Microsoft Teams is an advanced application used for collaborating with others. It’s used by small and large businesses, government departments, Councils, students, charities, churches, and pretty much anyone in need of software to help them and their teamwork together efficiently. It can be used for things such as…
- sharing updates or files on projects or departments
- chatting privately with other team members
- working together on a document in real-time with others
- scheduling and holding meetings
Microsoft Teams is constantly undergoing updates and improvements, with new features appearing in the platform every few weeks.
This article will look at some of the newest features added to Microsoft Teams recently.
New chat can be opened in a new window
By default in Teams, the chat window opens in the main window. However, you can now set the chat to open in a separate window. This feature helps with convenience if you’re working in a separate application. The main benefit of this is being able to see multiple conversations at the same time in different windows. To turn it on, click the three dots next to your name in the top right and select Settings and then find Open new chat in the General Tab and choose New Window. This will open all new conversations in new windows. If you leave the setting as Main Window, it’s still possible to move a conversation to a new window by clicking the “Pop out chat” within an existing conversation.
Whiteboard rebuild and update
In Teams, the Whiteboard has been completely re-engineered. It now has more than 40 templates, along with reactions and sticky notes on top of what was already there. If the occasion calls for it, you can add shapes and pictures to the Whiteboard and change its background colour or the grid dimensions.
To add one to a channel, click the + key to add a new tab, then type ‘Whiteboard’ in the search box and select Whiteboard when it’s found, then give it a name and click save. The whiteboard will then appear as a new tab within the channel.
Reply to a chat message
This feature was introduced to allow for replying to specific messages in chats.
We all know the curse of group chats – that they can suddenly veer far off-topic. Most applications now have a built-in Reply function, whereby you can reply to a particular message – even if it was sent a while back. This helps a team to retain focus.
If you’d like to reply to a specific chat message, go to the one in question, right click your mouse and select Reply. When you start writing, you’ll see a preview of that message just above your text. Type out your response below it and press send.
Automatically turn on live transcription
Live transcription can now be turned on automatically whenever you start recording a meeting.
This feature is useful for keeping highly detailed notes of everything that was discussed.
While this feature isn’t 100% accurate yet, it’s a pretty good in-built option, especially if team members take turns speaking. Live transcription can now be linked to all meeting recordings, so you’ll have a text-based copy too.
Turning on live transcription simply involves beginning the recording – the transcription will start automatically. This means going to More options at the top of the page and choosing Start recording.
As of August 2021, all recordings of Teams meetings are saved to OneDrive and SharePoint rather than Stream, although some businesses still use it. Microsoft has also enabled speaker attribution, which wasn’t there before.
Change the style of notifications on Mac
For those using Microsoft Teams on an Apple Mac, you can switch the notifications from the automatic Teams style (the purple desktop ones) or the standard macOS versions.
This is particularly handy as you have much more control over the macOS notifications. For example, notifications will be muted if you turn on Do Not Disturb.
To switch the notification type, open up Settings and then Notifications. Scroll down the menu until you reach Notification style and choose the Mac option.
Allow Teams to automatically adjust your microphone’s sensitivity
Without this setting switched on, it can feel like an endless task to constantly fiddle with your microphone’s sensitivity.
However, by going to Settings and selecting Devices from the list, you’ll see Automatically adjust mic sensitivity. Toggle it on.
In the vast majority of situations, having Teams automatically adjust your mic’s sensitivity is excellent and works perfectly. However, if you’re having some microphone-based issues, it’s worth turning it off and attempting to set it up manually.
Record meetings automatically
If forgetting to press Record is something you’re occasionally guilty of, setting up meetings to record automatically might help. It’s important to remember here that recording isn’t automatic for all meetings, but is automatic once a specific meeting has started when it has been previously enabled for automatic transcription and recording.
Please note, enabling the ‘record meetings automatically’ feature so users can use if for any specific meeting requires an IT admin to take action, but once that action has been taken a user can set up automatic recording themselves for any particular meeting they choose.
If it’s enabled, you can turn automatic recording on by going to Meeting options and toggling the Record automatically option to Yes.
Once a meeting starts, recording should begin automatically. After it finishes, the video and audio will process and be available in the meeting chat and shared files.
Keep an eye on call quality in-meeting
It’s occasionally necessary to see how the meeting’s doing in terms of quality.
You can now see bandwidth usage and data sent and received (and more) in the meeting window. To check it, click on the three dots next to your name to bring up the More options menu, before selecting Call health.
You’ll find the information appearing on the right-hand side of your meeting window, refreshing every 15 seconds.
How a specialist ICT consultant can help
Microsoft Teams could provide a massive benefit to your business, church, or charity, but getting your head around it can be somewhat confusing at first. As such, it often makes sense to hire a specialist ICT consultant to help set Teams up and manage the ongoing day-to-day background tasks.
AMDH Services Ltd offers many different options and packages that you may find helpful as you think about getting started with Teams.
We’ll work with you to identify if Teams is right for you and your business. If you decide that Teams is the way to go, we can help set the software up for you and your team (or teams), optimising it to best suit your needs.
If you feel that you’ll benefit from setting up Teams – or have more questions – but don’t know where to start, feel free to contact us by giving us a ring on 01332 322588 or booking a free no-obligation consultation.