Microsoft Teams has become the favorite of businesses around the world. 91 of all Fortune 100 companies rely on Teams daily to connect the office to remote workers. Competitors like Zoom and Slack have fun features but exist alone with limited functionalities beyond video call and chat. They also suffer from a lack of security. Teams overcame these challenges with a host of security features and integrated solutions that tie together your entire workflow. You may know the basics of Teams, but let’s take a look at more advanced features that can help you really streamline your work (and make you look good doing it!).

1.  Change Your Background

Have a messy office or personal items you don’t want shown on a video call? Maybe you just want to feel like you’re calling from a sunny beach to forget that you’ve been in your home for the 15th consecutive week.

When you’re on a video call, hit the ellipses on the floating bar above your call (next to the screen share button) and tap “Show background effects.” This will pop open a sidebar where you can select a background of your choosing and hit apply once you’re done. If none of the available options fancy you, you can download one from here.

Show background effects

2.  Add Subtitles and Translations To Meetings

Last year at the Microsoft Inspire conference, we got to take a look at some nifty new Teams features ahead of their launch. We’re excited to see them in place now just in time for everyone at home. Make your meetings accessible to those who can’t hear or speak a different language so no one is left out of your conversations.

Head over to the meeting options floating bar when you’re in a meeting and click on “Turn on live captions.” Participants will be able to turn on captions on their screen. If you want to translate a message in a chat, hover over the message and click on the ellipses. Here you will see an option to translate the message to another language.

LONDON, UK - May 1st 2020: Microsoft teams logo on a smartphone

3.  Manage Channel Notifications

General channels for all employees can be chatty and sometimes you need to mute a few channels to focus on what you’re doing. Luckily, Teams allows you to manage your notifications for a particular channel. Head over to the “Teams” menu and select the channel you want to change notification settings for. On the top right of the chat window, you will see ellipses (are you sensing a common theme here?) that you should tap on to get to the menu item “Channel notifications.” Do what you need to do! No judgment.

Channel notification settings

4.  Forward E-mail To Chat

Update your Outlook to unlock a very cool new item. By far one of the most useful new updates, now you can take your e-mail conversations straight to teams from Outlook. Managing both e-mails and chats can be overwhelming. If you get an e-mail you think can be sorted out quickly through a quick chat on Teams, just hit “Share to Teams” on your Outlook ribbon and begin. The e-mail itself will also be moved to a new Teams channel.

5.  Data Loss Prevention

Data Loss Prevention on Teams enables you to create a policy to prevent leakage of sensitive data. Depending on how you set the policy, Teams will automatically remove messages sent to external users with the identified data. This extends beyond chat messages to documents shared on Teams as well. If sensitive data is detected in shared files, Teams will disable the recipient’s ability to open the file. 

sensitive social security information blocked on teams

6.  Host A Live Event For External Participants

Did you know you can run meetings and invite participants outside your office to attend as well? They don’t need a Microsoft 365 subscription for it to work. This is great for those of you running webinars looking for an alternative to other virtual meeting platforms.

When setting up a new meeting from your calendar in Teams, click on the arrow next to the “New meeting” button. This will bring up two menu items: click Live Event. Once you fill in the details, Teams will produce a link that you can copy and include in e-mails and in the calendar invite. This supports up to 250 participants!

Employees on call using live captions