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Microsoft Teams Basics

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based application that is part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite which all DHS staff have access to. Primarily, MS Teams is used to hold online trainings and meetings and provides an instant messaging service via the MS Teams chat function.   You can go to the Help button to review ‘Meetings and calls’ to help you understand the training/meeting feature.

Additional articles will go into more detail for each Microsoft Teams function.

The following steps describe how to sign-in, and Microsoft Teams basic functions on the dashboard.


From the Start menu, available at the furthest left and bottom, scroll to “Microsoft Teams”, then select it.

When signing into Microsoft Teams, make sure to use your U# as an email similar to when you sign into webmail ( with your DHS password.

If “Microsoft Teams” is not in the list that opens from “Start”, you can download the Teams app from Microsoft here: Microsoft Teams – Downloads

Dashboard and Basic Functions

The Dashboard for Microsoft Teams is located on the left side of the interface.

On the Dashboard you will see the buttons Activity, Chat, Teams, Calendar, Calls, and Files.


Activities show you the most recent interactions you have been in. You can organize this information by Feed or by My Activity.

Feed will show you if someone reacted to a message you wrote or if you have been tagged.

The latest information is always on the top.

My Activity will show your own actions, not others.

You can also click on the ‘filter’ button to choose what you would like to see. It functions like a normal search bar.


In the chat section you can communicate with people individually or as a group.

When you host a Microsoft Teams meeting, they will also be in this section.


In the teams section you can either create or join a team by clicking

To join a team, you can either put in a team code or search for it.

Once you have created or joined a team, it will show up under the teams panel on the left hand side. You can navigate through your teams in this area.


In the calendar section, you will notice that it is directly connected to Outlook. It has all calendar information listed. You can add information to the calendar by clicking on a section of date and time. You can also hold an urgent meeting with the ‘Meet Now’ button in the upper right hand corner.

Or you can schedule a meeting with the ‘ + New Meeting’ button.


The call section is useful for housing information about past calls.

You can add contacts, see past calls, and listen to voicemail in this section.

When you make a call, it will automatically connect with the person you are calling.

If they do not answer, you can leave a voicemail. Voicemails automatically notify you in the Microsoft Teams activity feed and in your email. If you do not leave an email, the person who was called will get a notification on missed calls.


The file section functions like a file drive you might find on your computer. Everything that is shared or posted on Microsoft Teams is housed in this section.

You can see recent documents you accessed, Microsoft Teams documents, and the downloads you made.

The downloads section will open up your local downloads file folder.

You can also add a document to cloud storage by clicking ‘+ Add cloud storage’ in the bottom left section of the screen.

More Added Apps

The three dots can be used to integrate more applications into Microsoft Teams. When you click on the three dots, a list of applications you can integrate will populate.


The Apps section opens up a new window which shows a list of applications that can be integrated into Microsoft Teams. It differs from the three dots as it categorizes the apps into easy searchable lists.


The Help section opens a new window and populates a list of how-to guides and questions about Microsoft Teams. This section is helpful for all sorts of questions queries.


Understanding how to use Microsoft Teams is vital for seamless communication within the workplace. Microsoft Teams is a hub for teamwork. It allows people to work in teams to communicate with chat rooms, calls, file sharing, and meetings in one interface.  Teams is integrated with Microsoft’s online office suite Office 365, which means all the office suite apps you use can be integrated into Microsoft Teams.

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