Connecticut State Colleges & Universities
IT Support Center

Office 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams FAQ

*We are in the process of updating this FAQ to better support Microsoft Teams functionality.

Before creating or using an Office365 Group or Microsoft Team, be sure to read the following:
Office365 Group Standards



  •  How do I use the chat feature in the Teams app?
  • There are different types of conversations in Microsoft Teams. There are channel conversations that occur inside a Microsoft Team and there are private chats (either 1:1 or group chats). You can use the Microsoft Team app to participate in 1:1 chat or group chats without ever being inside a team if you wish. Here's some more information:

    Channel conversations (in a Team channel) can be seen by all members of the team. However, in private 1:1 chats or group chats using the Chat icon in the left menu, only the people in the chat can see your messages. How to start a chat in Teams

    To start a private 1:1 chat - click the New Chat icon and type in the name of the person you wish to chat with:

    You can chat with:

    • anyone in our organization (System Office and CCC faculty/staff/students)
    • external guests who are members of a Team that you are also a member of.

    You may be able to 1:1 or group chat with external guests using their business account - however, their Team environment needs to also be setup to allow external guest access and their account needs to be setup to use Teams (vs. Skype for Business).

    Since CSCU Universities are external, they will have limited functionality compared to a SO/CCC faculty/staff/student, but if a CSCU University member is also a member of a team, they will be able to participate as an external guest member of that team. It is therefore recommended to communicate with someone at a CSCU University from inside a Microsoft Team versus a 1:1 chat which may not work as described above.

    You cannot use chat with someone's personal email address (i.e. @gmail, @yahoo, etc.) who isn't already a member of a Team that you are a member of.

    Enter their email address into the chat field. You will see the following error if you cannot chat with them:

    When creating a chat, if you want to add more people to your chat, simply type their names into the To: field:

    If you have a group chat of 2 or more people, you can also rename the group chat if you wish. The group chat is renamed for all members of the group chat:

    You can also add more people to the group chat at any time using the "add people" button on the side. As you see you have options as to what the new people added to your group chat have access to in regards to the chat history:

    NOTE: When chatting with SO/CCC faculty/staff/students, in addition to chatting with the person, you can also have an audio call, voice-only call or share your screen with them:

    You can't delete or edit a chat once sent.

    Here's a few video tutorials on how to chat and make calls using Teams. 

    Here's additonal information on using chat in Microsoft Teams.

  •  How do I use meetings or calls in Microsoft Teams?
  • Lots of topics on meetings/calls can be found on this link such as settig up a meeting, joining a meeting, making a call, recording meetings, etc. All should be done from within Microsoft Teams app.

    However, if you have Microsoft Teams installed on a Windows desktop and are using Outlook - you may notice the "New Teams Meeting" add-in:

    NOTE: This allows you to create a Microsoft Teams private meeting from inside Outlook but you cannot use it to create a Team channel meeting - this is only for creating meetings with specific particpants. Also, meeting options are not currently available using this feature, therefore, we still recommend creating Team meetings from within the Teams app.

    External guests will be able to participate in meetings, but their experience will be different. Refer to the external guest FAQ for more info.

  •  Can I use Outlook 2016 to manage my O365 Group or Microsoft Team?
  • You definitely do not want to use Outlook to use a Microsoft Team. Always use the Teams app when working in your Microsoft Team. You can use the browser or install the app on your desktop or mobile phone. Note that there are differences between a team that started out as an O365 Group and was converted vs. a team that never was an O365 Group to begin with. The difference is is what's visible from Outlook and the address book. Refer to our FAQ item for converting an O365 Group to a Microsoft Team

    You may be able to use Outlook for an O365 Group. Here's why: Most functions/features should be available from Outlook 2016 as documented by Microsoft, but whether a feature or function is accessible from your particular install of Outlook cannot be answered. We have seen situations where the Create Group icon in the ribbon is not present as well as adding external guests as members of a group does not work. Our advice is to use OWA to manage your O365 Group. The documentation below shows how it should work from Outlook 2016 if your install supports it.

