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.

Select Teams in the sidebar 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, choose the more icon 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 a team at the bottom of your teams list. In the search box in your teams gallery, start typing the name of the team you want to find. Press Enter, and your teams gallery will show 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 the Add a team link that appears 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, right-click the team name in your teams list, 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 dropdown).

@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 will receive notifications. Typing @channel before your message will also notify all your team members about your message. (Remember, though, 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, choose Open in SharePoint and then share the files you want from the SharePoint site.

To create a team, click Add a team at the bottom of your teams list. Navigate to the first tile in the Teams Discovery view and then select 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 team members, groups, or even entire distribution lists to join your team.

If you're a team owner, go to the teams list, click the more icon 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 distribution group.

To add multiple people to a team, click the more icon next to the team name, and click Add members. Then, type the name of a distribution list, 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 999 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 and then click the more icon next to the team name. The next thing you want to do is select Add a channel. You can also click Manage team, and add a channel in the Channels tab.

Team menu with Add channel selected

You create up to 100 channels per team.

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

To do that, start from your teams and channels list. Click the more icon next to the team name, and then click Add members.

Team menu with Add channel 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'll 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 will be listed underneath the team they belong to. To see them all, click the Teams button Teams button on the left.

To favorite a new channel, click the overflow menu that appears under your current favorites for each team. Scroll down to the channel you want to favorite. Click the star icon Favorite button next to the channel name.

You can also favorite channels that are hidden:

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

If you’re the team owner, click More options More options button next to a team name to see some of the team management actions you can take.

Team menu with Favorite selected

Click Manage team to manage members, channels, and general team settings. You can change your team picture, enable @team and @[team name] mentions, allow team members to send GIFs and emoji, and more.

If you’re a team member, you’ll be able to see some of these things, but you won’t be able to make too many changes.

To remove a team from your favorites, either right-click the team name or click More options button next to it, then select Remove from favorites. 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 for that channel.

If you're a team owner, go to your teams list, click the more icon 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 distribution group.

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

You can upload files directly to the Files tab in any channel.

Files tab with Upload button selected

Just click Files at the top, then click Upload. To create a new file, click New.

While you can't add existing notebooks, you can pin new ones by adding them in new tabs.

How to get content into Teams

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

The easiest way to get in touch with everyone on a team is to post something in the team's General channel. Since every team member belongs to the General channel by default, they'll be able to see that they've got missed activity because the channel name will appear bold. If you type '@channel' into a message in the General channel, you'll also send a notification to everyone on your team that they were @mentioned in that channel.

Another way to get everyone's attention is to @mention your entire team in any of the channels you follow. Just type '@team' before your message, and Teams will autofill your @mention with the name of the team you're currently working in. That will send a notification to everyone on your team that they've been @mentioned even if they're not following the channel you mentioned them in. This saves you the trouble of having to @mention everyone on your team individually.

FYI, @team and @channel mentions are one of the features that need to be enabled for your team. If they haven't been turned on, your team owner can take care of that. Finally, this feature works best when used sparingly, so pick your @team and @channel mentions wisely.

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

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

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

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

  • Allow usage of GIFs, stickers, and memes.

If you're a team owner, you can change team settings by clicking the more icon next to the team name, then clicking Manage team.

Edit team option to access team settings

You can then manage settings in the Settings tab.

If you’re a team owner, there’s a lot you can do to customize your team. Click the more icon next to a team name, then click Edit team.

Team menu with Edit team selected

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

  • Change the team picture by clicking Change picture.

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

  • Allow @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 in no time.

Click the more icon 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 the more icon next to the team name, then click Manage team.

Edit team option to access team settings

In the Settings tab, click Change picture.

Settings tab for a team

If you want to make someone the owner or view who's an owner of an existing team, click the more icon next to the team name in your list, then select Manage team. Find the person in your team list, then, under the column labeled Role, click Member, and then select Owner from the dropdown menu.

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 dropdown.

To change the privacy settings for your team from public to private (or vice versa), click the more icon next to the team in your teams list. Then select Edit team. That will open up a view that lets you edit the privacy settings for your team, and you can select either public or private.

