(2023) Actionable Microsoft Team Hacks to Boost Productivity

Chris Carnduff
Chris Carnduff
February 14, 2024
(2023) Actionable Microsoft Team Hacks to Boost Productivity

You’re probably already using Microsoft Teams to chat and video conference with remote colleagues and think you know everything there is to know about the app. 

But Teams features tons of brilliant functionality that even experienced users don’t know about.

In this guide, we’ll help you discover some mind-blowing Microsoft team hacks and tricks that will help you make the most of your video calls. 

With CoffeePals you can start new conversations and create profound connections across your organization with Microsoft Teams. Our app also helps you hire new employees, monitor your employees’ engagement, and build a mentorship program to upskill your staff. 

Search in Your Conversations

As your workflow piles up, you may forget the place or folders you use to store critical content. This may cause you trouble when you want to find a specific document buried within the conversation. That’s when the search function comes to your rescue.

It’s simple to use. Just type in your search term and press Enter. You’ll have the results in the left-hand pane within a few seconds. You can also switch between Files and People using the tabs. 

The integrated Keyword Query Language (KQL) also comes in handy if you want to perform advanced searches in chats. 

To enhance your search power in Microsoft Teams use the following terms:

  • Type “In:” and input a channel or group’s name
  • Type “From:” and enter your employee’s or client’s name
  • Type “Subject:” and the keyword included in a message or a subject line
  • Type “Sent:” and the date you sent the message

Note: Don’t add spaces between your search terms and the colon.

Discover Keyboard Shortcuts

Using keyboard shortcuts can speed up your workflow. These commands save the multiple extra clicks you make when performing repetitive tasks. 

Memorizing shortcuts isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, as it can take time and effort before you learn your way around them, but once you have them down, it will take seconds to finish a task without having to open the menu every time. 

Some important keyboard shortcuts to enhance your Teams productivity are:

  • Ctrl+E for a Quick Search box
  • Ctrl+Shift+O to turn off the camera
  • Ctrl+Shift+M to mute
  • Ctrl+Shift+P to blur the background during meetings 
  • Ctrl+6 to open files
  • Press CTRL-K after selecting the phrases to link, enter a lengthy URL in the dialogue box, and click Insert to clean up long hypertext links.
  • Ctrl and . (a period) to open keyboard shortcuts

Use @mention to Send Quick Messages

Another time-saving Microsoft Teams hack is to type “@” in the search bar located at the top of your screen and enter the name of the employee or colleague you want to start a conversation with. 

This way, you can instantly send messages to a particular employee. 

The @mention feature is also helpful in reverse and filters alerts and messages sent to you. To use this feature, simply hit Filter in the Activity feed and choose the @ mentions from the drop-down menu.

Use Loop Components

Microsoft Loop is an addition to Microsoft Ignite 2021. It allows Teams users to use live components in conversations that multiple people can view and update from numerous workspaces. 

Loop components enable employees to collaborate and interact and allows people to communicate "in the flow of work" without having to juggle different apps and tools. As a Teams Admin, you’ll need to enable Loop before users can use this feature. 

The CoffeePals app also makes collaboration easier. We match colleagues one-on-one or in a team over video chats for remote coffee sessions. 

CoffeePals app

Cancel Out Distractions

When you are focusing on one task, it’s easy to get distracted by notifications of other ongoing discussions. 

You can cancel out these distractions in Microsoft Teams to ensure you can focus all of your attention on the task at hand.

To ignore distracting notifications, just select your profile picture at the top right corner of your screen. From there go to the Notifications tab and manage the frequency of your alerts.

Change Your Background

Sometimes you have to take an urgent video call at an inconvenient time or place. A not-so-pleasant background is typically considered unprofessional. 

You can blur your background to maintain professionalism and keep your personal life out of view of your caller. 

When on a call, open the audio and video settings, click (...), and select "Blur my background".

If you want to use an image background, follow the same steps, but select "Show background effects" instead of blurring. From there, simply choose your preferred image and leverage this amazing Microsoft hack.

Enable End-to-End Encryption

Maintaining confidentiality is a priority for many organizations in this digital world. It’s estimated that cybercrime will cost businesses around $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

To help you combat this, Microsoft Teams offers end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for instant one-on-one calls. The E2EE feature encrypts your call and video information at the source and  decrypts it once it has arrived at the destination. No sensitive data is left unencrypted between the two end points.

E2EE is initially available for Teams calls only, but it may also be available for online meetings. The data is encrypted in transit in Microsoft data centers. 

Use Office 365 Defender

Use Office 365 Defender if you want to ensure security within the MS Teams platform. Office 365 Defender is an optional licensing structure that:

  • Minimizes spam mail.
  • Protects from malicious links and malware in emails.
  • Defends against cybersecurity attacks.
  • Allows you to attach files in chats.

Enable this feature in your Microsoft Teams app and you can communicate without worry. 

Add Tabs to Channels

Tabs help your employees quickly connect with their colleagues to discuss critical documents in Office. It’s an effective way to streamline collaboration and monitor the performance of each employee. 

To create a tab in a channel, select “+” at the top of your channel screen. Then choose a tab and follow the steps when you’re prompted. 

Microsoft Teams provides four default tabs for private chats: Files, Conversations, Organization, and Activity. 

Leverage the Translation Feature

This is one of the most useful Microsoft Teams hacks if you deal with foreign or international clients. The best part is that you can translate their messages with a simple click of a button.

Just move your cursor over the message you want to translate and click the ellipsis (...). Then select Translate and the message will be translated into the language you’ve selected.

Although it’s not always word perfect, this feature helps a lot during video calls and online meetings. You also have multiple language options to add captions from the Translate menu. Other meeting members can click Subtitles On to see captions on the screen’s right-hand side. 

Reorganize Your Teams

If productivity is your primary concern, organizing your Teams and channels can help you significantly. 

You can drag and drop channels and Teams into your desired order in your Microsoft Teams. You can even hide the inactive Teams and channels to declutter your navigation view and keep the most active ones on top.

Right-click on a channel and select “Pin,” select the (...) next to the Team, and choose “Hide” to drag it to your hidden folder. 

For an added layer of Teams functionality, the CoffeePals app lets you see how connected your teams have become through coffee chats via a dashboard

Use SharePoint

To make file sharing easier, Microsoft Teams has a SharePoint integration. Enabling it helps you flawlessly collaborate with different team members in a channel on any important document or file. 

Click on the Files tab to share files with other team members. If you’ve shared a file to a channel, your employees or colleagues can use Office Online or any Office desktop app to start a discussion on it.

Send Polls in Teams

When dealing with everyday business tasks, it’s hard to include everyone’s opinions in a discussion. But with Teams, you can gather thoughts across your organization with a few clicks. 

Simply head to your message box and click the Forms icon to create a poll. Input your question along with the answer options. If your query requires multiple answers, switch on the multiple answers toggle. 

After gathering results, you can share them automatically with your team members by keeping them anonymous. Click Send and you’re done.

Download Meeting Notes

Taking meeting notes is an important but tedious task. If you’re collaborating on Microsoft Teams, you don’t have to note every detail of a conversation. 

When your meeting’s recording is ready, select the (...) to open a video in Microsoft Stream. Next click on the next (...) and open Update Video Details. Then select Video Language, choose Autogenerate a caption file and click Update. 

After completing the process, you can download your meeting transcripts from Microsoft Streams.

Use Teams’ Integrations and Apps like CoffeePals

Microsoft Teams has a lively ecosystem of integrations and applications that can help boost collaboration and productivity. 

For instance, the chat platform is integrated with platforms your teams most likely regularly use, such as Trello, Zoom, ClickUp, DocuSign and even YouTube. Want to make your workflow more streamlined? Connect these apps to Teams to use some of their features through the chat platform and automatically get project notifications. 

Its apps store also has many programs that allow you to get features Teams might fall short on. CoffeePals is a Microsoft Teams app that matches like-minded people over a cup of coffee. We build deeper relationships among employees to promote flawless collaboration across your organization. You can also establish a mentorship program to help your employees grow.

Want to know the best part? We also introduce new hires to existing employees to improve their onboarding experiences

Connect with us today to learn more.

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