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How to Create a Team in Microsoft Teams

Author avatar - Michael Reinders

Michael Reinders

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Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace that groups people and enables them to share and collaborate on ideas and information. Here’s how to create a team and manage team members.

Teams vs chats in Microsoft Teams

What is the difference between a team and a chat in Teams? Basically, teams are meant to convey information using collaboration tools amongst a group of people who work closely to get things done. If a project manager wants to privately manage the rollout of a new software product, like Microsoft Loop, they could create a team and add all the members of the project to the team.

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The collaboration spaces available now in Teams are nearly endless. Team owners have the exclusive permissions to adjust and maintain the membership of the team.

A chat, generally between two people or a group of people, includes the same threaded conversations found in teams but is less featured. You may not add apps to chat sessions, and the file-sharing is more limited. For instance, there are no SharePoint sites created for the filesharing in chats as they are in teams.

What is a channel in Microsoft Teams?

Channels are dedicated sections within a team to keep conversations organized by specific topics, projects, and departments. Files that you share in a channel (on the Files tab) are stored in SharePoint.

Channels are places where conversations happen and where work gets done. Channels can be open to all team members, or, if you need a more select audience, they can be private.

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Channels add the most value when they are extended by apps that include tabs, connectors, and bots that increase their value to the members of the team. Every team that is created also supplies you a OneNote notebook to share notes and ideas amongst your team members.

How to create a team in Microsoft Teams

There are many questions about what type of team to create, what the logical design should be, whether to use a private or public team and what its intended purpose should be. We’ll assume you’ve made all those decisions and are ready to create one. Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s create our new team!

Team creation is thankfully straightforward. To create a team in Microsoft Teams:

  1. On the left side of the Microsoft Teams app, click Teams.
  2. At the bottom of the teams list, click Join or create a team.
  3. And now click the ‘Create team‘ button.

Let’s look at the process in more detail.

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Click the Create team button
Click the Create team button

Throughout 2021, Microsoft has added some options including pre-made templates that start the ball rolling for you in terms of channel types, names, and even some apps ready for you to use. For now, we’ll choose ‘From scratch’. (You can also create a new team based on an existing team (or Microsoft 365 group) by choosing the ‘From a group or team’ option).

You can choose either a private or public team. Let’s choose the default, Private. Then, enter the team name in the Title field, a description, and click Create.

Choose the team template
Choose the team template

Entering the team Title and Description

Entering the team Title and Description

It’s also possible to automate team creation in Microsoft Teams by leveraging Microsoft Forms and Power Automate. This way, users in an organization can have a self-service process to request their own teams. 

Inviting internal and external people to join your team

Having a team all to yourself might be intriguing at first, but it can get a little lonely. How about we invite people to collaborate? As long as you include people with a common goal of what to accomplish, you can immediately gain insight into what a private team can do for you.

Your new team's start page
Your new team’s start page

To start, click the ‘Add more people’ button under the ‘Welcome to the team!’ banner. First, we’ll invite a few internal folks in our tenant to our new team. Enter their name or email address and click them in the field. By default, they will be added as Members. You can choose here or later on to upgrade them to (Co)-Owners by clicking the drop-down menu and choosing Owner.

Adding users as Members
Adding users as Members

To confirm they were added, click the ellipses ‘…’ to the right of your team’s name and click Manage team.

Next, we’ll invite an external guest outside our organization to the team.

Invite an external guest

Adding an external user is as easy as adding a member. In the Manage Team view, click the Add member button in the upper-right corner.

Type in the full email address for your guest. Then, click the popup that says ‘Add email address as a Guest’. Click the ‘Add’ button and click Close.

Adding an external user as a Guest
Adding an external user as a Guest

Your external user/guest will receive an email stating they’ve been added to your new team. They can click the Open Microsoft Teams link in the email and get in on the action!

Welcome email for your Guests
Welcome email for your Guests

I signed into the web version of Teams and I’m in! As you can see, there are permissions and rights not available to guests. As an example, guests do not have the right to ‘create more channels‘ as the option is greyed out.

The team's start page as seen by a Guest
The team’s start page as seen by a Guest

How to manage team membership

We’ve already brushed this topic, but let’s give a few more details. To manage your team, click the ellipsis ‘…’ to the right of your team’s name and click ‘Manage team’. On the ‘Members’ tab, you’ll see everyone listed including Owners, Members, and Guests.

To promote a Member to an Owner, simply click the ‘Member’ dropdown next to their name on the right and choose ‘Owner’ from the dropdown menu. Just as easy, to demote an Owner to a Member, simply click the same dropdown by clicking ‘Owner’ and choose ‘Member’. (You cannot promote a Guest or demote a member/owner to Guest.)

Your team's member management
Your team’s member management

 

Summary

Hopefully, this gives you a nice overview of what a team is in Microsoft Teams, how it differs from a chat, and the basics around managing your new team. There are so many more features, apps, bots, and tools at your fingertips. Spend some time to explore all that Microsoft Teams has to offer.

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