25 Oct Elevating your Microsoft 365 – 5 Overlooked features of Microsoft Teams
If your business uses Microsoft 365, it’s very likely that Microsoft Teams sits at the hub of the experience. Intuitive, well-conceived and feature-laden, Teams has risen from relative obscurity in the last 5 years to become the world’s foremost workplace collaboration tool, with an estimated 270 million global users.
Despite its popularity however, a surprising number of the platform’s features escape the attention of users. To help you make the most of Teams, we’ve assembled a list of 5 of the less obvious features which frequently go unnoticed.
Channel Email addresses
Have you ever needed to share an email with your team and found yourself copying and pasting text into the Teams chat interface? Many users fail to notice that you can forward emails (and their attachments) to Teams channels using a discreet feature located within the menu beside the channel name as depicted below.
The ‘get email address’ feature generates and displays an email address specifically for that channel. This address can be copied and pasted in order to forward any relevant email correspondence directly into the channel’s chat interface, along with sender information and any attached files.
Possibly the best aspect of this feature is how attachments are dealt with. Upon routing your first email to a channel, Teams automatically launches a new folder entitled ‘Email Messages’ in the channel’s files tab. This is used to store the first and all subsequent emails (plus attachments), ensuring you can always easily locate any project-relevant email data.
Many users are aware of the ‘@ mentions’ feature which helps you get someone’s attention, but many are unaware that the Teams interface features a number of shortcut commands designed to speed up simple actions.
Known as ‘slash commands,’ this simple feature works by typing a forward slash (/) in the search bar, whereupon you’ll be presented with a list of available actions. A list of sample actions is shown below, but note that these may vary depending on the features you have enabled.
The library of active commands is continuously updated, so it’s worth checking the menu regularly to see if a helpful new command has been created.
Microsoft Forms is a simple survey generation tool which allows quizzes, surveys and questionnaires to be created and published in minutes. Ok, technically Forms isn’t strictly speaking a feature of Teams, but it integrates so seamlessly into the Teams interface via the Forms app that we just had to include it on this list.
The best way to integrate Forms in Microsoft Teams is to launch it through a channel tab by clicking the ‘add a tab’ button (+) and then searching for ‘Forms.’
Once you’ve set up your survey, questionnaire or quiz, Forms gives you various options for sharing, such as QR codes, email and shareable links. By pasting the link to your survey into the channel’s chat interface you can present the survey to everyone in your group at once, ensuring maximum engagement. These surveys are a great way to test staff knowledge, gauge group opinion and gather information quickly and effectively.
Sometimes in a congested chat thread it can be hard to make an important message stand out. Thankfully there’s a discreet feature within channel chat interfaces allows you to deliver messages with greater impact.
‘Announcements’ let you attach large, visually arresting headlines to messages that might otherwise get lost in the commotion. To make an announcement, select ‘format’ under the message box and then change ‘New conversation’ to ‘Announcement’ as highlighted below.
‘@mentions’ are a great way to get the attention of individuals, but tagging individual people in this way can be inefficient when you want to grab the attention of a larger group. You might have a project channel and need to target a message to your graphic designers or marketing personnel, but how do you broadcast to these groups without using individual ‘@mentions?’
Establishing ‘Tags’ allows you to group individuals based on commonalities of your choice. You might wish to group individuals by job role, seniority level, skillsets or perhaps physical location. To create new Tags, navigate to the relevant Team on the left side of the window, click more options (…) and then select ‘manage tags.’ Then give your tag a name and select the individuals you want to assign the tag to.
Once a tag is set up it can be used in exactly the same way as an @mention: type ‘@’ into the chat box, followed by the tag name and everyone assigned the tag will be notified of your message.
As user-friendly as Microsoft Teams is, new features and capabilities aren’t always easy to spot, so it pays to keep up with new developments in order to make full use of the platform. Stay tuned for more helpful tips and tricks on getting the most out of Microsoft 365.
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