Tag: microsoft teams

Did you know … you can use Microsoft’s Whiteboard in your Teams meetings?

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 “Invite”

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.

Did you know … Teams displays an alert when a new Planner task is assigned to you?

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.

 

Did you know … e-mails can be sent to a Teams channel?

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.

 

Did you know … you can add Teams channel meetings to your calendar?

Holding a meeting in a Teams channel allows channel members to attend if they have time and are interested in the meeting – it also lets Team members access meeting artifacts easily.

But when you schedule a meeting in a channel, only direct invitees see the meeting in their calendar. This is great for people who aren’t going to attend, but I end up joining the call ten minutes late because I didn’t see the meeting when I check my calendar to see what’s coming up.

But you can add a channel meeting to your calendar – if you decide to attend the meeting, click the ellipses on the meeting item and select “View meeting details”

Click “Add to calendar”

Voilà! Now the meeting appears in your calendar.

 

Did you know … you can open Teams files directly from Office 365 Applications?

While you can go into a channel, select the files tab, and open a file from within Teams … that’s a lot of clicking just to open a file in another program. But you can open files stored in Teams (or any other SharePoint document repository) directly from Office 365 programs. How?

Open an Office 365 program – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio. Click on the “File” ribbon bar and select “Open”. SharePoint Online document repositories, including those used by Teams, are listed under “Sites – Windstream Communic…”.

You may already have SharePoint sites listed. To add a new site, you just have to follow it.

Select the SharePoint site that matches your Team name. Click “Documents”

You’ll see a folder for each channel in your Team. Click the channel where the file is saved.

Navigate to the folder where your file is stored, then select the file. It will open directly in the application. When you save the document, the SharePoint document is updated.

Tip: Frequently used documents can be pinned for quick access. After you have opened the file, it will appear in the most recently used list. Click the little push-pin next to the file and it will be pinned to the top of the recently used file list. The Excel files and Word documents that I use frequently can now be opened without navigating through the file structure to find them.

 

Information Barriers: Microsoft Teams

Information barriers preclude someone from communicating someone else (additional O365 services are going to implement it eventually, Teams just happens to be on the leading edge). Now there are lines of business where this is an awesome feature — law firm representing both sides of a case, for instance, don’t want people on side A chatting with people from side B. A company with a large front-line workforce may want to preclude the unwashed masses from communicating with Corporate.
If it were free and low effort to set up and maintain, I could come up with use cases for it here. Say, isolating the C11 people so someone unauthorized to talk to C11 people aren’t accidentally disclosing information. En mass blocking people from using federated communication is an interesting option — basically disallow it for everyone & have a specific request to be thrown into the “talks to people outside the company” group.
There’s some initial setup effort in building out the policies and applying them, and there would be effort in getting some mechanism for people to be moved into and out of policies. So it probably passes the ‘low effort’ test. Cost, not so much. It looks like, while anyone with an E3 SKU can use it during this preview, barrier’d accounts need an E5 or an add-on compliance/regulatory license once this goes GA.
Based on cost, I’m thinking we don’t want go dig into it. It’s an additional 8$/month for the compliance add-on license. Something like 15$/month to go from an E3 to an E5. And I don’t particularly care 8$ a user if people in our call center are inviting their friends from the MS call center to lunch over the chat federation.
Anyone else see a use case where it’d be worth the additional money for the technologically enforced barrier?

Did you know … you can copy files from OneDrive to SharePoint Online (thus Microsoft Teams too)?

Sometimes I work on a document privately before putting it out for my group to review, but it takes time to upload a copy of the document to our Teams space! You can move and copy documents from OneDrive directly to SharePoint Online. Since “Files” in Teams spaces are just SharePoint Online document repositories, this means you can move/copy documents to a Teams space too.

Open “OneDrive” from https://portal.office.com or the side-bar of any web-based Office 365 product.

Select the document(s) that you want to move/copy and select either “Move to” or “Copy to” from the menu bar.

