20 Tips on using Microsoft Teams

adopted from https://nextplane.net/blog/simple-microsoft-teams-tips-and-tricks-for-2020-and-beyond/

Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks for 2020

How you manage your team determines their productivity and efficiency. With Microsoft Teams, you can effortlessly set up multiple discussion channels for your team in order to send, share and store files, and organize live voice and video meetings. 

Microsoft Teams also comes with prominent features including a Business Essentials, Business Premium, and/or Enterprise Office 365 subscription, these special features give Microsoft Teams an edge over competitors like Slack and Convo. 

Recently, Microsoft Teams has become a powerful corporate chat application that is being trusted by organizations worldwide. Today, over 300,000 organizations have adopted Microsoft Teams to bring together their employees in the most efficient and collaborative way possible. The organization’s adoption of Microsoft Teams has turned Microsoft into a key player in the workstream collaboration marketplace. 

If you and your organization are already making use of Microsoft Teams, trying out the following simple tips and tricks will help you get the most out of it:

1. Customize Your Notifications

Microsoft Teams makes it simple for individuals that belong to numerous active channels to customize their notifications. If you won’t like to be disturbed or interrupted with alerts and you want to have the best experience possible on a chat channel, then you might want to customize your notifications. This is done by just clicking on your profile picture located in the right corner at the top and select the Notifications tab to set the alert type and frequency to your own preference.

2. Use SharePoint to Store and Share Files

SharePoint is highly integrated into Microsoft Teams. This feature allows many organizations to secure their file storage and collaborate on files shared. You and your team mates at your company can easily share files just by clicking on the Files tab via SharePoint and/or by accessing SharePoint files already shared to the platform. Office Online or an Office desktop app is an important tool that team mates can use to collaborate on file shared to a channel via SharePoint.

Microsoft SharePoint UI. Source: akita.co.uk
Microsoft SharePoint UI. Source: akita.co.uk

3. Give Title to your chat exchanges

Channels often carry thousands of conversations. To make a particular chat unique and more searchable from numerous conversations, give it a particular title. Giving a title to your chat especially when chatting with someone or your team member will make your chat exchanges show up easily when you do a search later on. Microsoft Teams makes it very convenient for you and your organization to give a name to your chat just by clicking the pencil on the top beside the member names and type in any title you would like to name your chat with. 

Name your group chat in MS Teams. Source: practical365.com

4. Forward email messages into a channel

Nowadays, lots of organizations belonging to the corporate world rely massively on email. Microsoft Teams is very much aware of their situation and thereby makes it possible for organizations to forward their email message to a channel directly from Outlook. You can easily forward any email message into a channel just by clicking the ellipsis located next to any channel name and select ‘’Get email address’’. This will help generate an email address for the channel which you can then copy and use to forward anything you might want to add to the channel including Word docs, messages, and more.

Forward emails to Microsoft Teams channels. Source: jobs.collab365.community

5. Use the Mobile Apps for On-The-Go Messaging

Microsoft Teams features mobile apps for Andriod, iOS and Windows Mobile, though these apps remain unnoticed to many of their users. Using these apps will help simplify things, with emphasis on team chats and channels with no lots of additional layers and features. Microsoft Teams also presents a lot of options to their users, since they can be run as a web app or a desktop client for Windows or Mac.

MS Teams mobile app. Source: computerworld.com

6. Integrate with Microsoft Planner for Simple Task Management

Planner has become a great way to track tasks for simple task management. One of the advantages that Microsoft Teams has over competitors is that Microsoft apps can be easily used as Planner inside Microsoft Teams. This allows you to reference the tracked tasks via Planner without a need for any third-party task manager. You can also use Teams to ‘’pin’’ the Planner app to any channel for easier accessibility in one click. This will make Planner displayed as a tab at the top of the channel. 

Microsoft Planner UI. Source: microsoft.com

7. Invite Others into the Fold

With Microsoft Teams, you won’t be restricted to chatting only with your own team members. You can as well invite guests into your fold via an Outlook account in order to chat, exchange documents and more. You can then find anyone at your organization by searching for their name to initiate a chat.

Invite Guest users to MS Teams. Source: avepoint.com

8. Breakdown Language Barriers 

As more organizations are going global by the day, the need for an effective and efficient mean to communicate across countries, cultures, and languages becomes paramount. With Microsoft Teams, language barriers have become a thing of the past. With the click of a button, you can translate messages in various languages inside Microsoft Teams. This is simply done by clicking on the ellipses on the message you want to translate and select Translate to translate the message into your default language. 

Translate messages in MS Teams. Source: collab365.community
Translate messages in MS Teams 2. Source: collab365.community

9. Use Essential MS Teams Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are viewed as the quickest way to command more. Keywords shortcuts are used to quickly find whatever you are looking for in Microsoft Teams. To reply to a chat in the Teams app, simply press the R key on your keyboard. You can quickly attach a file to a message by just pressing Alt-A in Windows or Option-A on a Mac. To view all the keyboard shortcuts possible in Microsoft Teams, simply press Alt and the forward-slash key together (Alt-/) in Windows or Option and the forward-slash (Option-/) on a Mac.

