5 ways to get more from Microsoft Teams

More people are using Microsoft Teams, but most only scratch the surface in terms of the functionality on offer. Here are a few ways to do things quicker and easier!


Use the @ symbol like a friend

Who knew the humble @ symbol could wield such power in Teams? In a busy channel full of noise, it’s a great way to grab someone’s attention. Type @ followed by their name and Teams will notify them of your message.


And @ is a neat way to do a host of other things too. Enter the symbol in the ‘search for or type a command’ field at the top of your Teams screen and instantly see a list of suggestions:



  • Recognise your colleagues by using the @praise function in Teams and make their day!
  • Post a video to a Teams channel. Use @Stream (more on this later) and drop it in with ease.
  • Share external content in a Teams channel – available sources include @News, @Stocks and @Wikipedia Search.


And by selecting ‘More apps’, you’ll find a whole new world to explore! This screenshot is just a slice – quite literally, of what you can expect to see:

One thing though: you’ll only see the ‘More apps’ option in your organisation’s Teams. You won’t see it if you’re a guest in another Teams instance.


Warp Speed with One Keystroke

And now to the mighty slash key. Get stuff done faster and find what you need in seconds.


Enter /  for  a list of commands in the ‘search for or type a command’ field, top centre of your Teams screen:

Our favourites are:

  • /Call – a super quick way of initiating a call. Teams will display a list of your frequent contacts, or you can begin typing a name.
  • /GoTo – leap into another channel. Especially useful if you have lots of channels; a list displays automatically for your selection.
  • /Files – shows your most recent files and takes you straight to the one you need.


Were You Looking for Something?

In times past, when people printed actual things in actual offices, I was often seen rummaging through my wastepaper basket. That vital piece of paper that I’d held in my hand had, by some dark force, vanished. On good days I’d find it in the bin, soaking up the dregs of my teabags. If this is you too, here are two bacon-saving things you can do:


  • Bookmark content that’s important to you. Hover over your message – you’ll see a row of emojis and three dots. Click the dots, then ‘Save this message’.

To find your saved items, click your profile to open the dropdown menu and select ‘Saved’. Or you can use the slash command: /Saved, which takes you to your saved messages.


  • Teams doesn’t support the use of hashtags yet, but it does have a near-instant search and filter function. Enter your keyword or phrase in the blank field top centre of your Teams screen. Your results will appear on the left, which you can filter down to Messages, People or Files.


Stay Focused

Microsoft’s immersive reader functionality is available in Teams. It’s especially helpful in the education sector as it improves comprehension. Hover over a message, select more options (the row of three dots) then Immersive Reader.

Your message will launch in a full screen, and you can hear it read aloud by selecting play. You can also adjust voice speed and opt for a male or female voice.

And to avoid information overwhelm, and protect your focus time, here are a couple of bonus tips:


  • If you have lots of Teams channels but are only active in a handful of them, clear the clutter by hiding what you don’t need to see. Select the Teams icon on the left of your screen and choose the channel or channels you want to tidy away by selecting Hide.

And don’t worry, if someone mentions you in one of your hidden channels, Teams will still notify you.


  • Presence is part of your user profile in Teams. By default, all other Teams users in your organisation can see your availability in near real-time. Set it to busy, or do not disturb when you genuinely need to be left alone.


You might also like https://www.microsoft.com/en-nz/microsoft-365/roadmap?filters=Microsoft%20Teams  which shows the roadmap for upcoming features in Teams.


Umm, What Did You Say?

Did you know that if you record a Teams meeting, it’s automatically stored in Stream? This vastly underused video platform is sometimes described as the YouTube for business, but it’s much more than that.


Stream includes automatic transcripts, captions and subtitles, and an intelligent search function, so you don’t have to wade through an entire recording to check what Paul did, in fact, say about that widget.

And you can do smart things with it, like putting a Streams feed in your intranet to broadcast messages. And as people are 10 x more likely to engage with video content, its undeniably the way to go.


Find out more about Microsoft Stream here.