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The sidebar that shows your teams and chats in Microsoft Teams can be hidden when you don’t need it. Microsoft has made changing this setting very unintuitive, but it’s easy once you know where it’s hiding.

Having a sidebar or navigation pane on the left side of an app is perfectly normal—almost every email client has one, for example—and many apps give you the option to toggle it on or off. Microsoft Teams is no exception, but for some reason, the company made the toggle hard to find, and you can’t toggle the sidebar on and off if you have a chat open.

This basically means that you can toggle the sidebar on and off when you have a tab open in a channel, as long as it’s not the “Posts” channel. You can’t toggle the sidebar on and off if you’re in a chat.

To toggle the sidebar, open a tab in a Teams channel and click the two diagonal arrows found to the right of the tabs.

The toggle option to hide the sidebar.

This will hide the sidebar. To show it again, click the diagonal arrows again.

The toggle option to show the sidebar.

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A clue to Microsoft’s thinking is that if you hover over the diagonal arrows, the tooltip reads “Expand Tab” if the sidebar is visible, or “Collapse Tab” if the sidebar isn’t visible. Clearly, the design team was thinking more about giving extra screen space for the tab you’re looking at, rather than letting you hide the toolbar just because you don’t want to see it.

Rob Woodgate Rob Woodgate
Rob Woodgate is a writer and IT consultant with nearly 20 years of experience across the private and public sectors. He's also worked as a trainer, technical support person, delivery manager, system administrator, and in other roles that involve getting people and technology to work together.
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