Microsoft Teams 101

Microsoft Teams is part of the Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) suite of solutions. This one-stop shop for businesses enables people to collaborate and communicate from one central space.

microsoft teams apps

Microsoft Teams replaces Skype for Business, and augments other features built into Microsoft 365,  like SharePoint, OneNote and Planner. You can also incorporate other popular desktop apps into Teams. Built-in enterprise-level security protects your data from cybersecurity attacks and data breaches.

As you might expect from the name, Microsoft Teams is built around the Team concept. You can have organization-wide teams, departmental teams, and project teams that include both internal and external users (depending on your security settings.) Within each team, you can have “Channels” that inherit the security settings of the Team and can be used to focus conversations around a project, topic, or client.

The real value of Teams is how much it does within one tool. You may want to consider using Microsoft Teams for:

1. Chat

Microsoft Teams is possibly best known for its chat features. Chat with coworkers or clients within Teams, Channels, groups of friends or one-on-one. If your organization allows guest use, you can chat with other Microsoft Teams users outside of your organization.

If you need to add someone to a group message after it’s been created, you can. You are able to include the prior chat history, part of it, or none of it. Use an @Person tag to call someone’s attention. Attach files, stickers, gifs, or emojis to your messages. With one click you can turn a chat into a video call or schedule a future meeting.

2. Video calls / phone calls

Zoom has become wildly popular as of late, but some people still have security concerns about Zoom. Microsoft Teams replaces the functionality of Zoom, but adds more features and natively integrates with Office 365 applications. You can call your team or anyone with Microsoft Teams. To call a landline or cellphone of a non-Teams user requires a Microsoft Office 365 Calling Plan.

Because Calls are integrated with Office 365 calendar, your status will automatically move to “busy” when you’re on another phone call or in a meeting. Host video calls with up to 250 participants, where you share your webcam, share your screen, or write on a whiteboard.

3. Calendar

You don’t have to move to Outlook to setup a meeting. Stay right in Teams to schedule a new meeting. The scheduling assistant helps you pick a time that all participants have open.

microsoft teams new meeting

4. File Sharing

Any file in your computer can be shared through Teams. SharePoint syncs natively with Teams, giving you access to company files through your Files tab. Other files can be created, uploaded, and seen under the Files tab in any specific team. How to share files.

5. Applications

Teams comes with thousands of applications to help you and your team thrive. Applications can be easily added to your team with one search. They have apps for analytics, productivity, sales, human resources, and some just for fun. Keep your team organized with a to-do list and scheduling app or keep morale high with an app for appreciation or recognition.

microsoft teams app search

If you’re overwhelmed with email and tired of cobbling together applications, take a look at Microsoft Teams. Microsoft is investing heavily into its development – and has even made it available free of charge for non-Microsoft 365 users. (Although, we have to say, the biggest advantages come from the Microsoft 365 integration.)

Want to learn more about Microsoft Teams?

As a Microsoft 365 Partner, we can help you understand your deployment options and get you off to a smooth start. Schedule a time with us and LET’S TALK.


Microsoft Teams FAQ

What is the difference between a team and a channel?

A team is like the company as a whole, and is made up of different channels. The channels are dedicated to a specific department, project, or topic.

Can a deleted team or channel be recovered?

Yes. Your admin should have access to recover a deleted team or channel. Go to your team, click more options > manage team. Go to the channels tab, find the channel in the deleted section and click restore.

How many people can be in a conference call?

Up to 20 people can be on the same video or phone call.

How to share files on Microsoft Teams?

Share a file in any chat you’re in. You can also go to the Files tab of a channel and upload or create a new document for all on the channel to access.

Are Microsoft Teams apps free?

Microsoft Teams integrates will all Office apps and offers more free apps with a subscription to Teams.

Do you still have computers running Windows 7?

Tick tock.

It’s time!

Windows 7 must be replaced – and that’s not all!

Some of Microsoft’s most popular solutions are being retired, meaning they will no longer be supported by Microsoft. You may not want to change your IT systems, but you won’t have a choice for much longer.

Which Microsoft solutions reach end of support in 2020?

Microsoft has a Products End of Support Page with all their key dates, and the details about mainstream support vs. extended support, but some of the solutions we see regularly include:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Exchange Server 2010
  • Office 2010
  • Office 2016 for Mac

What does end of support mean?

When a Microsoft product reaches the end of its lifecycle, it means there will be:

  • No new security updates
  • No product enhancements
  • No free or paid support options
  • No online technical content updates

Why upgrade now?

