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7 Microsoft Teams Tips: Get the Most Out of Collaboration

July 25, 2019

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Do you know all the Microsoft Teams tips available to upgrade your collaboration experience? You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish when you go beyond the basics with your unfied communication solution.

Even if you’ve been using for Teams for some time, you could be missing out on hidden capabilities that can easily boost your productivity levels. Equipped with AI, video conferencing and instant messaging, here are some handy tricks to get the most out of Teams.

1. Enjoy Using GIFs

When it comes to finding useful tricks, a lot of companies focus heavily on solutions for productivity and efficiency.This means that they forget how important it is to build a unique company culture through your communication tools.

GIFs and custom reactions in your messages can help to strengthen bonds between users at a time when remote working is making face-to-face interactions less likely. All you need to do is click on the GIF button underneath your “Type a new message” box and enter a keyword to find dozens of fun video clips.

2. Microsoft Planner

Microsoft Teams offers up some easy-to-set-up integrations with other Microsoft products and services. One of those is Microsoft Planner, which can help manage your tasks within your organization. Use it to keep track of stories and the flow of news articles and visually organize your teamwork.

To get started with setting up Planner with Teams, you’ll need to Add it to a Tab within a team channel. Just like with setting up OneNote, you can do this by clicking the “+” alongside the top bar. Then, in the dialogue box that opens up, choose Planner. You can create a new plan, or choose an existing plan. All members of that channel and team will then have access to the plan from the top bar within the team channel.

3. Forward Emails and Add Guests

Another Teams tip is the ability to forward emails within a Teams Channel. This is useful if you happen to be away from Teams, or don’t want to open the app to share an important item with your colleagues. You can do this by clicking the ellipses (…) next to one of your general channels and pressing on “get email address.” You can then use this email address to send anything you want to the channel, be it emails, documents, or more.

Speaking of email, if you’ve just set up Microsoft Teams and didn’t have the time to add all of your users, that’s not a problem. You can easily provide guest access to people from within your company or organization (and even from the outside.) Your guests in Teams don’t need a special email address either, as any type of consumer email account can work — be it Outlook or Gmail. Keep in mind, though, that guest access is only included with Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Enterprise, and Office 365 Education.

4. Keyboard Shortcuts

There’s nothing worse than spending twenty minutes trying to find the function you need when you’re in the middle of a meeting or working on a project. That’s why it’s always a good idea to learn the keyboard shortcuts available for collaboration apps like Microsoft Teams.

Here are a few of the basics you need to know:

  • Go to Search (move straight to the search bar): Ctrl + E
  • 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 your files: Ctrl+6

To get a complete list of all your keyboard shortcuts, enter /Keys into the search menu at the top of Microsoft Teams.

5. Control your Background

Video conferencing is a great way to bring teams together, regardless of where your users might be. However, people may be reluctant to join a video meeting if their environment is messy or distracting. The good news? With Microsoft Teams, you can change all of that. Primarily, you can blur everything behind you in a video, for absolute privacy. To do this, simply:

  • Click on your audio and video settings screen when you join a meeting
  • Choose the ellipses “…” for more options
  • Tap on Blur my background

You can also add custom backgrounds like an office environment or company logo, rather than blurring out the background. Not all devices support this feature yet, but Microsoft is working on it.

6. Microsoft SharePoint

SharePoint is already in use by many organizations across the world as a way to store and secure files. You can integrate with SharePoint in any of your Teams channels, and share files directly with team members. SharePoint Teams sites are automatically created when you set up a Team in Microsoft Teams. To find SharePoint in Teams, the process is the same as it is with setting up Microsoft Planner or OneNote. Just head to the Files tab on the channel, to see your list of files shared from all users within that channel.

7. Follow Teams Channels

Information overload is a big problem. Not only do you have emails and phone calls to keep on top of, but you might be managing various collaboration tools, workforce optimization packages, and people too. Following channels that matter most will help to reduce the amount of unnecessary information coming your way. To follow a channel:

  • Click on the ellipses next to a channel
  • Click on the Follow option

To learn more about Microsoft Teams, download CallTower's Guide to Microsoft Teams today:

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