Frequently asked questions

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General

Microsoft Teams is a messaging app for teams where all conversations, meetings, files, and notes can be accessed by everyone on the team. It's a place for collaboration and work to happen in the open.

Here's why you should use it:

  • It makes communicating one-on-one and with groups a snap.

  • Collaboration happens in real time.

  • Everything your team cares about (all your files, docs, contact info, and more) is in once place.

T-Bot is a bot that's here to help you learn how to use Teams. Ask a question or type a keyword or phrase into a chat with T-Bot, and it will find the answer for you. If you want some help videos, check out the Videos tab at the top of the T-Bot chat.

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.

Got a question? You can ask T-Bot anything about the app. If you’d rather browse on your own, feel free to look through all our help content by clicking the Help tab at the top of your chat with T-Bot. Your other option is to click your profile picture on the left side of the app and then select Help. That will direct you to all our help articles and some quick instructional videos. There are also tabs for FAQ and Release Notes.

There are a bunch of ways to integrate your own services and apps into Teams. You can integrate a custom tab or custom connector, you can use an incoming webhook, and you can sideload a bot. To learn more, go to https://aka.ms/microsoftteamsplatform.

Team channels are conversations that everyone on the team can see. Private chats are only visible to those people in the chat.

This Private conversations and calling video shows how you can use chat for private conversations. A transcript of the video narration and procedural information accompany the video.

For more information, see Get the best messaging experience.

You can perform some pretty detailed searches in Teams. Start by typing a name, keyword, or phrase into the search bar at the top of the app. Teams generates suggestions based on your recent conversations, favorite channels, or people within your organization.

Once you've entered a search term, you can filter your results to show just messages, people, or files. If you're searching within your messages or files, you can make your search even more specific by clicking Filter Filter button , which appears above your initial search results.

Search options

The Teams app works in the following desktop browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 11

  • Microsoft Edge 12

  • The latest version of Chrome

  • The latest version of Firefox

Got a suggestion? We’d love to hear it. On your desktop app, click the Feedback light bulb in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen and tell us what you think.

Feedback button

Please let your IT admin know if the app keeps crashing. Your admin can work with us to fix the problem.

To sign out of Teams, click your profile picture in the bottom left corner. You can also right-click the app icon in your taskbar.

Mac users, head to the app menu bar at the top of your screen and click Microsoft Teams > Quit Microsoft Teams. You can also press Cmd+Q to quit.

For all operating systems, once you sign out of Teams, you'll need to re-enter your credentials then next time you launch the app.

Your desktop app automatically updates (so you don’t have to). If you want, you can still check for available updates by clicking your profile picture on the left side of the app and then clicking Check for updates.

Your web app is always up to date.

Modern authentication is a process that lets Teams know that you've already entered your credentials (like your work email and password) elsewhere, and you shouldn't be required to enter them again in order to start the app. The experience will vary depending on a couple factors, like if you're working in Windows or on a Mac. It will also vary depending on whether your company has enabled single-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication (multi-factor authentication usually involves verifying your credentials via your phone, providing a unique code, entering a PIN, or presenting your thumbprint). Here's a rundown of each modern authentication scenario:

Windows users

  • If you're already signed in to other Office apps through your Office 365 Enterprise account, when you start Teams you're taken straight to the app; there's no need to enter your credentials.

  • If you're not signed in to your Office 365 Enterprise account anywhere else, when you start Teams, you're asked to provide either single- or multi-factor authentication (SFA or MFA), depending on what your company has decided they'd like the process to entail.

  • If you're signed in to a domain-joined machine, when you start Teams, you might be asked to go through one more authentication step, depending on whether your company opted to require MFA or if your machine already requires MFA to sign in. If your machine already requires MFA to sign in, when you open up Teams, the app automatically starts.

Mac users

When you start Teams, your machine won't be able to pull your credentials from your Office 365 Enterprise account or any of your other Office applications. Instead, you'll see a prompt asking you for SFA or MFA (depending on your company's settings). Once you enter your credentials, you won't be required to provide them again; from that point on, Teams automatically starts whenever you're working on the same machine.

There's no way to switch user accounts once you've completed modern authentication if you're using a domain-joined computer (for example, if your tenant has enabled Kerberos). If you're not working on a domain-joined computer, you can switch accounts.

To sign out of Teams, click your profile picture in the bottom left corner, then select Log out. You can also right-click the app icon in your taskbar then select Log out. Once you sign out of Teams, you need to enter your credentials again to launch the app.

Modern authentication is available for every organization that uses Teams, so if you're not able to complete the process, there might be something wrong with your domain or your company's Office 365 Enterprise account. Your best bet is to get in touch with your IT admin for more information and next steps.

For more information, see Why am I having trouble signing in to Microsoft Teams?

To send someone an email from Teams, hover over their profile picture until their profile card appears. Click the envelope icon at the bottom left of the card to send an email

If you haven’t already chosen an email app to use with Teams, you’ll see a prompt asking you to choose one.

T-bot chat queries and responses currently support the following languages:

  • English (US)

  • French

  • German

  • Spanish

You can uninstall Teams the same way you uninstall other apps on your computer:

Windows

Quit Teams by right-clicking the Teams icon in the taskbar and choosing Quit. Open the Control Panel, select Uninstall a program, and then select Microsoft Teams. With Microsoft Teams highlighted, click Uninstall.

Mac

Quit Teams by right-clicking the Teams app in the dock, then holding down Option and clicking Force Quit. Open the Application Folder, select Microsoft Teams, and move it to the Trash.

As of right now, there's no way to create tasks, to-do lists, or reminders in Teams. Don't worry, though, that's coming soon.

