What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a virtual collaborative workspace that allows you to connect to colleagues online. You can use this tool to meet, call and chat.

Teams and channels

What is the difference between teams and channels in Microsoft Team?

A team in Microsoft Teams is a group of people, content and tools that work collaboratively to achieve a goal or business outcome. Each team consists of channels, which is where most of the work actually gets done. For example if you were creating a folder structure, your department would be the team and the divisions within that department (i.e. Finance, HR,IT, etc.) would be the various channels.

This video provides best practices on creating teams and channels.

How can I manage my team effectively?

As a team owner you can manage members, channels and settings. View these detailed steps to add and remove members, edit channels and settings.

Can I reorder channels listed in my team?

You can reorder your list of channels by clicking More options ··· Pin. Reorder by dragging the teams to your preferred layout.

Can I change my team's icon?

Yes, you can upload an image as your team icon.

How do I use a channel to communicate?

You can start a new conversation, respond to incoming chats and even edit a file all in a team channel. You can also use a pin to highlight important information by hovering over the message and clicking ··· More options > Pin. All pinned items are visible in the channel info pane located at the top right of the channel

. Pinned posts appear below the names of those who recently interacted with the channel.

How do I notify the whole group and make an announcement?

When you need to alert a team or channel about something you're posting, use @name. You can also make an announcement using the Teams compose toolbar. Remember, you can also use a pin to highlight important information by hovering over the message and clicking ··· More options > Pin. All pinned items are visible in the channel info pane located at the top right of the channel

. Pinned posts appear below the names of those who recently interacted with the channel.

Can I restore a deleted channel?

Click More ··· next to the team where the channel was created in > Manage Teams. Click the Channels tab and under the Deleted list click the Restore button next to the applicable channel. Confirm you would like to Restore the channel. The channel will appear 24 hours later.

Can I restore a team I deleted?

You will need to log a call with the IT Helpdesk to restore a deleted team.

Are all teams public?

Microsoft Teams allows you to create public and private teams. At UCT,  it is recommended that you only create private teams for security and privacy reasons.

We have, however, created a How to use Teams at UCT public team to help you stay updated about new Microsoft Teams features, or learn more about what it has to offer. This public team is aimed at establishing a community of practice where you can ask and respond to questions, get more information and essentially learn from one another to make the most of your Teams experience.

Can guests be added to private channels?

A private channel can be created within a team. This means that only the team owners and members of that private channel will be able to view its content. A guest can be added to a private channel as long as they are already a member of the team in which the channel sits.

How do I leave a team?

Go to the team you would like to leave and click More options ··· > Leave the team.

Can I add tabs to a Team?

Yes, you can add additional tabs by clicking the + next to the default Posts and Files tabs.

How do I search for content in channels?

Go to the channel where you would like to search for content and press CTRL F on your keyboard. /find <your channel name> will appear in the Search box at the top the Teams window. Enter search criteria and press Enter. Search results will appear in the left column of the window.

You can also search directly in the Teams Search box. Enter /find, the name of a channel or chat as well as the search criteria. Press Enter. Please note that this search option does not allow you to search chat messages/posts in a General channel.

Alternatively, use a pin to highlight important information by hovering over the message and clicking ··· More options > Pin. All pinned items are visible in the channel info pane located at the top right of the channel

. Pinned posts appear below the names of those who recently interacted with the channel.

Can I move or copy multiple files between channels without having to upload this individually?
  1. Select the files you want to copy by clicking the radio buttons that appear when you hover your mouse to the left of the file name.
  2. The top toolbar gives you the option to Download, Delete, Move or Copy. Select the appropriate one.
  3. A window with the current file structure appears. Click the  up-arrow arrow to view all the channels in the current team. Click the arrow again to move content to a different team.
  4. Select the applicable channel and click Move.

Chat in Teams

How do I use the chat functionality in Teams?

Teams allow you to either chat to one individual, a group or a team that you’re a part of.

How do I reply to a specific message?

Go to the message you received and click ••• (More options) > Reply. A message preview appears above the reply field.

How do I make sure that an individual I want to send information to receives a notification?

