At the time of writing this, most of the world is in lockdown and isolation mode due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This means a lot of people are working from home now and need to use some sort of tool to collaborate with their teams.
If your company is on Microsoft Office 365, then you’re likely using Microsoft Teams.
In this post you’ll learn the top 25 tips and tricks for working with Microsoft Teams.
Allow External Guest Users in Teams
Teams is an amazing tool for collaborating on your work, but by default you can only invite internal users to a team.
In a lot of situations, you’re going to need to work with others outside your organization. In order to invite an external guest, you’ll need to change an admin setting first.
To enable guest users, go to the Microsoft Teams admin center.
- Go to Org-wide settings.
- Select Guest access.
- Set the Allow guest access in Teams option to On.
Scroll down and hit the Save button after making any changes to the setting.
You’ll need to wait a few hours to let the updated setting propagate in your tenant and then you’ll be able to invite any external users to your teams.
Use the Web App
When you get invite to a team, you’ll get an email with a link to join the team.
When you click the link a new browser tab will open prompting you to Open Microsoft Teams. Most people will click this instead of Cancel.
If you click Cancel instead, then you’ll be able to click on the Use the web app instead button toward the bottom of the screen. This way you won’t have to install the desktop app and can use Teams from your browser instead.
Teams Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts can help increase your efficiency while working with most software and MS Teams is no exception.
Teams has a lot of very useful keyboard shortcuts, but the first one you should learn is Ctrl + ..
This will open up a list of all the available keyboard shortcuts in MS Teams.
Bookmark a Message
You can bookmark any message so it’s easy to find later on.
Click on the three ellipse in the top left corner of the message and select Save this message.
When you need to find your bookmarked messages, then you can use the /saved command from the search bar to access all your saved messages.
Mark a Message as Unread
In Teams you can mark a message as unread so you can come back to it later.
Click on the three ellipse in the top left corner of the message and select Mark as unread.
When you need to find your bookmarked messages, then you can use the /unread command from the search bar to access all your saved messages.
Rich Text Messages
Rich text formatting is available when writing any message. This will help your messages be more organized and easier for the reader to digest.
Click on the font icon just below the message input to open up the rich text format options.
With the rich text options you’ll be able to add these formats to your messages.
- Add a message subject line.
- Bold, italic, underline and strike through text.
- Highlight text, change font color and font size.
- Add headings, increase or decrease indents and add bullet or numbered lists.
- Insert quotes, links, code snippets, line separators and tables.
There are enough options to get your messages looking exactly the way to want!
Translate Any Message
You can translate any message in Teams. This option is super useful if you work in an international or multilingual company.
You will first need to enable translation in the Microsoft Teams admin center.
- Go to Messaging policies.
- Select the policy you want to edit (or add a new policy).
- Click on the Edit button.
Set the Translate messages option to On and press the Save button. This setting change will need a few hours to propagate through your tenant before you can use it.
Search Bar Commands
The search bar at the top of Teams is also a command bar. You can perform a lot of actions using the / commands from here.
Instead of clicking into the search bar and typing out the command, you can use the Ctrl + / command to move the focus to the search bar and list out all the available commands.
@ Mention to Get Attention
You can use an @ mention to make sure a particular person gets notified of your message.
Just type the @ symbol anywhere in your message and then start typing a person’s name, channel name or team name. Then you can select from the suggestions list to mention them.
Get Email Address for Teams and Channels
This one is pretty cool. You can email a Team or Channel!
For any Team or Channel click on the three ellipses then select Get email address.
You’ll then be able to copy an email address that you can use to send a message directly to your Team or Channel from email.
There are also some advanced options available. If you click on the advanced settings, you set who is allowed to send emails to your Teams email address.
You can allow anyone to send emails to the address, only allow team members to send emails or only allow emails from certain domains.
Drag and Drop Teams or Hide Channels
This is a quick and easy tip that will help you keep your Teams and Channels organized.
You can drag and drop Teams around your team list so you can have your most used teams at the top.
Another great organizing tip is you can hide channels within a Team. This way you can remove some clutter from channels you’re not interested in.
Click on the three ellipse for any channel and select Hide from the menu.
Immersive Reader Mode
If you require accessibility features for reading messages in Teams then you can use the Immersive Reader mode for a message. This will allow you to focus and display just the message as well as allow you to increase the font size, increase spacing, change colours etc.
You can even get Teams to read the message for you in the immersive reader mode.
Open the immersive reader for any message by clicking on the three ellipse and selecting Immersive Reader from the menu.
Blur Background for Meetings
Are you working from home and your room is a mess? Blurring your background is the perfect way to hide your messy background during meetings.
