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Microsoft Teams – Getting Started

Microsoft Teams is a collaborative communications platform that incorporates a persistent chat, video calls/meetings, and file sharing (including collaborative editing of documents).


Available to current UVM Faculty, Staff, Students, and Temporary Employees

When accessed using UVM’s Office 365 subscription, Microsoft Teams has been approved for handling and storage of all Protected University Information except Protected Health Information.

For Teams installation and sign-in help, see our Microsoft Teams – Installation & Sign-In article.

For other Teams guides, see the Index of Teams articles.

Teams and Channels

What are Teams and Channels?

Source: Microsoft

In Microsoft Teams, a Team is any group of people, for example, the individuals within your UVM department. A team is made up of Channels, which are topic-specific areas where file sharing, messaging, video/audio calls, and online meetings take place.

Creating a Team

  1. Select Teams from the left side-bar, then click Join or create a team
  2. Select Create a team
  3. Choose an appropriate Team template – (more info on Team Templates here)
  4. Give the Team a name, description, and choose whether you’d like to make the Team publicly available to all UVM Teams users, or to make it private (only an owner can add members).
  5. Add colleagues to your Team
  • To add non-UVM affiliates to your Team, enter their email address. Please note that the email address entered must be provisioned with access to Teams by the external collaborator’s institution.

Creating a Team Channel

  1. Click the More options menu to the right of the team you’d like to add a channel to. From the menu that appears, select Add channel
  2. Give the channel a name, and provide a description for the channel, then click

Managing a team

  1. Click the More options menu to the right of the team you’d like to add a channel to. From the menu that appears, select Manage team

  2. From the window that appears you can manage MembersChannels, and Settings for your team.

Inviting an External User to a Team

  1. Click the More options menu to the right of the team you’d like to add a channel to. From the menu that appears, select Manage team

  2. From the window that appears click on Add member.
  3. Type the email address of the guest you would like to add, then click on the prompt to add them as a guest. Click Add to add the guest to your team.

Chat, Video, and Audio Calls

Overview of Microsoft Teams Conversation Methods

Source: Microsoft

Chat allows private conversations between an individual or group separate from the public Team channel. Chat also enables you to share files and to make video or audio calls directly to all members of the chat.

Starting a Chat

  1. Select the New chat button.
  2. Enter the name of the person or individuals you want to chat with.
  3. Send a message to initiate the chat.

Making Video and Audio Calls from Chat

Our instance of Teams only supports Video and Audio calls between Teams users. You will NOT be able to dial internal or external phone numbers.

  1. Select the video or audio call button to call all members of the current chat.

Working with Files and Documents in Teams

Sharing Files

Source: Microsoft

Files can be uploaded to Team channels and chats. To attach a file, look for the icon, select your files, then click upload.

You can also attach files by:

  • Click-and-dragging an image or file to the message box of a chat or channel.
  • Selecting the Files tab, and clicking the “Share” button.
    • Files can be uploaded from your computer, or shared from files within your OneDrive folder.

Collaborating on Files and Documents

Source: Microsoft

Teams lets you share and edit documents collaboratively, meaning multiple members of your team, chat, or channel can edit the same document in real-time!

  1. From a channel or chat, select the Files tab. Locate the file you’d like to edit, then click the More options menu
  2. From the menu that appears, select how you’d like to open the document for editing. Documents can be editing within Teams, Office online, or using the Office applications installed on your computer.
  3. Begin making edits to the file. Others who are editing the file with you will appear as colored flags within the document.

Where are files shared on MS Teams actually stored?

Files that you share in a channel are stored in your team’s SharePoint Online folder. Which can be found in the Files tab at the top of each channel.

Files that you share in a private or group chat are stored in your OneDrive for Business folder and are only shared with the people in that conversation. These will be found in the Files tab at the top of a chat.

The OneDrive files you see in Teams are OneDrive for Business files associated with your UVM provided Office 365 account—not your personal OneDrive. Teams can’t currently connect to your personal OneDrive.


Viewing Meetings

  1. Select Calendar from the left side-bar. This will display all meetings and appointments for the select day. These meetings are synced with your UVM Exchange calendar.
  2. Select a meeting invite to see what the meeting’s about, who’s attending, and to respond to the meeting.

