Teams: #FightCorona – Desktop Client Orientation 101

This introductory blog series is intended for remote workers who have started using Teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams will be an essential tool in the battle to stay productive, to stay connected, and to fight corona as one global community. It is not intended for IT Pros which should refer to the Teams Real Simple with Pictures series, also on this site

Day 1: Desktop Client Orientation 101
Day 2: How do I join or create a team? Create a channel? Start a chat?
Day 3: How do I chat with others outside of my organisation?
Day 4: Rich chat features for effective conversations
Day 5: Mentions, Tags and Read Reciepts
Day 6: How can I set my availability? When is it right to chat and call?
Day 7: How can I schedule a meeting?
Day 8: How do I join a meeting?
Day 9: How do I turn the meeting lobby on or off?
Day 10: How do I add an agenda prior to the meeting?
Day 11: Rescheduling and cancelling meetings
Day 12: In The Meeting: How do I blur my background?
Day 13: In The Meeting: How do I mute or remove others?
Day 14: In The Meeting: Playing video with audio
Day 15: In The Meeting: Pinning Participants
Day 16: In The Meeting: Recording a Teams Meeting
Day 17: In The Meeting: Taking Control of a PowerPoint Presentation
Day 18: In The Meeting: Hard to hear? Use Live Captions
Day 19: Presenter and Attendee Meeting Roles
Day 20: How can I call other people?
Day 21: How can I forward calls?
Day 22: How can I configure Voicemail?
Day 23: Simultanuous Ring and Secondary Ringer
Day 24: Call Contacts, Speed Dial and Speed Dial Groups
Day 25: How do I hold, transfer, park or retrieve a call?
Day 26: Files – Create, Upload, Sync and Share
Day 27: Files – Tab, Pin, Search and Move
Day 28: Apps Part 1: What are Apps? How can I add them?
Day 29: Apps Part 2: Bots, Connectors and Custom Apps
Day 30: Everything else I think you should know.  Change is the most constant of all

Written: 17/03/2020 | Updated: N/A

Ok. Day one. You’ve just been told that you need to start using Teams. Your admin has installed it on your machine and has logged you in. You don’t know where to begin. What is a Team? What is a channel? What is a tab? Let’s get acquainted.



Teams is an application where you can work together with others in Teams. You can chat together. You can hold meetings together. You can make phone calls. You can work together on documents like word and excel files. You can do all this without having to be in the same office or location. Teams has been designed by Microsoft so users can work together from anywhere, whether that is in the office, from home, or even on the go via via the mobile app!


Your experience with Teams will be through clients. You may use one, or all of these and it is typical to use a combination of all three as time goes on

1.) Desktop Client: Installed on your Windows, MAC or Linux desktop/laptop. This is the primary client and how most people typically use Teams on a day to day basis


2.) Web Client: Available by logging into and supported by most modern browsers including Microsoft EDGE and the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox. This is almost identical to the Desktop version which makes for a smooth experience moving between the desktop and online versions and if you are accessing Teams on a shared computer (I.e. in a library) or another machine. Changes are synced between the Desktop and Web clients and vice versa


3.) Mobile Client: Downloadable from the IOS/Android App store on your device. The features are very similar to the desktop/web clients but designed for a mobile experience. hanges are synced between the Desktop and Web clients and the mobile client and vice versa.


It is recommended you have the latest updates installed to your devices and browsers kept up to date to keep Teams running optimally.


To orientate you, we’ll start off with six features in the Desktop Client




Teams are collections of people, content, and tools surrounding different projects and outcomes within an organization. You could – for example – have a team for sales, and a team for marketing and a team for operations to reflect the structure of your organisation. Yet you could also have teams for hobbies, interests, projects and social activities. It is important to stress that there is no hard and fast rules or limits on what a team ought to be, and organisations often limit themselves as they typically think of Teams in hierarchies such as their own organisational hierachy

Dynamic Teams are short-term – typically for events, projects and time specific activities
Ongoing Teams are longer-term – typically for business functions or departments




Channels are defined as dedicated sections within a team to keep conversations organized by specific topics, projects, disciplines. If, for example, you had a Sales Team, then typical channels you may see would be Leads, Opportunites, Pipelines, Reporting and Resources. However, how you name your channels and what you use them for is completely up to you. Currently, you can have a maximum of 200 standard channels in a Team and 30 private channels. The difference between standard and private will be explored in later blogs.

Every team which is created in your organisation has a general channel. Every channel after that has to be created – which we’ll explore in a future blog

Every channel within a Team has tabs

3 | TABS



Tabs allow team members to access services, apps and content in a dedicated space within a channel. The three default tabs in every channel are

  • Posts – where chats occur between members of the Team
  • Files – files shared and worked on collaboratively between members of the team
  • Wiki – a collective knowledgebase which members of the team can write together

The Add (+) symbol means you can add more applications to the Team. This could be any number of Microsoft of third party apps. Teams supports over 200. We’ll explore some of these in later blogs




The app bar, or what is sometimes called the left rail, is a navigation bar for frequently used apps. You will see a set of default apps here such as Chat (for private chats), Calendar (to schedule meetings) and Calls (to call others). As you begin to use Teams and other applications with Teams more frequently, you can pin them to the app bar by selecting the ellipsis (…) left clicking the app and select pin. This is a great way to have the apps you need most close to hand





The search bar is to search for messages, people or files.


It can also be used to execute Slash Commands. Slash commands are commands that start with a forward slash (/) and can be a very quick way of performing an action. An example is /chat which intitates a private chat with another member of the business




A whole list of slash commands can be found by simply typing / in the search bar


6 | MENU


The menu can be accessed by clicking on your profile picture at the top right of the client. This contains your presence and status, your client settings, the ability to adjust the zoom on the client to make it easier on the eyes, and the ability to sign out of the client if required

Our job here is done for today. I hope that you now understand

  • What Teams is
  • The three clients used to access Teams
  • The six key features of the Desktop Client – Teams, Channels, Tabs, the App Bar, the Search Bar and the Menu

I hope you enjoyed this blog

Tomorrow’s blog is going to be on How do I join or create a team, create a channel and start a chat?


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