written by
Zack Calloway

Using Microsoft Teams? 3 Tricks to Help You Work Smarter

Remote Work Productivity Collaboration Communication 1 min read
Three clever tricks to get more out of Teams

Microsoft Teams is an impressively powerful productivity and collaboration app that’s included with every Office 365 and Microsoft 365 plan. We love the countless ways Teams is helping our customers work smarter and collaborate more naturally — whether their employees are on-site, remote, hybrid, or a mix of all three.

Any app with a feature set as deep as Teams will have a bit of a learning curve. Users can easily get started with the basics without much guidance, but there are all sorts of hidden or less obvious tricks, shortcuts, and add-ons that can transform Teams into something even more powerful.

Looking to get more out of Teams? Here are 3 great tricks you might not have heard of before.

1. Boost Your Own Messages with Mark as Important

It’s great that businesses today have so many mechanisms for collaboration. But sometimes this proliferation can lead to notification overload. With chats and messages ringing in across multiple Teams (not to mention emails, private messages, and whatever other channels your business is using), missed chats are a risk in Teams.

If you’ve sent an important message to a colleague and aren’t getting a timely response, try marking the message as important.

Doing so will send another flash notification to the recipient every two minutes until they respond (or until 20 minutes passes). It’s a great way to get your recipient’s attention, but generally try to save this for truly urgent matters.

To set a message as important, click the exclamation point below the compose box and choose from the available options (usually Standard, Important, and Urgent).

Pro tip: if you don’t see this option, you may need your IT admin or IT service provider to enable it for your Teams environment.

2. Use Immersive Reader to Hear Messages Rather Than Read Them

Microsoft has been making serious improvements to accessibility throughout its Office suite. Immersive Reader is one of the results, a feature available across all the major productivity apps within 365. Immersive Reader can do a bunch of different stuff to nearly any text field, from translation to defining words to isolating text and more.

But the killer feature is reading text out loud. Not only is this helpful for people who need accessibility accommodations, it’s useful for anyone who wants to hear rather than read a message.

To access Immersive Reader, hover over any Teams message and then click the three dot icon. Immersive Reader is one of the choices you’ll see. Configure settings if you like, and then hit the Play button to let Teams do the reading for you.

3. Discover Semi-Hidden Shortcuts

We love keyboard shortcuts—they help us get work done faster and with less effort, which is always a good thing. But the trouble with keyboard shortcuts is that you have to memorize them for them to do any good, and they aren’t always consistent from app to app.

All the normal Windows or Mac keyboard shortcuts you already know will work just fine in Teams. But did you know Teams has a whole bevy of additional app-specific shortcuts, which are sort of hidden?

All you have to do to find these shortcuts is go to the command box (what you might think of as the search box) at the top of your main Teams window. Type a forward slash (that’s the one by the right Shift key) into that box and see what shows up. Try /app to search for a Teams app, /recent to find somewhere you recently were in Teams, or /calendar to schedule a meeting in fewer steps. You can also see the full list of slash commands in this support doc.

That’s all for this week, but there’s plenty more to learn about Teams and Microsoft 365. Our team is ready to show you more and to take care of your broader IT needs. If your business is ready for a better IT service partner, reach out to us today!

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