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Microsoft Teams Overview


This article is designed to introduce readers to Microsoft Teams, a new chat program that is part of the campus offering of Office 365 by Microsoft. Additionally, readers will learn about terminology, installation, sign-in, layout, and association with the existing Office 365 instance on campus.

Key Terminology

This section will go over the different terms that will assist you going forward in understanding Microsoft Teams’ general function:

  • Chat
    • A message(s) intended for an individual or group of individuals
  • Group
    • Chat sent to multiple people
    • Groups can be given group names
  • Team
    • An organizational group created to include all members of a given area; typically a department or administrative unit
  • Channel
    • A subgroup within a Team that allows for more focused conversation based on a part of a department or administrative unit
  • Member
    • A user that is part of a Team or Group
  • Owner
    • A designated user that can manage a Team or Group

How to access Teams

Desktop applications

The Microsoft Teams desktop application is available for Windows and macOS.

  • Go to and sign-in using your Duck ID and password.
  • Upon sign-in, you will be directed to your Office 365 home page. Select Teams from the list of available apps to proceed.
  • This will load Teams into a browser tab or window. In order to download the desktop application, select the Get App icon on the bottom-left of the tab or window. This will download the correct software package dependent upon your operating system.
  • The Get App link is highlighted on the bottom left of the window.
  • Once downloaded, open the installer file and follow the corresponding installation instructions.

Mobile applications

Open the mobile marketplace application on your device (e.g. Apple App Store, Google Play Store, etc.) and search and download Microsoft Teams.

For more specific information on this process, the UO Service Portal offers additional step-by-step instructions.

Web application

The Teams application is also available for online use by selecting the Teams icon in Office 365 or by going to

Once you are on the Teams page, it will behave exactly like the desktop version with the same features.

How to sign-in

Desktop applications

  • If you downloaded the application to your desktop computer, open Microsoft Teams
  • Enter in your email address in the Sign-in address field then click Sign In to proceed.
  • Enter your password then click Sign In to complete the process.
    • Note: If prompted to do so, be sure to select the Work or school account option, then enter your password on the next screen, then click Sign In to complete the process.
  • If you are a part of any existing Teams groups, you will be directed to the Teams tab as default.

Mobile applications

  • Open the application and select the Sign In button to proceed.
  • Enter your email address and Duck ID password when prompted.

For more specific information on this process, the UO Service Portal offers additional step-by-step instructions.

The chat window layout

Once logged-in, your user account will showcase a view with several different options and features:

Teams window layout

The chat window is separated into four main areas:

  1. Search and create: along the top section of the window, users can go back and forward through different views, create a new chat, or search for users, chats, and add comments.
  2. Activity and collaboration: Teams activity, individual chat or Teams chat, files, and additional applications can be used to transmit messages.
  3. The Contacts Frame: a list of your recent chat messages along with a general contacts list of all users in your Team. Access to new and existing Teams are
  4. The chat transcript space: Conversations are the default view—shared files and general activity can be viewed here as well.

Web application

Go to and sign-in with your Duck ID and password then select the Teams icon.

Creating and sending a chat

First, click on the Create Chat button adjacent to the search field at the top of the window then search by using the Duck ID of the person you wish to chat with or their first and last name:

Click the Create Chat button then type in the Duck ID or first and last name of the person you wish to chat with.

Note: If you want to connect with an individual for a one-on-one chat session, type in their name. If you want to send a message to a Team, type in the name of the Team. Returning to an existing message thread either individual chat or Team message will be in their respectively named locations.

From there, you can connect via standard chat or by a variety of other methods:

Chat window layout with features highlighted

  1. You can select one of the following methods of contact:
    • a) video chat
      • When connected to a video chat, you can choose to have the camera and microphone turned on or off
    • b) audio chat
    • c) screen sharing
      • When you click on this, you can have the option to:
        • Share the whole screen (or a specific screen if there are multiple displays connected)
        • Share any active window in an application
        • Share the active window or tab on a web browser.
      • Note: You can also view the chat transcript by selecting it from the toolbar when connectedClick the Chat Transcript button to view the chat transcript in a panel on the right-hand side of the window
    • d) adding them to favorites or Team.
  2. There are three different views:
    • a) Conversations (default; shows all messages within the conversation with an individual or group),
    • b) Files (which show all files shared with one another; saved to OneDrive), and
    • c) Activity (an individual activity across all channels)
  3. Type here to enter the text as in a standard chat
  4. Text styles, attachments, emoji, GIFs, stickers, a meme builder, and additional extensions can be added then sent as well.
  5. Either press Enter/Return on your keyboard or click the Send icon to send a chat.

