Today I Learned: Microsoft Office 365 Application Series – Teams Part I

Today is the start of a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers.  This series intention is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing.  We are going to begin this series with Microsoft Teams.  Part I on Teams is going to focus on what it is, how to access it, and how to create a team.

What is Teams

Microsoft’s training demonstrations describe Teams as “A hub for teamwork that provides people with a single place to communicate and collaborate with others.”  It was created and designed with the express purpose of having everything customers need to perform their job function from a single application.  Listed below are many of the features of Teams:

  • Seamlessly integrates with Outlook
  • Access OneDrive without opening a new window
  • Access all of your OneNote folders
  • Collaborate in real time with Office Suite files (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
  • Communicate in real time with colleagues
  • Streamline workflow by using a staff notebook
  • Links to other cloud storage

We will be getting into more detail of Teams features, but that list gives you a pretty basic idea of all its capable of doing.   As a result of all those functions, it can be overwhelming when viewing and using it for the first time.  Let’s start with possibly the most important and easiest part.  How to access it.

How to Access Teams

It can be accessed by going to portal.office.com, logging in with your Pitt credentials, and clicking on the Teams icon.  This will open up Teams in a browser tab.  A desktop version is also available.  It can be installed on the machine once the browser-based version of Teams is open by clicking on the “Get app” icon located in the bottom left-hand corner.  Once it is installed, the next step towards effectively using it is creating a team.

How to Create a Team

To create a team, select the “Teams” icon located on the left-hand side and click “Join or create a team” at the bottom.   Click “Create a team” and choose between Classes, PLCs, Staff Members, and Anyone.  The teams you are more than likely going to want to choose are either PLCs or Staff Members.  PLCs should be chosen when colleagues need to work with other colleagues.  Staff Members should be created by an admin or supervisor for employees that work for them.  Enter the name of your team, an optional description, and choose whether the team is public or private.  Private means only team owners can add members whereas public means anyone in your organization can join.  The last step is to add people to your team and make them either members or owners.  At this point, the team you created will appear within the Teams section with a channel titled “General” appearing underneath the name of the team you created.  Channels are a way to organize the team you just created.  For example, if you are working on a project that involves multiple tasks, you can create various channels associated with the specific tasks of the project.  To add a channel to a team, click the ellipses icon directly to the right of the team you created and select “Add Channel.”  Enter the channel name and an optional description.

Thus concludes the first part on Microsoft Teams.  Please check in next week to find out more about this exciting and useful application.  For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.

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