Work in the web portal

Last Update: 11/18/2016

Team Services | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | Previous versions

The web portal provides support for teams to collaborate through the planning, development, and release cycles. You use the web portal to perform both software development and administrative tasks.

You can manage source code, plan and track work, define builds, run tests, and manage releases. The web portal connects you to the team project defined for an account in Visual Studio Team Services or within an on-premise TFS. If you need to create a team project, go here.

Code, Pull Request, Active example

Feature availability: The features available to you depend on the platform (Team Services or on-premises TFS), TFS version, features enabled for your team project or collection, and your access level. New features are deployed regularly to Team Services. Many of these features are then made available to on-premises TFS through regular updates.

To get started, from a supported web browser enter the following URL:

Team Services: 

TFS (on-premises):

Note: For TFS, the TFS administrator can configure the following elements: protocol (https vs http), port (8080), virtual director (tfs), and collection name (DefaultCollection) (See Web site settings and security.) For example, a deployment configured on port 443 with no vdir, an FQDN, and a custom collection name might look like: If the above pattern doesn't work for you, check with your TFS administrator.

The web portal is one of several clients that can connect to a team project. Different clients support different features and functions. Go here for a list of all clients that connect to Team Services or TFS.

There are three main navigational concepts to understand. The first is the collection-project-team structure, the second is the user/administrative context, and the third corresponds to user-focused and team-scoped features that provide quick access to tasks targeted for the logged-in user or for the selected team.

Collection-project-team structure

When you connect to Team Services or an on-premises TFS, 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.

When you create your team project, a team of the same name is automatically created. For small teams, this is sufficient.

However, for enterprise-level organizations, it may be necessary to scale up, to create additional teams and/or team projects. These can be created within the single account or collection.

Single team project, team defined within an account/collection
Single collection-project-team conceptual image
Multiple team projects and teams defined within an account/collection
Scaled collection-project-team conceptual image

The collection-project-team structure provides teams a high-level of autonomy to configure their tools in ways that work for them. It also supports administrative tasks to occur at the appropriate level.

To learn more about adding teams and the assets specific to teams, see Multiple teams and Manage team assets.

User/administrative context

The user context is used to get work done—manage code, plan and track work, define and manage builds, create and run tests, and so on. Administrators use the admin context to configure shared resources and permissions. Tasks performed in this context can impact the team project and team functions.

User context
You and other team members use the user context to collaborate, plan, and build working software. Go here to learn more about each hub and tab.

Administrative context
You use the administrative context to set team, team project, and account or collection settings.

Go here to learn more about each admin settings level and the new navigation experience provided in Team Services.

User-focused features

Several features display information based on the logged-in user account or the selected team context. First off, users can set their preferences through their account menu:

Team Services, My Profile link on Account menu

In addition, they have access to special queries—Assigned to me query, Followed work items, and more— dashboard widget such as the Assigned to me widget, and the ability to save favorites under a My favorites folder. Here's an example of the Assigned to me widget that you can add to a dashboard. To learn more, see User-focused features.

Team-scoped features

Teams access their set of team-scoped features by choosing their team context. Each team gets access to a suite of Agile tools and team assets. These tools provide teams the ability to work autonomously and collaborate with other teams across the enterprise.

Agile tool team assets

Also, teams can set their query and build favorites within Team favorites folders. For more information, see Manage team assets.

Switch team context

You navigate to a different team project or team context from the top navigation bar.

Choose another team from the team project menu

Choose Browse All if the name you want doesn't appear in the list.

User context: hubs and tabs

You perform the bulk of your tasks by accessing a page within one of the these hubs—Home, Code, Work, Build and Test —and their corresponding tabs—such as Overview, Backlogs, Queries.

Here’s what you can do, based on the hub and page you select.

Welcome page, dashboards, and plan and track work

The Home hub supports a configurable Welcome page and dashboards. From the Work hub, you gain access to a highly configurable suite of Agile tools to plan and track your work.

