Teams Tips #1

Microsoft Teams Logo

by Eric Goldman

2021-11-28

Welcome to our first Teams Tips post! We’ll be publishing these Teams Tips periodically, each one with a minimum of 5 great tips to help you become a Teams Jedi.

When we first started selling our app, Kippa—Fast and easy reminders for Microsoft Teams©, we thought anyone purchasing Kippa would be a Teams user—can’t use Kippa unless you are—and thus would be a person who knows Teams well.

A bad assumption. We discovered that many of the people who visited AppSource to get their Kippa 2-week free trial, downloaded Kippa and promptly installed him in their personal chat tab, instead of into a team channel, which meant Kippa  was unable to recognize any @mentions!

We added a Teams Concepts page to our Help section, to guide people new to Teams on:

  1. How to install Kippa correctly in a team,
  2. The difference between using Kippa’s chat tab versus the Teams message bar, and thus what is personal versus public when you issue a message,
  3. How to Launch Kippa in chat versus the message bar,
  4. How to pin Kippa to the left hand rail.

If you are not sure about any of these topics, please read the page as understanding these basics is fundamental to your usage of Teams.

In this post we’ll cover the following tips:

  1. The Left-hand rail
  2. The Teams panel
  3. Shortcuts
  4. Direct Messages
  5. Whiteboards
  6. Kippa

1. The Left-Hand Rail

We’ll start with the Left-hand Rail because it’s likely to be the part of Teams you’ll use most  frequently.

The Teams left-hand rail showing the list of icons

Tip 1.1 The order of the icons on the rail can be re-arranged to suit your personal preference. Just drag and drop to change their position on the list.

Tip 1.2 Use Cmd (on a Mac), or Cntrl (on a PC) plus a single-digit number, to jump from one of these icons to the next. Cmd-1 will put you into the top item on the list, Activity by default. Cntrl-2 will be the second item and so on.

Tip 1.3 See our Help Page’s Teams Concepts for how to pin an app, like Kippa—Fast and easy reminders for Microsoft Teams©, to the rail. You can see Kippa pinned, in the graphic above: the second icon from the bottom.

2. The Teams Panel

Teams Panel showing list of Teams

Tip 2.1 You can reorder the list of Teams to suit in the same way as the icons. Just drag a Team to change its position on the list.

Tip 2.2 To change the order of the channels within a Team, use the more menu next to the channel’s right edge; the “…”. Then select Pin and when you click, the channel will move to the top of the Teams Panel and remain there, looking now like a Team rather than a Channel. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, we’re just telling you like it is.

Tip 2.3 You can hide a channel using this same menu. The Hide option is the top one. Hidden channels are shown in the Teams Panel, thus:

Hidden Channels, in Microsoft Teams

To unhide a channel, click on the Hidden label, click the “>”, and then select show.

Tip 2.4 To unpin either an app or a channel, simply click on the menu again and select Unpin.

3. Shortcuts

Tip 3.1 To see all of the available shortcuts, type Cmd or Cntrl plus “.”

You’ll get the popup shown below.

List of available Microsoft Teams Shortcuts

 If you’re new to the idea of keyboard shortcuts, they really are worthwhile as nothing separates the power users of an app from the novices, as much as the speed at which the former do things because they use shortcuts! It saves a great deal of mouse movement and a fair number of keystrokes. Often, as much as 20 seconds an operation and if that doesn’t sound like a big deal, remember that the savings occur many times a day!

The links at the bottom of the popup take you to Microsoft site pages. The first one for shortcuts is to a page that provides a more complete description of the same set shown here, and the second one, to the accessibility page, reveals those options in detail.

One of the shortcuts is Cmd or Cntrl “/“. Easy to remember this one as the “/“ key shifted is “?” and this one pops up the list of all Team commands available in the search bar, like this:

List of available Microsoft Teams commands (search bar)

4. Direct Messages

Tip 4.1 To send a message directly to a person, type “@“ into the search bar at the top of the page, select the appropriate @mention from the popup list, and then enter the message directly after the prompt in the search bar. You can see the results in the two images below.

5. Whiteboards

Did you know that Teams includes a great Whiteboard App? The next time you’re in a Teams meeting and need to sketch or list something for all attendees to see, and then be able to join in and modify, add a Whiteboard!

NOTE: This only works in a meeting; the whiteboard is not available during a regular Teams call.

Tip 5.1 Adding a whiteboard to your meeting works in the same way as sharing your screen.

The Microsoft teams share screen or app option

Click on up arrow next to Leave (red button), and you get the list of windows and possible shares. Select the Microsoft Whiteboard option and you’ll get a board all ready for you to start using the “markers,” and adding the various types of content the app offers, like shapes, text, notes and more.

It’s actually a really great whiteboard app with only two limitations: They took the physical concept of a whiteboard too literally, IMHO, as there’s only one per meeting and you can’t save the board. You can create a PNG of it and save and share that, though. And the other limitation is that it would be neat to use this in a call, sometimes!

6. Keep you Team running like clockwork

This is the easiest of all the tips we’ll give you. Get your 2-week free trial of Kippa—Fast and easy reminders for Microsoft Teams ©, and never forget anything important again!

Blue Kippa icon in white hexagon

Next week we’ll show you how to do a killer PowerPoint presentation during a meeting, and yes, you’ve probably done one already, or attended one, but almost certainly not like we’re going to show you, as you’ll see how to maximize your slide’s visual appeal!

This, plus at least 4 more great tips next week, so why not bookmark our blog? Better yet, subscribe, and be notified when we post new ones! Till then, stay safe, will ya?

Bit-by-Bit #188

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