Microsoft Teams for Employees

Microsoft Teams is a communication service that facilitates virtual collaboration between individual persons or groups. The software has several features, such as a chat and a video and audio conference feature. In addition, it is possible to create groups to facilitate communication on specific topics.

Microsoft Teams at a glance

You are using Microsoft Teams for the first time? Use Microsoft’s Quick Start Guide to learn more about the basic features:

Download Quick Start Guide (PDF)

You can also watch the videos offered by Microsoft to get a quick overview about the many features that Teams has to offer:

Microsoft video instructions

How to login

Please follow the steps described under “How to login to Microsoft 365”.

Profile and status message

Your profile is your business card in Teams. Your profile also indicates your presence, like an office door which is either open or closed. Your presence indicates if you are generally available for a chat or if you are already talking to someone. We recommend to upload a photo so that your colleagues see to whom they are writing. In addition, your status is indicated as a red dot below your profile picture (e.g. green indicates “available”, “red” indicates “please do not disturb”). You can also set a specific status message (e.g. that you are out of office when you are taking a vacation).

  • Change your profile

    In order to upload a profile picture, click on the circle with your initials which is at the upper right corner of the menu bar. The context menu will then open. Please click on the big circle at the bottom.

    A window will open. Now you can upload a profile picture or remove an existing profile picture. If you do not upload a profile picture, your initials will be shown instead of a profile picture.

    If you wish to upload a profile picture, click “Upload picture” and then the “Save” button.

    If you want to delete an existing profile picture, click “Remove picture” and then the “Save” button. In this case, your initials will replace your picture.  

  • Change your status

    Change status
    If you do not change your status manually, the standard setting in Teams will be displayed, which is green. However, the status will automatically change, depending on your actions. If you do not press any keys on your keyboard, your status will automatically turn yellow, meaning that you are away. If you are in a Teams call, your status will turn red, indicating that you are on the phone. If you go offline, your status will be white.

    In addition, you can set a status message that others will see when writing to you. If you do not set a status message, Teams will not display a status message.

    Change your status
    In order to change your status manually, click on your profile picture at the upper right corner of the menu bar. Select the current status (in the picture below the current status is “Available”).

    In the subsequent menu, you can select your new status. Under “Duration” you can also define how long your new status will be displayed. If you click on “Reset status” you can reset the status you set. The standard setting in Teams is green, meaning “available”.

    Change status message
    If you are not available for a longer period of time, we recommend to set a status message (e.g. an out-of-office message when you are on vacation). Click on your profile picture at the upper right corner of the menu bar. Then click “Set status message”.

    Then you can enter and save your personal status message. In the menu under “Clear status message after”, you can also define how long your status message will be shown.

  • Other settings

    In order to adjust your settings, click on the three dots next to your profile picture in the upper right corner of the menu bar. Select “Settings”.

    In this menu, you can individually adjust various settings. Under “General”, you can set a theme for Teams and under “Notifications” (“Play sound for incoming calls and notifications”) turn off the sound for calls and notifications.

    For an overview and more information on how to adjust the settings, please refer to the Microsoft instructions:

    Microsoft Support

Find persons and start a chat

  • Start a chat between two persons

    Click on the name of the person with whom you want to start a chat. Please enter the first and the last name or the Uni-ID in the search line in the middle of the menu bar and start the search by clicking enter.

    A drop down menu showing the name of the person you searched for will open. If you click on the name of the person, a chat window will open. Now you can write your message in the text field at the bottom of the screen. The message will be sent if you press the enter key (or click on the send symbol at the lower right corner).

    Below the text field, you will also see other options, such as formatting options, delivery options, options to attach files, emojis, sticker and many more.

    Please note that you are responsible for the files sent by you and please send only e-mails that you are allowed to send (data protection law, copyright law and so on).

  • Video or audio calls between two persons

    In order to start a video call, please select the person you want to call as described above. Click on the camera symbol in the upper right corner in the window that opens.

    Please note that the call starts immediately.

    In order to start an audio call, please select the person you want to call as described above. Click on the phone call in the window that opens.

    Please note that the call starts immediately.

  • Group communication via chat, audio or video call

    You can also communicate with several persons outside your working groups. Just select the persons you want to communicate with and click on the person icon at the upper right corner of the window. You cannot find the person you want to contact? Please follow the steps described under “Start a chat”.

    A window will open in which you can enter the first and last name or the Uni-ID of the person you want to communicate with. Please confirm by clicking “Add people”.

    The group chat will open in a new window.

    All participants can now see and access the chat history at any time. This also applies to shared files.

    Please note that you are responsible for the files sent by you and please send only e-mails that you are allowed to send (data protection law, copyright law and so on).

    Do you want to see or hear the members of the chat? By clicking on the camera symbol or the phone symbol you can always turn the chat into an audio or video conference.

Teams (working groups)

Teams in Microsoft Teams may be compared to working groups. They facilitate planning and conducting meetings with team members, sharing information and editing documents.

You can find your teams in the “Teams” menu on the left-hand side. If you are not a member of a team yet, you will see the option to create a new team or to join a team.

If you are already a member of various teams, you will see an overview on all teams. The option to join a team or to create a new team is in the upper right corner.

  • Join or create teams

    Go to “Create team” on the overview page on “Join or create a team” and select “Other” in the window which opens.

    The “Create team” window will open.

    Here you enter the name for the team and add a description. With the “Privacy” option, you can define whether only the team owner can add new members or if all employees can join the team without any restrictions. We recommend to refer to a template when creating a new team. For this, you have to be a member of a team before you create your team. By clicking on “Next”, your team is created.

    In the next step, you can add persons or groups to the team. You can also skip this step and add members (see next step) at a later point in time.

