10 Useful Microsoft Teams features you might not know about

Screenshot 2020 10 15 at 13.49.16

10 Useful Microsoft Teams features you might not know about

Microsoft Teams is constantly evolving with new features being added regularly.  This is no surprise seeing as its popularity has grown massively recently due to more people working remotely or at home.  As of 14 June the use of Microsoft Teams has grown by 894% when compared with before the pandemic, so it comes as no surprise that Microsoft are focusing a lot of effort into developing this essential application – and are bringing out new updates all the time.

If you have used Teams before you probably know the basics by now but hopefully this post can show you some added useful features that you may not have used before.

1. Sharing Chats or conversations to Outlook

This useful feature enables you to save any of your Teams conversations to Outlook.  So if you would like to archive a conversation to read at a later date this is the perfect way to do so.

Just click on the three dots within the conversation and select Share to Outlook.

This will open up a draft email.  Type your email address in and press send.

2. Record meetings and group calls

If for some reason you cannot attend a group meeting you might want to record it and watch at a later date by doing the following.

Click on the three red dots (shown below) during the meeting and select Start Recording.

Once the meeting has ended the recording will be posted to the group or individual chat session.  Once displayed here click on the three dots and select Open in Microsoft Stream (you will need a Microsoft Stream licence for this which comes with most 365 packages). 

This will open your recording in a web browser and will give you options to download, delete or trim it (by clicking the three dots) – see below.   It is important to note recordings may only be stored here for 21 days (depending on your 365 licence) so if you would like to keep them longer you will need to download and store it in another location.

Also, you may need to get everyone’s permission for legal reasons before you start recording so make sure you clarify this before you start.

3. Stay focused by customising your notifications

If you need some quiet time to stay focused, you can change your notification settings so you only receive those messages you really need and filter out the rest of the noise.  Go to a conversation, select More options, then Turn off notifications/Turn on Notifications, and get some work done in peace.

4. Be more efficient with keyboard shortcuts

  • Ctrl + Shift + M– Mute (unmute) yourself during a meeting
  • Ctrl + Shift + O– Turn on (turn off) your camera on a call
  • Ctrl + N– New chat to start
  • – Use up arrow key to edit the last message sent by you
  • Ctrl + O – Select a file to attach and send in your chat
  • Ctrl + 1+ 2 + 3– Use the combination to navigate in your left navigation rail. (i.e. Ctrl + 1 = Activity feed; Ctrl +2 = Chat; Ctrl + 3 = Teams etc.)
  • Ctrl + E– Call a search bar at the top of the app to quickly find conversations, files, and more
  • Ctrl + / –  Check all of the available shortcuts allowing you to navigate to various destinations, access needed content, and change your current status.
  • :word– Use a symbol ‘:’ right before a word of your choice to discover emojis related to this word and use them (e.g. :meeting or :pineapple)
  • For more shortcuts, both for Windows and macOS check Microsoft Teams Support Portal here.


5. Apply a virtual background to your meeting 

Haven’t tidied your office at home? Or working in your kitchen, and still have all the washing up piled up behind you – no problem, apply a virtual background and no-one will know

(You will need a good quality camera to apply this tweak, so if you find you don’t have the option in the menu it is likely that Teams cannot use your particular camera.)

To apply a background you can do it either when you are setting up your video and audio for the meeting you are about to create/join – just click on the Background effects icon (next to the microphone icon) and your selection of backgrounds will appear on the right-hand side of the screen.

Alternatively, you can do this after you have already joined a meeting by clicking on the More Options symbol (the three dots) and select Show background effects from the menu.  Click Apply near the bottom of the window.

6. Use the mobile app

Most people are likely to use the Microsoft Teams app on their PC but Microsoft have also released a mobile app which has most of the functionality and features as the PC application.  This is extremely useful for those people who are on the go a lot but still need to keep in touch with the team back at the office via messaging or conferencing.

7. Translate messages from other languages

If you do business with colleagues or customers overseas that communicate in a different language to your own Teams can now translate messages for you.

Just click on the three dots in the message and select Translate.

8. Bookmark Important Messages from Teams Chats

This is a particularly useful feature – especially if you have ever had to trawl back through the historic messages to try and find one you know is there, and you need to refer to.

Whilst there is a very good search facility (using the Search box at the top of Teams) – another way is to Bookmark important conversations making them easier to refer back to in the future.

Simply click the 3 dots and select ‘Save the Message’.

Then, to return back to any bookmarked Conversations in the future, simply click on your profile picture (in the top right of Teams, and select ‘Saved’ – this will show you all the Bookmarked conversations.

 9. Meeting Roles

If you present a lot of Teams meetings you might want to get familiar with the different Meeting Roles you can assign to attendees.

There are two roles to choose from : Presenter and Attendee.

Presenters have full control of meeting features, eg, muting participants or sharing content, whereas the Attendee role is more restricted.

Please see the table below for a complete list of capabilities.

You can set roles up in two ways.  One is through Outlook – after setting the meeting up and sending go to Meeting Options in the body of the meeting message.  The other is through the Microsoft Teams calendar.  Once again, send the meeting invite first, then select the meeting from the calendar and click on Meeting Options.

You can also amend the roles from within an active meeting by clicking on the People button – providing you are a Presenter of course 🙂


10. Use Teams in a browser for video calls

If you haven’t got the Teams app installed you can still attend video calls by clicking on the Teams Meeting link that has been sent to you via email or in a meeting request.

Setup is really quick and as long as you have Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers installed this is very simple to do.

See this link for a great instructional video : https://youtu.be/3AzFAg0fiwk


If you need any help with any of these, give us a call – or if you want to find out more about how Microsoft Teams can help your organisation (or learn more about Microsoft 365) then do get in touch.

Simon Tonks

Owner and MD of Synium who loves his job, his life and the wondrous outdoors - especially when on a bike of any kind (but preferably on a mountain bike going downhill fast).Please get in touch if there is anything IT related I can help you with (or if you want to talk bikes :-)