10 tips for using Microsoft Teams

  1. Don’t put everything in ‘General’ - Create channels to organize different projects/departments

  2. Scheduling meetings within Teams

  3. Meetings with Guest (External) users in Teams

  4. Record your meetings in Teams

  5. Learn and use quick keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

  6. Give your chats titles and create mini channels

  7. Use the mobile app for when you are on the go

  8. Forward pertinent emails to channels

  9. Use background blur

  10. Have some fun with GIFs

Don’t put everything in ‘General’ - Create channels to organize different projects/departments

Putting everything in general can make things messy and confusing. Instead, create channels to keep things organized. This can be done by department, project, class and more. It is a good idea to sit down and map out how you want things organized before creating these so there is a solid structure set up, but it is different for every company and organization. Each channel has its own conversation, files, and ability to add third party apps. Another reason to map out how you want it is that as of now, you cannot move a channel from one team to another.

Scheduling meetings within Teams

One of the great things about Teams is the ease of scheduling and participating in video meetings. You can either schedule a meeting from a Team/Channel, or you can go to Calendar and schedule from there.

To schedule from a channel, go to that channel and click on the video camera icon.

To schedule from the Calendar, open that section and click on the ‘New Meeting’ button. This will open an invite with several options. You can invite attendees, choose a date/time, make the meeting recurring if necessary and associate the meeting with a specific Team/Channel.

Meetings with Guest (External) users in Teams

Anyone with an email address can attend a Microsoft Teams meeting. The host will need a Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) license, but attendees do not need one. When you send a meeting invite to someone without Microsoft 365, they will receive an email with a link to join the meeting. They can click on the link to join the meeting, and select 'Open web app.' They will not have to download the desktop application. There are limited options as far as functionality, but a guest user should always be able to show their webcam feed, participate in channels and chat. If the guest user does have an MS account, they will have a much richer user experience.

For a list of user vs guest permissions click here

Record your meetings in Teams

Microsoft Teams comes with the ability to record meetings if you meet the prerequisites. The recording will capture video, audio and screen sharing (except for Whiteboard). This recording is then saved to Stream where you can manage download and share with your organization. 

This can be a great help as you can go back and watch what was discussed in your meeting.

To record a meeting:

  • Once in a video meeting, click the ‘...’ on the video toolbar and select ‘Start Recording.’

  • Once you click you will be told the screen is recording in a message at the top of the screen.

  • Once done, click ‘stop recording’ in the same menu.

The recording will then be stored in Stream, as well as a link within the channel.

Learn and use quick keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams includes a list of keyboard shortcuts to make things easier for you. Learning them could help you save time, especially when you are already in a meeting.

Here are a few of the basics:

Turn your camera off Ctrl+Shift+O

Mute yourself: Ctrl+Shift+M

Background blur: Ctrl+Shift+P

Zoom: Ctrl+= to zoom in or Ctrl+- to zoom out

Go to Search (move straight to the search bar): Ctrl + E

Go to your files: Ctrl+6

You can get a complete list of all keyboard shortcuts - just enter /Keys into the search menu.

Give your chats titles to create mini channels

Channels can contain many conversations. To make one stand out, give it a title. This will make it more searchable. To name a chat, just click the pencil on the top next to the member names and type the title you want. 

Use the mobile app for when you are on the go

Along with the desktop version of Microsoft Teams, you can also run it as a web app, or download the mobile client for Android, iOS or Windows Mobile. With all these options it is easy to stay connected to important conversations and projects.

Forward pertinent emails to channels

Emails can be forwarded to channels to make communication easier. For instance, if one member of the team receives an email important to everyone, they can forward it to a channel within the team. 

To do so, click on the … next to the channel you would like to forward to and then click on ‘Get Email Address.’ Copy the address, and that is what you would use to forward to.

Use background blur

Background blur can be very useful for those of us working from home. Often our home ‘offices’ are not set up as professionally as our regular offices, so the option to blur the background can be very appealing. To use background blur, do the following:

  • Click on your audio and video settings screen when you join a meeting

  • Choose the ellipses “…” for more options

  • Tap on Blur my background

Have some fun with GIFs

While working remotely, there is a lot less interaction with coworkers, and company culture can pay the price. Strengthening bonds between employees is crucial to better performance and productivity. GIFs can help make the remote workplace more fun, thus making employees happier.

To use GIFs in chat, conversations, or posts in channels and teams, under the message bar there is a list of icons. Choose GIF and a Giphy will pop up. Search the term you want, and GIFs will come up.

Microsoft Teams is a great collaboration tool, that is being updated with new functionality and features often. Contact us today if you are interested in using Teams for your business.

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