To add a team in Teams to an existing Office 365 group, first navigate to the teams gallery by clicking Add a team at the bottom of your teams list. Once you're there, select the Create a team option. 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 the more icon 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 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. If you want 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 the more icon 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, click https://aka.ms/groupssoftdelete.

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 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 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 permissions settings by clicking More options button next to the team name, and then clicking Manage team.

Team menu with View 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, click Switch accounts, and then pick the account you want.

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 contact 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

Anyone on the team can add a channel and participate in the conversations in a channel. Everyone on the team can see the conversations in a channel. Channels keep team conversations organized and you can dedicate channels to specific topics, themes, or subjects.

This Teams and channels video reviews how to create a team and then shows you how you can create and favorite a channel. A transcript of the video narration and procedural information accompany the video.

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 follow (or favorite) it. You’ll always have the General channel for every team because there's no way to remove it from your favorites.

To favorite a channel, just click Favorite Favorite button next to the channel name. That way, it stays visible in your teams list. You can also see if there's recent activity in your favorite channel because its name appears in bold text. If someone @mentions you in one of your favorite channels, you see a red number count next to the channel name that tells you the number of @mentions you received.

You won't see the team channels that you don't favorite, but if you ever want to take a look at all the other channels belonging to a team, click the text that appears at the bottom of your current favorites telling you how many more channels belong to that team. That opens a list of all the channels you haven't favorited. If you see a channel that looks interesting, you can favorite it from there.

Everyone on a team who's following a specific channel can see if that channel is active thanks to the bold channel name, but they only get notifications if they're specifically @mentioned within that channel. If you get @mentioned in a channel you're not following, you get a notification in your Activity feed.

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

ClickFavorite to follow a channel

You can also favorite channels from the overflow menu in the team list.

Favorite a channel from the More options menu

To follow a channel, click the more icon next to the channel name in your teams list and then select Follow this channel. From then on, you'll receive direct notifications whenever there's new channel activity.

You can also catch up on all your followed channels by going to your Activity feed and filtering your feed to Follows.

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 or @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'll click directly into that point in the conversation.

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

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 team channels by clicking the more icon next to a channel name, and selecting Edit this channel.

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

Team menu with View team selected

To see all the channels in a team, click the link that appears below all the channels you've favorited in that team. That will show you a full list of every channel belonging to that team.

To see a list of all the channels that belong to a team, click the more icon next to the team name, and open up the Channels tab. You'll see a list of all the channels in the team. tab.

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, you can use your channel email address. You can get that email address by clicking the more icon next to the channel name and selecting "Get email address". You'll be able to do this for any channel belonging to a team that you own. You'll also be able to send emails to any channel in a team that lets its members add connectors.

Another option is to have someone with permission to get a channel email address to copy the address and then send it to you—after that, you'll be able to send emails to that channel. Also, even if you don't have permission to create a channel email address, if someone who does have permission creates that address, you'll be able to access it from the more icon menu for 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.

By default, anyone who has access to a channel's email address can send email to a channel. If you want to limit who can send email to your channel, click the more icon next to the channel name, select Get email address, then click the Advanced settings link.

From there, you'll be able to 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 by 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 will not send a reply to the original sender of that email message. Any comments or conversations you have about the email in a channel won't be visible outside of Teams.

Sometimes, emails that get sent to a channel are too large to view in the conversation. If you end up wanting to view an email in its original formatting, you can do so by clicking the Download the original email link under the email message in the conversation.

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

  • If the channel settings restrict who can send email

  • If the email contains more than 50 inline images

  • If the email has more than 20 file attachments

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

When you join a new team, a few channels automatically appear in your favorites. That's intentional. To help get you up and running, we decided to automatically favorite the top five most popular channels in every new team you join. This gives you a sense of how to interact with your new team, and it also shows you where all the action is. You can always unfavorite any of these channels later on.

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

To delete a channel, right-click the channel as it appears in your teams list and then select Delete the channel. There are a couple caveats, though: First, only team owners can delete a channel, so if you want a channel deleted and you're not one of the team owners, now you know who to ask. Also, once you delete a channel, you'll also lose its entire conversation history. However, the OneNote sections associated with that channel will still show up in your team's SharePoint site.

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