Scheduling a Meeting

Source: Microsoft 365 (YouTube)

  1. Select Calendar from the left side-bar. Click the New meeting button.
  2. Enter a meeting title and add a location, if needed.
  3. Specify a start and end time, and fill in additional details if needed.
  4. Use the Add required attendees box to add the names of individuals you’d like to invite to the meeting.

    To invite someone outside of UVM, type in their email address and they’ll get an invite to join as a guest—even if they don’t have Microsoft Teams.

    If a channel is added to the meeting in step 6, guest users invited this way will not be able to use the meeting chat.

  5. Your Attendees list will display the availability of each invitee. If needed, use Scheduling assistant (at the top of the meeting editing window) to see your attendees availability in a calendar view.
  6. The Add channel drop-down can be used to add team channels to meetings.Selecting a channel will allow all members of that team to attend the meeting. Meetings cannot be scheduled in private channels.

    If you add your meeting to a channel, it’ll appear under the channel’s Posts tab. Team members will be able to set agendas, share files, or add comments.

Creating an instant meeting

  1. Select Calendar from the left side-bar, then click Meet now. 
  2. Give your meeting a title by editing the text that says “Meeting with [Your Name]“, choose your audio and video settings, then click the Join now button to initiate the meeting.
  3. Enter the names of team members you’d like to invite to your meeting.

    • When inviting a non-UVM affiliate to the meeting, click the icon to copy a link to the meeting. Then email the link to your external collaborator.
  4. That’s it!

Our instance of Teams does not currently support inviting members outside of UVM to instant meetings via phone numbers. To invite non-UVM affiliates to an instant meeting, please see step 3 above.

Joining a Teams Meeting

Guests and non-UVM affiliates can still join a UVM Teams meeting

Please see our dedicated guide for joining a Teams Meeting as a guest or non-UVM affiliate.

  1. Select your Calendar and locate the meeting. From the Teams meeting invite, select Join.

  2. Choose the audio and video settings you want to use.
  3. Select Join now to enter the meeting.

Sharing your screen or windows

Source: Microsoft

Teams allows you to share your entire desktop, an application window, PowerPoint presentations, or the Microsoft Whiteboard. To read more about these options, go to this Show Content in a Teams Meeting article.

Recording a meeting

  1. From an active Meeting, select the “More options” menu
  2. From the menu that appears, select “Start recording
  3. The recording will end when you leave the meeting. You will receive an email when the recording has finished processing and is ready for viewing.

Meeting attendee limit

The normal maximum participant limit is 300 people. However, additional attendees can still join meetings in a view only mode. This allows up to 10,000 attendees to a given meeting.

After reaching normal meeting capacity, additional attendees will be informed that they are joining the meeting in view-only mode prior to joining the meeting.

Click here for additional information about this feature.

Teams Remote Lectures

For Instructors

Please see our dedicated article for setting up your Class Team, and scheduling and conducting Teams Remote Lectures. 

The article linked above has information for creating a class team, generating a Team Code and running remote lectures, but it’s possible some of your students will message you directly in Microsoft Teams.

Chats in Microsoft Teams can be a more efficient method of answering student questions, especially for smaller class sizes. If you opt to accept and respond to direct messages through Teams, configure your Notification Settings so these messages aren’t missed.

If instead, you prefer that students do not contact you directly through Teams chats, consider preemptively speaking with your students about your communication preferences.

For Students

Please see our dedicated article for joining and attending Teams Remote Lectures.

The article linked above details how to utilize a Team Code to join a class team, but you may also be added manually by your instructor or TA. There is no difference in the usage of Microsoft Teams based on how a class team is joined – attending your class lecture and communicating with your classmates, instructor or TAs should be no different.

Additional Configuration and Settings

Changing your Profile Picture

Your Teams profile picture can be changed in Outlook on the Web (OWA).

Please see our dedicated article for instructions on adding or changing your profile picture.

Notification Settings

At the time of this writing there are three categories for notifications: Mentions (e.g. when someone @s you), Messages, and Other.

