In April 2020, the remote workforce grew to nearly half of all workers1. To facilitate all of these remote workers now and into the future, it is essential to have top-notch collaboration and productivity tools available for your team.
In our February 2021 Insight, “Outsourcing” to the Cloud, we highlighted the steady increase in Microsoft Teams’ adoption between its launch in December 2016 and early 2020 and how the global events of 2020 accelerated that growth exponentially.
If you’ve been using Microsoft Teams for a while, you may still only be skimming the surface of what the platform can do for you and your business. With the rapid pace of innovation, it can be challenging to keep up with changes. Here we’re highlighting some of the latest-and-greatest features and functionality in the Microsoft Teams platform that you don’t want to miss.
#1 – Notify When Available
Want to message a co-worker but not interrupt a meeting or some other activity in which they may be participating? Set up a notification for when they become available again.
Click on your profile picture in the top right of Teams, choose the Settings menu option, and then click the Notifications tab on the left of the new screen. Next, find the People section towards the bottom and click Edit:
Use the search box to find people for whom you would like to add notifications. You can also use this screen to turn off notifications.
#2 – Slash Commands
Slash commands make it even quicker and easier to do simple things in Teams like to set your status, call or message contacts, go to a team or channel, and more. To use them, click the Search bar at the top of Teams and type /. All the commands available to you will pop up. If you prefer not to reach for the mouse, hit Ctrl+Slash (/) to show the commands or Ctrl+E to go straight to the Search bar.
#3 – Bookmarks
The ease of communication in Teams is terrific, but sometimes the amount of information can make it difficult to find specific messages. Thankfully, you can bookmark or “save” messages in Teams to make this much easier. Hover over the message you wish to bookmark, and there will be a reaction menu that pops up.
Click the ellipsis (three dots icon), and a new menu will appear. Click “Save this message” to bookmark the message.
To view all your bookmarks, click your profile picture in the top right corner of Teams and then click the Saved option.
All your bookmarked messages will now appear on the left side of Teams, and clicking on one will take you right to that message.
#4 – Hide Teams and Channels
Sometimes the list of teams and channels you are part of can be a little overwhelming to look at or difficult to search or scroll through. Being able to hide the ones less used can help make Teams just a little bit easier and friendlier.
Go to a team or channel, hover over the title, click the ellipsis, and then select Hide.
The team or channel will be moved out of the main view but remains accessible at the bottom of the team or channel list under the “hidden” category.
#5 – Share to Outlook from Teams and Vice Versa
Occasionally it can be more convenient to share content directly from Teams or Outlook to the other without having to copy+paste.
To share from Teams to Outlook, find the message you would like to share, click the ellipsis in the top right corner, and select the “Share to Outlook” option.
A new screen will appear to let you select recipients, add attachments, and change any other part of the email that is about to be sent. After you make all desired changes, just click Send.
Sharing from Outlook to Teams is a brand new feature and starts rolling out this month (March 2021). It will work similarly to sharing from Teams. Click the ellipsis in an email, and click the “Share to Teams” button.
#6 – Using Whiteboard in Meetings
Using a whiteboard during a meeting is a great way to communicate ideas to others more clearly. To add a whiteboard to your meetings, click the “Share content” button in the top right corner of Teams during a meeting.
A new section will appear at the bottom of the Teams meeting screen. There will be one or two options under the Whiteboard section, depending on your organization.
Microsoft Whiteboard and Freehand by InVision are both effective choices for adding a whiteboard to a meeting. They will both save the whiteboard to a new “Whiteboard” tab for the meeting for participants to reference at any time.
#7 – Meeting Recording with Automatic Transcripts
Recording a meeting for later reference can often be useful, especially for longer meetings where smaller topics discussed may be forgotten. Having transcripts created for these recorded meetings makes it even easier to find a particular topic.
It is easy to do this in Teams. During any meeting, click the ellipsis for more options and then select the “Start recordings and transcribing” option.
Participants will see a notification that a recording has started, but it is proper “virtual meeting etiquette” to announce this yourself as well. When a meeting ends, a link to the recording will be available in the meeting chat for all participants.
#8 – Live Captions
The Live Captions feature in a meeting is great for not only accessibility purposes but also for those who may be in a loud environment or otherwise unable to have access to audio. The feature allows users to read what is said and even who is saying it.
Like many Teams features, this is easy to enable. Simply click the ellipsis in a Teams meeting for more options, and select the “Turn on live captions” option.
#9 – Reactions During Meetings
Want to react to a moment during a call without disturbing other users with your voice or cluttering the chat? Use an emoticon that will broadcast your reaction to the meeting! Hover over the “Show reaction” button at the upper-right area of the screen and select the reaction you want to express, including Like, Love, Applause, and Laugh.
#10 – Immersive Reader
Immersive Reader is another accessibility feature in Teams. While this feature is primarily useful for those with reading or learning disabilities like dyslexia, it is also valuable for those who want to hear a message or have a document read to them as they continue to work on something else.
Hover over the message you want to hear read aloud, click the ellipsis for more options, and select the “Immersive Reader” option.
A new screen will open featuring large print text, several additional options, and a play button. Click the play button to hear the text read aloud.
Experiment with the various options available to change the voice, voice speed, text size, font, and more!
Go beyond chat, meeting, and calling with Microsoft Teams
With 98% of remote workers expressing a desire to have the option to work from home for the rest of their careers2, it is clear that remote teamwork is here to stay. To facilitate this remote workforce, Microsoft continues to invest in adding features and functionality to the Microsoft Teams platform at a rapid pace to deliver a best-in-class hub for teamwork. This hub brings together everything a team needs: chat with threaded conversations; meetings with video conferencing; public switched telephone network (PSTN) calling; content collaboration with the power of Office 365 applications; and the ability to create and integrate apps and workflows that drive your business.
This Abel Insight was written by Abel Solutions’ John D’Oriocourt, Sr. Developer.
#1 – Get notified when someone’s status changes in Teams
#2 – Use commands in Teams
#3 – Mark a message as saved or unread in Teams
#4 – Show or hide teams and channels
#5 – Share to Outlook from Teams
#6 – Whiteboard in a Teams meeting
#7 – Record a meeting in Teams
#8 – Use live captions in a Teams meeting
#9 – Express yourself in Teams meetings with live reactions
#10 – Use Immersive Reader in Microsoft Teams