  • Add persons to a team

    There are two ways to add persons to a team:

    1. You can add individual persons to a team by clicking the “Add people” button. For this, you have to know the name of the person. If there are several persons with this name, you need to know the ID of this person.

    2. If you click on “Get link to team”, a link to the team will be created. If people click on the click and confirm that they want to join the team, the team owner will receive the request to join the team. The team owner can accept or reject this request.

  • Structuring the topics discussed in a team by using channels

    In order to structure the information within a team, you can create channels for individual topics. The channels may also be set up as private channels. In this case only the persons assigned to this channel are able to see the channel and its content.

  • Share files with a team

    In a team, you can create files for and share files with all team members. You can do this in the “Files” tab.

    Please note that you are responsible for the files sent by you and please send only e-mails that you are allowed to send (data protection law, copyright law and so on).

    In the menu bar at the top, you will find the following options:

    • By selecting the “New” option, you can create files and folders.
    • By clicking the “Upload” option, you can upload files or folders from your computer to Teams.
    • If you click on “Copy link”, you can copy a link. Please note that every user of the Microsoft 365 products of the University of Mannheim who has access to this link can also access the shared file / folder. If you want to define a group of persons that has access to the shared documents, you can adjust the SharePoint settings.
    • If you click on “Download”, you can download the selected file as Zip file. You will only see this option, if you have opened a folder.
    • If you click on “Add to cloud”, you can add files and folders from other teams to your team.
    • If you click on “Open in SharePoint”, you can open the current link in SharePoint.

    These options are dynamic, that means they change if a file has been selected. Here the options “Open”, “Delete”, Pin” and “Change name” appear.

    Tip: Do you regularly work with specific files? It may be useful to pin these files by clicking on the plus symbol at the top of the application. This way, you have easy access to these files.

    If you click on the plus symbol, a menu will open in which you can select and pin the file type (e.g. Word or PDF). Here, all applications offered by Microsoft will be shown. Therefore you should use the search bar and enter for example “Word” to filter the results.

    You can add a name to the tab and select the file. Confirm your selection by clicking “Save”.

  • Team meetings

    If you click on “Meet” in the upper right corner, you can schedule a meeting with all members of a team.

    Please note: Please do not yet use the option “Schedule meeting” provided by Microsoft but schedule meetings via the calendar.

    For more information on meetings, please refer to our instructions on the Teams calendar.

  • Team chat or group chat

    If you want to share files or jointly work on files, it is better to use a team since the files created in a team are not assigned to a person but the team. The files are not deleted if someone leaves the team or the university.

    A team is also useful if you want to schedule regular meetings with the same persons. The members are then automatically added.

    By clicking on the “New conversation” button, you can start a chat on a topic. If you want to reply to a conversation, click on “Reply” below the conversation. This is useful for discussions on a specific topic.

    By creating channels, you can also bring more structure into the team. This facilitates jointly working on a specific topic, since all information can be stored in a channel.

    A group chat is more like a messenger and is useful for general conversations or questions, for which you would otherwise have called the person.

    Create group chats

    • Go to “Chat” in the menu on the left-hand side.
    • Click on the pencil icon.
    • Enter the names of the person you want to add to your group chat in the window which opens. You can find persons by entering their name or their Uni-ID. Please confirm by clicking the enter key to create the chat.
  • Switching between several teams

    If you want to switch between several teams, you can go back to the overview page for your teams by clicking on “Teams” in the upper left corner.

Teams Calendar

For more information on how to use the calendar feature in Teams, please refer to our instructions for the Teams calendar.

Files

The “Files” section provides an overview about the files shared by you or your working groups. The files are grouped into four categories: “Recently used”, “Microsoft Teams”, “Download” and “Cloud”.

“Recently used” is assigned to the files that you recently viewed or edited. Under “Microsoft Teams”, you will find a list of all documents that have been created or edited in the channels of your teams. In the “Download” section, you will find all files that you have downloaded from Teams since your last login. In the “Cloud” section, you will find the files that have been stored and shared with you on OneDrive (the cloud storage that is connected to the Teams instance of the University of Mannheim). Here you may delete the files that you have uploaded to Teams, upload files and create new files.

Please note that you are responsible for the files sent by you and please send only e-mails that you are allowed to send (data protection law, copyright law and so on).

For more information and a short explanation video, please refer to Microsoft.

Apps

Teams allows you to use various apps. Some of the apps, such as OneNote  are Microsoft apps that are directly integrated in Teams. Other apps must be purchased from third-party providers.

Please note that not all apps are licensed by the University of Mannheim.

In Microsoft’s training videos on apps, you will find an overview about the various apps and their features.  

Activity feed

  • What is the activity feed and how can I use it?

    In the “Activity” tab, you will find a summary of all activities related to your communication, irrespective of the channel. It is an overview of all chats, calls or reactions without specifying the chat or team these actions belong to.

    If a red dot occurs next to the “Activity” button, you have received a notification. This means that you have been called while you were away or you have been mentioned in a message. The notification appear for a limited period of time, currently 14 days, in your feed.

    You can search your activity feed by clicking on the filter symbol on the right and entering a search term.

    If you click on the filter symbol again, you can also filter for various types of activities, such as “Missed call”, “Voicemail” or “Reactions”.

    On our page on the Microsoft activity feed, you will find an overview on all symbols that appear in the activity feed.

    Tip: Do you want to quickly check your notifications or get an overview about possible shortcuts in Teams? Use the command line in the menu bar at the top and enter “/”.

  • Adjust notifications in your activity feed

    In order to adjust the notifications that you receive in your activity feed, please click on the gear symbol in the upper right corner and select the options that suit you.

  • My activity

    The “My activity” section includes a list of all information that you have not yet seen on Teams. If you click on the arrow next to “Feed”, you will see the information that you have missed.