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A Microsoft Teams beginners guide

Over the past two years, thanks to the pandemic tons of teams have joined in on the conversational async distributed work-life by either adopting Slack or Microsoft Teams. For many companies the shift has been great however adoption for consistent usage for Microsoft Teams has lagged mostly due to a lack of understanding of the chat-based system.

Working in Microsoft Teams can provide a lot of great benefits to you and your colleagues like working async on a project or resolving a request. It can also help you manage projects, share documents, and more.

To help teams overcome these adoption challenges and reap the benefits of Teams, we put together this guide outlining the basics of what each feature does and highlighting tips and tricks we’ve found helpful.

To start, we’ve dug into the three main areas your team should understand. 

  1. Apps Bar & Pinned Apps
  2. Search or Command Bar
  3. Chat Bar

Group 625996.png


Microsoft Teams App Bar & Pinned Apps

The App bar takes you to and from all the major functions of Teams. Below we've outlined each one with a deeper article and screenshot.


App Bar Name





This is a notification hub of all the activity where someone has commented on a thread, replied to you, set up a meeting, or @mentioned you somewhere in Teams.

Here’s a great article on how to manage them.


image-20211026-214402.png Start or continue chatting with the people you know. When you log in you will automatically be directed to this space.

Here’s an article to learn how to start a chat.


101 overview image (2) (1).png Your company and organizational teams live here. Teams are made up of channels that organize your teamwork into topics, departments, or projects. You can communicate here in several different ways. We will break down the difference between Teams/Channels/Groups/DM/Meetings next.


Tips for kicking off a Team and if you want to get a bit more organized check this article out as well.


 image-20211027-150555.png Video calls for one-on-one or several folks are so easy in Teams. You can schedule them in advance or start them on the fly as needed.

Here are the first things to know about calls via Teams.


Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 2.05.31 PM.png Browse and share your OneDrive and SharePoint files. 

Your files will also be stored by team channel. That way new members can access or retrieve them all in one place.

Here are some best practices for file management.

 Ellipses (…)

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 2.04.08 PM.png This is where you go to find other apps you would like to integrate Teams.

Be sure to pin your favorite or most commonly used Apps for quick access by right-clicking on the app you'd like to pin and selecting "Pin."

Pro tip - Pin support Apps across the company for easy user access.


Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 9.37.41 AM.png

The Apps icon is where you can find any Microsoft Teams app. You can check out what apps are featured, look by category, and specific app features.

Pro tip - pin company-wide or common apps to your Teams instance.


Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 10.01.58 AM.png The Help icon can direct you to learning tools along with suggesting a feature or submitting feedback.



Microsoft Teams Search or Command Bar


Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 11.43.06 AM.png


A great and necessary feature of any chat tool is the ability to search for a comment or file and the ability to kick off an event from your instance. At the top of every Teams instance, you can search or use commands.

A great shortcut to kick off a search or command is by using the hotkey Ctrl+F (cmd+F on macOS). If you simply type a term and hit enter, Teams will display the related messages that contain that key term. You have the option to view it by people and files or filter it down further.

To implement a command, type “/” into the bar, and Teams will list all of your available commands. Some of those commands are related to a search or different actions you can take. The ones we’ve used most often:


Search Command

What it does


this will show you all the most recent files you’ve been working on. Additionally, you can filter by channel, chat, or keyword.


this will show you a feed of where when someone has mentioned @ you.


this will show you all messages you’ve saved (or bookmarked as the icon actually looks like a bookmark)


as you might know, it’s possible to mark a read message as unread (I know some people use this strategy in their inbox. Unread=action needed) so this command is handy for showing all unread messages

Search Pro tips:

  • Use an asterisk to get exact results for any words with a matching prefix. For example, type "serv*" into the search box, and you'll get results for all words that start with those four letters (server, service, and so on).

  • Use quotation marks to search for an exact match on a word or phrase. Example: “annual budget”.

  • The search box also supports certain spell corrections and nickname matches for people searches.



Microsoft Teams Chat Bar

Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 11.42.34 AM.png

From your Teams chat bar you can not only kick off a conversation directly with someone or a group but you can start a topic thread in a Channel. In your message, you can format your text, add an attachment, use emoji’s, gif’s, popular stickers, and more.

Chat Pro Tip:

The Chat bar can be a powerful and time-saving tool for employees by installing company-wide apps to each instance so they have access to kick off actions right from their chat toolbar. This makes submitting internal requests like support tickets or kicking off a document super easy.

For example, when Halp is installed into an instance from your chat dashboard, you or your employees can quickly click the logo and create a ticket anywhere, any time in Teams. No more searching to find where to go when your employees need help. 

Screen Shot 2021-11-29 at 7.36.07 PM.png


Enjoy learning about the basics and want to dive a little deeper?

Check out our eBook on "Three ways to make your team fall in love with Microsoft Teams" and share your tips in the comments below!

1 comment

Fabian Lim Community Leader Nov 29, 2021

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

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