Collaborate on files in Microsoft Teams

As your team works together you'll undoubtedly have files that you'll want to share and collaborate on. Teams makes it easy to share files and work on them together. If your files are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Visio files your colleagues can even view, edit, and collaborate on them, right within Teams (editing in Visio requires a license).

Note: If the file isn't one of the types mentioned above, it must be viewed in either SharePoint or its corresponding app.

Your files library

Within each team there are channels. Think of these channels as a place for your entire team to discuss a specific topic, like upcoming training, or project updates. Each channel has its own file folder where you can share files for that specific channel. To access that folder go to the channel and select the Files tab above the conversation window.

The files library lets you collaborate on files with your team

Note: Make sure to use the Files tab at the top of the channel conversation window instead of the Files button on the left side of the app. That button gives you access to ALL of your cloud files, rather than just the files for a specific channel.

In the library you can upload existing files or create new ones. When you upload a file, it creates a copy in Teams.

Upload existing files

There are two primary ways to upload existing files into your library. Both methods start by going to the files folder for your channel and both methods, by default, upload copies of your files to the channel file folder.

  • Drag and drop - Using your mouse, drag the file from where it's currently located and drop it on the Teams window among the files. 

  • Upload - Select Upload,then select the file (or files) you'd like to upload, and select Open.

Create or upload a new file to your channel's files library

Any files you upload will be accessible by any member of your team. And just like in SharePoint, you can pin specific files to the top of your list for easy access.

Create a file

To create a Word, PowerPoint, or Excel document in Teams, select New, then select the kind of file you'd like to create. The new file will open in Teams so you can begin editing it, and if you'd prefer to work in the desktop version of the app, select More options More options button to the left of the Close button on the ribbon.

As soon as it's created your new file will be available for your team members to edit as well.

Note: Linux users won't be able to open files with the desktop Office app.

Collaborate on the files

Files stored in your team's file library are accessible to every member of the Team. In Office for the web, Office for Android or iOS, or the latest applications from Office 365, you and your team members can co-edit Word, PowerPoint, or Excel documents, or comment on Visio files. No need to check files out or worry about if one of your colleagues has the document open. Just open the file you need to edit and if other team members are editing it too your changes will be seamlessly merged as you work.

Share with people outside your team

There may be an occasion when you'll want to share your file with somebody outside your team. If the file is a Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Visio file the easiest way to do that is to open the file with the appropriate Office for the web or desktop app and select Share towards the top right corner of the window. That will open the Share dialog box where you can enter the aliases or email addresses of people you want to share with.

Share icon and dialog box in Excel

Important: To share with somebody outside your team you'll have to open the file in Office for the web or Office desktop; the Teams editor doesn't have that feature. Click the arrow next to the Edit button and choose the appropriate app. The edit button with the choices expanded and an arrow pointing at the drop-down button

If you want to share with people outside your organization you may have to click the permissions drop-down (right above where you add the people you want to share with) and select that Specific People can access the file.

Use the link settings dialog to specify permissions for a sharing link

Once you've shared the file, those users can edit the file in real time (unless you unchecked Allow editing in the Link Settings dialog) just like the other members of your Team can.

Note: Linux users won't be able to open files with the desktop Office app.

See also

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