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How To Assign Phone Numbers In Microsoft Teams [At Scale]

How To Assign Phone Numbers In Microsoft Teams [At Scale]

If you need to assign a phone number in Microsoft Teams, there are two ways: 

  1. The easy way.
  2. The hard way.
  3. The really complex way.

That’s not fair. The “hard” way is still quite easy if you don’t have many Teams users to manage and they aren’t any geographical or user-based complexities in play. 

And that’s why we’re going to show you both the easy and hard ways to assign a phone number in Microsoft Teams. 

The really complex way is when you have a million numbers lying around in an Excel spreadsheet because you use Direct Routing and your numbers don’t appear in the TAC. 

If you’re familiar with this pain, we’re sorry for you.  

If you’re not, we’re not going to introduce you do it. Instead, pick the easy way coming up 😊 

Before we explain how to assign a phone number in Teams in both the easy and hard way, there are some pre-requisites you must have in place before attempting either. 

Pre-requisites to assign a phone number in Microsoft Teams 

Before you can assign a phone number to a Teams user, a few things must already be in place: 

  • User(s) must be voice-enabled (Teams Phone) 
  • User(s) must have a calling method enabled (Direct Routing, Operator Connect, Calling Plan) 
  • You must have spare numbers available in your ranges, or 
  • Be okay with receiving new numbers from Microsoft (if you use Calling Plan) 

The easy way to assign phone numbers in Microsoft Teams (at scale) 

If you want to eliminate spreadsheets and time-consuming manual processes, you can replace them with a single pane of glass for Microsoft Teams management

In the Orto portal, you can group all your numbers by location. This makes it easier to find specific ranges based on dialing code. 

Grouping phone numbers for Microsoft Teams

In the Teams Admin Center (TAC), for example, you get presented with all your numbers and must apply filters and perform manual searches when looking for specific ranges or numbers. 

Inside each range, you can assign tags to denote what each set of numbers is reserved for. In the example below, see how obvious it is that these numbers are reserved for accounts. 

Reserving numbers in Microsoft Teams

To make it obvious to other admins, you can use the Quick Reserve option to lock the number from being assigned to anyone else accidentally. 

Reserving numbers in Microsoft Teams

A note on number management best practices 

When managing numbers, it’s best practice to keep contiguous numbers together.  

For example, if a number range starts at 000 and ends at 100, it’s ideal to group the users within the entire range together. This is mainly to keep them identifiable in the future.  

Your marketing team might have an entire range assigned to them. So, it makes complete sense to assign a new staff member one of those numbers instead of a new one. Using tags and keeping numbers reserved means consecutive numbers get grouped together and numbers don’t get re-used by incorrect departments.  

You may have a DDI range that starts 000 and ends at 100 but choose to have the following configuration:  

  • 000: Main inbound number  
  • 001 – 009: Marketing  
  • 010 – 019: Sales  
  • 020 – 039: Support  
  • 040 – 049: Accounts  

Even if you only have 10 support staff at this moment in time, leaving space for future growth is catered to by the reservation of the extra 10 numbers allocated in the 020 – 039 range.  

Using contiguous numbers helps with:  

  • Number porting in the future  
  • Administration and management  
  • Identification of which department a staff member belongs to  
  • Reassignment of numbers when staff members leave and their replacement begins 

Read More: 5 Microsoft Teams Number Management Best Practices 

Assigning phone numbers to Teams users 

When you click a number in the Orto portal, you can assign it to a user. 

First, choose the service based on your phone system configuration. Let’s assume you’re using Microsoft Teams in this example (note you can integrate Teams with any PBX). 

Select the service, choose the status, and the type of account you’re assigning the number to. 

The process is the same when assigning a number to a user, hunt group, auto attendant, etc. 

How to assign a phone number in Microsoft Teams

When you’ve selected the user who needs a phone number (Abbe Darkins), you can also assign them a user persona.  

For example, if they work in Sales, this action grants them access to all the policies and features they’ll need for a typical Sales user in Teams. 

Your final option in this view enables their outbound number to be displayed as their direct dial. 

That’s it. Abbe now has a phone number and can start to make calls from Microsoft Teams. 

Doing this one-off in the TAC may take the same amount of time, but you can’t assign user personas and you can’t reserve numbers quite so clearly. 

When you’re doing this at scale, however, it gets messy as you return to a screen full of unsorted numbers each time.  

Every time you complete one number assignment, you’ll likely have another admin action to complete as well. Not everything you need to do is possible via the TAC, meaning you’ll fire up a script or start to make changes in PowerShell.  

The manual nature of these tasks, combined with the constant app switching, opens the door to human error and inefficacies. 

Keeping everything in a single portal reduces the possibility of error and saves you tons of time. 

The hard way to assign a phone number in Microsoft Teams 

The “hard” way is hard if you plan to assign numbers at scale. Using the TAC is just fine if you have a few users or numbers. 

If you just need add a phone number to a single Teams user, follow these steps: 

  1. Head to 
  2. Log in using your Microsoft admin credentials 
  3. Select Voice then Phone numbers in the left-hand menu 
View all phone numbers in Microsoft Teams

You’ll then be presented with all the numbers you have available to assign to Teams users. 

If you’re looking for a specific number, range, or pattern, use the filter and search options in the top right-hand corner. 

View all phone numbers in Microsoft Teams

When you’ve found your desired number, click it then select Edit from the menu just above your number list. 

How to assign a phone number in Microsoft Teams

You can then start typing the name of the user you wish to assign this user to. When the user appears, click Assign

An emergency location will be set by default. You can change this if you wish. 

Here, you can also choose whether to email the user to notify them of the number assignment. 

Toggle on/off the email notification as needed. 

Notify users of phone number assignment in Microsoft Teams

If your internal procedure dictates you send the user a ticket update or closure, you might want to turn this notification off so they only get one notification. If you have other work to do for that user, prompting them to start making phone calls could have an adverse impact. 

Now, while this looks simple in the Microsoft tutorial, it misses a few critical steps for larger businesses. 

There’s no access to create smart provisioning rules, user personas for auto-provisioning, or add to call queues without swapping between tabs and menus. 

When managing Microsoft Teams phone numbers at scale, you need a centralized solution with all your phone numbers but dedicated sections for user types, locations, and bulk changes. 

What if I make a change in the Teams Admin Center but normally use Orto? 

Every time you make a change in either the TAC or Orto, everything gets updated in real time. 

The underlying assets (phone numbers, users, hunt groups, etc.) receive the change and are saved on the very back end. Changes you make on portals are simply front-end instructions. 

If you’re used to using the TAC, you can still do so for one-off changes to low-management numbers. 

But when it comes to enterprise number management, you need a purpose-built administration area to take care of all your tasks. 

Finding number management an issue? 

Book a call with one of our Teams experts. 

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