How to Use Microsoft Teams: A Beginner’s Guide

July 11, 2022 • Shannon Flynn


In 2017, well-known tech giant Microsoft entered the business communication platform market when it introduced Microsoft Teams. At the time, Slack was the leader in business communications tools and was widely used by many businesses across various industries. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies leveraged high-performing, all-in-one communication tools to accommodate remote and hybrid work models. For example, Dropbox, Google Workspace and Webex were popular choices, in addition to Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams has become an essential tool that many organizations use daily. In January 2022, it was reported that there were more than 270 million active users on Teams per month.

If you’ve never used Teams before, you may feel intimidated or overwhelmed. Becoming familiar with new software can be a challenge under normal circumstances — as more companies offer remote or hybrid positions, you must learn how to use Microsoft Teams.

Continue reading to learn more about Microsoft Teams. You’ll learn how to sign up for Teams, its main features and some bonus tips to help you get more comfortable with this software.

An Overview of Microsoft Teams

Microsoft describes Teams as a collaboration tool specifically designed for hybrid work. It keeps business teams connected and informed in the ever-changing business landscape. 

Teams is a part of the Microsoft 365 family of products. It’s a web-based desktop application that can be accessed on a PC, Mac or mobile app. Teams helps employees access important files on the go, work on projects outside of the office and stay in touch using audio or video calls.

Major organizations such as Brookings Institution, Zendesk and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) use Microsoft Teams for their operations. Teams is highly regarded as one of the best collaboration and communication tools available, so it’s worth learning how to get the most out of the software. One reason for its popularity is because of its easy-to-use and intuitive interface. 

Signing Up for Microsoft Teams

Before learning the ins and outs of Microsoft Teams, you’ll first need to sign up for it. You can easily sign up for Teams by visiting the Microsoft 365 Products page. You’ll choose to pay for a Microsoft 365 plan, either under “For Home” or “For Business.” 

Suppose you’re starting a new job and have never used Teams before. In that case, your organization’s HR department or your supervisor should provide you with instructions on how to get started with Teams. If you’re using Teams for personal reasons, you’ll need to choose your plan and enter the email address associated with your Microsoft account.

From there, select Next and enter your password to log in. Continue following the prompts until you can choose Set Up Teams. After this step, you’ll have to decide if you want to download the Teams desktop application or use another version of Teams. Select which option you want to use, and you’ll be ready to start using the software.

Using the Main Features on Microsoft Teams

One of the best ways to learn how to use Microsoft Teams is to explore the software’s interface. For example, an App bar will be on the left of the screen, and you’ll find several icons to click on. 

You can choose Activity to see your mentions, replies and other recent notifications. You can also click Meetings or Calendar, which allows you to see what’s in store for the next few weeks. Below are some of the main features of Microsoft Teams and how to use them.


A core feature of Teams is chatting with other employees in your organization. You can message an individual employee or a group of employees using Chat. 

Rather than send emails, you can send an instant message to your team members to streamline conversations. You can also include emojis and stickers or even GIFs into the Chat feature to make your messages fun and personalized. 

Calls/Video Meetings

Another key feature of Teams is the Calling feature. You can make voice-over IP (VoIP) calls and even make calls to landlines or mobile phones. Additionally, one of Teams’ most useful features is the ability to set up a video conference to collaborate with employees remotely. 

While video conferencing, you can customize your virtual background, share your screen, record the meeting, add a whiteboard, transcribe the meeting and even host breakout sessions. 

File Sharing

Sharing files with other employees helps you maintain a productive workflow and get your work done faster. You can store, edit and share files within Teams to keep all of your team members on the same page. Like Google Docs, more than one person can work on the same document in real-time to make necessary edits and incorporate critical information. 

Keeping all company files secure is essential as cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and intense. Within Microsoft Teams, all files are stored in SharePoint and backed by SharePoint encryption, which helps keep your work protected.

External Collaboration

Microsoft Teams also has a guest feature that allows employees from one company to invite people outside of their organization to join channels for messaging, meetings and file sharing.

The main benefit of the External Collaboration feature is that it helps facilitate business-to-business (B2B) collaboration. Employees from different companies can communicate with each other and accomplish tasks in the same virtual workspace.

While Microsoft Teams does have other helpful features for businesses, these are some of the ones you’ll use most often. Again, taking time to explore Teams and becoming familiar with the interface will help you learn how to get the most out of the software.

Microsoft Teams will become more popular as the business world becomes increasingly digital. Learning how to use Teams will be helpful for job-seekers in the future.

Get More Done With Microsoft Teams

While there are several business communication platforms on the market, Microsoft Teams is widely recognized as one of the top choices. Teams can be used to manage projects, stay on top of your schedule and communicate with colleagues. 

If you’re new to Microsoft Teams, give yourself time to get used to the latest software. Because it’s highly intuitive and easy to use, it won’t take long for you to become familiar with it. After signing up, explore all of the different features available, and you’ll become a pro in no time.