17 Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks You Didn’t Know You Needed

by Emily Houssier

So you’ve learned the ropes of Microsoft Teams and overcome the hurdles of staying in touch with your coworkers from afar. But are you really making the most out of your Teams experience? This single app is in fact a workplace productivity hub that can help you achieve everyday tasks in less time. We’ve accumulated some of the top Microsoft Teams tips and tricks to start incorporating into your workflow.

Tips for Productivity

From saving time to improving focus, use these hacks to be more productive while using Microsoft Teams.

Learn frequent commands

using microsoft teams
Use the command line to save time!

Did you know that the search bar in Teams doubles as a command line? Type in one of the recognized commands to take a shortcut to some of the most frequent tasks: /files to view your recent files, /unread to see new activity, and /call to make a call, to name a few. View the current list of accepted commands on Microsoft’s website.

Turn on do not disturb

using microsoft Teams
Change your status to filter notifications

Constant pings from incoming messages can be a productivity killer when you’re trying to focus. Turn off those unwanted distractions by enabling do not disturb mode. Just click your profile icon in Teams to set your status to do not disturb (or enter the command /dnd into the search bar.)

Want to make sure you don’t miss any important messages from your boss while you’re hidden? Set up priority access for any individuals whose messages you want to receive even while notifications are paused. Users can be granted priority access in your privacy settings.

Use @mention to send and filter messages

using teams @mention
Use @mention to send and filter messages

Shooting off a quick message to a colleague doesn’t mean you need to leave what you’re doing and find their conversation in Teams. Just type the @ sign directly into the search bar to find their name and send a message from wherever you are in the application.

@mentions are also useful to filter recent activity and prioritize messages directed at you. While in the Activity feed, click the filter button and choose @mentions from the dropdown menu.

Mark messages as unread

Have you ever read a message that you don’t have time to address right away but forgotten to circle back later? Microsoft Teams gives you the ability to mark messages as unread by clicking the three dots next to a message while in a conversation or the Activity feed.

microsoft teams bookmark
Click the three dots to bookmark a message or mark it as unread

Bookmark content

Want to save an important message for later? Click the bookmark icon to make sure you won’t have trouble finding it. Review your bookmarks by typing the command /saved into the search bar.


Tips for Organization

There’s a lot of content in Teams. These tips will help you keep it all organized.

Favourite teams and channels

microsoft teams tips
Favourite a channel to keep it visible in your Teams list

Are there specific teams and channels you access most frequently throughout the day? Keep them at the top of the list by marking them as favourites. Click the three dots next to the team or channel name and select Favorite.

Reorder teams with drag and drop

microsoft teams organization

Favouriting a team places it in a separate category at the top of the pane, but you can also control where the rest of your teams fall on the general list. Just click and drag a team in the direction you want it to go. When the list turns gray, you can place it in the correct position.

Group users into tags

microsoft teams tips

Sometimes it’s useful to create subgroups within teams based on role, project, or location. Tags can help you do just this, making it easy to @mention or start a chat with everyone included under the tag. Include and manage tags efficiently in your Microsoft Teams options.

Add custom tabs

custom tabs in teams
Add new tabs in a team or private chat

Every new channel is preconfigured with two tabs: Conversations and Files. But users can add custom tabs for other Microsoft 365 tools, websites, and third-party apps, allowing them to perform tasks without switching to a new window.

Tips for Engagement

Make communication more dynamic with these ideas for engagement.

Add subject lines

using microsoft teams

Grab attention and break up conversations by adding subject lines to your messages. Subject lines are among the rich text formatting options found in the expanded view pane that appears when you click the Format button under the message box. Rich text formatting also lets you change text size, weight, and colour, add links, and even incorporate numbered and bulleted lists.

Send stickers and GIFs

Keep communication fun with stickers and GIFs

A picture is worth a thousand words. Incorporate stickers and GIFs to convey thoughts and emotions that words don’t do justice by selecting either option from below the message box.

Survey the group with polls

If you don’t see the Forms icon, click Messaging extensions More options button, and then select Forms.

Instead of typing a question into a channel, why not use a poll to gather feedback more efficiently? Click the Forms icon below the message box to create and send a poll in Teams.

Send urgent notifications

To ensure people pay attention to your message, mark it as important or urgent.

Need an immediate reply? Click the exclamation point below the message box before you press send to mark a message as important. The recipient will get notifications every two minutes for the next 20 minutes or until it’s read.


Tips for Better Meetings

Use these Microsoft Teams meeting tips to bring your virtual gatherings to the next level.

Start calls directly within a chat


It’s easy for a text chat to turn into a conversation that needs more in-depth discussion. Start a quick call directly within a chat by clicking the video or audio call button.

Blur your background

ms teams meeting tips
You can either blur your background or replace it entirely with any image you want.

As many of us continue to work from home, there may be a few things in the background that you don’t want everyone at work to see. Remove distractions like the kids playing superheroes or last week’s dirty laundry by blurring your background. This feature can be found by clicking the three dots at the bottom of your video call.

Record and transcribe your meeting

meeting transcript

Keeping a recording of virtual meetings can be incredibly helpful for review later. Once you start recording from the meeting control panel, a copy of the meeting will be saved to Microsoft Stream for everyone to access securely. You can also generate a meeting transcript using the native features in Stream.

Take meeting notes

ms teams meeting notes
When you first add a note, a message will be posted on your behalf in the meeting chat.

Taking meeting notes will help keep you, and other team members recap important points before, during, and after a Teams meeting. The Meeting Notes button will create a panel on the side for jotting down meeting notes, similar to a chat. Once you’re in the meeting, go to More options More options button and select start taking meeting notes.

Use Together Mode


One of the newest Microsoft Teams features, Together Mode, places all your meeting participants on a shared background to make it appear that they are all sitting in the same room (like an auditorium or cafe.) Together Mode is located in your in-call background options.

Tips for Better Management

Even if you successfully navigated a remote Teams adoption, you may have started to realize that managing Teams internally is a labour-intensive project. This is where many companies come to appreciate the value of a third-party enhancement platform that takes the legwork out of Teams governance.

Powell Governance is an all-inclusive solution created by Powell Software, an award-winning workplace productivity software provider and member of the Microsoft Partner Network. The platform upgrades your entire organization’s Teams experience with customizable dashboards, no-code templates, and more. Powell Governance is available for download directly from the Microsoft Teams store.

Curious to see what other Microsoft Teams tips and tricks we have up our sleeve? Start your free trial of Powell Governance today in just a few clicks.

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