Microsoft Teams is the ultimate messaging app for your organization—a workspace for real-time collaboration and communication, meetings, file and app sharing, and even the occasional emoji! All in one place, all in the open, all accessible to everyone.

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Introduction to Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app that helps your team stay organized and have conversations—all in one place. Here's a quick look at the left-hand side of Teams.

  • Teams - Find channels to belong to or create your own. Inside channels you can hold on-the-spot meetings, have conversations, and share files.
  • Meetings - See everything you’ve got lined up for the day or week. Or, schedule a meeting. This calendar syncs with your Outlook calendar.
  • Calls - In some cases, if your organization has it set up, you can call anyone from Teams, even if they’re not using Teams.
  • Activity - Catch up on all your unread messages, @mentions, replies, and more. 

What does Teams do?

Within one window, users can call upon a variety of key Office 365 apps and tools to help them work more effectively, such as:

  • Calendars and meetings (Outlook)
  • Create, share, edit and find content (SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote)
  • Call and meet team members (Skype)
  • Chat and instant messaging (Skype)

Key Benefits of Teams

  • One centralised hub
  • Office 365 integration
  • Customise Teams through APIs and bot frameworks
  • Enterprise security & compliance
  • Azure Active Directory integration
  • No extra cost to Office 365 users

Once your organisation has access to Teams, you can: download the desktop application, access Teams through your browser or download the mobile app.

Teams and Channels

To start your teamwork collaboration, you need a team. Setting up Teams is easy and done in a few clicks, requiring a Team name and a description; this then allows team members to be added. As mentioned above, a new Team will create a matching Office 365 Group, OneNote, SharePoint site and Plan—so this does need to be done with some caution.

Each Team has subsections, which are called Channels, and a General Channel will automatically be created. You can have multiple Channels within a Team; for example, you could have a 'Marketing' Team and then Channels such as 'Social Media', 'Product Launch', 'Blogs' etc. Or a Company could be a Team and Channels can relate to departments - you can choose whatever suits your organisation's way of working. Whenever there is a new notification or activity, the Channel will become bold.

Channel Tabs

Each Channel all have their own tabs along the top. Conversation (group chat), Files (shared documents) and Notes (shared OneNote) are automatically created and you can then add your own tabs.


Conversations are one of the key features of Teams, allowing each Team to have a centralised discussion that is saved and easily searchable. Conversations are the central component where all teamwork is recorded—from file sharing to video calls.

The use of @mentions allows you to tag participants or even whole teams to notify others. Users that look at Conversations will easily see where they have been mentioned through the red @ symbol to highlight areas of importance to them. On top of this, your desktop app will notify you through an alert. As well as tagging, users can 'like' content and share emoticons or GIFs.


In your Teams window, you can perform a variety of tasks directly within that window or browser, so that you avoid flicking between different applications. These tasks include the ability to delete, download, move files, open, copy, edit or get a link to share with others – giving you all the key features you would get in the native apps.

You can also start a Group chat alongside the file, to allow team discussions while all working on the files - and this conversation will appear in your Conversation thread.

View team files, edit, upload and create


Notes takes you to the Team shared OneNote. Within Teams you can view and edit your OneNotes (directly within the Teams window) or you can click to edit in the OneNote app.

Edit within Teams

Edit in OneNote

Adding Tabs

As mentioned, as well as these three automatic tabs you can also add your own, which currently include Planner, Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, Power BI dashboards and more.

Microsoft products can easily be added now, but there are also many future integrations coming to Teams, such as Asana integration. With integration between systems being so vital to teamwork, we can expect to see many more partnerships and out-of-the-box integrations!

Asana Integration


Along the left-hand side you can navigate to different areas within Teams, such as Chats, Meetings, Files and Activity. Most of these are fairly self-explanatory:

Activities: Shows you the last activities of the Teams that you are part of.

Chat: This holds your Skype for Business conversations, providing a complete chat history. However, for a chat within a Team you should use the Teams menu and hold the group chat in 'Conversation'.

Teams: An overview of all your Teams that you are part of and allows you to drill-down into each Channel within the Teams. This is also where you can create Teams.

Meetings: The Meetings tab pulls your meetings in from Outlook and also allows you schedule meetings within the Meetings tab that are sent to a Team. If you want to schedule other meetings with external users or individuals, you will still need to use Outlook, as the Teams Meeting tab is only to schedule a meeting with a Team. (Remember the aim is team collaboration, not calendar management).

Files: Within Files you can quickly find and view files across OneNote, OneDrive and within Teams (stored in their own SharePoint sites). There’s also a very helpful ‘Recent’ tab so you can quickly access the latest documents you were working on, as well as a shortcut to your Downloads.

When to use

Microsoft Teams is suitable:

  • When you require instant communication
  • For smaller, close-knit teams
  • For team members who know each other well
  • For sharing information in various formats and methods (shared library, notebook, chats or app integration)
  • For easy transfer of knowledge and content (files and conversations accumulated from the start) especially to newly added members

Furthermore, here's why you should use it:

Instructional guide

Below are steps on how to download, install and set up Microsoft Teams for Windows 10.

