Microsoft Teams is designed with one very simple logic in mind – make virtual collaboration as easy and engaging as possible. So, every single feature and function from channels, chats, and meetings to tabs with many third-party and native apps serve that purpose. In this article, we want to talk about an integral part of Microsoft Teams that is often taken for granted – tabs.
It’s such a common idea for us that we don’t think about it twice. We all simultaneously use at least 5 tabs on our browser, and we often don’t appreciate how much time they save us. Let’s take a closer look at Microsoft Teams tabs and some must have ones that each team should use.
What are Microsoft Teams tabs?
Microsoft Teams tabs vary from the ones on our browsers, so let’s go over the definitions very quickly.
Tabs are built-in parts of any Microsoft Teams channel that allow quick access to a certain app or file. It is intended for apps/files that the members of the team frequently use. It is the very first bar that you see when you go to any given channel.
Tabs are generally very helpful but there are two particular reasons as to why they’re great:
- Organization of all frequently used apps and files in one place.
- Easy and quick access to frequently used apps and files.
Depending on your industry and organizational structure, your choice of tabs can vary. Based on our experience, we can share with you 5 tabs that are a must.
#1 Default Microsoft Teams tabs
Microsoft Teams has a set of default tabs that are automatically added to each channel when they’re created:
Users can’t remove Posts and Files, they are a must for any channel and it’s worth making the most out of them.
Posts can become your announcement board where you share news, questions, deals, updates, and comments that are intended for all team or channel members.
Files is a dedicated space where you can store, share, and access files. For example, the latest budget form or company’s code of conduct. For your convenience, you can organize all files with folders. All the files stored here are automatically added to the team’s SharePoint site.
Learn more about best practices for file management here.
You can remove the Wiki tab, but we recommend you keep it and here is why. The name of the tab is certainly confusing and creates strong associations with Wikipedia. Depending on how you decide to use it, it can, in fact, become the Wikipedia of your channel. In essence, Wiki is very similar to Word or Notepad. You can write, edit, and divide content into sections. Some common use cases of Wiki include:
- Rules on how to use the Channel
- Guides and instructions
- Client profiles
- Project goals and objectives
- Best practices, etc.
If you wish, you can rename the tab into something else other than Wiki. You can call it Guidelines or Rules – the bottom line is, you should certainly take advantage of it. You can learn more about Wiki here.
As the name suggests, Planner is a Microsoft app that allows users to create plans, assign tasks, chat about tasks, and see your team’s progress. It enables you to easily interact with colleagues, work together on projects in a productive way and better manage your own and your team’s time.
This app is very handy, and it deserves to be in your tab bar. In the times of remote and hybrid work when many of us are working asynchronously, having a tool that allows to coordinate work with your teammates not only facilitates teamwork, but helps boost team productivity.
You may want to use Planner to organize the onboarding process. You can store information for your new hires, prepare events and campaigns, plan projects, etc.
Create teams with an already pre-built set of tasks
Download our Free Guide and learn how to build teams with pre-build Planner task boards via Collaboration Templates in Microsoft Teams
#3 Frequently used web pages
The tab section isn’t only for apps, you can also add websites that your team uses a lot. It can be any link – a YouTube channel, pages with useful resources, training materials, etc.
We wouldn’t recommend overburdening the tabs with multiple links. Try to keep them limited and add only the ones you actually use very frequently.
To add a website, click on the + icon in the tab bar and select Website, add the URl, write a tab name and you’re all set. Tab name isn’t a mandatory section but it’s worth specifying the tab’s name as it’ll help you to locate the page faster especially if you have more than one website in your tab bar.
Another one of Microsoft’s products that Teams users have come to love and appreciate. OneNote is a note-taking platform that allows multi-user cooperation. It’s not just for written notes, the platform collects drawings, screen clippings, and even audio commentaries. Consider OneNote as a personal organizer app that you should integrate into Microsoft Teams, so everyone in your team can access it much faster. You can add the entire notebook as a tab or choose a specific section or a page.
OneNote is perfect for teams that hold frequent meetings and brainstorm, and there is always heavy notetaking involved. When added to the tabs, you can instantly open it and begin taking notes, and if needed, access all notes very quickly.
The last must-have tab that we want to share with you is SharePoint. If you’re not already using it then you’re missing out on a lot.
SharePoint can serve both as a document library and as an intranet. It’s a great tool that will allow you to develop a system, an intranet tailored to the needs of your company and that reflects your workflow.
You can also create a SharePoint document library dedicated to a specific topic – say, project management. Then you may want all your Project Management teams to have a tab to this specific library that gives easy access to all project management documentation across your organization. This way, your employees will easily navigate and surface the right content when needed.
Learn more about SharePoint and Microsoft Teams integration here.
How to customize Microsoft Teams tabs?
Besides the five must-have ones, there are hundreds of other apps that can change the quality and efficiency of your work and therefore, deserve to become tabs. Teams has hundreds of different native and 3rd party apps that you can intergrade in your team and potentially turn them into tabs. So, if an organization uses CRMs like Salesforce or project management apps such as Asana, Jira, Trello, etc., you should consider adding them as a tab, so that your employees can collaborate more efficiently and access all tools/resources from the same environment.
This customization is a fairly straightforward process. Go to the Tab section, click on + icon and you’ll see the page with all available apps. Browse through them and identify the ones that you already use or the ones you’d like to try. If there is one that’s used on a daily basis then it’s worth considering pinning it as a tab.
You can do this process manually for each team, or you may want to scale this process with Collaboration templates by nBold. With templates, you’ll only need to pre-configure your tabs once and they will be automatically cloned to all new teams created from the template. You can add Planner, Yammer, SharePoint, Lists, etc.
Learn more about Collaboration templates.
It won’t take you long to configure the tabs of your channels, especially if you’re using a template but in the long run, it’ll save you a significant amount of time. Get started with these 5 must-have tabs and as you continue work via Microsoft Teams, you’ll continue to discover which apps, files, or web pages you can turn into a tab and do it under one minute.