Whether you’re just getting around the basics of Microsoft Teams or need advanced tips, we answer all your burning questions in our Teams Q&A.
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Did you know Teams has now become Microsoft’s fastest growing business application? But the world of collaboration possibilities Teams offers often also brings along questions.
Throughout our webinars on Microsoft Teams, we’re covering a complete overview of Teams functionality, productivity hacks and undiscovered secrets. The feedback on each session has been invaluable, but several questions keep surfacing. That’s why we’ve decided to compile and share with you the most frequently asked questions about Teams, answered by our experts. (We’ll be updating this blog regularly, so make sure to come back often to check what’s new!)
1. How can I add the calendar on the left side of my Teams interface? And does it synchronize with my company Outlook calendar?
You can pin apps, such as your personal (synchronized) Outlook calendar, to the Teams sidebar by clicking the 3 dots in the sidebar and then selecting the desired app from the list of available ones. The calendar is fully synchronized with the Outlook calendar (but note that additional calendars that you have in Outlook will not appear in Teams).
But there’s another way around this. You can also unpin an app from the sidebar by right-clicking on the app and selecting ‘Unpin’. To reorder the apps in the sidebar, you can simply select an app in the sidebar by left-clicking in and then dragging it to the desired location.
How to add a calendar to the Teams toolbar
Note that your Office 365 Administrator can define which apps are allowed and which are blocked. So, the apps you have available for pinning will also depend on these administrative settings.
2. Can the "General" channel be renamed?
No, unfortunately the General channel is always present in each Team and as of now, cannot be rename.
3. Why do folders made in a Teams-related SharePoint site not appear in Teams?
If you create a Team, an Office 365 Group and a SharePoint team site are automatically created too. Creation of the Team also creates a General folder, corresponding to the General Channel, within the Documents document library in SharePoint. Note that other Channels within a Team will also correspond the folders at root level within the Documents document library.
Folders which are created within SharePoint under this General folder (or another Channel-related folder), will also appear in the Files tab under the corresponding channel in your Team. However, if you create a folder in SharePoint that’s not inside one of the Channel-related folders, then they will not appear by default in the Files tab in Teams. To make these folders visible in Teams, you’ll need to show the complete document library in the Team. This can be done by either using the action ‘Add cloud storage’ from within the Files tab in Teams, or by creating a separate tab in your Team for the document library by adding the tab ‘Document Library’ in your Team.
4. Why do I sometimes get notifications of Team calls, even if I am not participating?
You will normally get notifications of all Teams calls which arescheduled in your personal calendar.
You can manage notifications per channel: click the 3 dots next to a channel name and select the option ‘Channel notifications’.
How to manage channel notifications
To get full control over all notifications within Teams, you can go to ‘Settings à Notifications’ by selecting your profile picture on the top right of the Teams interface.
5. How can chats be deleted?
You can manage your own, individual chat messages in a thread: they can be deleted by hovering over them and selecting the three dots which will appear for each message (next to the emojis).
How to delete chat messages – Step 1
How to delete chat messages – Step 2
Currently it’s not possible to delete an entire chat thread within Teams. You can hide chat threads, but not delete them. Deleting entire chat threads is on the roadmap for MS Teams, but without any concrete release date yet.
6. How can I release an update to a PowerApp?
PowerApps have a version system, which means that you always have the option to publish an updated version of an existing PowerApp. Once you publish an updated version, all users with whom you shared your Powerapp, will also automatically get notified of the availability of an updated version.
7. If you’re starting from scratch, should you first create a group in Office 365 or create a Team on Microsoft Teams?
When starting from scratch it’s most logical to create a Team from within Microsoft Teams: it’s easier for the user than first creating a Group and then creating a Team from that Group. Note that creating a new team will always automatically create a corresponding Group in Office 365.
8. Is the approval flow for creation of Teams a built-in function?
Currently, there are no built-in approval flows for the creation of a new team. By default, you can only configure which users are allowed or not to create Teams.
However, with some minor customization it’s possible to add a Flow-based approval workflow to the Teams creation process. Approval flows are also part of Teams governance add-ons such as Amplexor TeamHub.
9. Can I group teams by myself?
There’s no advanced grouping function within Teams, but you can drag and drop your Teams to create your own personal order.
With Teams governance add-ons such as Amplexor TeamHub, you gain more power over searching and grouping Teams, as they support additional metadata and filtering/refining.
10. How to integrate cross-team news and corporate news into my Teams workspace?
For corporate news, you can create an organization-wide Team (org-wide Team). Org-wide Teams are a new type of Teams, in addition to private and public Teams, which automatically include all your colleagues as members. Note that the creation of org-wide Teams is limited to a well-defined group of users. Although org-wide Teams do allow for corporate communication, most organizations still prefer to have a full intranet on SharePoint, for example based on Valo, because it allows for a much richer intranet experience.
