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Microsoft Teams Tip of the Week: Fall 2023

Teams Tip of the Week.

Faculty, staff, and students can access Microsoft Teams with your UT Microsoft 365 account. With Teams, you can chat, video call, share documents, and more! To assist you with learning about all of the tools and features of Teams, we are offering weekly tips and upcoming training.  

For more information on Microsoft Teams, visit our support documentation:  

View all of the Fall 2023 Teams Tips

Microsoft Teams allows you to have many channels to discuss different topics in each Team. As you get more and more channels, however, it can become difficult to keep track of all the conversations, especially if you are not actively involved in some of the discussions. While you cannot hide the General channel, you can hide other channels to help streamline your view of the Team. These channels will only be hidden for you, not the rest of the Team. At any time, you can show your hidden channels. As with most things in Teams, it all starts with the ellipsis (…) menu.  

Learn how to hide and show a Teams channel

When working within a Team, messages are created and sent using the entry box at the bottom of the feed within the Posts tab. By default, these messages are created using Conversations. 

Sometimes, you may need to communicate important information or grab the attention of your Team members. This can be accomplished using an Announcement rather than the default Conversation. Announcements allow for customizing the message with various formatting options, including adding a background color or image and providing a styled headline and subheading. 

Announcements are only available within Teams Channels and not within individual or group Chats.
manage a channel

Every channel in every Team starts with a Posts tab. Think of this tab as a message board for all members of the channel. Posts are visible messages to all members of the channel and are structured as threaded conversations pertaining to the focus of the channel.

When making a post you will find an assortment of buttons beneath the conversation text box. These buttons provide options to format the text, attach files, add emojis, GIFs, and stickers, and more. Learn how to post a message to a channel.

Channels within Microsoft Teams is a powerful collaboration feature that allows you to communicate and work with your teammates in various ways. Each channel is a dedicated space for a specific topic, project, or department and helps you organize your team’s work and conversations.

There are two types of channels in Microsoft Teams: standard and private.

  • A standard channel is open for all team members, and anything posted is searchable by others. You can use a standard channel to share announcements, news, files, and other information everyone needs. Each team has a General channel by default, which cannot be deleted or renamed.
  • A private channel is only accessible to the members of the channel. You can use a private channel to discuss sensitive information such as budgets, resourcing, strategic positioning, etc. Only people added to the private channel can see and participate in it. A private channel has a lock icon next to its name.

Quick Tips

  • Use clear and descriptive names for your channels to avoid confusion.
  • Use private channels sparingly and only when necessary. Private channels can limit transparency and collaboration within your team.
  • Use @mentions to call attention to important messages or updates in your channels.
  • Use tabs to add your channels’ apps, files, websites, or other relevant resources.

Learn how to create a channel and manage a channel in Microsoft Teams.

Members are an important part of any team. Once you have created a new team, you can add members immediately to begin collaborating within the one workplace. Alternatively to begin collaborating within the one workplace. Alternatively, you have the option of adding members later and Microsoft Teams has made this process fast and easy. It should be noted that adding members to a Team is not limited to our UTK organization; you can also add individuals outside of the UTK community as guests.

  1. Select the Teams icon  in your left-hand Teams menu.
  2. Select the ellipsis (…) to the right of the Team’s name or the ellipsis in the upper right corner of the Team’s card.
  3. Select Add Member.
  4. Enter and select the name or email of the individual to be added. If you are adding someone outside of your organization, enter their email address.
  5. Select Add. If you are Member of the Team rather than Owner, you will select Send Request.

If you are the Owner of the team, the individual will be added immediately.
If you are a Member of the team, your request will be sent to the Owner for approval.
Read Add Members to a Team in the OIT Knowledge Base.

Are you ready to start creating your own Teams in Microsoft Teams? A Team is a collection of people, conversations, files, and tools that are easily accessible in one place from all your devices. Use Teams to collaborate with co-workers, share files, organize projects, hold video meetings, and more. View our Knowledge Base article for instructions on creating a Microsoft Team.