  •  How do I decide which to create: A Microsoft Team or an Office365 Group?
  • If you haven't created the group yet, you definitely want to create a Microsoft Team as you will get all the features of an O365 Group plus many other collaboration features.

    Here is an introduction to Microsoft Teams.

    If you already own an Office365 Group and now want a Microsoft Team, you can create a Microsoft Team from an O365 Group. Just launch the Teams app and when you create a Microsoft Team, it will ask you if you want to create one from a group you already own.

    Read this article to find out more about O365 Groups vs. Teams.

    Refer to our FAQ item for converting an O365 Group to a Microsoft Team as you'll have to manually move files to channel folders so they are accessible in the team. Also, the email address associated with the O365 Group will be replaced with using Team channels instead and you will not be able to access O365 Group email from inside the team.

  •  How do I convert an O365 Group to a Microsoft Team?
  • If you already are an owner of an Office365 Group and now want a Microsoft Team, you can create a Microsoft Team from an O365 Group. Just launch the Teams app and when you create a Microsoft Team, it will ask you if you want to create one from a group you already own.

    NOTE: There are some gotchas you need to be aware of:

    • In your Group's OneNote notebook, sections created outside the Team are not visible inside the Teams app. You'll have to manually move content to your channel's OneNote section(s).

    • The email address associated with the O365 Group (ends with goes to the O365 Group mailbox which is not accessible from inside the team app. When you "teamify" an O365 Group you are using, you will need to switch to using team channels for communication and not use the O365 Group email address - change to thinking of using a team channel, or "topic", and the Microsoft Team app for communication and collaboration.

    • You will have to manually move content from the original group's document library to one of your team's channels in order to access it from your new Microsoft Team. Microsoft Teams organizes topics by channels and content not in a channel will not be accessible. By default, they create the General channel, but you can create other channels if you wish. To move files from the O365 Group to a Team's channel, visit your Microsoft Team's site by opening the channel using SharePoint:

      Once in SharePoint, you'll see you are in your General channel's document library, simply click Documents to see the files you had in your O365 Group:

      Then move files you want accessible in your Team to a channel's folder (for example General). When you go back to the Team app, you'll see the moved files are now accessible from within Teams.

      NOTE: Do not use SharePoint to modify folders in a Microsoft Team. If you edit/remove a channel's folder, it makes it inaccessible in your Team.

  •  How do I Rename an Office365 Group/Microsoft Team?
  • It is not currently possible to rename the underlying Group/Team, so when you are creating your group/team, select the name carefully making sure to follow the Office365 Group Standards.

    You can however rename the display name of your group/team, it still needs to adhere to the group standards. NOTE: Changing the display name does not change the underlying site name nor the group's email address, that's why selecting the right name when you first create the group/team is important. Multiple groups/teams can have the same display name.

  •  Can my group/team use my college's domain  (i.e. or
  • No, all groups will have the for the email domain and cannot use another domain.

    The group's site will be:<group name>

    NOTE: If a group or team already exists with the same name, Microsoft will append your group name with numbers but the displayed name will still show your origially chosen name. For example, if you named your group TR-Robotics and there already was a group named TR-Robotics, your group's site may be: sites/tr-robotics546. The best way to find out your Team's URL is to go to your General channel and then go the channel's SharePoint site. Look at the URL.

  •  What do I need to know about Public/Private groups/teams?
  • The person creating an Office365 group chooses whether a group is public or private when the group is created. By default an Office365 Group is public if created in Outlook but is private if created in O365 Portal. By default, a Microsoft Team is private. You most likely want the content of your group to be only available to members not by anyone in the organization, so you will want a private group.

    Public Groups/Teams
    • All content available in SharePoint can be accessed by anyone in the organization without being a member of the group. That means they can edit/delete content/folders as well!
    • O365 Group conversations can be seen by anyone in the organization without being a member of the group.
    • Anyone can add themselves as a member of a public group/team and can subscribe to receive emails/notifications to be sent to them.
    • A SO/CCC faculty/staff/student can go to "join or create a team" from the Microsoft Team app and type in the name of a public team and join it.

