Microsoft Teams is marketed primarily as business software, distributed as part of the Microsoft 365 family of products. Its popularity has grown immensely, and it’s now the biggest direct competitor to Slack.
But while the main purpose of Microsoft Teams is to support remote business working and collaboration, it isn’t totally out of reach for individuals and smaller groups. Microsoft has a free version of Teams that has plenty of features.
So, if you’d like to get started using Microsoft Teams, here’s how to get it for free.
What you get in Microsoft Teams for free
As you would expect, the free version of Microsoft Teams is not exactly the same as the premium version, but it’s hardly barebones either.
The free version provides access to the same text-based chat, audio, and video calling as the paid version, but you are limited to 100 participants. Meetings can currently be up to 24 hours in length, but this was a temporary measure introduced to help folks impacted by the global pandemic. This will eventually revert back to a maximum length of one hour. You cannot record the meetings on the free tier, though.
The number of chat channels you can have is unlimited, you’re provided with 10GB of shared cloud storage and 2GB of personal storage, and the ability to collaborate with guests and external users. The free version of Microsoft Teams also provides access to Whiteboard, and you’re able to import a number of third-party add-ons to tailor the experience to your group.
How to get Microsoft Teams for free
The only prerequisite to setting up and using Microsoft Teams is having a Microsoft account. Because you’re not using the paid version, a personal account is absolutely fine.
You also aren’t required to download an app, though there are desktop clients for Windows 10, Mac, and Linux, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android. Microsoft Teams has a full-featured web app that can be used in any browser.
To get started, head to the Microsoft Teams homepage and login with your Microsoft account. That’s all there is to it. Once inside you can begin to create text channels and invite other users to suit 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 the other desktop operating systems, you have a full desktop client you can use.
To download it, whether you’re on Windows 10, macOS, or Linux, you go to the same place. The Microsoft Teams download page will detect what you’re running and offer you the right download.
If you’re on Linux, there are currently two versions of Teams that can be downloaded. The first is a .deb installer, the other a Red Hat-flavored .rpm.
If you also want to have Microsoft Teams on your smartphone, the official app is available through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Microsoft Teams is a powerful communication and collaboration tool and the fact it can be used for free for smaller groups and businesses is extremely useful.
The only entry requirement to set up a Teams workspace is a Microsoft account, which is also free, and if you find yourself wanting to use some of the premium tools there is an easy upgrade to a paid account.