  1. Open a browser and navigate to
  2. Sign in using your UKZN staff email and password.
  3. Select Teams from the list of available applications at the top of that page to open it.

  4. Click the Download desktop app icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen.

  5. A download will start, save the installer file to your computer.

  6. Once the download completes, run the installer.

  7. Sign in using your UKZN password.

  8. That's it!  Microsoft Teams is now installed on your device.

Key Features

The Teams application allows for three major methods of communication along with many other integrations with Office 365 applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. This section will go over how to create a chat, how to send text, audio, and video-based messaging, and how to create a Teams group of your own.

Creating a Chat

First, click on the Create Chat button adjacent to the search field at the top of the window then search by using the email address of the person you wish to chat with, or their first and last name:

Click the Create Chat button then type in the Duck ID or first and last name of the person you wish to chat with.

Note: If you want to connect with an individual for a one-on-one chat session, type in their name. If you want to send a message to a Team, type in the name of the Team. Returning to an existing message thread either individual chat or Team message will be in their respectively named locations.


Audio Chat, Video Chat, and Screen Sharing 

From the chat window for an individual or a group, you can use standard text chat or audio, video, or share your screen:

Chat window layout with features highlighted


  1. You can select one of the following methods of contact as indicated in the image above labelled 1 (a-d) to 5 and described below:

a) video chat

      • When connected to a video chat, you can choose to have the camera and microphone turned on or off.

b) audio chat

c) screen sharing

      • When you click on this, you can have the option to:
        • Share the whole screen (or a specific screen if there are multiple displays connected).
        • Share any active window in an application.
        • Share the active window or tab on a web browser.
      • If you want to pass control to another participant, you can click on the Give Control menu at the top of the screen to select them.
      • Note: You can also view the chat transcript by selecting it from the toolbar when connected.

Click the Chat Transcript button to view the chat transcript in a panel on the right-hand side of the window

      • Note 2: If Teams suspects that you are trying to speak but your microphone is muted, you will see a message above the toolbar reminding that your microphone is muted.

d) adding them to favourites or Teams group.

  1. There are three different views:

a) Conversations (default; shows all text-based messages within the conversation with an individual or group),

b) Files (which show all files shared with one another; saved to OneDrive), and

c) Activity (an individual activity across all channels)

  1. Type here to enter the text as in a standard chat.
  2. Text styles, attachments, emoji, GIFs, stickers, a meme builder, and additional extensions can be added then sent as well.
  3. Either press Enter/Return on your keyboard or click the Send icon to send a chat.

Creating a Teams Group and Channels

Teams allow for departments to organize their users into one large group. Once placed into a group, organizations can create smaller subgroups called Channels that allow for more focused conversation and collaboration for interested users. As Microsoft Teams is currently configured, channels may be subscribed to by all members of a Team and all files shared within it.

1. Teams 2. Channels

In the application window shown above, the Team (marked as 1) will be above any Channel (marked as 2) below it.

Click Join or Create a Team to proceed.

Teams can be created simply by clicking on the Teams icon then selecting the Join or create a team link at the bottom of the Contacts frame of the application window. From there, a team can be created or you can join an existing team with a code provided by an existing team owner (See image above). 

Click on Create Team

Create a team if you're looking to create a new team. To join an existing team, talk to the Group administrator and get a code from them. Enter the code in the Enter Code field to proceed.

Select the Anyone option to continue.

Then at this dialog box shown below, do the following:

  1. Enter a unique Team name
  2. Enter a unique Description
  3. Select a Privacy setting
  4. If you want to create a Team using an existing team as a template or from an existing Office 365 group.
    1. Note: If you would like to create a team using an existing team as a template or to create a team from an existing Office 365 group you may do so by clicking the link at the bottom of the dialog box. If you have the proper role within the existing team, you may select the desired team then click Choose team to proceed.
  5. Once all of the information is entered, click Next to proceed.

This will create the Team.

If you would like to add members to your new team, you may enter the email address(es) of the desired user(s) you want as members, then click Add to complete the process.

Once a Team is created, you can click on the Options menu to Add channel.

Click the Options (three-dot) menu on the Team and select Add Channel

Enter in a Channel name (1), Description (optional; 2), then click Add (3) to complete the process.

1. Enter a Channel name, 2. a Description, 3. then select Add to proceed.

Schedule a Meeting in Teams

Your calendar in Teams is connected to your Exchange calendar. In other words, when you schedule a meeting in Outlook, it'll show up in Teams, and vice versa.

Every meeting scheduled in Teams is automatically made into an online meeting. Scheduling from Outlook? Learn how to add Teams to your Outlook meeting.

