Microsoft Teams continues to prove itself as one of the most capable productivity & collaboration applications on the market today. With new features being tested/rolled out regularly, we will continue to update this post each month to share updates and our opinions on the newest enhancements available to Microsoft Teams users.  

September 2020 Updates

Push the big button

Introducing the updated New conversation button in channels. Confidently know you’re starting a new conversation (and not replying to a thread) with the new button look. The same old keyboard shortcuts will still work for you and you can find those in Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams.

The new button is at the bottom of the channel. Select, New conversation to open the box where you write your message. Just as before, you can type a quick message and press Enter to send, or select Format  Expand button  to expand the box and use your formatting tools. Select Send  Send icon to send your message when in the expanded mode. 

SharePoint Lists are now in Teams

Create lists to manage work, track inventory, and more with your team.  Add a list to a channel by selecting Add a tab, then select Lists (you may need to search for the app by name). Create a list from scratch or choose from existing templates and team lists. Check out our webinar outlining Microsoft’s productivity tool lineup.

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More online collaboration with Microsoft Whiteboard

Last month, Microsoft Whiteboard released new features that make it easier than ever to keep the creative process going while meeting online in Teams. Sticky notes, text objects, and more give you better organization of your whiteboard. Check out all the news on Microsoft Tech Community.


August 2020 Updates

Real-time status updates in Teams

We’re excited to announce that Teams now provides updates to everyone’s statuses as they occur. What does that all mean? You’re looking at more reliable and faster updates when your status—available, in a call, etc.—changes in Teams, including turning on and off your out of office (aka Automatic Replies) in Outlook. You’ll also get faster updates to events in your calendar.


July 2020 Updates

Meeting Upgrades

Preview the new meeting experience

So, what’s the new experience? When you join a call or meeting in the Teams desktop app, they will pop out into a secondary window. Use the main window to continue to navigate around Teams without losing real estate in your meetings and calls.

More control in meeting options

Now, you have the option to make everyone—even people from your organization—wait in the meeting lobby when they join a meeting you’ve organized. To access this setting, open Meeting options. Then, where is asks Who can bypass the lobby?, select Only me.

Clearer options when joining a meeting via link

When you join a Teams meeting via a link, you’re provided three options for how you can join. If you don’t have the app, but want all the meeting functionality it provides, select the first button to download the app compatible with your operating system. Want to join via web? Select Continue on this browser. And, if you already have the app, select Open your Teams app to join the meeting like you would from the Teams calendar.

Screenshot of the three options for joining a Teams meeting via a meeting link.

Channel meetings in an instant

It’s easier to start a meeting in a channel. Select the Meet button at the top of a channel and choose to meet right away or to schedule a meeting. When you choose Meet now, you’ll get the same options for setting your audio and video up before you join as you do for other meetings.

Meet button at the top of a channel in Teams

Access channel information

Know who your audience is in any given channel by selecting the i in the top right of a channel. You’ll get the About section, a list of all the members who have access to the channel, and people who’ve recently contributed to the channel.

Instance of channel info pane featuring members and other info.

Refresh the files tab

Now in channels, select Sync to refresh the files tab at any time to make sure you have the latest updates on your team’s files.Screenshot of a Teams channel files tab that highlights the sync button.

Search within a chat or channel

Want to search within a single channel or chat for something?  Go to the chat or channel, press Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F for Mac), then type what you want to search for. You’ll get results from just that channel or chat. Works for one-on-one and group chats!

The /find command in Teams

June 2020 Updates

Meeting and meeting chat size increased to 300

Get even more people participating in your large meetings with the increased capacity for Teams meetings and meeting chats. Now, up to 300 attendees can join the meeting and send messages in the meeting chat.

Access notification settings from Activity

Get quick access to notification settings by selecting  Activity > Settings  Settings icon . Choose what activity you get notifications for, and where you get them.

