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How to start a video meeting in the free version of Microsoft Teams

If you’re looking for yet another app to use to meet with your friends or co-workers online, Microsoft has just made it possible to hold meetings on its free version of Teams.

Teams is Microsoft’s alternative to Slack — you can use it for instant messaging, hosting meetings, and collaborating on files. It’s designed for work, but anyone can sign up for a free account. (However, during signup, if you say you want to use Teams for communicating with friends and family, it will direct you to Skype — so just make sure you tell it that you’re using it for work.)

Previously, free accounts could join meetings, but couldn’t initiate them; now, anybody can start a Teams meeting. And currently, Teams doesn’t put a cap on the length of the meeting or the number of participants (although, according to Microsoft, this is due to the COVID-19 crisis, so that may change in the future).

To start a Teams video meeting, first you’ll have to either sign in with your Microsoft account or create one and then sign in. (You can create an account with any email address; it doesn’t have to be an Outlook address.) You can also, if you want, download the desktop app for macOS or Windows.

The process is similar for starting a meeting via your browser or the desktop app. Once you’re signed in, if you’re ready to start talking immediately:

If you prefer to schedule a meeting for later, here’s how:

The next box will give you the option to “Copy meeting invitation” to get a link to join the meeting. You can also automatically share your invite via Google Calendar and / or Microsoft Outlook, depending on what services you’re currently signed into.

And that’s it! Since your meeting link is unique, you’ll be able to log onto it at any time, but this way, you and the other participants will have a scheduled time to meet.

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