    Private Groups/Teams
    • Are only accessible to members of the group.
  •  What does it mean to be listed/hidden from the email address list?
  • The following apply when a group/team's email address is listed in the email address list:

    • The group's name and email address are searchable using the Discover Groups feature.
    • The group's name and email address are searchable when entering text on an email's recipient fields (to, cc, bcc) or by searching the email address list.
    • Anyone in our organization can see the group's name, email address, description and the list of owners and members.
    • Anyone can send an email to the group's email address even without being a member. NOTE: If group members are subscribed to the group to receive email in their inbox, they will also receive the email in their inboxes when an email is sent to the group.
    • Anyone can request to join a group. The group owner does not have to accept it - but they can send it.

    When a group is hidden from the email address list, it is not discoverable by searching for the name.  However, if someone knows the group's email address, they can send email to the group whether it is private or public or whether they are members or not members.

    NOTE: If your group needs to have a member "send as" or "send on behalf of" the group, the group cannot be hidden from the email address list. Granting a member the ability to "send as" or "send on behalf of" is not configurable by the owner, it can only be set by request.

    In the summer 2018 - Microsoft made a change that any new Microsoft Team that is created is now hidden from the email address list as well as Microsoft Teams are not discoverable using Outlook.

  •  There seems to be so many ways to access my group or team's features (mail, documents, calendar). What's the easiest?
  • Microsoft Team

    A Microsoft Team should be accessed using the Teams app. You can access your SharePoint site as your Microsoft Team has a SharePoint site - but be aware if you modify the team channel folder strucutre from SharePoint, you could make channels inaccessible. Always modify your Team's document library from the Teams app and members of a Team should always be using the Microsoft Team app to access the team.

    O365 Group

    An Office365 Group has many components (mail, documents, calendar, OneNote notebook, Planner, SharePoint site) and each component can be accessed through a variety of products (Outlook 2016, files can be synced to your workstation using the OneDrive sync client, Office365 portal, individual mobile apps, etc.) making it appear more complex than it needs to be because there are so many ways to access!

    You can access all the parts of the O365 Group by visiting your group's site. The URL to your site can be found in many places. Your group's site is always available by logging into the O365 Portal, then launching mail:

    Once in the Mail app, under the Groups heading, click on your group. Once you are in your group, click the ... and then select site:


    Bookmarking the site will help you quickly go directly to your site. It will be in the form:<group name>. Sharing that link with non members will show them a "You need permission to access this site." warning as only members will be able to access your site.

    When you invited members to join your group, they received an intro email welcoming them to the group. That email contains valuable links - one of them containing the link directly to your site:


    Mail (i.e. Conversations): You can access your Office365 Group's mail conversations from inside Outlook 2016, O365 portal's mail from any browser or from a mobile device that has the Outlook Group app installed. Note that external guests will not be able to access mail conversations from your group's site. They will be sent an individual email to their email address and will not be able to see "conversations" as other members do.

    Members that are not external guests, have the choice to unsubscribe themselves from receiving email in their inbox and instead only reading email sent to the group by looking in the group's mailbox. They can do this by unsubscribing from the group when using Outlook 2016:


    Documents (i.e. Files): We do admit this is an odd one - but Microsoft has two views into your group's files. If you click on the Files link from Outlook or from the O365 portal:


    You are only seeing a list of your files (without their folder structure). This doesn't make any sense to us either! If you want to see your files in the folder structure, you will have to go to your group's site and then click Documents:


    Calendar: You can access your group's shared calendar from inside Outlook's calendar as you would any shared calendar. Note that external guests will not be able to access the shared calendar. They will be sent calendar invites to their email address and will not be able to see a shared calendar as other members do.

  •  Is there an app for that?
  • To download Microsoft Teams app, visit

    Compare Office365 Group features on different platforms (Outlook 2016, OWA, iOS, Android, etc.)

    New info: Microsoft is retiring the standalone Groups app and will incorporate O365 Groups into their Outlook app.

