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Become a Pro at Microsoft Teams: Ultimate Guide to Teams Hacks

Updated: Jun 25

Microsoft Teams is part of Office 365 and offers collaboration through instant messaging, video conferences, calls, and document sharing. A free version is available if you cannot access Microsoft Office 365. You can create channels for different work groups, and all the documentation can be stored in the appropriate channel to keep everything in one place. Here are some hacks to help you get the most out of Teams.

Keyword Shortcuts

As with other Microsoft products, using keyboard shortcuts helps you get things done faster. In addition to keeping your hands on the keyboard rather than reaching for the mouse, using keyboard shortcuts takes less time than locating the correct menu item. Here are some common desktop app shortcuts that will help you. Note that some shortcuts are slightly different depending on whether you use the desktop or web app.

  • Open help: F1

  • Open settings: Ctrl + Comma

  • Toggle mute: Ctrl+Shift+M

  • Mark message important: Ctrl+Shift+I

Try to use two or three shortcuts until they become second nature, and then add a few more, repeating the process until you learn all of them. To access all the keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Press Ctrl+Period.

  2. Press Ctrl+E to open the Search field, type /keys, and then press Enter.

  3. Select the Settings and more button that looks like three horizontal asterisks in the upper right corner of Teams. Then, select Keyboard Shortcuts.

When you installed Teams, if you used the Microsoft Teams download for a Mac computer, you can access the keyboard shortcuts the same way, except you use the Command key instead of the Ctrl key.

Take Advantage of the @mention Button

If a team's owner has enabled this feature, you can use @mention to tag someone or get their attention. Type the @ sign and start typing someone's name. Teams will

automatically give you choices. When you find the appropriate person, click their name. The person you choose will receive a notification. Clicking the notification will take them directly to the place where their name is mentioned. You can also mention someone just by starting to type their name.

If you wish to @mention everyone in the group's General channel, choose from one of these options:

  • @channel: messages everyone in the channel

  • @general: messages everyone in the general channel

  • @team: notifies everyone who is a member of the team

When you are in the Activity feed, you can filter to find notifications and messages where you were mentioned using the @ symbol. Just press Filter and choose Mentions.

Silence Notifications

In Teams, you can easily manage your notifications. Depending on your preferences, you can turn off the sound when you get a notification or customize when you want to be alerted and which notifications you wish to receive.

To turn off the sound, select the Settings and more button, select Settings > Notifications, and toggle Play sound for incoming calls and notifications. To turn off notifications while in a meeting or a call, click Edit in Settings > Meetings and Calls, and then toggle Mute notifications during meetings and calls.

Professional Background

During a meeting or video call, ensure that your background is not distracting by blurring the background, replacing it with an image, or choosing one of the built-in Teams backgrounds. You can make these changes before or during a meeting. For a change of pace, download one of the whimsical backgrounds for conversation starters. The background you choose will remain your default until you change it.

Conduct Polls

One way to demonstrate to your teams Microsoft integration tools is to create a poll in Microsoft Forms and launch it anytime during a meeting. You can also send out the poll ahead of time to find out information. In addition, you can use the polling feature in a group chat. To create a poll, add your question and your answer options. For multiple answers, toggle the Multiple answers button. You can also choose whether or not you want the viewers to see the poll results. Either way, you will see real-time results when people start responding. If you need to make changes, click Edit. When you're ready to post, click Send.

Pop Out Chat

Have you ever wished your chat window was in a different place on your computer screen or a different size? Use the pop-out chat feature to change the size or position or even close the chat. You can pop out the chat window in various ways, including from the chat list, profile position, or hovering over a chat.

Share Audio When Screen Sharing

If you share your screen during a Teams meeting and want to play a video or audio clip for others to hear, turn on the audio feature. To do this, click Share Content, and then in the upper left, toggle the Include computer sound button.

These are just a few Microsoft Teams hacks that will help you work more efficiently and collaborate with others. Try all of them to see which ones you like best. You might be surprised at how much time you save.


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