As more and more people take on remote work, organisations everywhere need smart digital tools to help them stay connected, organised and productive. Microsoft Teams is one of the best, most comprehensive applications for helping you achieve all three of these things. 

With this communication tool being so feature-heavy, there are many tips and tricks even those who’ve used the application for a while don’t necessarily know about. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some of our favourite Microsoft Teams tips and tricks below to help you get the most out of this Office 365 software.

Better messaging

1. Rich text formatting

Did you know that you can format the text in your instant messages just how you might a Word document? Adding things like headers, bullet points and bolded text can make your important messages more easily scannable and makes the key points clear. To access these options, click the “format” button under the message box.

2. Finding old messages

Whether it’s responding to the message you saw yesterday but didn’t have time to reply to then or finding the message from a month ago that mentions a piece of information you now need to complete a task, Teams makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. You can search for keywords in the search bar even if you’re not sure which Teams user sent the message.

3. Important messages

If something needs immediate attention, you can opt for the recipient to be notified of the message every two minutes for the next twenty minutes or until they read the message. This is definitely a feature that should be used with care so as not to piss people off, but for especially time-sensitive things it can really help to cut through the noise. Simply click the exclamation point below the message box before hitting send to mark the message as important.

4. Returning to messages later

Let’s face it – all of us have received messages we’ve not had time to respond to there and then and have forgotten to return to later. Luckily, Teams helps you not lose track of messages like this with a couple of different features. 

You can mark messages as unread by clicking the three dots next to a message so that the notification doesn’t disappear or click the bookmark icon so that you can find the message easily later. You can find your bookmarked items by typing “/saved” to the search bar at the top of your Teams window.

Better meetings

1. Blur your background

Most people are likely already familiar with this feature, but with all the video meetings hosted from kitchen tables and living room sofas, we thought it was still worth sharing. To blur your background during a meeting, click the three dots at the bottom of the window and choose “blur my background” – just like that, your laundry drying in the background or cat licking its privates is hidden from the other people in your meeting.

2. Take meeting minutes easily

You can take notes during a meeting easily without having to split your screen with Teams and a text editor. You just need to click the “meeting notes” button and select “start taking meeting notes – this will create a panel to the side of your screen where you can jot down key points from the meeting. 

These notes will be visible to everyone and you can get someone’s attention by using @mentions. You can also access and export notes after the meeting by finding the meeting in your calendar or the relevant channel after the fact.

3. Automatically transcribe meetings

If you’re recording your meeting, you can also have it automatically transcribed so you can easily scan and search through it for future use. When your recording shows up on Teams, click the three dots next to it and click on “update video details” and then “video language”. Then, you simply need to choose “autogenerate a caption file” and click the “apply” button to save changes. You can now download your transcript via Microsoft Stream.

Keeping productive

1. Do not disturb

If your task at hand requires your undivided attention, incoming messages pinging can get annoying very quickly. Luckily, you can pause notifications easily: just click your profile icon and set your status as “do not disturb”. 

You can also get more granular about which notifications you let through in case you’re worried about missing something important. You can set up priority access for users whose messages you want to get through in your privacy settings. Top tip: set up do not disturb very quickly by simply entering “/dnd” in the search bar at the top.

2. Using the search bar for commands

Like we’ve alluded to a few times in this article already, the search bar in your Teams window doubles as a command line, and there are a number of shortcuts that you can use it for to make things easier for you. You can read the list of supported commands here and learn the ones most useful for you.

3. Emailing teams and channels

You read that right! You can actually send emails to teams and channels inside Microsoft Teams for easy messaging on the go in case you don’t have the Teams mobile app or just want to forward something to your coworkers. Simply go to the team or channel you want to email, click the three dots and select “get email address” – you’ll then be able to copy the unique email address for that team or channel.

The bottom line

Microsoft Teams is much more than just a simple messaging or video conferencing solution, and we’ll be posting more articles on ways it can improve your internal communication and remote working in the coming weeks. Until then, check out more of our past blog posts on Office 365 or get in touch with us for more information on how to make the most out of your subscription.