In January, Microsoft expanded Teams Chats to 50 people. I’ve heard from a few individuals who wanted to be able to chat with more people — essentially to use Teams to send broadcast messages to a lot of people. Last week, Microsoft upped the limit for private chats to 100. Hopefully they’ll extend the Graph API to allow applications to initiate those chats because adding 100 people to a chat seems like it would take a while!
If you hover your mouse over the upper right-hand corner of a post – where the little thumbs-up used to be
You’ll see a reaction bar. Click one of the emojis to “react” to a post.
Now you’ll see reactions on a post instead of just thumbs-up.
When a post receives different reactions, you’ll see icons for each reaction and a number showing you how many people selected each reaction.
Teams announcements are another way to bring attention to a specific post. This doesn’t address the desire to pin a post so it’s always visible in the channel (click the link and vote if that’s something you want to do too).
When you are in the advanced editor (click “Format” or use Ctrl-Shift-I), you will see a drop-down to change conversation posts to an announcement.
When creating an announcement, the editor will have a banner at the top. You can put text in the banner and customize the banner background. Click either the color selector or the image selector in the bottom right-hand corner of the banner.
You can upload a custom image – you’ll want something that is a long, horizontal rectangle. Select “Upload an image” and select the file you want to use as the background.
You’ll probably need to crop the image – you can adjust which portion of the image is shown and zoom into the image as needed. Click “Done” to accept your crop selections.
Compose the rest of the message as normal – you can add a sub-heading and any of the message content available in regular posts. Post the announcement
The post will have a little megaphone logo (this doesn’t show up as a filter option yet, but I expect it will be added in the future) and the banner will make your post stand out in the conversation listing.
They make your post stand out with a caveat – just like marking all of your posts as important, announcements lose their efficacy when every post is an announcement. Use sparingly!
I use the Teams web client as my primary Teams application – I like it, but it’s also important to be able to identify where the web client falls short of full Teams functionality. There is one big “missing” feature to me – screen sharing. I can view shared screen, but I cannot remote control shared screens and cannot share my own screen.
But now you can share your screen in a Teams web client. You have to schedule a meeting, and you still cannot perform remote control operations in the web browser. But it’s awesome to be able to show someone what I’m working on or let a tech support engineer follow along as I reproduce an error.
To share your screen from a Chrome browser, first open https://teams.microsoft.com in Chrome. Schedule a meeting and join it. Open the sharing control panel.
Select the appropriate tab to share your entire screen, a single application, or a single Chrome tab. Select the screen/application/tab that you want to share and click “Share”.
Voila! You are sharing your screen. Click “Stop sharing” when you are done (or just disconnect from the meeting).
My inbox has 7,582 messages in it. This fact doesn’t bother me at all because “Unread: 2” indicates what still needs to be addressed. I mark a message as unread to keep them in my “needs to be worked on” queue, so seeing thousands of messages in my inbox doesn’t feel like an overwhelming pile of outstanding requests.
Some people move messages from their inbox – either deleting the message or sorting it into an appropriate folder – and, for them, the item count is their “needs to be worked on” list. My mom is one of those people – she gets a little stressed out just seeing the pages (and pages, and pages!) of messages in my inbox.
I mention this because it never bothered me that the Teams chat list is cluttered with the last 30 days of private chats, chats from within meetings, Planner notifications. Nothing is in bold, there’s no activity indicator on the Chat tile … to me, that says “you’re all done here”.
But that’s not true for everyone. Some people see the pages of conversation history and subconsciously see a bunch of messages they still need to address. Or they see clutter — “when you’re done with it, put it away” and this isn’t away! If you don’t like to have dozens of finished conversations hanging out for a month, you can hide them. Hiding conversations does NOT delete the messages – if you receive a new message from the individual or address a new message to them, your previous chat history will still be there. Hidden chat messages are still displayed when you search for information. But hiding chats reduces the number of “recent” conversations displayed in Teams.
To hide a conversation, move your mouse over a listing and click the ellipsis which appears.
Select “Hide” from the menu.
The hidden chat record will no longer be listed in your recent conversation history. Repeat as needed with the rest of your chat history.
If the person sends you a new message, you will see an activity indicator on the “Chat” tile and the conversation will pop back into your recent conversation listing. If you address a new chat message to the person, the conversation will pop back into your recent conversation listing. You can hide the conversation again when you’ve finished the discussion.
As we are upgrading groups to Microsoft Teams, we need to be able to identify which activities need to be performed each week. While highlighting today’s date is a start, it is better to identify which tasks need to be performed in the upcoming week so we can plan ahead.
To accomplish this, I use a conditional formatting rule. It highlights all of the date values that fall between today and seven days in the future. How? In conditional formatting, you can use a formula to determine which cells to format. My selection rage is E2 through J20, so the conditional formatting formula is based off of the E2 cell.
The formula AND’s to IF functions. If the difference between the cell date and today is less than 8 (less than 8 days in the future) AND if the difference between the cell date and today is greater than or equal to zero (today or a future date), the rule evaluates to TRUE and the highlighting is applied.