  •  How do I work with my group's shared calendar?
  • There are many differences between an O365 Group and a Team when it comes to calendars.

    Microsoft Teams

    Microsoft is working on a solution to natively link to the team's calendar. Currently, if you want to display a team calendar, you have to manually do it. There are 2 different workarounds to this.

    One way is to create a tab that links to the Group calendar:

    • Go to your Team's channel and click the + to add a new tab and select Website from the list of tabs you can add:
    • Name your tab: "Calendar" and paste the address to your Group calendar using this form:<insert group name>

      NOTE: If you don't know your team's O365 Group calendar name - open the channel's site in SharePoint and look at the url, your team name appears after "/sites/":

      This is what it will look like:

     The other way is by creating a SharePoint calendar and linking it to a tab in your team channel, here's how:

    • Go to your team's SharePoint site and click Home
    • Click New, select App. Search for and click the Calendar app and provide it a name.
    • In the SharePoint menu, click Site Contents and go to your calendar's settings:


    • Copy the calendar's web address listed on the Settings page.
    • You can also enable navigation features by selecting "List name, description and navigation" and enabling it on the Quick Launch and using the calendar to share member's schedules. Click Save.
    • Go back to your Team's channel and click the + to add a new tab and select Website from the list of tabs you can add:
    • Name your tab: "Calendar" and paste the Web Address you copied from the calendar.
    • If you'd like to remove the SharePoint menu bar displayed to the left of the calendar, append "?isdlg=0" to the URL before you save it, for example:<your team name>/Lists/Calendar/calendar.aspx?isdlg=0

    O365 Groups

    When working with O365 Group's calendars - remember that an O365 Group's calendar is not accessible to external guests. They will get invites emailed to them but won't be able to access it from the Calendar link. To separate your own personal calendar entries from a group (or multiple groups you may belong to), instead of creating a calendar entry in your own calendar and inviting others, create it in the group's shared calendar. Members of your group will then receive a calendar invite (external guests will receive it in their inbox) and they can also separate calendar invites from you and from the shared group. Remember that external guests access calendar invites different.

    If you simply want to view the group's calendar by itself from Outlook 2016, browse to your group found under Groups in the left menu and select your group. It will bring up the group's inbox. At the top, select Calendar and it will bring up just the group's calendar by itself:


    You can also view multiple calendars together in one view in Outlook as well. First you need to add the calendar to your favorites. Scroll down to your group listed under Groups in the left menu. Right click on the group and click "Add to Favorites":

    Then, when you go to your calendar view, it will be listed as a separate calendar entry under "My Calendars" that you can then enable in your calendar view by putting a check mark next to the calendars you want to view:

    When you have more than 1 calendar checked, they show up next to each other. To create a single view of all your calendars, click the arrows at the top to create a single view of all calendars (they are visually merged but are still separate calendars). Each time you add another calendar to your view, you can click the arrows to merge them or unmerge them into/from a single calendar view:

    This is a single view of 3 calendars. Each calendar is a different color. To create an event in a specific calendar, click the calendar's tab to change the focus to that calendar and then create your event as you normally would.

    Group members will then receive a calendar invite because you created the event in the shared group calendar. You can see exactly which calendar you are adding an event to when you create the calendar entry:

    Here is some additional information on working with your shared calendar:
  •  Can I be alerted when an item is modified?
  • Yes! If you want to be alerted when a file/folder is modified, follow these instructions to setup an alert for SharePoint Online document libraries, O365 Group or Team sites.

  •  Can I stay a member of a group but stop receiving email in my inbox for emails sent to the group?
  • Microsoft Teams

    You can follow a channel to receive direct notifications whenever there's new channel activity. Use the Activity filter: Following to see activity in channels you are following. Here's more info from Microsoft on following and favoriting channels.

    O365 Groups

    In Outlook 2016, it's called "Subscribe/Unsubscribe" and in OWA, it's called "Following/Not Following".

