8 Microsoft Teams Features to ease collaborations

Microsoft has indeed leveraged the lockdown period to its optimum so much that Microsoft Teams has become an undetachable part of our professional lives now. You use Teams daily, but do you use it only to chat or schedule meetings when there is so much more that you can use it for? Read further to know about some underutilized Microsoft Teams Features which you should be using more.

Teams has a feature inside which can increase the collaboration and efficiency of your team. 

 

1) Slash Function 

Want to find something quickly on Teams but it takes forever? Want to change how you appear on teams? Use the Slash Feature that helps you navigate to everything quicker. 

In the search bar, type “/” and you’ll see a list of options like the one shown below: 

Microsoft Teams Features-slash function

Navigate to the one that you want: 

Eg: If you type “/activity” Teams will prompt you to name a person. Once you enter the name of a person, you’ll see their activity in the “Teams” you have in common. 

 

2) Keyboard Shortcuts 

Keyboard Shortcuts are lifesavers.
Want to start a new chat? Alt+N
Want to speed dial? Ctrl+Shift+5 

Want to view all the keyboard shortcuts? Ctrl+. 

Microsoft Teams Features- keyboard shortcuts

For all the Keyboard shortcut lovers, ain’t that convenient? 

 

3) Chat in Native Language 

Members can even chat in their native language within a Teams chat and the “Translate” feature helps translate it. Type in Tamil, Hindi or Mandarin and the translate feature helps convert it to English. Although this is not highly accurate and it has minor errors, you can get a rough idea. 

Microsoft Teams Features- translate

Hover over a message that has been typed in another language, click on the 3 dots that appear over a chat, and click on Translate. 

Microsoft Teams Features- translate2

 

4) Mark as Unread 

Has this ever happened to you where you aimlessly were scrolling through Teams and you unconsciously clicked on a message and forgot about it? And later on, when the person asks you for an update, you realize that you haven’t done anything about it at all. It skipped your mind because it was not bolded (unread message). During times like these, marking messages as unread really helps. Just hover over a message that you’ve accidentally read, click on the 3 dots and select “Mark as Unread”. Voila, your message will now appear unread and you can always go back at it and work on it later.

Microsoft Teams Features- mark unread

mark unread2

 mark unread3

 

mark unread4

 

4) Polly 

An app within Microsoft Teams – If your Teams Meetings are often too boring and the members aren’t interactive, use Polly. Polly is an engagement app that captures instant answers from the ones that are a part of the teams meeting. It lets you create Q&A, Polls, MCQs etc. 

This lets one boost engagement and light up a dull Teams Meeting room. 

To access and use Polly… Within Microsoft Teams Application, Go to Apps > Search for Polly

Microsoft Teams Features- polly app

 

 

5) Create a private channel inside a team 

Let’s assume that you are part of a team that has 50 people of your organization and you had a meeting. But within the team, you want to have a private chat with a few select people about what has been discussed in the meeting. 

Within Microsoft Teams, go to Teams (1) > Your Created Team (here- Sales & Marketing) (2) > Add Channel (3) 

Microsoft Teams Features- Add channel

This form will pop up

Microsoft Teams Features- add new private channel

 

You’ll be asked to Name the channel, there is an option of setting the accessibility to Standard or Private.

new private channel created

 

As you can see, a channel by the name of “Marketing” has been created within the team “Sales & Marketing” 

newly created channel

The benefit of this is, within the group, you can create a sub-group and only the members included in it will be able to view and reply to your message. 

 

6) Channel Calendar 

Let’s suppose you want to arrange a meeting with all members of a Team/Channel and you want the calendar to be shared with everyone. You can do that by clicking the “+” sign.

Microsoft Teams Features- channel calendar 1

In the “Add a tab” dialog that appears, search “Channel Calendar”. This will let you create a calendar that is common for everyone. In the end, the members of the team can then decide if they want to add the created event to their personal calendar or not. 

channel calendar 2

Now that’s one of the Microsoft Teams features that can be useful for a lot of its frequent users.

 

7) Pop-out apps 

Do you want to view your chats but also have an app screen on display at the same time? Well, Microsoft Teams gives you the option to pop-out your apps. 

Right-click on the app and click on “Pop-out App”

Microsoft Teams Features- pop out apps

You’ll see a new tab for the app has now opened up whereas you can simultaneously chat with your team members in the Teams App. 

popped out app tab 

8) Approvals App 

You have a brilliant idea, or a task that you want to get approved- you can now manage approvals within the Teams app itself. Managing approvals has never been easier. Within Microsoft Teams > Apps > Search Bar> Approvals. 

As you can see below, you can keep track of all the approvals you’ve sent and received and you can request a new approval (top right).

Microsoft Teams Features- new Appprovals

 

As you click on that, a dialog box (like the one shown below) will pop up where you can add the type of approval (Basic, e-sign), you can mention the person you want approval from and also mention the reason and/or add attachments.

Approvals tab

Benefit? You don’t have to go to your emails and search and look around for Approvals. All your Approvals can be found in one single dashboard within the Teams App. 

 

Conclusion: 

Now wasn’t that a lot of information (helpful though, right?). Hopefully, you were unaware of at least a few of these Microsoft Teams features and found this article helpful. Stay on loop as we upload such informative blog articles every Wednesday on our website.

Here are links to some of the blogs that we’ve written which may be helpful to you: 

 

Milan Ramani
Milan Ramani

Milan heads the Professional Services division at Infrassist. Having worked with leading Enterprises globally Milan has played a key role in studying and analyzing the requirements, discuss possible solutions, and ensuring client satisfaction by delivering the desired output. Milan always emphasizes and ensures his team spends maximum time in gathering the requirements, understanding the needs, and planning because if the plan is concrete implementation becomes relatively easy. “Seamless customer experience” is his mantra in every project he takes up.

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