Connect to team projects

Last Update: 12/5/2016

Team Services | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | Previous versions

To share code, build apps, track work, and collaborate with team members, you connect to a team project from one of the following clients:


A team project defines a process and data storage in which you manage your software projects from planning to deployment. You or a team member create a team project either on Team Services or an on-premises TFS. When you connect to a team project, you connect to an account or team project collection. Within that collection, one or more team projects may be defined. At a minimum, at least one team project must be created in order to use the system. If you need to create a team project, then start here. If you need to add a team, see Multiple teams.

From each of these clients, you can quickly switch context to a different team project and connect under a different account name. If you work remotely, you can configure your client to connect to a TFS Proxy server.

To get started with a code base, set up Git or set up TFVC.

Connect from the web portal

  1. If you're not a member of a Team Services or TFS security group, ask your account or project admin to add you.

  2. Open a browser window and type a URL that uses the following form:

    Team Services: 

    TFS (on-premises):


    For example, to connect to the server named FabrikamPrime, type: http://FabrikamPrime:8080/tfs/.

    The default Port is 8080. Specify the port number and directory for your server if defaults aren’t used.

  3. When you access the server for the first time, a Windows Identity dialog box will appear. Fill in your credentials and choose the OK button.


    If you select the Remember me check box you won’t have to enter your credentials the next time you connect.

  4. Choose your team project or team from the set of available links, or choose Browse to access all team projects and teams.

    Web portal, TFS, Oerview page

To browse to a different team project

From the account home page, click Browse.

Web portal, browse team projects

To switch context to a different team project

  • Choose the team project you want to work on from the team project menu.

    Web portal, switch team projects

    To learn more about each hub and the tasks you can perform, see Work in the web portal.

To log on with different credentials

  1. Open Windows Security from the context menu associated with your name.

    Sign in As link on Account context menu

  2. Enter your credentials.

    Enter user name and password to access TFS

To open the web portal from Team Explorer

  • Open the web portal from the home page.

    Connect to Team Web Access

Connect from Visual Studio or Team Explorer

  1. If you haven’t already, download and install a version of Visual Studio.

  2. If you're not a member of a TFS security group, get added as one.

  3. Check with a team member to determine the names of the server, team project collection, and team project that you will connect to.

  4. From the Connect page, choose the Connect to Team Project link to select a different account, TFS, or team project to connect to.

    connect to team projects

    Select the team projects that you will work on.

    Connect to Team Foundation Server dialog box

    If it’s your first time connecting, add TFS to the list of recognized servers.


    If you selected just one team project, you’ll see the Home page for that project. The pages that appear differ based on the resources enabled and the source control system selected for your team project.

    Home page with Git

    Team Explorer Home page with Git as source control

    Home page with TFVC

    Team Explorer Home page w/ TFVC as source control

    To learn more about each page and the tasks you can perform, see Work in Team Explorer.

    Your client remembers the set of connections you’ve configured. You can quickly switch from one team project to another from the Connect page.

To change accounts when connecting to Team Services

  1. From the Connect page, choose the Connect to Team Project link to log on with different credentials.

    connect to team projects

    The Switch User link appears only when you are actively connected to a team project hosted on Team Services.

    Connect to Team Foundation Server dialog box

  2. Sign on using a valid Microsoft account—an account that is associated with a Visual Studio Team Services team project.

To change accounts

  • To run Visual Studio under an account that is different from your logged on Windows account, open the context menu for devenv.exe to access your run as options.

    Context menu for Visual Studio devenv.exe

    You can locate the executable in the following folder: Drive:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\IDE.

Connect from Microsoft Excel or Project

To add or modify work items by using Excel or Project, you connect your worksheet or project plan to a team project. Establishing this connection binds the document to the hosted account or selected TFS, team project collection, and team project to exchange information.


You can't use Office Project 365 to connect to Team Services or TFS.

Connect from a worksheet or project plan

To follow these procedures, you must be a member of the Readers group or have your View work items in this node permission set to Allow. See Permission reference for details.

  1. If you don't have Office Excel 2007 or a more recent version, install it. For Team Services or TFS 2017, you'll need Project 2010 or a more recent version. For client compatibility, see Requirements

  2. If you haven't installed a version of Visual Studio (2010 or later) or Team Foundation Server Standalone Office Integration 2015 (free), you'll need to install one of these versions to connect to a team project hosted on Team Services or an on-premises TFS.

    Feature availability: The only way to get the Team Foundation add-in to Excel is by installing one of the latest editions of Visual Studio or TFS Standalone Office Integration.
  3. Start with a blank worksheet or project plan. If you don't see the Team ribbon (or the Team menu if you use Excel 2007 or Project 2007), see step 2.

    Create a list connection between Excel and the data store


    If the Team ribbon no longer appears, you might need to re-enable it.

  4. Connect to Team Services account or a TFS instance and the team project. If you can't connect, get added as a team member.

    Connect to server

    If it is your first time connecting from Excel or Project, you might have to add the Team Services account or TFS server to the list of recognized servers.

    Add account or server

  5. Your worksheet or project plan is now bound to your team project. What this means is that you can add work items to the team project from the Office document or add work items to the Office document from the team project.

