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How to navigate within Microsoft Teams

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If you are new to using Microsoft Teams, this article is for you. Here I will outline how to log in to Microsoft Teams, the Teams window, how to change your account settings, and show you some quick shortcuts for moving around the program efficiently.

Microsoft Teams is accessible via a web browser, desktop app and available on your smartphone.

Log in to Microsoft Teams

To access Microsoft Teams, you must have a Microsoft 365 account or you can create a free account to allow you to join online meetings. You can choose to access Microsoft Teams via your web browser (online version) or using the app installed on your computer. There are only subtle differences between the look and feel of each version but there are some functionality differences. The desktop app has all available features.

To login to Microsoft Teams online:

  1. Open your web browser and enter
  2. If you are already logged into your Microsoft 365 account, you will be taken straight into Teams
  3. If not, enter your Microsoft 365 username and password
  4. You will now see the Microsoft Teams online window:

How to navigate Microsoft Teams

To login to Microsoft Teams apps:

  1. If you have not already downloaded the Microsoft Teams app to your computer, log in to Microsoft Teams online (as shown above), then choose your profile picture and select Download the desktop app
  2. Follow the prompts to install the app to your computer
  3. Launch the app by clicking the Start button and scroll through the list of installed programs till you find Microsoft Teams
  4. If you are already logged into your Microsoft 365 account, you will be taken straight into Teams, click the launch
  5. Enter your Microsoft 365 username and password when prompted
  6. You will now see the Microsoft Teams window:

The Microsoft Teams window

The Teams window

The Microsoft Teams window is organised into four (4) main areas. The sidebar, middle pane, right pane and top menu. These four areas provide access to the various options you have within the program.

How to navigate Microsoft Teams

  1. Sidebar: The sidebar provides quick access to the main areas within Microsoft Teams. You can easily move between the Activity screen, Chat, Teams, Calendar, Calls and Files. The sidebar also gives you access to the additional apps you can include in your Teams plus the Help system.
  2. Middle pane: The middle pane is where information relating each section within the sidebar is displayed. For example, in the Chat section, the middle pane will display a list of team members you have engaged within the chat. In the Teams section, you will see a list of the Teams you are a member of.
  3. Right pane: The right pane is where the tools associated with each section are displayed.
  4. Top menu: The top menu bar provides access to the App launcher, search or command box, and your account settings.

Account Settings

Microsoft Teams allows you to customise account settings to suit how you will be using the platform. You can easily set your account status, create a status message, view saved messages and change your account settings via your profile picture in the top right corner of the window.

The account settings will allow you to change the look of Teams, language settings, Privacy options, Notifications, and call rules.

To customise the settings:

  1. Click your Profile Picture in the top right-hand corner of the Teams window
  2. From the menu select Settings
  3. The Settings screen will appear:

The Account settings window

  1. From the General tab you can change the Theme being used plus the application and language settings.
  2. Click the Privacy tab, you will now be able to set up a priority access list, block contacts, send read receipts and enable/disable participation in surveys from Microsoft Teams.
  3. Click the Notifications tab to change settings related to when and how you will receive a notification when various things happen within Teams. See the next chapter for more details on these settings.
  4. Click the Devices tab to edit or test your audio and video devices.
  5. Click the Calls tab to decide how to handle incoming calls, configure voicemail, choose a ringtone and enable TTY mode for accessibility.
  6. Once you have made any changes, click the X (close) button in the top right corner of the Settings window.

Navigate using Shortcuts

I love shortcuts! And just because we are in Microsoft Teams doesn’t mean we can’t use them. Below are some quick navigation shortcuts which can improve your flow between different areas of Teams. Try them out and comment below with any others you have discovered or use frequently.

  • Ctrl + 1 = Go to the Activity tab
  • Ctrl + 2 = Go to the Chat tab
  • Ctrl + 3 = Go to the Teams tab
  • Ctrl + 4 = Go to the Calendar tab
  • Ctrl + 5 = Go to the Calls tab
  • Ctrl + 6 = Go to the Files tab
  • Ctrl + . = Show keyboard shortcuts list
  • Ctrl + , = Open Settings window

To view the full set of keyboard shortcuts available in Microsoft Teams, press Ctrl + . on the keyboard or click your Profile Picture and choose Keyboard shortcuts from the menu.

Log out of Microsoft Teams

If you are accessing Microsoft Teams via your own computer, there is no real need to log out after each use. If you are accessing Teams via a shared or public computer, it is best to log out once you are finished.

To log out of Microsoft Teams:

  1. Click your Profile Picture
  2. Select Sign out


I hope you have found this useful for moving your way around Microsoft Teams. Feel free to comment below with any questions or to share any tips of your own. 


3 Responses

  1. Thank you Belinda. I’ll have to get in touch with our IT department to complete the required updates. The feline in me wonders why the web version differs from the app version, but it’s not uncommon, so I will suggest that the developers aim for the goal of providing Gallery view to those of us who are unwittingly thrust into using the web version.

    Thanks again for the reply!

    1. Hi Dave,

      The web version of Teams is different to the full app which has all features. To use the new meeting experience options such as Gallery view and Together mode, you need to use the App as these do not work in the web version. You can update the app by clicking on your Profile Picture in the top right corner of the app and choosing “Check for updates”.

      Thanks, Belinda

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