Adding extension apps

Microsoft Teams allows for the integration of extension applications (apps) that expand the program’s functionality and customization for your workgroup(s). In order to add any apps, click on the three-dots menu and select More apps to see the full list of apps categorized by work type and function.

1. Select the three-dot menu on the left and 2. Select More Apps to see the full list of extension applications and descriptions

  1. Select the three-dot menu on the left and…
  2. Select More apps to see the full list of apps with descriptions

The full list of apps sorted by category. You can search for a particular app or select from the list or one from a category.

List of Microsoft Teams extension applications

Once an app is selected for installation, the app settings dialog box will appear.

Select the visibility options (for you only and/or for your team), then click Install to proceed.

Go through the visibility options for it:

  1. Select Yes for the Add for you option
  2. Select whether you want the app to be a part of a Team
  3. Click Install to proceed

Your new app will be under the Apps menu in Teams.

How to create a Team and associated channels

Teams allow for departments to organize their users into one large group. Once placed into a group, organizations can create smaller subgroups called Channels that allow for more focused conversation and collaboration for interested users. As Microsoft Teams is currently configured, channels may be subscribed to by all members of a Team and all files shared within it.

1. Teams 2. Channels

In the application window, the Team (marked as 1) will be above any Channel (marked as 2) below it.

Click Join or Create a Team to proceed.

Teams can be created simply by clicking on the Teams icon then selecting the Join or create a team link at the bottom of the Contacts frame of the application window. From there, a team can be created or you can join an existing team with a code provided by an existing team owner.

Create a team if you're looking to create a new team. To join an existing team, talk to the Group administrator and get a code from them. Enter the code in the Enter Code field to proceed.

Click on Create Team

Select the Anyone option to continue.

1. Enter your unit's name, 2. Enter a team description, 3. Select a privacy level, or 4. Select the link to create a team using existing team as template or from an Office 365 group, 5. Click Next to proceed.

Enter in a unique:

  1. Team name
  2. Description
  3. Select a Privacy setting
  4. If you want to create a Team using an existing team as a template or from an existing Office 365 group
    1. Note: If you would like to create a team using an existing team as a template or to create a team from an existing Office 365 group you may do so by clicking the link at the bottom of the dialog box. If you have the proper role within the existing team, you may select the desired team then click Choose team to proceed.
  5. Once all of the information is entered, click Next to proceed.

This will create the Team.

Enter in full email address


If you would like to add members to your new team, you may enter in the email address(es) of the desired user(s) you want as members, then click Add to complete the process.

Click the Options (three-dot) menu on the Team and select Add Channel

Once a Team is created, you can add click on the Options menu to Add channel.

1. Enter a Channel name, 2. a Description, 3. then select Add to proceed.

Enter in a Channel name, Description, then click Add to complete the process.

Relationship with Office 365

Microsoft Teams is part of the University’s Office 365 instance and is connected to OneDrive Online via Files and Office 365 Groups.


OneDrive stores all files that are shared within Teams. Where the files are stored depends on where it is shared.

  • Shared via Chat
    • Files are saved within the sender’s folder and the recipient’s shared folder in OneDrive.
  • Shared via Channel or Team
    • Files are stored within the associated folder for that Channel or Team.

Note: Any files shared within Teams via Chat, Channel, or Team are protected and all file transfers are considered to be suitable for storing FERPA and HIPAA data.

Office 365 Groups

Office 365 Groups can be linked to Teams and vice versa. If you want to connect an existing Office 365 Group to a Team, you can create the Team by selecting Join or create a team link at the bottom of the Contacts frame of the Teams application window, and select the link to Create a Team from an existing group. 

Note: This process can only be completed if you are an administrator of the existing Office 365 Group.

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