Frequently Asked Questions and Support Resources for Teams

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Microsoft Teams organizes teams and projects in one place, allowing members to collaborate quickly and effectively.

  • A central hub: Microsoft Teams allows you to manage files created in Microsoft 365 among your fellow collaborators, wherever they may be.

  • Team collaboration: Everyone can stay up-to-date on the latest project status: Teams allows multiple people to edit documents simultaneously.

  • Chat and share files: Group and individual chat functionality, easy access to shared team documents, and integration of other 365 apps.

MS Teams combines several existing tools in one place, and replaces certain others, allowing us to fully utilize more features of Microsoft 365. This integration makes much of the functionality easier to use than using several other applications for the same tasks.

Teams are available to University of Waterloo employees (i.e. staff, faculty, and graduate students employed by the University). To request a Team, please visit the Jira portal to request a Microsoft Team.

Teams provides an easy and effective way to chat and share documents with small groups or departments. When your Team is created, a SharePoint site for team files is also created. You can also easily include people who are not members of the University community. Teams works as a web application, or as a desktop application, and has support across multiple devices, including Android and iPhone.

  • Yes, you can add external users as guests to a team.

  • Guests can be added with any email (e.g.,, etc.)

  • Once added to the team, guests who are already using Teams with another institution can access the separate Teams tenant by doing one of the following: 

    • Have one tenant open in the Teams desktop application and another open in a browser window (

    • Switch tenants using the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the Teams desktop application 

Instructors can now request a Team with roster synchronization by accessing the course in LEARN for which they would like a roster sync’d Team and clicking on Instructor Tools in the Course Tools widget on the course homepage. Select Request MS Team from the options. Rosters are loaded/sync’d once per day at 4:30 a.m. starting the day following the day on which the request is made. 

The Teams roster loads all students, not including Teaching Assistant’s (TA), and does not distinguish section groups.

TA’s must be added manually by the instructor.

Data stored within OneDrive on Teams is subject to the same data retention policies as OneDrive. This means that if a file is accidentally deleted, you'll be able to restore this file yourself as long as it's within 30 days.

Teams effectively integrates your own OneDrive and your Team OneDrive, giving you access to plenty of space to save any documents. Both of these spaces are approved for storing anything but highly restricted information. This page provides guidelines for secure data exchange.

Implementation of Teams data retention policies currently under review.

  • Private and group chat messages in Microsoft Teams will be deleted one year after the message is sent or received and will not be recoverable (there was previously no retention policy for these chats). 

    • For example, on June 1, 2021, chat messages sent or received before June 1, 2020 would be deleted 

    • An automatically generated message stating "We've deleted older messages due to your organization's retention policy" will appear at the top of chat windows as older chats are deleted. 

    • Links to files shared in private or group chats will also be removed from the conversation at the one-year mark; however, files will still be accessible. 

  • Posts to a Teams Channel, including those posted during a meeting, will be retained for the life of the team (was previously 3 years). 

  • Other Teams data (e.g., files) will persist as long as the Team exists (i.e., All Teams data would be deleted if the entire Team was deleted).  

  • All Teams data would be deleted if the entire Team was deleted.

  • A number of apps and connectors are currently supported in Microsoft Teams.

  • For a brief overview and common connectors, please see Microsoft's page.

Teams support guides and resources


Quick start

How do I join a team? 

How do I create a team? 

Is Teams available on mobile devices? 

Communication using Teams

How do I edit or delete messages? 

How do I create a channel? 

How do I start a private chat with someone? 

How do I start audio and video calls? 

How do I schedule a meeting? 

File Storage and Sharing

How do I edit and collaborate on files?

Can I use other cloud storage within Teams? 

Need help?

Contact the IST Service Desk online or 519-888-4567 ext. 44357.

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