Don’t I have until January 2020 to migrate to new software?

Technically, yes.

But realistically? NO!

If your business depends on these Microsoft solutions to run, you don’t want to take chances by leaving your software migration to the last minute when there is no support. Upgrading software isn’t as simple as running a software installation wizard.

We take the entire IT environment into consideration.

  • Do you need new computer hardware?
  • Where do you have integrations with other software programs?
  • How will the data be migrated?
  • What software will you move to?
  • Should you evaluate new options, like moving to the cloud instead of replacing a server?
  • We can also help you safely wipe and destroy your old Windows 7 and Windows Server 8 computers.

The software upgrade and migration process takes time. The time to start evaluating your options is now. If you have any of these solutions in place today, contact us for a quote so we can get you on our schedule ASAP. You can call us at 586.263.1775 or request a quote below.

Get a quote

We believe every business should have a professional email address, ideally one using Office 365 or G-Suite. In additional to having your own personal, private email address, you may want to have a centralized email address that gets sent to multiple people.

Email Aliases, Shared Mailboxes, Groups and Lists

Creating multiple email accounts (when you only need one) not only wastes money on unnecessary software licenses, but it also creates “login credential” confusion.  Many business professionals aren’t aware that you can create shared mailboxes and distribution groups, and the tradeoffs of each type of setup. We aim to clear that up.

Using an Email Alias

Your primary business email may look like this:

What if you want to have different email addresses?

Do you need to pay for separate accounts and manage separate email inboxes?


An email account is one entity. You need one Office 365 license.

Just like if your name was Robert, people may call you Bob, Rob, Bobby, Robby – or even Buddy, but there’s only one you. Your nicknames are called “aliases” in the IT world. They don’t cost anything extra to setup or maintain.

email alias

Shared Mailboxes

What if you want one email to go out to multiple people, like for sales, customer service or hiring? You can choose between having a shared mailbox or having a distribution group.

With a shared mailbox, you’d setup an email address like

Just like email aliases, an Office 365 shared mailbox is FREE, but everyone with access to the shared mailbox must be an Office 365 licensed user.

  • A shared mailbox is accessed through the user’s normal Office 365 credentials, there is no separate login and password. Once logged in, the user with permissions can open the shared mailbox.
  • Incoming and outgoing messages can be read, stored and archived in the shared mailbox.
  • Shared mailboxes are lacking some of the privileges of a regular Office 365 account, like Unified Messaging and software downloads.

Benefits of a shared mailbox

  • Multiple people can monitor email activity.
  • Emails, contacts, and calendars are centralized and visible amongst the group.
  • Emails look like they are coming from the group email, rather than from the individual user.
  • The company can easily monitor and track activities.

Email Distribution Lists

A distribution list allows an email to be distributed to multiple people at once. List members can be both internal or external contacts in your organization. Unlike a shared mailbox, emails are not centrally stored and accessed. Each recipient receives their own copy of the email.

Office 365 Groups

Office 365 groups are a newer feature, created to enhance what was possible with distribution lists.

An Office 365 group:

  • Automatically has a shared calendar
  • Automatically shares documents in SharePoint
  • Integrates with Yammer, Teams, Planner, OneNote, Power BI, etc.
  • Can be restored if deleted (for up to 30 days)
  • Can be public (open to everyone in your organization) or private (restricted to a team).
  • External users can be invited as guests. Guests interact with the group exclusively via email. They can open links to shared documents, but lack other permissions, like viewing the group site.
  • Unlike a shared mailbox, users participate as individuals, sending and replying from their own email account.

How many email inboxes can you eliminate?

Simple is better. If you’ve read this and now know that you are paying for too many email accounts, we can help you archive and/or migrate the email history to consolidate into fewer accounts. We can do this for both Office 365 email accounts and G-Suite accounts.

If you’re not yet on either Office 365 or G-Suite, we can move you there!

SharePoint and OneDrive for Business

If you’re having difficulty understanding the differences between SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, you are NOT alone.

To add to the confusion:

  • OneDrive is different than OneDrive for Business. OneDrive (personal) is available for FREE to anyone by creating a Microsoft account. OneDrive for Business comes with your Office 365 Business license. In this article, we’ll only cover OneDrive for Business.
  • SharePoint on-premise is different than SharePoint on the Office 365 Cloud Platform, called SharePoint Online. In this article, SharePoint refers to the Office 365 SharePoint Online

 Office 365 Applications for File Storage and File Sharing

Both SharePoint and OneDrive are used for file storage and file sharing. When you’re prompted to save a Word or Excel document, you’ll see both choices.

