Top 5 Features in Microsoft Teams…

Actually, it turned into the Top 20 Features in Microsoft Teams!

Here at M365Voice, we got together for our weekly podcast recently and the question came up: 

“What are your top 5 features in Microsoft Teams are that everyone should know about?” 

We quickly came up with 5 and then we just kept going, round-robin style.  We ended up at 19 top features, and we feel like we could have come up with more.  Then in writing this, we added one more to make it an even 20!  Well, here are those top 20 features in Microsoft Teams that we feel every business user should know about.  Some are big features that are fundamental to using Teams, and others are small features that help to refine the Microsoft Teams experience and make it an awesome tool to work with when collaborating with others.  We hope that some of these are helpful to you. 

  1. Add Apps to the Teams Navigation Bar 

There’s many apps you can add, but the example that we talked about was adding the Yammer Communities App to the Teams Navigation bar.  It includes the new Yammer user interface that’s now available and allows you to participate in Yammer conversations right from within Teams. 

  1. Live Captions during Meetings 

In a meeting, sometimes you want to follow what someone is saying, and if its difficult to hear you can turn on live captions and everything said in a meeting is displayed in a caption bar.  This can be helpful when you’re attending an online meeting in a noisy place, when meeting with people in other countries, when attendees have different native languages, etc. 

  1. Integrating Documents into a Teams as Tabs 

When certain documents are fundamental to the collaboration of a team of people, like a project spreadsheet, a budget or a spec document, you can add that document as a tab in Teams.  This allows the document to be more easily found and accessed because you don’t have to look for it in folders and it appears right when you click the tab.   

  1. Attend Teams Meetings in Web Browser and Teams App 

Sometimes its handy to have a Teams meeting open in the Teams App, and the web browser at the same time.  This allows you to attend and listen to the meeting and participate in chat conversations at the same time.  Note: you now have other ways to do that, like having meetings automatically pop out to a new window or choosing to pop a conversation out to a separate window.   

  1. Background effects (blur or create your own background) 

With everyone now working from home, you noticed that not everyone is able to have a home office or a professional space.  Being able to blur the background, select from Microsoft provided backgrounds or have your own allows you to still show your video in Teams meetings and appear professional. 

  1. Raise your hand feature 

This feature has only been available for a couple of months, but we’ve already found it really handy.  It helps people contribute to a conversation and not talk over each other all the time. 

  1. Teams Mobile App 

While you’re attending a Teams meeting on your computer, you can also hop into the meeting from the Teams Mobile App.  This allows you to step away from your computer (ie. hang up, if you for example need to have lunch), and still attend the meeting from your kitchen or your car, or wherever. 

  1. Share Files through Chat 

When you’re in a private chat with a one or more people, dropping a file into the chat will share it with the other participants by automatically uploading the file to your OneDrive for Business site and automatically sharing it with the other participants of the conversation.  Doing this will automatically ensure that all participants are given Edit permissions to the file, saving you the trouble of finding a place for the file, uploading it and clicking Share to give those people access. 

  1. Teams Commands 

In the Teams search bar, you can type the forward slash (/) and some specific commands to automatically change your status, or search for a person, or a number of other built in commands.  Its like a command line interface for Teams which allows you to perform repetitive actions quickly and automatically. 

  1. Add Person to Chat and Option to Share Previous Conversation History 

When you add a new person to an existing chat, Teams will ask you if you want to share the entire conversation history with the person that you are adding.  This helps to avoid having to give them a run down of everything that was previously said, or you can keep the previous conversation private if needed. 

  1. Meeting Notes 

Teams provides you a place to take meeting notes while in a Teams meeting, and it saves those notes to a OneNote notebook. 

  1. Meeting Transcriptions 

When recording a meeting, if your Teams admin has enabled the features, if you choose to record a meeting you can choose to also create a transcription of everything that was said during the meeting.  Remember good meeting etiquette: if you are going to record a meeting, make sure you let everyone know that you are recording it and ensure that they are OK with the meeting being recorded. 

  1. Well Designed Teams 

If a Team is going to live for a long time, or is used for collaboration on a critical project, it’s a good idea to keep common content services for that Team integrated as tabs in the Team.  These are services like a Planner tab, a OneNote document for tracking key project decisions, additional SharePoint libraries.  By choosing and defining these common components, and maybe using a Team that already has these as a template, your Team will be well designed to easily track key information related to the Team. 

  1. Email a Channel 

Despite how easy Teams is to use, email is not going anywhere.  We’re still going to use email for many years to come.  Send an email directly to a Teams channel, allows you to easily integrate an email thread directly into a Teams conversation.   

  1. Use @Team in a Channel Conversation 

When I’m writing a post or channel message in a Team, if I want to @ mention all the team members, I can simply type @team and all users in the Team will receive a notification. 

  1. Tagging in Teams 

If you don’t want to mention everyone in an @mention, you can create a tag and add people to the tag.  Then you can @mention the tag and only those people will receive a notification. 

  1. Most Recently Edited Files in Teams 

In the Activity bar, down the left side of the Teams App, if you click on Files you will be able to easily find your most recently edited files.   

  1. Switch between Cameras in Teams 

When you are in a Teams meeting and you have your video on, overlaid on your video image (usually on the right side) is a small camera button.  You can click this camera to quickly switch your video between different cameras if you have more than one camera. 

  1. Right Click and Pin a Person’s Video to Make Them Larger 

When you’re in a Teams meeting, and you have multiple people sharing their video, if you want to focus on just 1 person you can right click their video and select Pin.  This will make their video larger so that you can focus on that particular person.  You can actually do this for more than 1 person’s video, so you can focus on a few people at once by enlarging their video.   

And we’re adding one more here to make it an even 20… 

  1. Hide Teams that are No Longer Relevant 

For some of us, in our work we can be invited to a lot of Teams.  This can really clutter the Teams interface, making it hard to find the Team we want at any particular moment.  When you have Teams in your list that are no longer relevant to you every day or you don’t use often, you can click on the ellipsis … beside each Team and select ‘Hide’ in order to hide it from the main view.  This lets you clean up the Teams list when you need to, and only show the ones that are most relevant to you.  You can still get those hidden Teams back by doing the following: scroll down in your list of Teams to the ‘Hidden Teams’ category, open up that category, find the team you want, click the ellipsis … and click ‘Show’.  That will return it to your main list for you to find and use. 

This turned out to be a pretty long list, much larger than the original 5 we were going for.  If you want to listen to our Podcast recording on this topic, and hear us talk about each one, you can find it here:  

What are the Top 5 Teams Features Every Business User Should Know

Let us know if you have a favorite on this list, or one we didn’t talk about that you would like to add to our list? 

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M365 Voice is a weekly podcast dedicated to share information with the community about the Microsoft 365 platform that includes Office 365, Windows 10 and EMS. Our podcasts will be 20 minutes each and will cover new features, updates, best practices and other ideas about the platform. We will also host guests from the community and from different Microsoft Product Group members.