Schedule a Meeting

There are several ways to schedule a meeting in Teams:

  • Select Schedule a meeting Schedule a meeting button in a chat (below the box where you type a new message) to book a meeting with the people in the chat.
  • Go to Calendar Meetings button on the left side of the app and select New meeting in the top right corner.
  • Select a range of time in the calendar. A scheduling form will pop open.

The scheduling form is where you'll give your meeting a title, invite people, and add meeting details. Use the Scheduling Assistant to find a time that works for everyone.

Scheduling Assistant tab in the Teams new meeting scheduling form.  

Once you're done filling out the details, select Save. This will close the scheduling form and send an invite to everyone's Outlook inbox.

Invite People Outside Your Organization 

Teams lets you invite people outside your organization, including those who don't have a Teams license. You'll need their full email address to invite them.

  1. Go to where it says Add required attendees. If anyone is an optional attendee, select Optional instead.
  2. Type the person's full email address (ex:
  3. Select Invite. They'll receive an email with a link to the meeting.

Make it a Channel Meeting

  1. Select New meeting.
  2. Type the name of one or more channels where it says Add channel (under the time and date fields).

  Add channel to a Teams meeting.

Channels can't be edited or added once the invite is sent. You'll need to send a new invite with the updated channels.

Note: When you have a meeting in a channel, everyone in the team will be able to see it and join it in that channel.

Once you've added the people you want, select Scheduling Assistant to find the best time.

If it's a recurring meeting, open the dropdown menu next to Does not repeat (just below the date). Choose how often you want it to occur from the default options, or select Custom to create your own cadence.

Change the Calendar View

By default, you'll be shown your work week and can be changed from the dropdown menu at the top right of your calendar. Here are your current view options:

  • Day gives you an agenda view focused on one day at a time.
  • Work week shows you Monday through Friday.
  • Week shows you the entire week.

In the top left corner, you'll find the month and year. Select the month to change your calendar view to any date— past or future. Select the arrows next to the month to scroll by day or week depending on your calendar view.

Select Today to get back to the current date.

Note: The calendar shows you everything that was scheduled in Teams, Exchange, or Outlook.

Right-click for more options

Right-click an event in your calendar to RSVP, remove it if it's cancelled, or open the invitation to view the meeting details. If the event is a Teams meeting, you'll also get options to Join online and Chat with participants.

Context menu of a calendar event in Teams.  

Teams meetings will show a join button on an event in your calendar five minutes before the start of a meeting. Once someone joins the meeting, the event will change colours to let you know they're online.

Select Join to open the meeting settings window to confirm your preferred camera and mic settings before joining the online meeting.

Join a Meeting in Teams

Join Teams meetings anytime, anywhere, from any device. Teams meetings are best when you join them from the Teams app or Teams on the web, and there's a bunch of ways to do that—read on for details about joining by link, from your calendar, and more. If you can't use the app or the web, some meetings let you call in using a phone number. 

Join by Link

All you need to join a Teams meeting is a link.

A hyperlink with text reading "Join Microsoft Teams Meeting"

Select Join Microsoft Teams Meeting in your meeting invite to be taken to a page where you can choose to either join on the web or download the desktop app. If you already have the Teams app, the meeting will open there automatically.

If you don’t have a Teams account and the organizer has allowed it, you may have the option to enter your name to join the meeting as a guest. If you do have a Teams account, select Sign in to join with access to the meeting chat and more. Then, depending on the organizer’s settings, you may join the meeting right away or go to the lobby where people in the meeting can admit you.

Join from Calendar

Select Calendar Meetings button on the left side of the app to see your meetings. Find the meeting you want, and then select Join.

Meeting with join button

Or, if someone starts the meeting, you'll get a notification you can use to join.

Join in a Channel

If a meeting takes place in a channel, you’ll see an invitation to join, relevant content, and who’s in the meeting right in the channel. Just select Join.

A meeting in a channel with a Join button

Join from Chat

If the meeting has already begun, it appears in your recent chat list. Select the meeting in your chat list and then select Join at the top of the chat.

A meeting chat with a Join button in the header

Call In

If you're unable to use the Teams app or Teams on the web, you can join some meetings by calling a phone number. 

If there's a phone number and conference ID in the meeting invite, just dial the number to join.

  A meeting invitation with dial-in numbers and a conference ID as well as a link for local numbers

The number in your invitation may not be local to you. Select Local numbers to find one that is.  

Add a Room While You Join

When you’re choosing your audio and video settings, you have the option to add a room so you can use a meeting room’s audio and video devices. Your personal device may even detect a nearby room using Bluetooth. If it does, you’ll see the meeting room’s name and the option to Join and add this room. If the nearby room has already joined the meeting, you can Join with audio off to avoid disrupting the meeting.

If your device doesn’t detect the room nearby, select Add a room under Other join options and search for the room you’re using.

On the join screen under Other join options, there's an option to Add a room

For more information regarding Teams Meetings and Calls, please click here.

To learn how to share content in a meeting in Teams, please click here

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