In the meantime, if you want to keep track of an important message, click Save this message Save message button next to the message. That way, you can find it later on in your saved messages (just click your profile picture then select Saved).

To meet your legal, regulatory and content security needs, Teams offers the following Information Protection capabilities through the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center:

Capability

Description

Archive

Any content stored in any Teams-related workload needs to be preserved immutably according to the enterprise corporate policy.

Compliance content search

Any content stored in any workload can be searched through rich filtering capabilities. All content can be exported to a specific container for compliance and litigation support​.

eDiscovery

Rich eDiscovery in-place capabilities, including case management, preservation, search, analysis, and export are available to help our customers simplify the eDiscovery process and quickly identify relevant data while decreasing cost and risk.

Legal hold

When any team or individual is put on in-place hold or litigation hold, the hold is placed on both the primary and the archived messages (not including edits or deletes).

Audit log search

All team activities and business events must be captured and available for customer search and export.

Exchange online protection

Email messages that are sent to a channel are filtered for spam, malware, malicious links, spoofing, and phishing via Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat Protection for Office 365.

Conditional access

We ensure that access to Teams is restricted to devices that are compliant with your IT admin or corporate organization set policies and security rules. This includes MDM and MAM support with Intune for iOS and Android.

Admins create a work or school account to give a member of an organization access to Microsoft cloud services such as Microsoft Azure, Windows Intune, and Office 365. A work or school account can take the form of a user’s organizational email address, such as username@orgname.com. They used to be known as “organizational accounts.”

Microsoft account is the new name for Windows Live ID. A Microsoft account is an email address and password to sign in to services like Outlook.com, OneDrive, Windows Phone, or Xbox LIVE. If you use an email address and password to sign in to these or other services, you already have a Microsoft account—but you can also sign up for a new one at any time.

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

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.

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

A team and channels

Team owners can add and remove users. They have the ability to edit or delete a team, or change the team picture. They can also…

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

  • Control @team mentions that notify everyone on the team.

  • Allow @channel mentions, which notify members who have favorited the channel.

  • Allow usage of GIFs, stickers, and memes.

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.

Messaging

To send a private message, first click New chat New chat button next to your search bar to start a new conversation. Type the name of the person or people you want to chat with. Then, compose your message and press Enter.

The To field for a message

To loop someone into a private conversation, just click Add people Add people to team button in the top right corner of your screen. Then, type the name of the person you'd like to add and press Enter.

Adding people to a group chat

When you add someone new to a conversation, they won't be able to see what was said before they joined.

To see all them messages you've sent, click Activity Activity button . Then click Feed > My activity to see all the messages you've sent, the channels they're in, and when you sent them.

You can use Microsoft Teams to chat with someone who’s using Skype for Business. Simply start a one-on-one chat with the person you'd like to message, and they’ll get your message in Skype for Business. In the chat, you’ll have the opportunity to invite them to join you and the rest of the world in Microsoft Teams.

Remember: If the person you’re messaging has ever used Microsoft Teams, your messages will always be sent there. Otherwise, if messages aren’t getting to or from Skype for Business, check with your IT administrator. People who use Microsoft Teams and also have an on-premises Skype for Business account can’t currently send messages to or receive them from Skype for Business users.

Unfortunately, group messages can’t be sent to people using Skype for Business. However, whenever someone invites you to a group conversation from Skype for Business, you’ll get a notification in Microsoft Teams. Then, you can join the conversation back in Skype for Business.

Being able to chat with someone on Skype for Business from within Microsoft Teams is pretty cool, but you’ll be missing out on fun things like emoji, file attachments, and tabs. Also, your conversation history won't be saved, so if you update, refresh, or open up Microsoft Teams on a different platform (like mobile), you won't be able to view your old messages.

To send someone an email from Teams, hover over their profile picture until their profile card appears. Click the envelope icon at the bottom left of the card to send an email

If you haven’t already chosen an email app to use with Teams, you’ll see a prompt asking you to choose one.

To see who’s on a group chat, hover over the number of participants to show a list of everyone’s names.

Participants list in a chat header

Teams lets you delete individual messages sent in the past 24 hours, but you can’t turn off your whole chat history.

Tracking my conversations and managing notifications

For more information, watch Productive conversations, which shows how you can use conversations in your team channels to be more productive. A transcript of the video narration and procedural information accompany the video.

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

There are lots of things you can do to stay up-to-date.

  • Arrange your teams in an order that makes sense to you, putting the busiest teams at the top of your list.

  • Favorite the channels you use the most. This way, they stay visible in your team list, and you'll see when new messages are posted.

    A bolded or favorited channel

  • @mention people so they @mention you. You'll see you've been @mentioned in your notifications. Also, a red circle with a number in it appears next to the channel name.

    A notification in a channel

  • Watch Activity Activity button on the left side of the app. That lets you know whenever you've got notifications.

    Activity button showing one notification

For more information, see Keep track of conversations.

Meetings and calling

Team meetings are a way for people in a channel to go from a conversation to an impromptu meeting.

Anyone from the team can join. Team meetings include audio, video, and screen sharing. You always have a meeting space, and you'll never need a room or projector.

To start a team meeting, click Meet now Meet now button in a new conversation.

Compose box icons with Meet now selected

You can also keep the context of the current conversation by clicking Meet now Meet now button in an existing conversation.

Compose box with the meet now icon selected

Team meetings are open meetings, so anyone on the team can join. When you start a meeting in a particular channel, the whole team can see that a meeting is happening and join from that channel.

Join a meeting from a conversation

You can have up to 50 people in the same video call.

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