You can either send a message to a group or an individual by adding an @ to the front of their name. A list of names that match your criteria will appear and adapt as you continue typing.

How do I go from chatting to someone to video calling them?

While conversing with a colleague using the chat functionality, you find it may be better to call them instead. Simply click either the Video call or Audio call buttons at the top of the chat window to make a call.

Can I change my notification settings?

By default, you receive a number of notifications in Teams to alert you that someone has contacted you in one way or another. You can manage your notifications by following these instructions.

Additionally, some people like message previews so that they can see who is communicating with them and what assistance they require. While it allows a quick overview of the incoming conversation, it may not always be suitable if you have someone seated next to you and they too can read the conversation. You now have the option to turn off this default setting by going to your Teams profile picture and selecting Settings > Notifications > Show message preview. You can then turn it off.

How do I manage my activity feed?

Ensure you keep track of who has contacted you as well as activities taking place in channels and teams that you're apart of via the activity feed.

How do I search for content in Teams?

You can search for messages, teams and channels as well as their content via the command box in Teams, or by pressing Ctrl F (Windows) or Cmd F (macOS) to search content. 

Can I block out background noise while on a call?

If you’re working in a noisy area, Microsoft Teams can assist you in reducing background noises so that those on the call with you, cannot hear what’s happening where you are. Click on your Teams profile picture and click Settings > Devices > Noise suppression. The higher you go the quieter your background.

Meeting recordings

Where are meeting recordings saved?

Microsoft has changed the way that Teams meeting recordings are saved. Standard meeting recordings are now saved on OneDrive for Business while channel meeting recordings are saved on SharePoint.

Meeting recordings that are saved on Microsoft Stream are not impacted and can continue to be accessed after the change.

Standard meetings

Standard meetings are scheduled and ad-hoc meetings that are set up via Outlook or theTeams calendar using the Meet now or New meeting features.

The individual who clicks the Start recording button in a meeting automatically becomes the recording owner and has full rights. For this reason, we recommend that the meeting organiser starts the recording, as this will make it easier to manage afterwards. If one of the meeting attendees starts the recording, they have full rights while the meeting organiser only has editing and sharing rights.

The recording is automatically uploaded to the recording owner’s OneDrive for Business account, in the Recordings folder. It is accessible on the top folder level. Follow these instructions to download and install OneDrive for Business.

All other attendees have view access only. A link is automatically shared with these attendees. External parties do not have access to recordings. The meeting recorder or organiser therefore need to give them access.

Channel meetings

Channel meetings take place in a channel or team and are accessible to all team members.

The individual who started the recording has editing rights. The rest of the members’ permissions are based on the channel’s SharePoint permissions.

Recordings are saved in the Teams site documentation library. The folder is called Recordings and is accessible under Documents in SharePoint.

Who can view my meeting recordings?

For security purposes, only the recording owner and meeting organiser may set the applicable permissions to ensure that only the relevant people can view recordings. All internal meeting attendees have view only access while external attendees are unable to access the recordings. The recording owner or meeting organiser will need to manually share the file with external parties so that they can access the recording.

How are groups defined in Microsoft Stream?

Office 365 groups are used in Microsoft Stream. These groups can then be used in all Office applications including email and calendar. If you already have an Office 365 group in place, you can use it in Microsoft Stream.

Each group is allocated its own video portal that lists new and trending content related to the group.

What is the difference between a public or private group?
  • Public groups are accessible to everyone at UCT. This means that anyone at UCT can join the group without having to get permission from the group owner. All videos and channels will then be visible to those who are part of this group.
  • Private groups are limited to only those who are added by the group owner. Only group members will be able to view content in this group.  
How is access managed in a group?

Owners have full control of the group, its channels and videos. They have the right to edit the group’s settings, create and delete channels and delete the group if necessary.

Members rights are set by whether they are contributors or only viewers. Contributors have most of the same rights as an owner. If the Allow all members to contribute setting is off, they can only view the group’s videos.

Follow these instructions to set up a group in Microsoft Stream.

How can channels be used to organise my videos?