Before joining a meeting, turn the Blur toggle on to choose from a variety of backgrounds including a blurred background.
You can also change the background effects during a meeting. Click on the three ellipse on the floating menu bar and choose the Show background effects option from the menu.
Files Tab for SharePoint Storage
Collaborating with colleagues usually means working on various files together.
Teams allows you to share files with your team members without leaving Teams.
Each channel comes with a File tab where you can upload files to share them with everyone in the Team.
Here you’ll be able to upload any files you need to work on with your team. The files aren’t stored in Teams, behind the scene they are all stored in SharePoint and you can open them up in SharePoint if you need to.
Add a Custom Tab
Tabs are a great way to customize and add additional functionality to your channels in Teams.
You can add a custom tab in any channel in order to use additional apps. Click on the plus sign to the right of all the channel tabs. This will allow you to browse all the available apps you can add to the tab.
Back and Forward Navigation Buttons
Teams has back and forward navigation buttons that will allow you to navigate back or forward a screen.
You might have missed them as they are small and not very obvious. They’ll help you save a few clicks when moving around Teams and are definitely a handy feature.
Urgent Chat Message
If you need to ensure someone sees your message in Teams, you can send an urgent message.
This is a very useful feature to get someone’s attention, but is one you should definitely use sparingly.
From inside any chat click on the exclamation icon to select Urgent from the message status options. This will notify them of the new message every 2 minutes for the next 20 minutes.
Activity Center and Filters
The best way to stay up to date with all your Teams activity is to use the activity center.
This will show you a timeline feed of all your activity and notifications.
You can then search your activity feed by text search or filter on it to show only certain types of activity like reactions or mentions etc…
Go to the Activity center in the left navigation pane then click on the Filter icon. You can either Type to filter or click the three dots to filter by type of activity.
Turn a Chat into a Voice Call or Video Call
Sometimes it’s easier to talk rather than chat in a message. Fortunately, you can quickly turn any chat into a voice call or video call with all the chat participants. You can even share your screen from a chat!
Inside any chat just click on the video, voice or screen share buttons in the top right corner to either open a video call, voice call or to share your screen with all the chat participants.
Record or Share Screens in Team Meetings
Team meetings are one of the best things in Teams and you can make them even better with these two features.
Click on the three ellipse in the floating bar menu and select Start recording to record your team meeting.
Click on the Share Screen icon in the floating bar menu to share your screen with meeting participants. This will allow you to share anything on a particular screen or just a particular window you have open.
Transcribe a Team Meeting
If you record a team meeting, you can have it automatically transcribed.
When the recording appears in Teams, click the three ellipse on the recording and select Open in Microsoft Stream from the options. This is where the recorded video is saved.
Under the Details section ➜ click on the three dots ➜ Select Update video details ➜ Select the Video Language ➜ select Autogenerate a caption file ➜ then click the Apply button to save the changes.
After the file is generated, it will be available to download from Microsoft Stream.
Pin a Channel
You can pin any channel in your Teams. This will place the channel at the top of your list of Teams.
This is a great option for your most frequently used channels as they will be easier to access when they’re pinned to the top of the list.
Pin an App
When an app you have installed in Microsoft Teams is active, its icon will appear in the left navigation pane. But when you navigate away the icon will disappear.
You can pin any app to the navigation pane so it’s always visible and accessible from there.
Right click on the app’s icon and select Pin from the options.
Assign and Manage Channel Tags
Channel tags are a great way to tag groups of people in your messages. These tags allow you to create your own custom @ mentions so you can easily ping select groups of people in your messages.
Click on the three ellipses for any Team and select Manage tags from the menu.
This will allow you to create a tag and add people to the tag. You can then use this tag just like any other @ mention in Teams.
Teams Help Menu
Teams has an extensive Help menu that’s worth checking out. You can open this up by clicking on the Help icon in the lower left corner of Teams.
There’s a Topic, Training and What’s new section full of links to articles, video training and summaries of new features in Teams.
You can also access this help menu from the /help command in the search bar or the three dots in the left navigation pane.
Microsoft Teams is a great tool for remote collaboration with colleagues.
There are a lot of great productivity features to help make working remotely feel less remote.
Do you have any favourite MS Teams tips?
We have Microsoft Teams as part of a limited Sharepoint 365 enterprise service.
1. Teams desktop takes more than half of my laptop CPU, which is unacceptable. Is there a bug fix for this?
2. Teams Web seems klunky to me. What is the main feature?
1. I’m not sure, it seems to be fine on my machine.
2. I suppose the main feature is avoiding 1. 🙂
This is a great list of tips. With more features changing and rolling out, a monthly or weekly version would be great
Yes, I’ve been meaning to add some more to the list.