what is microsoft teams

When it comes to workplace collaboration apps that allow for chat, meetings, and calls, there are only about two or three that rank among the most popular. Of those, Microsoft Teams is at the very top. For many, it’s widely used as collaborative solution for work, school, and business professionals alike. In addition, perhaps one of best and most attractive aspects is that it comes included for free with Microsoft 365 and Office 365.

But let’s backup a second. Just what is Microsoft Teams? And what is it used for? These are the questions we answer in this article. We also cover how to login to Microsoft Teams, as well as how to install the Teams app on your Windows PC or Mac.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaboration app that allows for chatting, online meetings, calling, and video conferencing. It is a Microsoft 365 app that you can use to chat and meet with colleagues, co-workers, and teams from virtually anywhere. Microsoft Teams comes included with the Online Essentials and Business Premium Microsoft 365 subscription plans.

Who Microsoft Teams is for

Microsoft Teams is an ideal communications solution for offices, school, and companies or organizations. It caters to businesses of all sizes ranging from just a few employees, to thousands of employees. Users prefer the app for its secure communication and flexible ability to determine who to include in meetings.

But in addition to the chatting and collaborative capabilities of the app, Microsoft Teams also integrates with other apps, making it simple to tie-in other business apps based on industry or specific software need. Among these integrations include workflow automation and project management tools, ideal for businesses that require organization of tasks in a centralized dashboard environment.

With that being said, here are the key components and capabilities the app has to offer its users.

What are the Microsoft Teams features?

Some of the features that makes Teams such an efficient and collaborative tool include:

Core capabilities

  • Chatting: Send one-on-one messages to colleagues, or to entire groups. You can send emojis, gifs, or any other media to whomever you are chatting with.
  • Meeting: You can hold video conferences at the touch of a button from any location on the globe. Meet with groups as small as 2 people, and up to 10,000 if needed.
  • Calling: This includes the ability to make calls with groups internally and externally. Direct call routing and phone systems are also available with calling capabilities.
  • Collaboration: One of the key features of the app is ability to collaborate with others in real time. This means you, co-workers, or whomever needed, can edit files together, all at the same time. You can edit files such as Word and Excel documents, PowerPoint presentations, and more.

Additional functionality

  • File sharing: Securely share files with others directly through messaging. Upload documents and access files through a cloud-based storage environment with built-in apps such as SharePoint, OneDrive, and OneNote.
  • Video conferencing: Virtually meet face-to-face with team members through video with the ability to hold meetings from anywhere, anytime. Video conferencing makes collaboration simple, while increasing productivity and efficiency among team members.
  • Screen sharing: When you need to share your screen with others during a meeting, this feature makes it convenient to do so. Turn screen sharing on or off at anytime while chatting or collaborating with the people you are meeting with.
  • Together mode: This is a neat feature that lets you and whomever you’re meeting with, digitally be in the same location with a shared background. This makes it seem as though everyone in the meeting is in the same physical place (such as a coffee shop or classroom). View Together mode video.
  • Custom backgrounds: With custom backgrounds, you can create your own virtual location by uploading a background image of your choice. That background image then displays as your video backdrop during your meeting. So whether that is at a beach, a snowy mountain, or outer space, you decide where you are (virtually) during the meeting.

How do I login to Microsoft Teams?

Note: With the Microsoft 365 Online Essentials subscription plan, you can only access Microsoft Teams on the web from your internet browser (web-app version). With the Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan, you can install the app on your device or computer (in addition to using the web app version).

If you are signed up with Microsoft 365 Online Essentials, you can access Microsoft Teams by simply logging into to your Office 365 email. From here:

  1. Enter your Office 365 email and password.
  2. Select Sign In.

After logging in, you can then select Microsoft Teams web app.

With Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you can also use this method to login to Microsoft Teams. But in addition, you can also install Microsoft Teams on up to five devices of your choice (such as a computer or laptop) and access Teams from that device.

With that being said, here are the instructions to install Microsoft Teams on a Windows PC or Mac.

How to install Microsoft Teams on my Windows PC

Check first: Before installing Teams on your PC, it’s possible it may already be installed on your computer. To check, Go to the Start menu and search for Microsoft Teams. If you find that Teams is already installed, then you’re good to go. However, if you do not see it, you may follow the steps.
  1. Using your Microsoft 365 email address and password, sign in to Microsoft 365.
  2. Select the menu button in the top left and choose Teams.
  3. install teams on desktop

  4. Select Get the Windows app.
  5. When prompted from the new window, choose Save File.
  6. After your app download completes and successfully installs, you can sign in on the desktop app with your Microsoft 365 email address and password.

How to install Microsoft Teams on my Mac

Check first: Using the Spotlight Search on your Mac, you can check to see if Teams is already installed on your Mac. If you not, you may proceed with the following steps.
  1. Using your Microsoft 365 email address and password, sign in to Microsoft 365.
  2. Select the menu button in the top left and choose Teams.
  3. install teams on mac

  4. Select Get the Mac app. After Teams is downloaded, simply follow the prompts to complete the app installation.
  5. microsoft teams mac app

  6. With the Teams Mac app installed on your device, you can now sign into the app with your Microsoft 365 email address and password.

Additional questions?

If you have any other questions, we are here to help. Our expert support can be reached anytime at (480) 624-2500 to help answer any questions. You can also visit our Microsoft 365 Help Center for other useful articles and instruction.

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