Are you struggling or overwhelmed by information and communication overload in Microsoft Teams? Take control by getting to know notifications and activity. Microsoft Teams notifications are simply notifications that alert you to new information, whether @mentions, chat messages, or comments related to your work. To help you stay informed and connected with your team members, meetings, and other apps, you have built-in flexibility to better manage your notifications. 

  • The Activity feed shows you what’s happening across your teams and channels, such as unread messages, @mentions, replies, and reactions. Access the activity feed by clicking on the Activity icon on the left side of Teams. You can filter the activity feed by type, such as @mentions, replies, or likes. 
  • Chats show you your group and one-on-one conversations with a count of unread messages. You can access chat by clicking on the Chat icon on the left side of Teams. You can also pin your favorite chats to the top of the list for easy access. 
  • Desktop notifications pop up on your screen when you receive a new message or call, and you can choose to show or hide a message preview. You can also reply to a message or answer a call directly from the notification. Desktop notifications are enabled by default, but you can turn them off or change their appearance in your notification settings.

Read Microsoft Teams: Notifications and Activity in the OIT Knowledge Base.

Teams Chat within Microsoft Teams is a feature-rich application for connecting and communicating with others in your organization. Teams Chat offers conversational functionality that fosters a collaborative and efficient environment within which to work. Teams Chat allows chat participants to share files quickly and easily with one another. Shared files are accessible to all chat participants via the Files tab at the top of the chat conversation. File access permissions can be adjusted to allow chat participants to view only, suggest edits, or make edits.

To share a file within a chat and manage file access, select the Attach Files paperclip icon located beneath the text entry box. Locate the file either in your OneDrive or from your device, add it to the message, and select Send.

Learn how to share a file in Chat in the OIT Knowledge Base.

Do you ever wish you could refer to an important chat message in Microsoft Teams? No need to search for it. Pin the message to the top of your chat conversation. A pinned message will be available to everyone in the chat conversation. You can only have one chat message pinned at a time in a conversation. When you pin a new chat message, the old chat message will no longer be pinned, but it will still be in your chat conversation history. 

After you start chatting with colleagues in your department or unit, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of conversations appearing in your chat list. The pinning feature in Microsoft Teams helps bring organization to your chats. Pin the chat converstaion to highlight critical conversations or to find specific, frequently used conversations more easily. You can have up to 15 pinned conversations. Beneath your pinned conversations, your unpinned chat conversations will be organized from the most recent to the oldest. 

Remember, even if you can’t find a chat conversation, you can always start a new chat, add the person you want to chat with, and Teams will automatically find the chat for you.

Chat on Microsoft Teams makes sharing information with teammates easy. However, if you have numerous chat conversations with various combinations of teammates, you might find it hard to remember which is which. If you struggle to keep track, rename those chats to categorize the conversations by topic, team, project, etc. Renaming a chat conversation is only possible if three or more individuals are in a chat. All you need to do is click the pencil icon next to the name of the chat. Note that changing the chat name will change it for everyone involved in the conversation.

When timely communication and prompt response is essential, use the @mentions feature. Whether you are reaching out to an individual, a select group of people in a channel, or your entire team, @mentions will help you target your communication to the right people. An @mention is like a tap on the shoulder—a way to direct user attention in a channel conversation or a chat. By harnessing the power of @mentions, teams can increase their efficiency, productivity, and success by staying connected throughout the day when providing a service or working on a project. 

  • Learn more about Using @mentions in Chats and Posts in the OIT Knowledge Base. 
  • Dive deeper by watching the Use @mentions effectively video in LinkedIn Learning.
  • Do you have an existing Chat and need to add someone to the conversation? For example, your team has a Chat dedicated to a specific work topic with a set group of co-workers, and you want to add a new hire to that work topic. You can always add or delete people from existing chats in Microsoft Teams. When you add people, choose whether you want to include all the chat history, some, or none of the chat history. It’s up to you!

