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6 things you didn’t know you could do in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is in use by 145 million daily active users, and there’s a decent chance that you’re one of them. From voice and video calls to chats and meetings, there are a lot of things that Microsoft Teams can do for you.

Even so, did you know there are some secrets in Teams that you might not be aware of? We’ve sorted through all of Teams’ menus and settings and have collected six of these for you below.

Get together in a meeting with Microsoft Whiteboard

How to use Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams

One great thing about physical office meetings is being able to gather around a whiteboard and jot down your thoughts. This often improves critical thinking and helps with bonding. However, did you know that you can do this virtually through Microsoft Teams, too?

Microsoft Teams has a built-in feature known as Microsoft Whiteboard. Each time you head into a Teams meeting, you’ll see that it has its own Whiteboard space. In that space, you and other participants have space to sketch together ideas. The Whiteboard will also become available for sharing in the Whiteboard applications on Windows 10, iOS, and on the web.

You can access a Whiteboard in a Teams meeting by clicking the Share icon in the share tray of that meeting. Then, in the Whiteboard section, select Microsoft Whiteboard. You and your co-workers can ink and type collaboratively. To add ink, click the Pen icon, select a color, and then begin to draw, sketch, or write on the board. To add text, click the Note or Text icons, and then begin to type.

When the meeting ends, you can see the Whiteboard by clicking into the chat for that meeting, and then selecting the tab labeled Whiteboard.

Use shortcuts and commands

Just like Microsoft Word, Windows 10, and other programs, Microsoft Teams has its own list of keyboard shortcuts. By allowing you to avoid having to drag your mouse and click through menus, these shortcuts and commands can help save you time during meetings and chats.

There are, in fact, a lot of shortcuts and commands in Microsoft Teams. We cover some of these Windows 10 shortcuts in the table below. At any time, you can show all of the keyboard shortcuts by clicking Ctrl+Period (.) on Windows 10, or Command+Period (.) on MacOS.

Task Desktop App Shortcut
Accept video call Ctrl+Shift+A
Accept audio call Ctrl+Shift+S
Decline call Ctrl+Shift+D
Start audio call Ctrl+Shift+C
Start video call Ctrl+Shift+U
Toggle mute Ctrl+Shift+M
Toggle video Ctrl+Shift+O
Toggle fullscreen Ctrl+Shift+F
Go to sharing toolbar Ctrl+Shift+Space

While the bulk of these shortcuts are designed for the Teams desktop app, you also can try them out on the web versions of the app. Microsoft explains how the shortcuts work on its own support page.

Bookmark messages for quick access

Did you get an important message from your boss? Or maybe someone sent you a message that you just really enjoy? Just like saving webpages as bookmarks, you can bookmark Teams messages for quick access.

To bookmark a message in Teams, all you need to do is hover over the message, and then click Save this message. After you do this, click on your Profile icon in the Teams app, and choose Saved. All of your saved messages should then appear in a list. Clicking it will take you back to where that message was sent.

Collaborate on Office documents directly in Teams

If your boss or your colleague sends you a Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file in a chat, you can collaborate on that file directly inside of Microsoft Teams. By collaborate, we mean the ability to exchange comments and such — without having to open the dedicated app on your computer.

In Teams, you’ll see that within each channel, there will be a files library as a tab at the top of the channel. If you click the files tab, you’ll see all the files shared with you or by you. You can click the files to open them, or hit the New button, and then choose the document type. Uploaded files will be accessed by everyone.

Once you find or upload a file, you can coedit it with your co-worker’s simulations. You both can open the file through the Files tab and edit. Edits will show up in real time. If you choose the Conversation or Start Conversation tab, meanwhile, you can have a chat with your co-worker at the side of the document.

Join meetings across mobile and desktop

Ever start a meeting on your desktop or laptop, but have the need to take the meeting on the go all of a sudden? You might think this means you have to quit out of the meeting and come back to it later, but you’re mistaken. Teams has a feature that can help you continue your meeting.

This is known as a transfer feature, and it works as the name suggests. If you start a meeting on desktop, you can transfer it to the iOS or Android version of Teams by simply opening up the app there. You should then see a message at the top of the Teams app. It will say In progress along with the meeting name.

You’ll want to click the Join button to join this meeting on your phone. You can then choose Add this device so that it functions as a webcam or for audio while still keeping your desktop in the meeting. Or, you can choose Transfer to this device so that everything gets transferred over and the meeting ends on the desktop.

To do things the other way around and join a meeting on your desktop that started on your phone, all you need to do is click the purple Join button you’ll see in the banner at the top of the app and follow the same instructions we mentioned above.

Adjust your view during a Teams meeting

Microsoft Teams is usually smart enough to anticipate what you want to see in a meeting. Usually, when someone speaks, they get highlighted. However, if you’d rather see something else, Teams has your back in multiple ways. You can switch between people and content, pin a video, or reframe a video.

First up, there’s the ability to switch between people and content. If someone is presenting and their screen is what’s in focus, you can switch to someone else in the meeting by clicking on the video feed of the person you’re interested in. This spotlights that person for you, instead of the presentation.

Related to that is pinning a video. If you’d rather pin and focus on someone throughout the meeting, all you need to do is right-click on the video feed, and then choose Pin. This person’s video will then be pinned throughout the meeting for you. You can unpin at any time by right-clicking.

Last up is reframing videos. Teams might sometimes crop someone’s video so it fits better on your screen. If you want to see the person’s full frame, just right-click and chooseFit to frame.

This is just a look at six things you didn’t know you could in Microsoft Teams. Microsoft has a full list of tips and tricks over on its website, so give it a look if you’re looking for more Teams adventures!

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Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
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