Meet now, or later in Teams free

Along with instant meetings, you can now schedule a meeting for a future date in the free version of Teams.

Select Schedule a meeting button

Access pinned chats and channels while offline

Your most recent conversations, as well as your pinned chats and channels, are now available when working offline in Teams.

Customize your background

Whether it’s outer space or your favorite cartoon living room, try out customized backgrounds in your next video call. Learn how here

Group chat size increased to 250

More room for everyone, get a large group chat going with up to 250 participants.

Privacy for people joining meetings via phone

To increase privacy for participants joining a Teams meeting by dialing in via phone, Teams now obscures your number from any participants that are outside your organization. Your number will still show for teammates in your org.


May 2020 Updates

10,000 teammates, all together

Team sizes have increased to ten thousand, making it a little easier for larger organizations to let everyone join the conversation.

Meeting options button in Teams

Once you send your online meeting invite, open your meeting options via the new button in Teams. Once you’ve sent your meeting invite, open the event and select Meeting options (at the top of the event).

Highlight of Meeting options button inside the Teams meeting scheduler.

This will open a tab in your web browser where you can tweak your meeting settings, like lobby bypass and who can present.

Book appointments and online visits with Bookings

The Bookings app in Teams offers a simple way to schedule virtual appointments, like healthcare visits, financial consultations, and educator office hours.

Schedulers can manage multiple department and staff calendars, as well as communications with internal and external attendees, from a single experience. The virtual appointments themselves are held via Microsoft Teams Meetings.

Pop out a chat for multitasking

Double-click a chat in your chat list, or select Pop out chat icon in Teams  to open a chat in a secondary window. Now, you’re free to move about Teams while working in multiple chat conversations.

Pop out chat button screenshot

Raise your hand in a meeting

Have a question or comment but don’t want to interrupt the person speaking? Let people know you have something to say with the new raise hand feature in Teams. While in a meeting, select the Raise your hand  in your control bar. This will place a gold hand icon on your video feed to let the rest of the attendees know that you’d like to speak.

Button to raise your hand

Roll call!

Meeting organizers can now take attendance during a meeting. To get your attendance report, select Show participants  Show participants icon  > Download attendee list. The report will download a CVS file that can be opened in Excel. The file will contain the name, join time, and leave time of meeting attendees.

Meetings 3×3 on desktop

We love this update, we can now see a 3×3 view of meeting participants video in Teams Meetings. The grid automatically adapts to how many people are in each call so you can all see one another’s faces. We’d still love to see a 5×5 but this is definitely a step in the right direction!

Channel analytics have arrived

Channel metrics are now included in team analytics. Along with this addition comes new metrics like a running tally of posts and replies for each team and channel. We’ve also increased the time period for data to 90 days.

From your teams list, go to the team and select More options More options icon  > Manage team > Analytics.

Add system audio to live events

Just like in a regular Teams meetings, you can now include your system audio when presenting in a live event. Currently, this feature is only available for presenters and producers joining from the Teams desktop app for Windows. Read more about how this works in Share system audio in a Teams meeting or live event


April 2020 Updates

Let attendees who dial in bypass the meeting lobby

Allow callers to instantly join your next Teams meeting without having to wait in the lobby. That way you won’t have to stop in the middle of a meeting to let attendees in.

To access this setting, select Meeting options and switch the toggle to Yes for Always let callers bypass the lobby?

Announce when callers join a meeting

Meeting organizers now have the option to announce when callers join or leave a Teams meeting, so you always know who is in your online meeting.

To access, select Meeting options and switch the toggle on for Announce when callers join or leave.

End the meeting for everyone

Meeting organizers, you now have the option to end your meetings for all participants. If you’re a teacher, for example, this is a great way to make sure your students don’t hang around in your virtual classroom after you’ve left. 

To end an in-progress meeting, go to your meeting controls and select More options  More options icon   > End meeting.  You’ll be asked to confirm. When you do, the meeting will end for everyone right away.

iOS Updates

Tags are here!