OneDrive Save File








File Storage Capacity Limits


SharePoint Online Limits

1 TB per organization, plus 10 GB per license purchased

OneDrive for Business Limits

5 TB per user, which can be increased to 25 TB per user


Where Should You Save Your Document?

SharePoint Online
Enables Collaboration

SharePoint (and later SharePoint Online) were created to be collaboration portals, where companies, departments, and teams could easily and securely find and share records and resources.

SharePoint Online gives you the ability to create:

  • Team Sites
  • Intranet Sites
  • Mobile Apps

The tool puts a lot of emphasis on data security, work automation, and enforcement of data governance policies, especially around record retention and content deletion.

OneDrive for Business
Enables File Sharing

Perhaps realizing that not every business wants to have a slew of SharePoint collaboration sites, but is still interested in securely sharing file(s) with internal and external resources, Microsoft created OneDrive for Business. OneDrive allows you to put all your files in a centralized location that you can access from any device. You can easily and securely share with both internal and external users.

When you open OneDrive from the Web or Mobile application, it’s a list of files and folders, each that have their own permission levels.

SharePoint File Storage


Setting up a SharePoint Site

Setting up SharePoint site is more like designing a website. You can share much more than files. You can:

  • Embed calendars
  • Create a site newsfeed
  • Share a synced Project Plan (using Planner)
  • Share a synched OneDrive Notebook
  • Customize the branding to match the project

Sharepoint site

For a full list of features, visit the Microsoft SharePoint Online site.

File Syncing Between OneDrive and SharePoint

One point of confusion is that files can be shared between OneDrive, SharePoint, and even Microsoft Teams (which we’ll cover in a future post). When you save a file to OneDrive, you may notice that it has a SharePoint location, because it’s embedded under the company’s directory under a “PERSONAL” folder. The sync settings between the two applications are defined by your Office 365 Administrator or your Microsoft Office 365 Partner.

SharePoint and OneDrive Sync


With SharePoint, the Office 365 Administrator sets up the sites and folders with sharing permissions.

With OneDrive, the user decides which folders/files are shared (within the security limitations setup by the administrator.)

Sharing Files Without Attachments

If you want to reduce the size of your mailbox or send a large file, you can now easily send a link instead of attaching the file to an email. Another advantage of this is that multiple parties can simultaneously edit the same file. You can share to one particular email address, to anyone with the link, or to a SharePoint team site / OneDrive shared directory.

Send File Link


Data Retention

Both OneDrive for Business and SharePoint have built-in compliance features including:

  1. Activity Auditing – Shows you accessed, deleted or shared files
  2. Data Loss Prevention – Protects sensitive data
  3. Retention Policy – Can auto-retain or auto-delete content after a set timeframe
  4. eDiscovery Case Management – Allow you identify and hold content that can be used as evidence in legal cases.
  5. Alerts – Administrators and Manager can get notified when users perform certain activities

Where Should You Save Your Files?


OneDrive for Business Versus SharePoint Team Site


Crafted by: Sharegate The SIMPLEST SharePoint and Office 365 Management Tool


If you want to change where you are saving files, Microsoft has a great article on moving documents between SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. And of course, if you need help migrating your data to Office 365, give us a call!

Once upon a time…

MS Access databases were everywhere!

In fact, Microsoft Access databases are still used in lots of small-to-medium businesses because the applications developed years ago still work.

The obvious question then is…

If your MS Access application still works,
why would you change anything?

Because old technology – even if it’s technically FREE – isn’t really free. The costs are just hidden. We covered this topic in our article about the Care and Feeding of Custom Software and also where we talked about Microsoft end of support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.

In a nutshell:

  • You’re missing out on modern efficiency gains.
  • You may be creating risks – especially in the areas of security, upgradability, and supportability

MS Access has many great features.

We’ve built many applications in Microsoft Access over the years. We liked MS Access because:

  • It’s inexpensive (the license is FREE) and requires no special hardware to run.
  • It has a graphical interface, which makes it easy to use.
  • It’s an easy all-in-one simple solution, including extra features like a built-in form creator and report writer.

On the downside… despite Microsoft’s upgrades to the product, MS Access is unsophisticated and unwieldy compared to other options available today.