    To learn more, see Bulk add work items with Excel or Create your backlog and tasks using Project.


If the team project is moved to a different team project collection in the same instance of TFS, your documents will automatically be reconnected. However, if the team project is moved to a different instance of TFS, you must manually reconnect your documents to the new server.

Work offline

An advantage to using Excel or Project is that you can work offline to add or modify work items. Complete the following procedures to disconnect an Excel worksheet or Project plan and later reconnect to synchronize your updates with the work item database.

To disconnect the document from a team project

  1. Open the document that you want to change while you are offline.

  2. Follow one of the following steps:

    • If you are using Excel, on the Team ribbon, in the Work Items group, choose Refresh.

    • If you are using Project, on the Team menu, choose Refresh.

    This step refreshes the work item list to retrieve the latest information from the work item database.

  3. If you are using Excel, add to the work item list the columns for all fields that you want to modify.

    You cannot add columns when the work item list is not connected to TFS.

  4. Save your Excel or Project file. You can now modify the information even if you are offline, disconnected from the team project or network.

  5. Change the work item list as needed.


    You cannot create most types of links between work items when the work item document is not connected to the team project. The exceptions are parent-child links in an Excel tree list and both parent-child and predecessor-successor links in a Project plan.

To reconnect the document to the team project

  1. Make sure your computer is online.

  2. If you changed the document while you were offline, follow one of these steps:

    • If you are using Excel, on the Team ribbon, in the Work Items group, choose Publish.

    • If you are using Project, on the Team menu, choose Publish Changes.

  3. If you did not change the document while you were offline, follow one of these steps:

    • If you are using Excel, on the Team ribbon, in the Work Items group, choose Refresh.

    • If you are using Project, on the Team menu, choose Refresh.

  4. Resolve any data validation errors or conflicts that occur.

Additional resources you may find of interest:

If all you need is a code repository and bug tracking solution, then start with the Git get started guide and Manage bugs.

To start planning and tracking work, see Get started with Agile tools to plan and track work.

User accounts and licensing

To connect to a team project, you need your user account added to the team project. This is typically done by the account owner (Team Services) or a project administrator (TFS).

Team Services provides access to the first 5 account users free. After that, you need to pay for more users (Team Services). For on-premises TFS, each user account must have a TFS client access license (CAL). All Visual Studio subscriptions and paid Team Services users include a TFS CAL. Find out more about licensing from the Visual Studio licensing white paper.

In addition, you can provide access to stakeholders in your organization who will have limited access to select features as described in Work as a Stakeholder.

Configure Visual Studio to connect to TFS Proxy

If your remote team uses a TFS Proxy server to cache files, you can configure Visual Studio to connect through that proxy server and download files under Team Foundation version control.

  1. First, make sure that you have connected to TFS as described in the previous section.

  2. From the Visual Studio Tools menu, open the Options dialog and expand the Source Control folder. On the Plug-in Selection page, confirm that Visual Studio Team Foundation Server is selected.

    Plug-in Selection page, Options dialog box

  3. On the Visual Studio Team Foundation Server page, enter the name and port number for the TFS Proxy server. Select the Use SSL encryption (https) to connect checkbox.

    VS TFVC proxy configuration page, Options dialog

    Make sure you specify the port number that your administrator assigned to TFS Proxy.

To Configure User Tools to associate a file type with a compare or merge tool, see Associate a file type with a file-comparison tool or Associate a file type with a merge tool.

What other clients support connection to TFS?

In addition to connecting through a web browser, Visual Studio, Eclipse, Excel, and Project you can connect to a team project from these clients:

Requirements and client compatibility

Some tasks or features aren’t available when you connect to a later version of TFS than which your client supports. For more information, see Requirements and compatibility.

Determine your platform or TFS version

See Feedback and support

Connect to a TFS with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) configured

If you connect to a TFS instance that has SSL configured, then you'll need to install a certificate and clear the client cache. For details, see Set up HTTPS with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for TFS, Configuring Client Computers.

Clear the cache on client computers

When the on-premises TFS configuration changes, such as when moving or splitting a project collection, you might have to clear the cache.

  1. Log on to your client computer for Team Foundation by using the credentials of the user whose cache you want to clear.

  2. Close any open instances of Visual Studio.

  3. Open a browser, and browse to one of the following folders, depending on the operating system that is running on the client computer:

    • Windows 10
      Drive:\Users<i>UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Team Foundation\6.0\Cache

    • Windows 8
      Drive:\Users<i>UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Team Foundation\4.0\Cache

    • Windows Vista or Windows 7
      Drive:\Users<i>UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Team Foundation\2.0\Cache

  4. Delete the contents of the Cache directory, including all subfolders.

What can I do if I can’t connect?

Here’s a list of the most frequently encountered connection problems and what to do about them. Start at the top and follow it in the order indicated.

  1. Verify that you have required permissions.

    If the errors that you receive indicate read-only or blocked actions, you might not have permission to act on the data.

  2. Verify that your computer is connected to the network and can access network resources.

  3. Verify that TFS hasn’t been taken offline. Talk with your TFS administrator.

  4. Verify whether your team project has been moved to another team project collection in Team Foundation Server. If it has been moved, you must create a connection to the new server name.

For additional troubleshooting tips, go here.