Source code control: Git and TFVC repositories

The Code hub supports management of your source control repositories. You can choose between two types of repos: Git (distributed) or Team Foundation version control (centralized). For a comparison of the two repos, see Choosing the right version control for your project.

Build, test, and release

From the Build hub, you define and manage builds. You use the Test hub to create test plans, test cases, and run tests. And, the Release hub supports defining and managing releases to deploy your software to different staging and production environments.

Administrative context

Feature availability: If you work in Team Services, you have a new navigation experience to try out. For an overview, see the New navigation for Team Services blog post. The new navigation experience changes the way you access the admin context.

To turn on the new navigation, open your account menu options and select Turn on new navigation.

Web portal, Account menu, Turn on new navigation selection

To turn off new navigation, return to your account menu options and select Turn off new navigation.

Admin team settings

From a team context, open team settings by clicking the gear Settings icon. Optionally, choose the hub you want to view from the menu options that appear.

Web portal, new nav, open team settings

The admin team settings hubs appear. Note that you can click any of the user-context hubs of Home, Code, Work, and so on to return to the user context.

Web portal, new nav, team admin setting

Admin team project settings

To open the admin context for the team project, open project settings by clicking the gear Settings icon from the team project context. Optionally, choose the hub you want to view from the menu options that appear.

Web portal, new nav, open project settings

The admin project setting hubs appear. While the hub names are similar to those of the team admin context, the details differ in select cases, such as for the Overview, Work, and Security hubs. Also, just like from the team admin context, you can click any of the user-context hubs of Home, Code, Work, and so on to return to the user context.

Web portal, new nav, project admin setting

Admin account settings

To open the admin account settings, choose the Account settings option from the project/team menu.

Web portal, new nav, open account settings

The admin account setting hubs appear.

Web portal, new nav, account admin settings

To return to a team or project user context, select the team or project from the project/team menu.

You access the administrative context from the user context by clicking the gear Settings icon.

Open admin context

From within the admin context, you click one of the breadcrumb links to access the settings available at the account/collection, team project, or team level.

Web portal admin settings links

You access the administrative context from the user context by clicking the gear Settings icon.

Open admin context

From within the admin context, you click one of the breadcrumb links to access the settings available at the account/collection, team project, or team level.

Web portal admin settings links

The tabs and pages available differ depending on which admin context you access. You must be a member of the listed administrator group or role to perform the tasks listed.

Server-level settings (TFS only)

Required membership: Team Foundation Administrators

Now that you have an understanding of how the user interface is structure, it's time to get started using it. As you can see, there are a lot of features and functionality.

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.

Additional resources you may find of interest:

User accounts and licensing

To connect to the web portal, 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).

For Team Services, five account users are free as are Visual Studio subscribers and stakeholders. After that, you need to pay for more users (Team Services).

For TFS, unlimited access is available to stakeholders for free; most regular contributors 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.

Stakeholders have limited access to select features as described in Work as a Stakeholder.

Refresh the web portal

If data doesn’t appear as expected, the first thing to try is to refresh your web browser. Refreshing your client updates the local cache with changes that were made in another client or in TFS. To refresh the page or object you’re currently viewing, refresh the page or choose the Refresh icon Refresh icon if available.

To avoid potential errors, you should refresh your client application under the following circumstances:

  • Process changes are made
  • Work item type definitions are added, removed, renamed or updated
  • Area or iteration paths are added, removed, renamed or updated
  • Users are added to or removed from security groups or permissions are updated
  • A team member adds a new shared query or changes the name of a shared query
  • A build definition is added or deleted
  • A team or team project is added or deleted.

Clients that connect to Team Services or TFS

In addition to connecting through a web browser, you can connect to a team project from these clients:

Differences between the web portal and Visual Studio

Although you can access source code, work items, and builds from both clients, some task-specific tools are only supported in the web browser or an IDE, but not in both.

Web portal

Visual Studio

Can I open a query in Excel or Project from the web portal?

Not at this time. However, you can open Excel or Project and then open a query that you’ve created in the web portal.

Troubleshoot connection problems

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 account or 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 more troubleshooting tips, go here.

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