Microsoft Teams is great for splitting work areas into different teams and channels, but it’s easy to have way too many things in the sidebar for easy navigation. Here’s how to tidy things up a bit.
One of the benefits of Microsoft Teams is that it is easy to create teams and channels. This means you can split workflows, have granular permissions for who can see what, and generally manage your collaboration and document access the way you want.
However, any advantage can become a disadvantage, and in this case the disadvantage is that the number of teams and channels can grow quickly to the point where it is difficult to find something. This is especially true in a corporate environment where other people can add you to teams or channels.
Fortunately, Microsoft Teams gives you tools to deal with this, so you can decide which teams and channels you see. Here̵
We’ll start with an unorganized sidebar and turn it into something more organized.
Rearrange your teams
The first thing to do is arrange your teams in a specific order. By grouping similar teams, or sorting them alphabetically, you can visually scan them to find the team you want.
You can do this by dragging and dropping teams to different positions in the sidebar. Click on the team you want to move – in our case it’s the “Project Pegasus” team – and drag it to the right place.
Do this with all your teams until they are in some sort of organized list.
Hide teams you don’t watch
Now that you have an ordered list, it’s time to keep the important teams visible and hide the unimportant teams. It’s normal for there to be multiple teams that you barely look at (especially teams that other people have joined you with) that you can’t leave.
You can hide these teams by clicking the three-dot icon next to the team name and selecting “Hide” from the menu.
This will create a new section “Hidden teams”.
Click the arrow next to “Hidden teams” to minimize the group and hide the hidden teams from view.
From now on, unless you open the “Hidden teams” section by clicking the arrow next to it, you won’t see the teams, and you won’t get any notifications from the hidden teams unless you are mentioned directly.
To remove a team from “Hidden Teams”, click on the three dots icon next to the team and select “Show” from the menu.
Hide channels you don’t watch
You may have teams that you want to keep visible, but that also have channels that you never watch. Like an entire team, you can hide individual channels. Click the three dots icon next to the channel and select “Hide” from the menu.
This will create a new section in the team named ‘1 hidden channel’.
If you hide more than one channel, the name changes to “2 hidden channels”, “3 hidden channels”, and so on.
To view hidden channels, click the arrow next to “Hidden channels” and select the channel name, or click “View” to make the channel visible.
Pin your important channels
To keep important channels always visible, you can pin them to the top of the sidebar. Click on the three-dot icon next to the team, then select “Pin” from the menu.
This will create a new ‘Pinned’ section at the top of the sidebar with the channel you pinned visible underneath.
You can freeze as many channels as you want. We’re only interested in the “Status Updates” channel in our project teams, so we’ve pinned and dragged and dropped those channels in alphabetical order based on the project name.
To remove a team from the “Pinned” section, click the three dots icon next to the channel and select “Unpin” from the menu.
Pinned channels are visible in the “Pinned” section regardless of whether the team they are on is hidden or not. Since we don’t need to see the other channels in our project teams, we can hide any project team and make our list even cleaner.
In comparison, remember that our sidebar was originally an unordered mess.
But with a few minutes of sorting, hiding, and pinning, we’ve made something a lot cleaner and easier to use.