IT Connect
Your connection to information technology at the UW

Microsoft Teams


Microsoft Teams is part of UW Office 365 and is a FERPA- and HIPAA-compatible productivity, collaboration, communication, and file storage platform, including persistent direct messaging and group chat functionality, as well as video and voice calling.

Request a Microsoft Team

We highly recommend adding at least one other UW employee or Shared UW NetID to a Team as an owner. This will allow another account to continue managing a Team if you should depart the UW. If a Team becomes ownerless, there is currently no process to allow us to transfer ownership and the Team will fall into our deletion policy.

Click here to request a Microsoft Team

Access Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams can be accessed via:

Microsoft Teams (the platform) vs. a Microsoft Team (an instance)

Microsoft Teams (the platform) can be used without a Microsoft Team (an instance of a Team) for direct messaging as well as video and voice calling.  It is the successor to Microsoft Skype for Business.

However, a Microsoft Team (an instance) can also be requested by UW faculty and staff for productivity, collaboration, communication, and file storage work with a group of people.

Click here to explore the UW-IT Microsoft Teams “Tech Forum” Team to see a Team in action

Obtaining a Microsoft Team for UW Faculty and Staff

In addition to the functionality included in the Microsoft Teams platform listed above, UW faculty and staff can request a Microsoft Team to utilize for group work including group chat, group video and voice calling, and group file storage.

Obtaining a Microsoft Team for UW Students

UW students cannot directly request the creation of a Microsoft Team (an instance of a Team) as students cannot be responsible for maintaining state or educational records. Students are, however, still allowed to use Microsoft Teams (the platform and an instance).  For students who need a Microsoft Team, a recommended course of action is to contact a department staff or faculty member and have them request a Microsoft Team on the student’s behalf.  Even if a department staff or faculty members is not participating in the Team, we recommend they use a Shared UW NetID provisioned for UW Office 365 as one of the owners of the Team so content can be removed when it is no longer needed or appropriate to hold.

Responsibilities of the owner of a Microsoft Team

The owner of a Microsoft Team is responsible for:

  • Managing access to the Team
  • Securing content in the Team
  • Managing content in the team according to UW records guidelines (or UW Medicine records guidelines, for UW Medicine employees)
  • Submitting requests for changes to the Team to UW-IT
  • Responding to requests from UW-IT regarding the Team
  • Designating a new Team owner when they depart UW
  • Deleting the Team when it is no longer needed

Microsoft Team Deletion

A Microsoft Team may be deleted by UW-IT when the last UW employee or Shared UW NetID is removed as Team owner.  The owner of a Microsoft Team can delete the Team by following these directions.

Sync Microsoft Teams Files with Your Computer

Click here to learn how to sync Microsoft Teams files with your computer using OneDrive for Business

External Sharing and Adding Guests to a Microsoft Team

External sharing is enabled by default on a Microsoft Team.  The owner of a Team can invite a guest (an external, non-UW email addresses) to join a Team.

Click here to learn more about adding guests to a Team

Microsoft Teams and Hidden Membership

By default, the ability to view the membership of a new Microsoft Team is restricted to the owners and members of the Team.  This is intended to increase the privacy of the owners and members of a Team in order to not reveal potential student status if a Team is being used for academic purposes, or other sensitive, confidential UW affiliations that owners and members may not want widely known.  This hidden membership setting cannot be changed after a Team is created.

If you want the membership of your new Team viewable to non-owners and non-members, please let us know when you request your Team.

Renaming a Microsoft Team

The underlying Microsoft 365 Group that forms the membership service of a Microsoft Team has many different “name” attributes. The three most important names are the Display Name, the User Principal Name, and the Primary SMTP Address (Primary Email Address).

All Microsoft 365 Groups at UW are named starting with the standard prefix “og_”.  On the Microsoft Team request form, the user will enter a Microsoft 365 Group name “stem” and then a more specific Microsoft 365 Group name, e.g. ”og_uwit_collab_services”.  By default, the underlying Microsoft 365 Group for a Microsoft Team is created with the Display Name, User Principal Name, and Primary SMTP Address all set with this initial value, as entered by the user.  The “og_” prefix on the User Principal Name and Primary SMTP Address is required to prevent the creation of a Microsoft 365 Group that violates the naming policies for the greater UW NetID namespace, and prevent “collisions” from a Microsoft 365 Group being created with the same name as an existing UW NetID or UW Group.

That said, it is possible to rename the Display Name for a Microsoft Team and the underlying Microsoft 365 Group using the Teams interface.  This does not update the User Principal Name or Primary SMTP Address, and is relatively safe with no known issues.  However, Microsoft frequently makes changes to how Teams works and having a Display Name that is different than the User Principal Name and Primary SMTP Address may at some point cause issues.  Additionally, there are numerous other interfaces in Office 365 for updating the names of a Microsoft 365 Group, such as Outlook on the web and Planner, and potential issues for using these interfaces to change names are unknown.

In sum, we recommend limiting Display Name changes to only when necessary.  If you decide to rename your Team, we also encourage using a more descriptive Team name than just “HR” or “IT”, for example, as there are hundreds of HR and IT groups at the UW that may also be using Teams.

UW-IT does not support renaming the User Principal Name and Primary SMTP Address of a Microsoft 365 Group, and any Microsoft 365 Group found violating this policy will have these values returned to the original name values.  If these values need to change, we recommend you start with a new Microsoft 365 Group/Microsoft Team.

Add-ins for Microsoft Teams

The following add-ins are available for Microsoft Teams:

Meeting Dial-in

Microsoft Teams does not include audio conferencing, aka meeting dial-in, for most UW users. However, some users have additional licensing that does include this functionality due to their specific affiliation with the UW.

Click here to learn more about meeting dial-in with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams Help and Training

UW-IT is unable to provide individual or group training on how to use Microsoft Teams.  However, UW-IT manages a Microsoft Teams “Tech Forum” Team you can explore and use to pose questions about Microsoft Teams to the UW community.  Microsoft also provides an excellent help and learning portal and training videos, as does LinkedIn Learning.

Click here to access the UW-IT Microsoft Teams “Tech Forum” Team

Click here to access Microsoft’s Teams help and learning portal

Click here to access Microsoft’s Teams training videos

Click here to access LinkedIn Learning training videos

Last reviewed November 11, 2020