A new pane will fly out from the right-hand side of the browser window. You’ll see some of the SharePoint Online sites and Teams spaces to which you have access listed. If the one you want isn’t listed, click “Browse sites” to see a full list.

Click “Show more” to browse through the list of sites.

If you are unable to locate the site you want to use, open it in SharePoint online and follow it. Click on the site into which you want to move/copy your documents.

For SharePoint online sites, you’ll see the site contents and can navigate through the hierarchy to the location you want the file stored. For Teams spaces, click “Documents”.

You’ll then see folders for each Channel. Click the channel into which you want to store the documents.

Navigate through the Channel’s file structure to the location you want the document stored. Click the blue button to copy/move the document to that location.

Voila, my documents are moved within Microsoft’s cloud from OneDrive to SharePoint Online.

 

Did you know … you can use Teams to collaborate with vendors?

There were a few organizations set up to “federate” with Skype for Business – from your Skype client, you could send messages to their Skype for Business account. This will continue to work when you move to Teams. Microsoft calls each company’s Office 365 environment a “tenant” – you are able to send messages from Teams in our tenant to a federated partner’s Skype or Teams in their tenant.

** If your account is upgraded to Teams Only, messages sent from federated partners will be delivered to you in Teams. Otherwise messages sent from federated partners will be delivered to you in Skype.

To chat with a federated partner, simply address a new chat message to them. The “We didn’t find any matches” message lets you know there wasn’t anyone found in our organization. Click to search for the account externally.

If you get an error indicating that the conversation cannot be set up, you may be mistyping the address. It is also possible that the organization is not on our list of allowed federation partners.

If their organization is on the allowed partner list, you’ll be able to start a new conversation. Along the top banner, there are a few indicators to ensure you realize you are sending information outside of our organization. Messages sent to external recipients transit Microsoft’s Skype/Teams interop gateway. Anything that is not supported through the interop gateway – screen sharing, file sharing, multi-party chat, rich text messages – will not be available when you are chatting with an external recipient.

The other person will see your message in their Skype or Teams application – if they’ve been upgraded to Teams Only, the message will be delivered to them in Teams, otherwise it will be delivered in Skype.

Teams expands on Skype’s federated messaging functionality – accounts from allowed organizations can be “guests” in our Teams. This means vendors can participate in collaborative discussions and access shared documents without having an “n99” account with an Office license. Federated partners can add you as a guest in their Teams spaces too.

Team owners add guests the same way they add internal Team members.

When you type the guest’s address, it will not match any records in our tenant and the option to add them as a guest will be displayed.

Once someone has been added as a guest to a Teams space, there are two ways you can send them chat messages – the external account and the guest account.

What’s the difference? Where the “external” listing delivered your chat message to Skype or Teams (depending on the individual’s account configuration) in the other person’s tenant, “Guest” will deliver the chat message to Teams within *our* tenant.

Good news – that means you can use features that aren’t supported through the interop gateway. Bad news – the person may not check our Teams tenant regularly to see if there are new messages.

A person added as a guest to our organization will see a drop-down tenant selector next to their avatar in Teams. They’ll be able to click the drop-down and switch contexts to our tenant.

They will be able to see our Teams … well, the ones of which they are a member anyway!

They’ll also see chat messages sent to their guest account.

You may notice that the person appears twice in your chat history – the guest account in our tenant and the external account in their tenant are separate entities.

How will the person know they’ve got messages waiting for them in our tenant? A message count indicator will appear on the tenant selector. If they’re a guest in multiple tenants, clicking the drop-down will show them how many new messages are in each tenant.

Usage Tip: This notification isn’t immediate (and sometimes the notification is significantly delayed), so time-sensitive communication should be sent to the ‘External’ listing instead of the ‘Guest’ one.

Warning: Conversations and documents in our tenant are under our purview. This means we can restore access if data becomes orphaned, our retention policies apply to the data, documents and conversations will be included in legal discovery activity, etc. Activity in partner tenants are under their purview. Be cognizant of communication and file content before storing information outside of our tenant.

