Most of you will have become familiar with Microsoft Teams after having used it over the past year, however there are a number of features, tucked away, which will save you time and help you in organising content. We’ve detailed our favourite 8 tips and tricks in this guide (focusing on the Windows application).
1. Sharing links to Microsoft Teams channels and content
As we hop between emails, Microsoft Teams and other applications, we are likely to need to share content between them all. Microsoft Teams allows the ability to not only share messages via sharable links, but also whole channels. To do so, click on the ••• icon which appears to the right of the channel name or hover the mouse over the messages or files to reveal the ••• icon, then select ‘copy link’ and it can be shared however you wish, directing the recipient(s) to the content.
2. Saving and retrieving messages, for ease of access
The search feature in Microsoft Teams is fantastic, however if there are messages with links to meeting notes that require frequently access, hyperlinked resources or files that have been shared, then the ‘save’ feature is very handy. To access it, hover the mouse cursor over the message/file in question and then select ‘save’ or if using the phone app, press and hold to reveal these options.
To retrieve the saved content, it can either be accessed by clicking on your profile image in the top right of the screen (if using the desktop app), or if using the mobile app, select ‘more’ and then the pink ‘saved’ tile.(click on image to enlarge)
3. Restricting permissions in meetings
There may be times when as a meeting host, you don’t want attendees to be able to present or use the chat function – such as in events or for certain classes. To configure this setting, select the ••• icon at the top of the screen and then ‘meeting options’ – the ability to choose who can present or to enable/disable the meeting chat can then be set.
4. In case of emergency – important / urgent messages and notifications
When you wish to notify a colleague or student about something of importance, the ! ‘important’ feature, found in the message options, is a handy way to highlight the message for the recipient’s attention.
Audible notifications on the recipient’s device remain the same – but the message will show similar to the example above.
When something is mission critical and an immediate response is required, we would advise to call the recipient rather than use the ‘urgent’ feature. This messaging option, notifying the user every 2 minutes for 20 minutes (or until read) could be seen as unwelcome/intrusive and user forums have been widely critical of this feature and its use.
5. Renaming chat groups
Chat messages can easily get lost should there be multiple permutations of team members in groups. For example:
- Chat 1 – Bill, Mary, Imran & Gurpreet
- Chat 2 – Imran, Bill & Gurpreet
- Chat 3 – Gurpreet, Bill, Imran & Divya
You might find it easier to agree renaming these chat groups so that they mean more to you and the other recipients. This could be through naming the group as per the subject matter/project or give nicknames to the groups:
- Chat 1 – Bill, Mary, Imran & Gurpreet (Tuesday tutorial group)
- Chat 2 – Imran, Bill & Gurpreet (Problem solving group)
- Chat 3 – Gurpreet, Bill, Imran & Divya (The A Team)
It is then possible to search by any element of the name, such as ‘Tuesday’, ‘Problem’, ‘A Team’ or by the participant names which are also listed.
To edit the chat message group names, simply click on the pencil icon which appears to the right of the participants’ names…
Then rename the group so that it can be easily identified from the others:
6. PowerPoint Live
It is often easiest to share your screen when there is content which you wish to present, but there is a really handy ‘PowerPoint Live’ feature which allows the presenter to share PowerPoint presentations which allow the audience the ability to proceed through the slides themselves, or to lock the slides so that they only see the slide which you are currently looking at.
To enable this, first you will need to select ‘share content’ and then upload your PowerPoint presentation:
By default, your audience will be able to proceed back and forth through the slides on their screens. Should you wish to disable this, simply select the eye icon as shown below and the slide displayed to your audience will be restricted to that which you are currently viewing.
7. Adding your own backgrounds
It used to be the case that to add your own customised background you would need to drill down through the Microsoft Teams application folders to find the one which contained the background images and then add your own, but now it’s possible to add your own quickly and easily when accessing ‘background effects’.
8. Suppressing background noise …great for Mixed Mode teaching!
Should you be suffering in the heat, with a fan plugged in, or teaching and wishing to cut out any background noise from the teaching venue, the noise suppression feature is great at ensuring the audio is optimal. If playing system audio from the computer, you might wish to set this to ‘low’, otherwise setting this feature to ‘high’ will greatly reduce the hum from air vents or noise from other equipment which is running in the room.
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