You may have noticed that we’re pretty into Microsoft Teams here at Crown Computers. It’s a great tool for communication, collaboration, and project management, or even just a good way to communicate with your family and friends. Teams is one of the most valuable parts of Microsoft 365, because it can be the center of how your organization gets things done.It is very flexible, and with that flexibility comes quite a few settings and features that you might not know about, even if you’re in the software every day. Today, we’ll show you five features that could improve your productivity and clarity in Teams.

1) Presenter Mode

Presenter mode is a feature for calls in Teams that works a lot like screen sharing in other apps, like Zoom and Google Meet. Unlike those other platforms, though, it gives you control, as the presenter, over the format of your sharing. Once you’re in the meeting, you can click the three dots menu in the top right corner of the window and select “Start presentation.” From here, you can choose from a few options for how you’d like to share the screen.

Standout, Side-by-side, and Reporter mode each show what’s on your screen (like a presentation), but also show your camera. The Side-by-side presentation puts your face in a box next to what’s on your screen, while Standout puts you in the corner of your full-screen share. Reporter mode looks really nice, with your image a little larger than standout, and the presentation over your shoulder just like, well, an anchor on a news broadcast. It’s a good idea to test out these modes to see how the sizes work with your presentation and keep in mind the font size of your PowerPoint slides or other content.

2) Apps for Teams

Did you know that there are plenty of third-party apps that can integrate with your Teams? Other cloud software and service companies make plugins that integrate their products more seamlessly inside of Teams. Some of them that caught my eye were the GitHub for Teams app—which allows you to manage GitHub projects and share code easily within Teams—and the DocuSign eSignature for Teams plugin—which allows you to send documents for signing within your organization, skipping the usual email routine.

While those are some exciting potential workflows (and there are countless more in Microsoft’s AppSource) there is a lot to consider from a security standpoint when integrating third-party software with your business’ data and communications. These apps can potentially leak data to the third-party, and the security details on AppSource will show you what kind of information the app will have access to. This functionality has very different security implications than the integrations with other parts of Microsoft 365.


3) Launch New Messages in New Windows

If you like to “pop out” chats with different people, you might also want to have your new messages start in a new window. This can help you stay organized on your desktop by keeping your conversations readily accessible. You can pop out chats by clicking the icon that looks like this:

pop out chat

To get your new chats in new windows, go to the three dot menu in the upper right corner and click “New window” where it says “Open new chat in.”

4) Tweak your Computer’s Performance

Teams, like all other apps, requires some resources to run on your computer. If you’re on older hardware, or simply don’t like the idea of devoting memory to an app you’re not using, you could benefit from having it not start up when you turn on the computer. You can do this from within Teams’ settings by clicking the three dots, going to “Settings,” and make sure that “Auto-start application” is unclicked.

5) Clear Communication with Translation and Read Aloud

While it’s not one feature, Teams’ language processing can do a lot to help you communicate with accessibility in mind, and even across languages. You can have Teams translate any message into your preferred language by hovering over the message and clicking the three dots, then selecting “Translate.” This makes it seamless to communicate with members of your organization who might prefer to write in another language. Of course, there’s no perfect translation software, so take care to understand its limitations and work together to write clearly when translating chats.

“Read aloud” is an accessibility feature that helps vision impaired persons with chatting, but might also be of use in some other situations. To try it out, go to the three dots, “Settings,” and click on “Accessibility,” where you can check the box for “Enable read aloud.”

-Written by Derek Jeppsen on Behalf of Sean Goss and Crown Computers Team