How to work with files in Microsoft Teams
Updated: May 2, 2022
This week I’ll give you a guide on how to work with files in Microsoft Teams, as files are quite important even if chatting is funnier. First things first - where are the files stored in Microsoft Teams?
In a 1-2-1 chat
When you share files in a 1-2-1 chat, or a group chat the files will be saved in your OneDrive. If you share the file from your OneDrive it will stay in that place, but if you share a file from your local computer it will be uploaded to the cloud in a folder named Microsoft Teams Chat Files
I think the reason above is the most explanatory reason for why a chat isn’t what you should use when it comes to teamwork such as a project or an organizational team.
In a team
A team in Microsoft Teams also has a SharePoint site, or rather SharePoint team sites can have a team chat as well if they want 😊. SharePoint is the place in Office 365 for collaborating on files and this is where all the files shared in a team will be saved. When you open the files tab you will see the Open in SharePoint link and clicking that will open the corresponding SharePoint site.
Somewhere on the roadmap for Microsoft Teams the full SharePoint file experience will be added in the file tab, but for now you have to open the SharePoint site to see that. One of the things I enjoy from the SharePoint site is the option to sync the library (sort of like you sync your OneDrive) – this makes it easy to work in the desktop apps on all the relevant team files.
Another thing to remember is that each channel in a team will result in a new folder in the document library, so if we have three channels there will be three folders.
Uploading a file
To upload a new file from the chat in a 1-2-1 chat or the conversations tab in a team, click the paper clip:
You will have different option dependent if you upload a file in a 1-2-1 chat or a team:
Recent (only for a team): This will open a list of the most recent files you opened
Browse Teams and Channels (only for a team): This will make it possible to share a link to a file located in that specific channel. This is good if you want people the notice a file again
OneDrive: This will open your OneDrive, if you upload a file from your OneDrive a copy will be created in the team. But for a 1-2-1 chat you will share the file directly from your OneDrive
Upload from my computer: This will open the file explorer on your computer, the uploaded file will be saved in your OneDrive or the SharePoint site dependent from where you shared the file
In a team you can also upload a file from the files tab, you can also create a new file from scratch if you want. That is not possible in a 1-2-1 chat.
Working with a file
Ok so we have a file uploaded – now let’s look at some things you can do. I will not show you “how to Word” because I hope you know that already 😉.
In both a 1-2-1 chat and a team there will be a tab named Files, if you click that you will see all available files. Below I will show you some nifty things for working with a file from a team, but most of the things applies to files in a 1-2-1 chat as well.
Let’s begin clicking the file we want to edit (either in the file tab or in the chat)
The file will open
Here we’ll have the options to Edit and Start conversation, lets start with edit. You have sort of the same option in Microsoft Teams and in the Browser, but I prefer Open in Desktop app to get the full experience.
Once you’ve opened it on the desktop app it’s easy to find it straight from the desktop app, I usually work straight from the desktop app. The next time you open for example Word you will see your recent files and the file should be visible there. I find it helpful that the source for the file is specified.
When the file is open, you can also click the name of the file and get more information. As in the example below I can see that the file belongs to my Office 365 tenant, the SharePoint site Amanda’s corp and the general folder.
Commenting on it
One last thing about working with files in a team, the other option we have when a file is opened in Microsoft Teams is Start a conversation (once you clicked this for a file the button will appear as a speech bubble). Clicking that will give us a chat. Ok you think this is something like the normal comments in a file – but it’s not!
Here you can write comments about the file and format it just as a chat message, that includes tagging someone that you think should do something in the file as well as adding an encouraging giphy. Once you go back to the conversation tab you will see the file there with all the comments in a thread.
Every time you write something in the file chat it will be shown as a new message (well new in a thread) in the team conversation – so it will be relevant again for the whole team.
What happens if I share the file with someone that’s not a member in the team?
If you try to share a file that's located in a team with someone that's not a member of the team it will not work. The person needs to be a member of the team.
I hope this will make your experience working with files in and from Microsoft Teams a little bit better. Happy collaborating!