    In Outlook 2016, go to your group under Groups in the left menu and then click "Membership" in the top menu bar to toggle between "Subscribe" and "Unsubscribe":


    In the O365 portal's mail, when you are in your group, use the drop down next to "Following" or "Not Following" to toggle between the two options. You can also click the Group Settings button and go to "Manage group email" to change further "Not Following" options:



  •  My group's email address and SharePoint site is different than my group's name. Why?
  • When creating your group, if you name your group using any special character other than dash or underscore (- or _) then those characters will not appear in the email address or the site's file location.

    For example, if you name your group "Black & White", the email address will be and the site's SharePoint site will be:

    You may also have named your Microsoft Team the same name that another team already had - yours will be the name of your team plus some random characters.

  •  How do I change my group/team site's home page?
  • Your Group/Team's home page is a SharePoint team site. Refer to Microsoft's documentation for information on how to change the SharePoint site.

  •  How do I use an Office365 Group?
    • How to join a group
    • How to delete a group
    • How to have a group conversation (how to reply just to the sender or reply to the group)
    • How to customize your group's SharePoint site
    • Adding and removing group members
    • Members can choose to leave or unsubscribe from a group - Your members can stay a member of the group but unsubscribe from receiving group emails in their inbox. Or they can choose to leave the group altogether if they want and no longer will be members of the group.
    • Another great Microsoft document that summarizes how to get more out of Office365 Groups.
    • Do you want to have your group's files synced to your workstation? Here's how to sync Office365 Group/Microsoft Team files to your PC using OneDrive for Business. This is a great way to make the files available in your Office365 Group or Microsoft Team available right on your PC. Use the OneDrive for Business client to sync your group's files just as you did to sync your OneDrive for Business files.
    • You can manage your group's documents better by going directly to your group's site versus managing them from the "Files" section. The "Files" section just lists all your files - they are not grouped into their folders. However, when you go to the "Documents" section of your group's site, you can see the folder structure, manage permissions, share files and more. Here's how you get to your group's site:

      When in Outlook 2016 on your desktop, you will first click "Files" to get to the Home page of your site, but then just click "Documents":

  •  How do I use Microsoft Teams?
  • This is very important when using a Microsoft Team: Because part of a Microsoft Team is an Office365 Group, there are some things you need to know about the difference and why you may not see content when it's a Microsoft Team vs. an Office365 Group:
    • You cannot merge two different Microsoft Teams, so make sure before you create a new Microsoft Team that there already isn't one for the same purpose with the same members you intend to invite. There is no way to move conversations, chats or Planner tasks manually.
    • When a Microsoft Team is deleted, so is the underlying Office365 Group.
    • A Microsoft Team contains "channels" - think of them as your team's topics. Each channel has it's own email address, email conversations and files in order to organize your discussions. Email conversations that occur within a Microsoft Team channel are not visible from Outlook 2016 or OWA mail. As well as the opposite, you cannot see Microsoft Team conversations from Outlook 2016 or OWA mail. You can only use the Microsoft Team app to see channel conversations.
    • A Microsoft Team channel's email address does not use the Office365 Group format (i.e. - instead a channel's email address uses the format: <unique channel id number>
    • If email is sent to the Microsoft Team's connected Office365 Group (<teamname>, members will not see it when they look at the team from inside the Teams app. You ONLY see the conversations that are in a Microsoft Team's channel. Each channel has it's own unique email address (<channel id number> and is what is used for conversations per channel.
    • If files are not placed in a channel's file folder, they will not be accessible when you look at it from inside the Teams app. To avoid confusion, files should only be placed in a channel's file folder. Do not rename or delete channel folders. If you go to your Team's SharePoint site and view the Document Library, you will see each channel's folder and will be able to manage the files. You can create folders inside a channel's folder as well.
    • If you create a meeting in the Team's connected group's calendar from Outlook 2016, it will not have all the functionality of a meeting that was created from inside the Team's app. To get all the functionality of a Microsoft Team meeting, it must be created from inside the Team app.
    • If you created a new Microsoft Team from an existing Office365 Group, you will have to manually move content from the group area (OneNote notebook sections, Planner, files) to the Team's channel area so that it's visible from inside the Microsoft Team. Use SharePoint to move files, use OneNote to move sections/notes.
  •  How do external guests access O365 groups/Microsoft Teams?
  • If an external guest already has a Microsoft Account associated with their email email address, they would use that to login the O365 group/Microsoft Team. CSCU institutions should use their instutition email address (i.e. not a private Yahoo/Gmail account).