  • It’s not very scalable. It’s doesn’t work well with more than about 10 concurrent users and can’t handle high-volumes of data or complex algorithms.
  • Data security can be problematic. Role-based security features have been removed from the application.
  • It’s not web-friendly.
  • Most software developers don’t want to work with MS Access databases.
  • It’s difficult to connect to other small business software solutions and SaaS offerings. There’s no API connectivity.

Microsoft Access has been around for more than 25 years now. It’s had a great run. But in our opinion, it just can’t compete with newly developed web-centric solutions.

Before switching to another custom software application, the first step is to see whether a small business software application already exists that would meet your needs. When one doesn’t exist, we’ve had several clients move off of MS Access to Django.

Their typical reaction is “Why didn’t we switch sooner?!”

MS Access Migration Examples

Client 1: Needed better software integration between QuickBooks & CRM

This client had created a customer relationship management (CRM) system in MS Access. All their financial information was in QuickBooks. The problem was that they couldn’t get a full picture of the client. When the client called in to request additional services, employees couldn’t see that they had a long overdue unpaid bill. We built a custom application for them that gave them real-time access to customer history, without requiring extra QuickBooks licenses or logins.

Client 2: Needed to run on a non-Microsoft platform, specifically Linux & Apple

This client had Linux-based thin clients in their shops, and wanted employees to be able to quickly look up information through iPads. Moving from MS Access to Django made it possible so they could login to their application from any web browser.

Client 3: Needed mobile integration with a cloud-based small business software solution (SaaS API Integration)

In this case, the sales team would touch down in a city and want to be able to find the best clients within a radius of their current location. Their MS Access database was only accessible from the home office. Printing lists and maps was ridiculously inefficient. With the new system, they can create route maps to better plan their sales day. They can also integrate with Microsoft Word and Office 365.

Other clients have moved off of Microsoft Access because they have too much data or too many users.  One of the best reasons for working with Eclipse Consulting is that we don’t prescribe THE answer. We ask the right questions to help you get the best answer for YOUR business.

technology business

Your Microsoft Office 365 subscription comes with lots of hidden perks. One of these gems is Office Lens, a document scanner you can use from your phone.

Ways to Use the Office Lens Document Scanning App

  • Scan signed contracts and store in the client’s OneDrive folder
  • Scan business cards to add to Outlook / Customer Relationship Management system
  • Scan whiteboards to save our brainstorming sessions
  • Scan old photos to preserve a digital copy
  • Scan paper documents to turn them into editable Word documents

12 Steps to Getting Started with Office Lens

  1. Download Office Lens from the App Store / Google Play Store.
  2. Launch the app on your phone.
  3. Give One Lens access to your device’s camera.
  4. Login with your Microsoft Office 365 account. You can use a free version of Office Lens without an Office 365 subscription, but you lose some of the great features like saving to OneDrive and exporting as an editable Microsoft Word file.
  5.  Select the type of document you’re scanning.  Use the slider at the bottom to select the type of document you’re scanning. Your choices are:
    • Whiteboard
    • Document
    • Business card
    • Photo
      Office lens document scanner
  6. Take a photo of the document. The document will automatically remove the background and frame the document to only include the paper portion of the image captured.
  7. Make any adjustments to color or cropping.
    Office Lens Phone Scanner
  8. Add pages. To add another page to this same document, click the Camera + icon in the lower right corner.
  9. When finished, click the red checkmark.
  10. Name your document.
  11. Choose where and how to store your document. Your options are:
    • Photo Library
    • PDF
    • OneNote
    • OneDrive
    • Word
    • PowerPoint
  12. Choose where to share this document. Your options are:
    • Outlook
    • Mail
    • Any other apps with permission on your phone.

Office lens export


Office Lens Recommendations

Start using Office Lens. You’ll soon be hooked! Our whole team uses it inside and outside of the office. If you are using Office Lens in business environment, setup some IT policies and procedures around document retention.

  • How should documents be named?
  • Where should they be stored?
  • Which contacts should be added to the company database?

Request a Tech Check

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The software engineers at Microsoft have been steadily adding new applications and services to Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 is a Microsoft Cloud Software as a Service (Saas) that provides businesses with familiar business productivity tools. There are many good reasons to create a professional email account with Office 365.

Read more

G Suite or Office 365

G Suite and Office 365

Email is still the #1 tool for business communication. We believe that every business of any size needs a professional email system like Microsoft Office 365 or G Suite (Google Business Apps).

However… we routinely see businesses – even long established businesses – using @gmail, @yahoo, @comcast and other personal email addresses for their business.  We see 5 strong reasons why you should make the switch.  Read more