Cross-Team communication is possible in Microsoft Teams by using the option ‘Post in multiple channels’. This option becomes available when you click the ‘Format’ option on the bottom left when creating a new post in a Channel. Note, however, that posting in multiple channels only applies to the original message. All subsequent replies will be limited to the Channel they were posted in.
11. Can I add a Planner to a Channel?
Yes. A Planner – and other apps such as OneNote, Forms or even 3rd party apps (Trello, Asana, Jira, and more) – can be added as a tab in a Channel. Note that your Office 365 Administrator can define which apps are available/blocked for use.
12. Can Skype for Business and Teams co-exist? (And should they co-exist?)
Microsoft decided to pull the plug on Skype for Business on July 31 2021. All existing Skype for Business users will therefore need to move to MS Teams, which now has the full functionality of Skype for Business, with even better call quality. Only presence within Outlook and other Office Apps is currently still limited to Skype for Business.
Skype for Business and Teams can co-exist and there are 4 different modes of coexistence, as Microsoft describes in this article. Co-existence should only be chosen if there’s a real business requirement for such a scenario. The adequate choice depends on the existing context in your organization. For example, an organization with meeting hardware that’s only compatible with Skype might require a certain coexistence with Teams, while other organizations might ban Skype altogether.
Existing Skype for Business users should start planning the move to Teams. A detailed description of this move can be found here.
13. What’s the difference between a SharePoint site and a Team? Why do both still exist?
Teams should be seen as a kind of hub application, which incorporates many of the existing Microsoft productivity tools such as SharePoint, OneNote, and so on, in a single application. From a technical perspective, this means that the creation of a new Team will also automatically create a new SharePoint site in the background. A Teams user needn’t be aware of this, but the traditional SharePoint document collaboration features are used in the background to manage the documents in a Team. That’s the core reason why both Teams and SharePoint sites still exist.
Note that you can still create ‘pure’ SharePoint sites without Teams. But we do see most organizations switching to Teams because it offers users a more comprehensive digital workplace than a pure SharePoint environment.
14. Where are my file(s) stored when I share them through a chat session? (not necessarily part of a team)
When you’re sharing documents in a chat in the Chat section of Microsoft Teams, then the shared documents are stored in the OneDrive of the user who uploads them. The document is automatically shared in edit mode with the other people in the chat.
When you’re sharing documents while in a conversation in a Channel of a Team, then the shared documents are stored in that Channel’s Files. You’ll find the uploaded documents under the tab Files (and they are actually managed in SharePoint in the back-end).
15. How do I see if a Channel is available for all team members or if it’s private for only a part of the team members?
The private Channel will only be visible to people who were added to that Channel, and they will see a small lock icon next to the Channel’s name.
Private channels in Teams are marked with a small lock icon
16. Can I limit access for external users to a specific Channel within a Team or is that currently not yet possible?
In general, you should consider a Team in Microsoft Teams as workplace for the whole team. This also implies that by default all (public) Channels within the Team will be accessible by all Team members, including external users. So, if you need to limit access, you can either use the private Channels feature to secure access to sensitive information (only accessible to internal users), or create a separate team in which the external people have access to only the information they need.
17. I am a MacBook Air user. The Microsoft Teams Calendar connected to Outlook calendar: is this also possible with iCal?
The Microsoft Teams calendar matches your calendar on your Office 365 user account. If you are already syncing your Office 365 calendar in iCal, then yes, the calendar you see in iCal will match the calendar you see in Microsoft Teams.
18. What is the Wiki tab for?
The Wiki tab in Microsoft Teams allows you to create and manage a simple wiki for your team in a specific Channel. All Wiki content you see in a Team Channel is stored/managed in the background in SharePoint.
Join our online tutorials on Microsoft Teams
To get a complete overview of Teams, check our 90-minute online workshop Microsoft Teams: from the basics to the dirty secrets, available on demand.
Starting 31 March, we’ll also be covering some of the above topics and many more on our weekly webinar tutorials. If you’re working remotely and need tips on staying connected and productive, you won’t want to miss these! Check our agenda and sign up to join us live, or get the recording later.
About the author
Tom Laureys is Solution Manager ECM at Amplexor based in Belgium. For the past 10 years, Tom has been helping clients across industries find the right technology to effectively digitize their business processes and improve collaboration and productivity. His combination of strategic thinking and expertise in a range of platforms - from Alfresco and Documentum to SharePoint and Office 365 – grant him the capacity to capture new trends on the market and turn them into solutions for our customers.