How to do the things you used to do in MicrosoftTeams

As I have the pleasure of working with more and more organisations on the adoption and deployment of Microsoft Teams (and in many cases the migration from Skype for Business to Teams), it’s easy to get carried away with all the new exciting things you can do. We often get asked by users (through the user adoption/training process), “How do I do all the normal things I used to do in Skype…but in Teams”.  This post hopefully summarises the how!

To be honest I don’t use Skype for Business anymore (as my organisation has shifted to Teams), but the things I used to do daily (and still do in Teams) were chat (one2one and group chat), organising my contacts by grouping people, making and receiving calls (including PSTN), joining meetings/conferences, checking if someone is “online” and setting my “status”.


Chat is a high part of Microsoft Teams and there isn’t anything massivley different from a features perespective except that in Microsoft Teamsm the chat is “persistent” – which means it stays in Teams making messaging much more reliable and consistent between platforms and no more “this user is offline and can’t be delivered” rubbish.

Chat can be one to one or group chat. You can rename a chat, add or remove participants and even edit messages.


Organising contacts by groups

A common way of organising your contacts in Skype for Business is to simply group them.

In Teams, in order to find your contacts and groups, you open the chat tab in the left side navigation, Recent will usually open by default and is where you will find all your recent conversations.

To make it more like Skype for Business though, click on Contacts.

In Microsoft Teams you see you have a “favourites” group as you did in Skype for Business and by clicking “Create a new contact group” you can create all the groups you need.

Something missing in Microsoft Teams (at the moment) is the ability to drag-and-drop contacts between different groups which is a bit of pain. However one of the things I do really like about Microsoft is the fact that they care about their users and users can quickly suggest or vote of changes and improvements they want via their UserVoice forums for feedback. 

Make a call

Making a call in Microsoft Teams is essentially the same “workflow” as in Skype for Business. The easiest way is to open the chat/team you want to make the call from.

In a chat you click the phone or camera (dependent if you want to make the call an audio only or video call) located in the right corner. There you also have the option to share your screen. 

Making a call in a team channel

Within a team, calling looks a little different (but should still be familiar). Here, you can open the channel (within the Team) you want to call from. Here you will see in the panel where you write messages and there is an icon in the shape of a video camera. Simply click this to “video call” the channel (yes you can turn off your camera if you like!)

Since the channel usually has more members then a chat you will get the option to give your call a name/subject and also to schedule a meeting instead.  You also (if enabled by the admin) have the ability to record and transcribe the call too – which includes the audio, video, any notes taken, content shared etc. The main advantage of Skype for Business is still is recorded centrally (on Stream actually) rather than locally on the PC.

Join a meeting

Within Teams you can see all you meetings in Microsoft Teams and it is relatively clear if the meeting is a Skype meeting, Teams meeting or just a “regular” face-to-face meeting – I know right!!

If it’s a Teams meeting, you’ll from the screenshot below, its easy to quickly chat to partcipants or simply join the meeting with a click. For phone die hard fans or those not on teams, there is a also an Audio Dial-in section below the meeting invite.

A point to note, while you can join a Skype for Business meeting from Microsoft Teams  – it actually just launches legacy Skype for Business and runs the meeting from there….

Its’ a bit yukky i know!

Check someone’s availability 

When I was a Skype for Business user, I used the check people’s statuses loads and used to tag people for status changes (stalker mode as it was called).  I must admit, whilst this functionality actually does exist in Teams, I dont tend to use it very much since with persistent chat, I am more confident in people getting my messages (and hopefully replying). 

However, if you do like to know if and when people are free, you will see their “status” in front of their name. If you hover over their name, you can also see if they added any message and when they latest where online.

If a person is busy/offline you can follow a person’s status and get notified when they appear Available or Offline – easiest it to click … on the person you’re interested in and click Notify when availible.

Status settings in Microsoft Teams

Your status will follow the status from your calendar, but if you want to update your status manually you click your portrait /picture in the top right corner of the Teams Client

From here you can change your status (or reset it) and also set a status message if you want to like the What’s happening today? from Skype for Business.

You can also have the status message time-out/reset after a period of time (which is nice as Skype didn’t do this).




That’s it – all the key functions you use in Skype…but in Teams! 

Of course there is loads more that Teams does outside of basic messaging and calling which is not covered here such as bots, content collaboration and tabs…. 

Anyway…..hope you found this useful.


Credit goes to @amandassterner for the idea on this.

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