It depends on the version you have – but there are also other free options. The global pandemic has accelerated the global trend of people working from home, travelling less, and working in teams across vast distances. And speaking of teams…
Microsoft Teams, which leverages the nearly ubiquitous Office 365 suite, has surpassed Slack and others to become the most popular all-in-one online work collaboration tool.
So can you get Teams for free if you have Office 365? It depends.
(1) Depending on the Office 365 suite your organization has, you can potentially add Teams as a free tier.
According to Microsoft, “To use Microsoft Teams, you need a Microsoft 365 account with the appropriate Microsoft 365 license plan.” Those plans do not include the personal 365 subscription. They do include Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3, E4 (retired now but still valid for holders), and E5. It also includes Education and Government licenses.
(2) If you don’t have access to one of those plans, you can still sign up for a free Teams trial, currently from 1 to 6 months depending on the size and nature of your organization.
(3) Here’s another idea. If a company or organization you’re working with has Microsoft Teams, you can ask them to allow you to participate as a Guest.
Microsoft Teams’ free versions are quite robust, depending upon the work you do. Teams provides unlimited chats, audio and video calls - it’s planning to retire Skype for Business in summer 2020.
The free version also provides 10GB of file storage for an entire professional team, all within one window/application. It also provides 2GB of personal storage for each person in the team. Microsoft Teams is fully integrated with all Office programs and apps, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote, along with dozens of outside business apps.
Helpful hint: If you already have one of the eligible Office 365 plans, but just want to try out a free version before committing to the integration, try signing up with a different email account than the one you’re using for Office 365. That’s because once apps get integrated with Teams, you’ll have to access them through Teams. You probably want to take Teams for a test-drive before making that commitment.
You can see how Microsoft’s specs on the free vs. paid versions compare here.
Here’s the link to Microsoft Teams’ main page. To get started, Teams’ web app seems to handle the basic features fine. To take Teams to the next level, you can install the desktop app from the Teams website. You can also install the mobile version too – either iOS or Android.
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