    If a non-CSCU external guest doesn't already have a Microsoft Account associated with their email, they would first need to create one by visiting and clicking on the Create One link:

    Once they have created a Microsoft Account that is associated with the email address that was invited to the O365 Group/Microsoft Team, they will be able to access the group/team.

    If this is the first time they are joining a SO/CCC Microsoft Team, they will need to accept permissions for accessing the team before they can participate as a member of the team:

    If a user belongs to teams in different organizations, they will need to switch between organizations as they access teams in those other organizations:

    The System Office/CCC organization will be shown as "CSCU". Each CSCU University has their own organization and will be listed here if you are an external guest in their organization.

    The next FAQ item explains the diffference between what an external guest and a CCC or SO Faculty/Staff/Student can access.

  •  How does external guest access differ from a CCC or System Office Faculty/Staff/Student?
  • External guests are anyone that is not a System Office or CCC Faculty/Staff/Student. They will access your group by logging in to a Microsoft Account using the same email address you invited to join your group.

    For CSCU insitutions: CCSU, ECSU, WCSU, SCSU and Charter Oak members. You will need to add/invite their CSCU account as a member and they will use their CSCU Microsoft Account to login. 

    Users without CSCU accounts: You can also invite non-CSCU users to your group/team. They will need to have a Microsoft Account associated with the email address you invite. If they don't already have one, they can create one by visiting: and clicking on the Create one link.

    Microsoft Teams

    To add an external guest to your Microsoft Team, simply enter their email address when adding members:

    When you click "Add user as a guest" you will then be able to add them to your team:

    They will receive an email with a link to open Microsoft Teams:


    Once they have launched the Teams app and accepted the permissions:

    they will be able to join in on Teams activities.

    Currently, External guests:

    • Can use the Microsoft Teams app but will have a different experience.
    • Can use the chat feature - but they can only chat with people who are in a team that the external guest is a member of.
    • May be able to use 1:1 chat to chat with external guests that are not in a team you are in BUT it is dependent on their Team settings and may not be reachable by chat if their settings are not setup to use Teams. You may see something like this:
    • Does not have access to the Meetings icon in the left menu, but will receive emails for meetings and can create Meet Now meetings in a Team channel
    • Cannot be an owner of or add members to a team.
    • Cannot browse/search/join/create teams. They need to be added as members of a team.

    O365 Groups

    To add an external guest to your O365 Group, follow these instructions by using the O365 Portal (don't use the Outlook app) and accessing your group, then click the members tab.

    External guests have limited access to an Office365 group than CCC and System Office Faculty/Staff/Students. External guests will receive an email with instructions on how to access your group when they are invited. All of the external guest's interactions occur via email or by visiting the site's URL, they do not access the group from Outlook or from the OWA group interface. It may be helpful for external guests to save the "Welcome email" from your group as it contains links they will use to get access to the group's files.

    Currently, external guests:

    • Cannot browse our O365 groups
    • Will not see the group listed under "groups" in their inbox - they will only see groups from their own organization
    • Cannot add or remove group members from the group
    • Cannot view the group calendar - (they will get calendar events via email instead)
    • Cannot modify calendar events
    • Cannot visit the Conversations tab from the group's site - (instead, they will receive email and can reply-to-all to reply to the group)

    "Inviting guests" means adding them as a member of your group. Once they are members of your group, they will have access to all of the group's documents. You will not have to "share" documents or folders with members of your group to provide them access to documents.

    NOTE: Using the "invite members" link should be used only to invite members of our organization (i.e. not external guests) to join your group:


    Refer to this very good resource to learn more about External Guest access to an Office365 Group.