General Notification Settings

To further customize your notification settings, select your profile picture at the top, right corner of Teams, then select Settings button Settings > Activity button Notifications. From there you can fine-tune what notifications you receive and where those notifications show up.

For each type of notification, you can choose to receive one of these:

  • Banner (a pop-up notification on your screen)
  • Banner and email (the frequency of the email notification is set in the Other category)

    Emails will only be sent as a digest of missed activity and should not be relied on as a primary method of receiving notifications from Teams.

  • Only show in feed (Teams activity feed)
  • Off (not available for some categories – will not send notifications)

Adjust your channel notifications

  1. Go to a channel that shows in your Teams list and select More options More options button > Channel notifications. From there, you can choose what activity you get notifications for, and where they show up. By default, channel mentions are turned off and all new posts will only show in Activity.
  2. Select how you’d like to be notified from the drop-down menus. Then click Save.

Turn off notifications for specific conversations within a channel

  1. Go to the beginning of a conversation in a channel, then go to the top right corner of the message and select More options More options button > Turn off notifications. Just like muting a chat, turning off notifications to a channel conversation will stop you from receiving updates for that specific conversation.

You’ll still receive notifications if someone directly mentions you.

Adjust missed activity email frequency

Microsoft Teams will attempt to send you a digest of missed conversation and chat activity via email.

  1. Adjust your missed activity emails by selecting your profile picture at the top, right corner of Teams, then select Settings button Settings > Activity button Notifications.
  2. From the drop-down menu, choose the desired frequency for missed activity emails. This is NOT a replacement for being signed into the Teams client and should not be relied on as the primary method of receiving notifications from Teams.


Private Channels

Private Channels are Not Recommended

When a private channel is created, it generates a separate SharePoint site behind the scenes, adding additional complexity for team owners and administrators without additional functionality.

For example, private channels cannot be converted to standard channels, and team owners are unable to see files, conversations, and member lists unless they are a member of that private channel

Please consider creating a separate team instead.

  1. Select the Team you’d like to add a private channel to, click the More options menu , then select “Add channel“.
  2. Give your channel a name and fill out a description if applicable. Select “Private – Accessible only to a specific group of people within the team” from the privacy drop-down menu. Then click “Next
  3. Enter the names of the individuals you’d like to have access to your private channel.
  4. The private channel will appear in the channel list of your team. Note the padlock icon which signifies that the channel is private.

For additional information on private channels, please see Microsoft’s documentation here.

Archiving and Restoring a Team

If a team is no longer actively used, but should be retained for future reference or reactivation, owners can archive the team. When a team is archived, the conversations and files associated with that team become read-only, but can still be searched by team members.

Archiving a Team

  1. Select Teams on the left, then click the gear icon Settings buttonat the bottom of the screen and select Manage teams.
  2. In your list of Active teams, find the name of the team you want to archive, then click the More options menu .
    Only Team Owners can Archive a Team

  3. Select Archive team from the options list.
  4. Click Archive after optionally making the SharePoint site associated with this team read-only.
  5. You should now see your archived team beneath the list of active teams.

Restoring a Team

  1. Select Teams on the left, then click the gear icon Settings buttonat the bottom of the screen and select Manage teams.
  2. In your list of Active teams, find the name of the team you want to archive, then click the More options menu .
    Only Team Owners can Restore an Archived Team

  3. Select Restore team from the options list.
  4. Your team should now be visible in the list of Hidden teams.

For additional information on Archiving  and Restoring teams, please see Microsoft’s documentation.

Deleting a Team

If a team is no longer actively used and will not be needed for future reference or reactivation, owners can delete the team.

Please Consider Archiving your Team Instead

Recovery of a deleted team may require the assistance of a system administrator or be outright impossible.

  1. Select the Team you’d like to delete, click the More options menu , then select Delete the team.
  2. Read the warning message. If you understand and still wish to proceed, click the checkbox, then click Delete team.

More info and Training Resources

Additional training resources for Students, Faculty and Staff

Additional training resources for UVM Employees (Faculty, Staff, Temps)

Updated on July 24, 2023
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