  1. Ctrl + Shift + M – Mute (unmute) yourself during a meeting
  2. Ctrl + Shift + O – Turn on (turn off) your camera on a call
  3. Ctrl + N – New chat to start 
  4. – Use up arrow key to edit the last message sent by you 
  5. Ctrl + O – Select a file to attach and send in your chat
  6. Ctrl + 1+ 2 + 3 – Use the combination to navigate in your left navigation rail. (i.e. Ctrl + 1 = Activity feed; Ctrl +2 = Chat; Ctrl + 3 = Teams etc.)
  7. Ctrl + E – Call a search bar at the top of the app to quickly find conversations, files, and more
  8. Ctrl + / –  Check all of the available shortcuts allowing you to navigate to various destinations, access needed content, and change your current status. 
  9. :word – Use a symbol ‘:’ right before a word of your choice to discover emojis related to this word and use them (e.g. :meeting or :pineapple)
  10. For more shortcuts, both for Windows and macOS check Microsoft Teams Support Portal here.

10. Create Your Own GIFs

Introducing animated GIFs into chats can serve as a form of motivation especially for the younger minds in your organization. Animated GIFs also make chats more fun for you and your team members when put to use. Microsoft Teams features tons of animated GIFs that you can pick from and sprinkle into your chats. You can also use the Giphy app to create your own version of animated GIFs, this allows you and your team members to add an additional layer of personalization to the team chat. To enjoy the use of Giphy, it needs to be activated by the Teams administrator.

Send GIFs in MS Teams. Source: support.microsoft.com

11. Urgent Chat Notifications

There is an option to send an urgent message in Microsoft Teams in case you need to get an immediate response from someone in your team. How to use it? When being inside any chat, click on the exclamation sign above the dialog window and select ‘Urgent’ in the message status options menu. This will make system send notifications to the respondent every 2 minutes during the next 20 minutes.

Send urgent chat notifications in MS Teams. Source: support.microsoft.com

12. Save Screencasts During Meetings

Another amazing and new feature you may use in Teams now is recording your video, audio meetings, including screen shared be participants of your conversation. To use this feature, click on 3 dots in the menu of your call and select ‘Start Recording’ option. In case you want to record a screencast just click on the icon ‘’Share Screen’ in the same menu. After a call the saved video of your screen cast will be available to download from your meeting chat.   

Record screencasts in MS Teams. Source: classthink.com

13. Transcribe Teams Meetings

Need a transcription for your saved video meeting or screencast? No problem – that’s also possible! When the recording of your past meeting is ready, go to the options of the recording by clicking on three dots and open your video in Microsoft Stream. Under the details of this video in Microsoft Stream click on the three dots button -> Update Video Details -> Select ‘Video Language’ section -> Click ‘Autogenerate a caption file’ -> Click ‘Update’ button. After autogenerating is completed, the file will become available to download from Microsoft Streams section. 

Transcribe MS Teams Meetings. Source: support.microsoft.com

14. Blur Your Background on a Video Meeting

Blur your background during video meeting MS Teams. Source: techcommunity.microsoft.com

15. Use T-Bot to Get Quick Support Assistance

MS Teams T-Bot is a handy bot helping users to navigate through the platform and get answers to occurring questions. The common questions that the bot would help you with are:

  • How to create and assign tasks
  • Get more understanding of the features included to the app
  • Operational questions
  • Resolving issues and overcoming restrains

The T-Bot is leveraged with AI and becomes smarter over time.

T-Bot MS Teams. Source: techcommunity.microsoft.com

16. Bookmark Important Messages from Teams Chats

Save or bookmark important messages, conversations, mentions to get a quick access to them when needed. To bookmark it, simply tap on the bookmark icon in the app, and to later find it, type in the Search Bar /saved and press the Enter key.

Bookmark messages MS Teams. Source: powell-software.com

17. Create Rich-text Messages

Sometimes rich-text messages really help to better structure information and make it easier to view and to understand. To compose the rich-text message, go to a channel from where you need the message to be sent, tap the ‘A’ button on the bottom left. After tapping you’ll see a text window pop-up, where you can add and format the needed text, and to send it when ready.     

Create rich-text messages. Source: support.microsoft.com

18. Linux Support

Another interesting feature in Teams is that it’s supported on Linux now. Actually, it’s the first client in the entire Microsoft 365 suite that has been released on Linux. Now, Linux users can switch from the web-based Teams to a Linux client offering them all the core possibilities and features that clients on other platforms provide.      

19. Meeting Roles

Meeting organizers can now choose between 3 roles (Organizer, Presenter, and Attendee) for participants. The chart below identifies what roles carry which capabilities when utilizing roles in Microsoft Teams meetings.

Meeting roles in MS Teams. Source: support.microsoft.com

20. Chrome Video Calling

Using Chrome, Teams users can initiate and accept video call with other MS Teams users. Now this feature is available to everybody.