Microsoft Teams: Tabs are your friend

Microsoft Teams is THE hottest thing to come out of Microsoft in a long time, and manages to convert even the hardened sceptics into an innovator in the world of collaboration. But often when I look at how Teams is used within organisations, I'm always surprised that some of the basic functionality isn't being used. The key aspect I'm talking about, is the use of Tabs, with most organisations only ever using the default tabs: Conversations; Files; and Wiki.

Why should we use tabs?

As an IT Pro in the world of Office 365, everything I do, I ask "How can I help my users?".  Tabs are designed to do just that, help my users. If you are expecting the members of your team to go away and find the same information on a regular basis, then you really need to consider doing this as a tab.

Microsoft Teams allows us to pull all of our collaboration tools into a single one-stop-shop application. I can access my files in SharePoint, my chats, make calls all from one place.

There are a few tabs which I get by default, Conversations, Wiki and Files, but what if my team doesn't just work in those places? What if we need to regularly use a PowerApp? Or review a PowerBI dashboard? Or even go to Azure DevOps to manage tasks? My users are now navigating around multiple solutions to get the information they need, and this is before we step outside the boundaries of Microsoft 365. Imagine throwing websites into the mix and users going out into the world wide web to try and find something relevant to the project.

In web development we try to make all of the relevant information available at a single click, this is no different. One click, get the info, without leaving the application.

To support this, there are a number of different tabs available for us to use.

What types of tabs are there?

There are a number of different tabs which allow me to connect out to various services, both internally within the same tenancy, and also to services which are provided by third party suppliers.

There are additional apps which you can install from the App Store as well which help you to include more relevant information, or include bots in your tabs. Everything is designed to grease the wheels of productivity.

I'd recommend just having a look through the tabs that you have available to you, and then you can start to consider what to add as a tab.

What should I add as a tab?

The first question I ask is "What do all of my team members need to access?". This could be a combination of things depending on what the purpose of the team is. If it's a project, then it could be that I have the following:

  • Planner displaying the tasks (Planner Tab) - the alternative is that the users navigate to Planner, find the relevant plan and then review their tasks.
  • A solution design document (Word Tab) - the alternative is that they navigate to the Files tab (or an alternative document library), and then navigate through the folders and then open the file
  • A website containing relevant information such as legislation (Website Tab) - the alternative is that the user loads up the browser, searches for the relevant site, combs through the site to find the specific area they they need

They are just some very basic examples of tabs which I would add into a site, but all of them if done manually have a time cost associated to them.

One piece of advice, don't go overboard on tabs! Too many tabs, in the same way as not enough, can be detrimental to the way in which your team works. I work on a rule of thumb, that if I start to lose tabs onto the "More" menu then I have too many, and should consider either removing some or maybe having them on other channels rather than all in one.


Tabs within Teams are a great tool for bringing information to your users in the most time economic way. Generally the information can be placed one click away from your users as most of the time users are working within a specific channel.

Tabs can be added to numerous different services so that your users don't need to keep moving around different applications to find the info they need e.g. moving in and out of PowerApps to access a specific app.

Remember to keep them relevant to the channel that they're in, don't think that you have to create a tab for everything. In this case, less is more, and will really help your users in their day-to-day Teams lives!

I hope you found this blog useful, and as always, feedback is very much welcome.