Push Teams to its full potential with this handy guide!
***Note*** This article is part of a series of tips and news updates regarding Microsoft Teams. Links to related Teams articles are here below:
- 18 Tips For Working Remote with Teams
- Walkie-Talkie Functionality Coming To Teams!
- 10 More User Tips for Microsoft Teams
1. Pin Your Most Important Chats for Quick Reference
The chat tab on the left-hand side of the application panel provides access to all of your ongoing conversations. While many of these messages will only require a single glance, others may contain information you'll want to reference later. For these we recommend using the "Pin" tool. Hover your mouse over the conversation you'd like to keep track of, right-click, and select "pin". The message will move upwards into the "Pinned" conversations group. By pinning the important conversations, you'll cut down on clutter and distraction.
2. Name Your Chats
Not only can you pin chats to keep them front and center, you can also give them a name. This comes in particularly handy when several people are collaborating on a short-term project. Instead of creating a whole new Team channel for the discussion, simply click on the chat to bring it up in your main window. Under the search bar, to the right of the names of the chat participants you'll see a pencil icon. Click that, and you can apply your own custom label to that chat string.
3. Use the SharePoint Integration
Companies large and small rely on SharePoint every day to collaborate on projects and keep those project files securely backed up in the cloud. Microsoft developed Teams to work hand-in-hand with the SharePoint platform. In fact Teams can be configured to automatically backup files to SharePoint as soon as you share them in a Teams chat. That way the file is always accessible, anywhere and from any device.
4. Don't Forget About the Mobile App!
Sorry, no GIF for this one. So we found this for you instead:
Microsoft Website: Mobile App FAQ for iOS & Android
The Microsoft Teams mobile app is very easy to set up and intuitive to use. Versions are available for both iOS and Android mobile operating systems. Simply go to the app store on your particular device, download the Microsoft Teams app, and sign in with your credentials. It features all of the functionality found in the desktop app, which means you can read and send messages, make calls, video-conference, and share files as well.
5. Integrate Teams with Microsoft Planner
Are you familiar with Planner? It's a powerful to-do application Microsoft released in 2016. At Sagiss we use it to assign tasks and coordinate our efforts on various projects. While Planner is indeed helpful for keeping track of one's to-dos, it can be a pain to open over and over each time you complete a task. Luckily, you can access your Planner to-dos directly from Teams (How To: Connect Planner to Teams). Look at the left-hand panel, scroll your mouse down below "Files", left-click on the three dots, and select Planner. You'll see a new tab open up with all of your current to-dos at your fingertips.
6. Use the GIFs!
Sometimes, a GIF is simply the best way to express how you feel. Microsoft has thought of that and included a built-in integration with Giphy, and it's very easy to use. To find a GIF animation and send it, click on a chat scroll your mouse down below the chat blank, and click on the "GIF" icon. You'll be prompted with a few examples and a search bar to explore further.
FYI - The GIFs in this article were created using ScreenToGIF, a free program that works fantastically well for creating small clips right on your desktop.
7. Create Separate Teams for Each Department
One reason chat programs like Teams have grown in popularity is that they easily offer you the ability to segment your messages into different categories. This allows you to easily find them later, unlike email, which forms a big pile of mail which must be sifted through and sorted. At Sagiss, for example, we've created a team for the service desk, one for senior management, another for sales & marketing, etc. This helps people stay focused by removing them from irrelevant message strings they don't want to be a part of.
We also found Microsoft's Best Practices for organizing teams in case you'd like to check it out.
8. Keyboard Shortcuts Are Your Friend
Hunting around a screen with a mouse is slow, at least compared to the speed of using a keyboard shortcut to accomplish the same task. People have done the math, believe it or not. Every Microsoft Office application makes use of keyboard shortcuts to some extent, and memorizing a select few can save you a great deal of time. Type Ctrl + O, for example, to attach a file to a chat. Ctrl + Shift + A will answer an incoming video call, while Ctrl + Shift + D will decline it. To view the full list of shortcuts at any time in Teams, simply hit Alt + / (Alt + forward slash).
9. Schedule Meetings
Getting a meeting on the calendar is a snap with Teams. The best part is that Teams integrates with Outlook, so you'll see the event appear in your Outlook calendar immediately after you've set it up in Teams. To schedule a meeting, simply hit Ctrl + 4, or click on the Meetings tab on the left-hand side of the panel. Look toward the bottom of the screen and click "Schedule a meeting". You'll be able to set a meeting place, time, and invite participants all from a single screen.
10. Use @ to Get Someone's Attention
Want to address someone specific in a group chat? That's easily done using the @ symbol. Enter the @ symbol, and start typing the person's name. If someone were trying to direct a particular group message to this writer, they would type in @Jordan, and Teams would display "Jordan Weber" as a suggestion. Find the person's name and select it. The name will appear in blue text in your message. When that message goes out, that person will see a notification bubble pop up on their desktop. This is useful to get someone's attention in a pinch, but we recommend using it sparingly to avoid coming across as a nuisance.