=AND(IF((E2 – TODAY()) <8,1,0),IF((E2 – TODAY()) >= 0,1,0))
The result – every activity we need to plan for in the upcoming week is highlighted.
Mobile access to the company’s communication platforms is convenient – and you can use Teams on your Android or iOS device. A training class or a trip out to a customer’s site no longer means you are disconnected from the day’s routine discussions. But sometimes I want to disconnect – watching my daughter’s gymnastics performance, my husband’s birthday dinner, listening to a band at the local club, painting en plein air at the local park. Oh, and certainly dark-o-clock when I’m sleeping. Configure “quiet hours”!
Tap the hamburger menu in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
Tap “Quiet hours”
Move the “Quiet hours” slider to ‘on’
Select the times when you want Teams notifications to stop and resume. If you want to disable Teams notifications for entire days (regularly scheduled days off or temporarily for vacation days), tap “Quiet days”
Move the “Quiet days” slider to “On” and tap the days during which you wish to suppress notifications.
Return to the menu and you will see that quiet hours are scheduled.
During quiet hours (or days), the notifications logo will indicate that notifications are disabled and tell you when notifications will resume.
The hamburger menu on the Teams app will also indicate that notifications are temporarily suspended.
Microsoft Whiteboard, in Teams, is currently a public preview. Like other previews available in the Office 365 ecosystem, there will be glitches and things that don’t work properly. If something isn’t working quite right, turn off the preview and verify the problem persists before reporting an issue. You can submit feedback directly to Microsoft through their UserVoice site, but previews are not supported by Microsoft.
Now that the warning bit is out of the way – we’ve been using the Whiteboard for a week and the only oddity I’ve encountered occurs when both a Whiteboard and desktop are shared simultaneously. You must keep minimizing the Whiteboard to view the shared desktop.
How do you use a Microsoft Whiteboard in your meeting? When you are in a meeting, click on the “Sharing Tray” in the meeting tool bar.
In the “Whiteboard” column, select “Microsoft Whiteboard”
A whiteboard will be opened and shared with everyone on the call. To draw on the Whiteboard, select “Inking mode”
Click on a pen (or the eraser) along the right-hand side to select a pen color.
Draw on the screen. Click on the blue check-mark to leave inking mode. To close the whiteboard, click “Stop presenting”.
After the meeting, how do you access the Whiteboard? Visit https://whiteboard.microsoft.com – the Whiteboard will be stored for the person who initiated the Whiteboard in the meeting. To share it with others who had attended, click the ellipses on the Whiteboard preview.
Select “Create sharing link” and paste the link into the Teams meeting chat.
Team members can use the link to view the Whiteboard.
Whiteboards from Teams meetings are also available through the Whiteboard app. The app expands on the basic Whiteboard functionality available in Teams or online. In the app, you can select text ink and convert it to more readable text. Use the lasso tool to select a region of text ink.
Click on the magic wand
Voila, more legible text!
Click the hamburger menu in the upper right-hand corner of the screen for additional options — including “Export” which will create a PNG or SVG image from your Whiteboard data.
You will now be alerted in Teams when Planner tasks are assigned to you – this is another step toward making Teams the single hub for collaboration. Task assignment only creates activity when the Planner is a tab in one of your Teams spaces. If you create a Planner board that does not appear as a tab in a Teams space, new tasks assigned on that board will not create activity in Teams. To start getting Teams alerts for a board, just add it as a tab to a Teams space.
You’ll see an alert in your “Activity” feed
And in “Chat”. The card contains the task title, the name of the individual who assigned the task to you, the Teams space where the Planner is stored, and a link to view the task.
Click “Open Task” and you’ll be brought to the Planner board within the appropriate Teams space. The task will be open and ready to edit.
* If you have the mobile Planner app installed, you will receive push notifications in addition to seeing the task in your Teams activity.
I’ve mentioned before that we can send e-mails to a Teams channel – forward a message in my mailbox to a channel so we can discuss it. But did you know Teams channels can receive e-mail from outside of our Exchange Online environment too?
That doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing advertisements for low cost (and dodgy) prescription drugs or entreaties from the purported prince of far-far-away show up in your channel conversations. Until someone gets an e-mail address for a channel, it doesn’t have one.
To associate an e-mail address, click the ellipsis next to a channel name and select “Get email address”
Copy the SMTP address. If you want to control which domains can send e-mails to the channel, click “advanced settings”
By default, anyone can send e-mails to the address. Simply select the appropriate radio button for the restrictions you want. “Only members of this team” lets members forward messages from their personal mailbox for discussion.
Selecting “Only emails sent from these domains” allows you to enter the list of domains from which you want to receive messages. Click “Save” to save your changes.
Send an e-mail message from an approved domain. Voila – a message from my home domain delivered to the Teams channel.
You can have monitoring systems, vendor ticketing systems, all sorts of e-mail sources deliver messages right into your Teams channels.