Microsoft Teams is primarily marketed as enterprise software, distributed as part of the Microsoft 365 family of products. Its popularity has grown tremendously and is now Slack’s biggest direct competitor.
But while the primary goal of Microsoft Teams is to support remote working and collaboration, it’s not entirely out of reach for individuals and small groups. Microsoft offers a free version of Teams with a lot of features.
So, if you want to start using Microsoft Teams, here’s how to get it for free.
What you get for free in Microsoft Teams
As you might expect, the free version of Microsoft Teams isn’t exactly the same as the premium version, but it’s not a straightforward version either.
The free version gives access to the same text chat, audio and video calls as the paid version, but you are limited to 100 participants. Meetings can currently last up to 24 hours, but this was a temporary measure introduced to help those affected by the global pandemic. This will eventually come down to a maximum duration of one hour. However, you cannot record meetings on the Free Tier.
There is no limit to the number of chat channels you can have, you get 10 GB of shared cloud storage and 2 GB of personal storage, as well as the ability to collaborate with guests and external users. The free version of Microsoft Teams also provides access to the Whiteboard, and you can import a number of third-party add-ons to personalize your group’s experience.
How to get Microsoft Teams for free
The only prerequisite for setting up and using Microsoft Teams is to have a Microsoft account. Because you are not using the paid version, a personal account is quite acceptable.
You don’t have to download an app either, although there are desktop clients for Windows 10, Mac, and Linux, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android. Microsoft Teams has a full web app that can be used in any browser.
To get started, head to the Microsoft Teams home page and sign in with your Microsoft account. That’s all we can say about it. Once inside, you can start creating text channels and invite other users according to your needs.
How to download Microsoft Teams on Windows 10, macOS, and Linux
The web app is the best way to use Microsoft Teams on a Chromebook, but on other desktop operating systems you have a full desktop client that you can use.
To download it, whether you are on Windows 10, macOS or Linux, you go to the same place. the Microsoft Teams download page will detect what you are running and offer you the correct download.
If you’re on Linux, there are currently two versions of Teams that can be downloaded. One is a .deb installer, the other is a Red Hat-style .rpm.
If you also want to have Microsoft Teams on your smartphone, the official app is available through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Microsoft Teams is a powerful communication and collaboration tool and the fact that it can be used for free for small groups and businesses is extremely helpful.
The only entry requirement to set up a Teams workspace is a Microsoft account, which is also free, and if you want to use some of the premium tools, there’s an easy upgrade to a paid account.