    Learn how to add or remove people from a Chat in the OIT Knowledge Base.

    In Microsoft Teams, chatting is a big deal. Chats are where everything happens! Whether you’re talking one-on-one, chatting in groups, or having conversations in channels, chat has you covered.

    Starting a chat is easy. Click “New chat” at the top of your chat list, then enter and select the individual you want to message. Chat messages can include files, links, emojis, stickers, and GIFs — whatever helps you get your point across. And guess what? Chatting through Teams is one of the best ways to send and receive fewer emails across the university.

    Here are a few benefits of chatting in Teams:

    • Quicker Decisions: Use instant polls to make decisions faster.
    • Chat in Meetings: Take notes and share information throughout your meetings.
    • Spontaneous Video Calls: Have video calls anytime you want.
    • Direct Messages: Send private messages to others.
    • Shorter Meetings: Have fewer and shorter meetings.
    • Grab someone’s Attention: Use “@mentions” to grab someone’s focus.

    Want to learn more? Check out this LinkedIn Learning video.

    Ready to chat with your team? Try chatting today and discover how much more you can get done!

    If you need to send a chat to someone in Microsoft Teams outside of regular work hours or because the person is currently out of the office, you can schedule the chat for delivery at a specific date and time.
    Note – you cannot schedule a Channel message to send during a specific time, only chats.


    • Type your message
    • Right-click the Send icon used for sending chat messages.
    • Select a delivery date
      Note – You cannot choose a date more than one week in advance.
    • Select a delivery time
    • Click on the Send at scheduled time button
    • Click the Send icon.
    • If you wish to cancel the message before it is sent, tap the ellipsis (…) menu and choose Delete.

    Learn more about Sending a Teams Chat at a Scheduled Time in the OIT Knowledge Base.  

    While in a Teams meeting you can survey your audience or increase their engagement by creating a poll using Microsoft’s Polls app for Teams. Or use Polls as a quick formative assessment at the moment! Whatever your reason, Microsoft Polls in Teams is easy to use, easy to set up, and provides a great source of information! 

  • The app can easily be added to a channel or chat.
  • Poll attendees while scheduling a meeting, during a meeting, or even added after the meeting! 
  • Learn more about Microsoft Teams and Polls in the OIT Knowledge Base.
  • Do you ever need to quickly find who attended a meeting? Perhaps you need to know when someone joined or left the meeting, or you need the email addresses of all attendees. Microsoft Teams provides access to this information in an Attendance List.  

    Once a Teams meeting has been scheduled, open the meeting event on the Teams calendar. Here you will find a new tab for Attendance along the ribbon. Information on attendees will appear once the meeting has concluded.

    Microsoft Teams Meeting Attendance in the OIT Knowledge Base.

    Did you know that in Microsoft Teams, Channels (part of a Team’s messaging) and Chats (stand-alone messaging) don’t have the same features when it comes to handling files? Channels are a more formal way to collaborate and include more features for managing and sharing files. Chats are a less formal way to collaborate and include fewer options for modifying and sharing files.  

  • To delete a file in a Channel, navigate to the Files tab with the Channel.
  • To delete a file in a Chat, navigate to the entry within the chat to delete the attached document.
  • Delete a file from a Teams Channel or Teams Chat in the OIT Knowledge Base.

    Microsoft Teams has multiple ways to communicate and collaborate with co-workers, peers, faculty, staff, and students.  Channels are inside the Team, and Chats are separate from a specific Team.

  • Channels: Teams will allow you to work with specific groups of people in a formal group space, called a Team, by communicating in Channels.
  • Chats: You can work with people informally, one-on-one, or in small groups outside of a Team using Chats.
  • Discover the difference between Channels and Chats in the OIT Knowledge Base.

    For more information on Microsoft Teams: