Microsoft Teams added 95 million new users in 2020 as businesses shifted most of their operations online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of writing, over 500,000 organisations now use Microsoft Teams as their default messaging platform.
If your company is one of these half a million firms, it’s a good idea to learn how to use Microsoft Teams for more than its basic functions. This collaboration tool can greatly boost your productivity if you know how to utilise it to its full potential, especially since Microsoft added new features this 2021.
PingCo shares this in-depth Microsoft Teams tutorial for new users. We’ll discuss tips on how to use Microsoft Teams, including basic and advanced tasks, to help you maximise this communications tool.
- How to Start an MS Teams Meeting
- How to Schedule a Meeting through Outlook
- How to Add People in MS Teams Meetings
- How to Share Your Screen in a Meeting
- How to Record an MS Teams Meeting
- How to Use ‘Meet Now’
- How to Change Your Background
- Other In-Meeting Controls
How to Start an MS Teams Meeting
You can set up a Teams meeting either through Microsoft Outlook or the Teams app. The easiest way to hop on a quick call is to open your chat and click ‘Schedule a Meeting’, which is the calendar button with a plus sign. This will automatically invite the group chat’s members.
You can also create a meeting from a channel, automatically inviting its members. Click on ‘New Meeting’ and type the name of the channels you want to invite in the box that says ‘Add Channel’. If you can’t find a suitable time for the meeting, you can check the scheduling assistant on the upper half of the screen to see the participants’ schedules.
Note that once you send the invite, you can’t edit or add channels anymore. You’ll have to send a new invite with the updated information.
How to Schedule a Meeting through Outlook
Open your Outlook then switch to calendar view and select the ‘New Teams Meeting’ button. Invite participants using the ‘Required’ and ‘Optional’ fields. You can either invite specific people manually or by adding entire contact groups. Provide the details of the meeting then hit send.
How to Add People in MS Teams Meetings
There are multiple ways you can invite people to Teams meetings. One method was discussed above and uses Outlook. If you need to invite people from outside the organisation, you’ll have to do it from Outlook, too. Add them as guests by clicking on the ellipses icon then ‘Add Member’. Enter their email addresses and you should be set.
There’s also an Anonymous Join option where anyone can join the conference as long as they have a meeting link invitation. To turn on Anonymous Join, click on ‘Meetings’, ‘Meeting Settings’ and then ‘Participants’. Turn the switch on for anonymous users. Toggle it off if you want more control over your attendees.
Another way to invite people is by sending them the meeting link. On your Teams app, go to the Calendar section, select the right meeting, and then click ‘Get Link’. This will copy the URL to the meeting so you can send it any way you want. You can also send it as a calendar invitation through Outlook or email.
If you need to invite someone from your organisation while the meeting is ongoing, you can simply type their name or email address in the search box.
How to Share Your Screen in a Meeting
MS Teams has built-in integration with PowerPoint that makes for smoother remote presentations. To share your screen, click the screen icon during your meeting. Then choose whether you want to share your entire screen, a window or a document. A red border will appear around the content you’re currently sharing.
When you’re done, click ‘Stop Sharing’ on the bottom right of the screen.
How to Record an MS Teams Meeting
To record a meeting, go to the meeting controls and click ‘More Options’. When you select ‘Start Recording’, everyone in the meeting will be notified that the recording has started. A notification will also appear in the chat history.
Anyone from the organisation can start or stop a recording, even if the organiser isn’t present. Guests, people from outside the company and anonymous participants don’t have access to recording controls.
The meeting recordings are stored automatically in OneDrive and SharePoint, but you can also have them emailed straight to you after the meeting.
How to Use ‘Meet Now’
The Meet Now feature instantly starts a meeting for chat groups. Open your group conversation then select the camera icon. In the video preview, name the meeting then click ‘Meet Now’. Choose the names of the people you want to invite. If you need to invite people outside the company, you can type their phone number in the search box.
If you need to attend a Meet Now meeting, you can join by clicking the same camera icon on the conversation window.
How to Change Your Background
With most people working remotely, it’s likely that your home office isn’t the most professional-looking environment. Luckily, MS Teams lets you hide your room through virtual backgrounds.
You can change your Teams meeting background in two ways: a simple blur or a background image. In the video preview, click the ellipses icon then ‘Show Background Effects’. Choose between a blurred background or a background image.
If you want to use your own photo, click ‘Add New’ at the top of the background settings window.
Other In-Meeting Controls
Lastly, organisers have access to other settings so they can set up the meeting the way they want. Here are some other in-meeting controls worth knowing:
- Virtual lobby: Participants from outside your company will appear in a virtual lobby first. This way, you can choose who can access the meeting and kick out those who shouldn’t be there.
- Audio conferencing: Microsoft 365 offers Audio Conferencing, which allows users to join audio-only meetings using their phones. If you have a license, people from over 90 countries can dial-in to your meetings.
- Mute: You can mute and unmute attendees in meetings to keep people from talking over each other.
Microsoft Teams offers a wealth of functions that allow for smooth, convenient virtual conferences. Familiarising yourself with these features helps facilitate better communication throughout the company even as your employees work remotely.
This collaboration tool continues to roll out new features, providing more advanced call and chat functions. Stay updated with the new offerings to see how you can further improve the quality of your virtual meetings.