Did you know … you decide what appears in your Teams activity feed?

Have you noticed that some new Teams messages show up in your activity feed and others do not? The Teams activity feed is meant to highlight Team messages that are important to you. How does Teams know what is important to you? It doesn’t … Teams needs you to tell it what is important to you.

Normally, Teams conversation activity doesn’t appear in your activity feed. When my test account posts a message into the “General” channel …

I see the channel is bolded, indicating new activity; but I do not have any indicators on my Teams or Activity tiles.

What is included in the Activity feed?

Messages to which you’ve replied:  When you reply in a thread, your reply tells Teams that the thread is important to you (just liking a post doesn’t count … you’ve got to actually reply. There are enhancement requests to include some provision for following a thread without replying and muting notifications on a thread to which you’ve replied).

The test account added a new reply after I’d posted my reply. In addition to seeing the channel name in bold, my Activity tile indicates there is one unread message.

Followed Channels: If you want to receive notifications for all threads posted to a channel, follow the channel. Click the ellipsis next to the channel name and select “Follow this channel”.

Now when the test account posts a new thread …

I have an indicator on my Activity tile.

Team At-Mentions: You’ll also see an activity item when the Team is at-mentioned in a post (that’s why at-mentioning the Team is a really effective way to bring attention to your post).

In addition to the activity indicator, I also see an “@” symbol on the Teams tile indicating that a Team has been at-mentioned. And a little number next to the channel that tells you how many unread Team or Channel mentions are in the channel.

Some Channel At-Mentions: What is the difference between at-mentioning a Team and at-mentioning a Channel? When you at-mention a Channel, only people who have favorited the channel will see activity alerts.

Usage Tip: If you break your Team up into channels that aren’t deeply interconnected, individuals can favorite and follow the channels where they are actively involved and check other channels when they’ve got some time. You can at-mention the channel for important messages without overwhelming the whole team with alerts.

While the channel is marked as bold to indicate unread messages, I don’t get any notification about the at-mention. How do you mark a channel as a favorite? Just click that star to the right of the channel name (favorite channels also appear in the initial channel list so you don’t have to expand “X more channels” to see them).

Now a message which at-mentions the channel …

alerts me. A lot 😊

 

Did you know … you can edit and delete Teams messages?

Typos happen – especially in quick, “instant messaging” type communication tools like Microsoft Teams. There is a spell checker to identify mistakes that aren’t words.

But spell check doesn’t catch everything.

Beyond mistyped characters, my thread would be nicer if I had included a subject! And even if my message was perfect when posted, processes change and information becomes incorrect. Because Teams conversations are persistent, out-of-date instructions are going to turn up in search results. Instead of creating a new thread with the updated instructions, I return to the old post and edit it. Changed posts do move to the bottom of the channel (and create an activity alert for individuals who follow the channel). In private chats, edited messages do not appear as new activity, so I’ll copy my updated message and post it into the chat again.

How do you edit a message? In either the chat or channel conversation, click on the ellipses in the upper right-hand corner of your message (these controls only appear when your mouse is over the message block).

Select “Edit”

Your message is open in the basic editor. To add a subject, click the “Format” button to open the expanded editor.

Edit your message – add a subject, correct typos or update content. When you are done, click the check-mark to save your changes. Or if you no longer wish to edit the message, click the “X” to cancel.

What about messages that no longer apply? Put in the wrong place? You can a message them to explain why it is no longer valid. Or you can delete it. To delete a message, click the ellipsis in the upper right-hand corner of your message and select “Delete”.

While there is no “are you sure?” prompt, you can undo the deletion. Note that the “This message has been deleted” banner remains in the thread. So until there’s better delineation between ‘reply’ and ‘start a new thread’, everyone is going to know you replied in the wrong spot 😊

What about someone else’s message? You can only edit messages you have posted. In private chats, only the person who sent the message can delete it. In channel discussion, Team owners can delete any message (including messages posted by a bot or connector).