Create tags and assign people to them so you can @mention a group, role, department, etc. Team owners, try it out for yourselves. Go to a team, tap  More options button  > Manage tags. Once a tag exists, team members can start a group chat with them by going to Chat > New chat  New chat icon in Teams  and type the name of the tag in the To: field. Learn more at Using tags in Teams.

Caption this

Turn on live captions during a meeting or group call to read what everyone is saying. To access while in a meeting, tap  More options button > Turn on live captions.

View content shared in a meeting

Now if you dial into a meeting from your mobile phone, you get to view what content (like PowerPoint) is being shared. Once someone starts presenting you’ll get a notification. Tap on the notification and you’ll be shown the content.

Opt out of call queues

If you’re a part of a call queue and want to opt out of receiving those calls on your mobile device, we’ve got you covered. Go to Menu  Mobile OWA More Actions button  > Settings  Settings button  > Calling and at the bottom you can toggle them off.

Note: Some admins disable this option, which is noted on call queues where you can’t opt out.


March 2020 Updates

Improvements to the Teams calendar

Right-click an item in your calendar to pull up RSVP options, start a chat with meeting participants, or quickly join a meeting when it starts. Microsoft has also made improvements to the event scheduling form. Read up on how to schedule events at Schedule a meeting in Teams.

Work offline in the Windows desktop app

Read and create messages, even when internet is slow or goes out completely. Pinned chats and channels, along with previously viewed channels will also be available while offline.

Tag, you’re it! 

Create tags and assign people to them so you can @mention a group, role, department, etc. Team owners, try it out for yourselves. Go to a team, select more options > manage tags. Learn more at Using Tags in Teams.


February 2020 Updates

Edit a post shared in multiple channels

If you’ve ever posted an announcement to multiple channels and realized shortly after that you misspelled a world or left a typo in there, worry no more! Now you can edit your post just like you would in a single channel. To edit, go to more options   > edit to change the content of your post and add or remove channels. 

Pin your favorite apps

When using Teams day-to-day, you need quick access to the tools and apps you use frequently. Teams now allows you the ability to pin your favorite apps to the main toolbar (On the left side the application) alongside other main features such as Activity, Chat, etc. 
To enable, simply click on the “…” option on the toolbar, hover over the app you would like to pin, right-click, and select “Pin”. To remove pined apps, repeat process except for this time select “Unpin”. 

Microsoft Teams Updates

Swap views and pin them on iOS or Android devices

Switch between content (like a PowerPoint presentation) and participant videos during a Teams meeting. Or pin a specific person’s video so that you can always see them, even if they’re not actively talking.

Tap the active speaker tile in the bottom right corner of your screen to minimize the content and bring participant videos in focus. To pin someone’s video, tap the three dots on their tile, then select Pin.

Say no to echo

Whenever you join a meeting on your phone while in a room that’s joined to the same meeting, Teams will automatically mute your mic and speaker to prevent an echo.


January 2020 Updates

Read Receipts are here

Tired of wondering if your coworker saw that most recent IM you sent? Good news! Teams now has read receipts. Similar to how read receipts work on the iPhone, when you send a message to someone you’ll see a delivery receipt, and a read receipt (When the recipient finally looks at the message that is) indicating that they received it. A few things to know about this feature: 

Microsoft Teams Updates
  • By default, read receipts will turn on for everyone and will show in group chats with up to 20 members.
  • Your admin decides whether you have this feature and the ability to turn it off. 

Windows Server gets the desktop app

Teams desktop app is now supported and available for machines operating Windows Server (versions 2012 R2 and later). Admins, learn how to get Teams desktop app on your employee devices. Here is the download link.

Display names for everyone

Now, everyone gets a display name in Teams. Even people you chat with outside your organization. So, you’ll no longer have to remember that long email address when looking for an old conversation, simply search for the person by name.

For more content on Microsoft Teams, check out our blog!

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