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Join and Create Channels and Teams

This article applies to: Microsoft Teams

In This Article

About Teams and Channels

Teams and channels allow groups working toward a common goal, or who have similar interests, to have a dedicated space for:

  • Conversation
  • File collaboration
  • Notes
  • Meetings

A team is the largest "container" in Teams. They can be dedicated to an entire organization, project, or effort.

Channels exist within the team. All activity occurs within a channel. They can be either standard (everyone in the team can see the channel and its content) or private (only members can see).

When possible, creating a standard channel in an existing team helps keep everyone in the team aware of what everyone else is doing. Sometimes a private channel or separate team might be justified.

Shared channels allow collaboration between people on your team and people outside your team, which can include Cornell faculty, students, and staff, and also alumni or individuals not formally affiliated with the university. Learn more about shared channels.

Should you make a Team or a Channel?

If you already have a team with the same or almost the same members as who will be in your new discussion, you should probably make a new channel in the existing team rather than making a new team.

Channel Choices

  • If the members are exactly the same, make a Standard Channel.
  • If there are additional members not in the existing team, make a Shared Channel.
  • If not all the members of your existing team should be included, make a Private Channel. 
Currently some features in Teams are not available in private channels, including Planner and Forms. Also, there is a limit of thirty private channels per Team, and 250 member per private team. Microsoft is working on improving these limitations.

Team Choices

If you do not have an existing team with membership close to what you want, create a private team, using a template type of Other.  

  • If you will have multiple distinct topic areas and want to handle their discussion and files separately to avoid cross-talk and make files easier to browse, create multiple channels.
  • Otherwise, just use the General channel.

Creating a Team

If you decide to create a team, please choose team type Other. It is more flexible in how it is set up and what it can integrate with. For example, a team created from the Other template will allow you to create a tab for an existing OneNote notebook, which not all types will. Microsoft provides information on team types.

If after reviewing the table above, you decide to create a team, to do so:

  1. In the left menu, click Teams.
  2. Locate Join or create a team. Where it is depends on the view you are using for Teams. If you have your teams displaying in a list to the left of your app, next to the left menu, it will be at the bottom of the list of teams. If your teams display as a grid taking up the main app window, it will be in the upper right.
  3. Once you've found Join or create a team, click it.
  4. In the first box, Create a team, click Create team.
  5. For Select a team type, choose Other unless you have a reason you'd like to use one of the other suggested types. Other provides a flexible setup that sometimes works better than the alternatives with existing resources you might like to integrate, like OneNote notebooks.
  6. In Create your team, under Team name, pick a name that is as sort, clear, and distinct as possible. Your team members may have a long list of teams, and a precise, immediately identifiable name will save them time and effort when they are trying to return to the team.
  7. For Privacy, select Private unless you want your team to be visible to and joinable by everyone at Cornell.
  8. The next panel will let you add members to your team and change their privileges if you like. Every team should have at least two owners so that someone will be able to administer it if one owner leaves Cornell.

Managing Membership in Teams and Channels

See Microsoft's instructions: 

You can add an external guest to a team, allowing you to coordinate, communicate, and plan with vendors, contractors, and other outside collaborators.  Learn more about how to add a guest, and how they will see the invitation. If the guest doesn't already have a Microsoft account they can use to sign in, they will be asked to create one. 

If a team has no activity for one year, a message is sent to team owners that it will soon be archived. If no action is taken by the owners in that time, the team is archived, then eventually it and all its contents are deleted. 


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