Channels are ideal for sorting your videos according to specific topics, although they don’t have permissions settings. You can, however, indicate whether videos stored in channels can be accessible to everyone at UCT, or only specific people.

Company-wide channels are open to all UCT staff and students who can then add and remove videos. The Allow everyone in your company to view this video setting must be selected.

Group channels help with ensuring that only specific people have access to your information. Group channels use the actual group’s settings. Additionally, group members can manage videos too in Microsoft Stream. See how best you can organise your videos according to groups and channels.

Who can upload videos to a channel or group?

If the video is set to company-wide, anyone at UCT can upload it to a group or channel. Alternatively, a recording owner can upload videos to groups and channels they’re a part of.

How do I set video permissions?

As a recording owner, you can set who can view, edit, and own a video. You can also set permissions for what groups and channels it can be accessed in.

Guest access

Can I join team as a guest?

Individuals of external organisations can become a team member by the team owner inviting them to the team.

Can I create a team that includes individuals from UCT as well as external parties?

Yes you can, by following these instructions.

Can I invite guests to a Teams online meeting?

Yes, you can schedule a meeting as normal and include guests in the meeting request. You and your guest can then join the meeting either via the Microsoft Teams client if they have it installed or via the web.

How can I share information with external parties?

Email remains the most popular way of sharing documentation, but you can use Microsoft Teams too.

Collaborate in Teams?

Can I search for people or content in Teams?

Yes, you can search for people, message or files by using the command box in the top bar of Teams. Use the More filters option to refine what you’re looking for. Follow these instructions to search for messages or people.

How can I quickly view the files I recently viewed in Teams?

Hover over the Back and Forward arrows in the top left corner of the Teams window to view the 12 unique actions you took in Teams. 

How do I share a file in Teams?

At the bottom of any channel conversation bar, you can click the Attach button (paperclip) to share a file. It will appear in the post or chat as well as in the Files tab.

Are emojis and stickers enabled in Teams?

Yes, you have access to a wide range of emojis and stickers that you can find in the chat, post or message toolbar. You can even add GIFs to personalise your message, but remember to use with caution.

    How do I record my screen?
    1. Go to Microsoft Stream and log on with your UCT staff/studentnumber@wf.uct.ac.za and password.

    2. Click the Create tab > Record screen.

    3. In the Record your screen pop-up, click the Start recording button.

    4. In the Share your screen pop-up, you can then select what you would like to record:
      • Your entire screen
      • Application window: You can select an application that you have open.
      • A web browser tab: Record browser tabs in either Edge or Google Chrome

    Microsoft Teams and Linux

    Can I use Microsoft Teams if I am on Linux?

    Yes, you can. Teams for Linux is about two versions behind, but still offers all the communication and collaboration tools you can expect from this powerful platform. It is mainly the look and feel that is different to the latest version.

    What screen sharing options are available in Teams for Linux?

    You can either share a PowerPoint presentation or your desktop. When using the desktop option, whatever is on your screen at the time will be displayed. We therefore recommend that you close everything that you don't need while you share your screen, to avoid any personal or confidential information being displayed. 

    Should you need to brainstorm or collaborate with others you can also share a Whiteboard.

    To share in a meeting, click Share content and select the applicable option. When you're done click Stop sharing. If you share a video in an online meeting and realise that there is no sound, instead of pausing the video and stop sharing, simply click pause and move your mouse to the top right of your screen where the Presenting toolbar appears. Click the Computer Sound icon 

    , which is located between Give Control and Stop Presenting, and continue playing your video.

    Get help

    What can I do if I get stuck in Teams?

    Simply click Help in the bottom left corner of your Teams screen and Topics. Browse the range of topics to help you address your problem or use the Training option to watch bite-size videos on how to perform a task in Teams.

    You can also join Teams at UCT public team to get basic assistance, stay updated about new Microsoft Teams features, or learn more about what it has to offer. This public team is aimed at establishing a community of practice where you can ask and respond to questions, get more information and essentially learn from one another to make the most of your Teams experience.

    Alternatively, get assistance using one of the following options: