned.

Channel, activity, and teams notifications

Team members can change the name of a channel by clicking More options More options button next to a channel name and selecting Edit this channel.

Channels are open to the entire team. To see the member list, click More options More options button next to the team name, then click Manage team. You'll see the list of members in the Members tab.

Team menu with Manage team selected

To see all the channels in a team, click more channels beneath the list of channels you've favorited in that team. That shows you a list of every channel belonging to that team.

To see a list of all the channels that belong to a team, click More options More options button next to the team name, select Manage team, and then open the Channels tab.

Team menu with Manage team selected

We don't currently have private channels, but we're working on it. To keep things private in the meantime, you can create a new team and invite a more select audience.

If you want to send an email to a channel in Teams, use the channel email address. Click More options More options button next to the channel name and select Get email address.

Another option is to have someone with permission to get a channel email address copy the address and then send it to you—after that, you'll be able to send emails to that channel.

Once you've got this covered, any email you send to your channel email address will appear in the channel's conversation history.

FYI, this feature needs to be enabled by your IT admin.

If you want to limit who can send email to your channel, click More options More options button next to the channel name, select Get email address, then click the advanced settings link.

From there, you can manage who is able to access the email address for that channel. You can restrict the audience to include only members of the team that owns that channel, or narrow your audience to specific domains. You can also remove your current email address entirely.

If your IT admin has disabled the ability to send email to channels, the Get email address option won't appear in your menu of channel actions.

When you reply to an email message in a thread, it creates a conversation about the email within Teams. However, this does not send an email reply to the original sender. Any comments or conversations you have about the email in a channel aren't visible outside of Teams.

Sometimes, emails that get sent to a channel are too large to view in the conversation. To see an email in its original format, click View original email under the email in the conversation.

There are a few reasons why sending an email to a channel can fail:

  • The channel settings restrict who can send email.

  • The email contains more than 50 inline images.

  • The email has more than 20 file attachments.

  • The SharePoint folder associated with the channel has been deleted or renamed.

To help get you up and running, Teams automatically favorites the five most popular channels in every new team you join. This gives you a sense of how to interact with your new team, and where all the action is. You can always unfavorite any of these channels later on.

For teams that have fewer than five channels, Teams automatically favorites new channels as they're created until you reach five channels.

To delete a channel, click More options More options button next to the channel name and then select Delete this channel.

Note: Team owners can determine the permissions for team members, including the ability to delete and restore channels.

Keep in mind that once you delete a channel, you also lose its entire conversation history. However, the OneNote sections associated with that channel will still show up on your team's SharePoint site.

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