In early 2020, you probably heard from all of your coworkers about Zoom, which quickly became the ubiquitous teleconferencing app of the pandemic. While everyone jumped to it for video-based office and personal communications, it didn’t really offer all of the same functionality as other platforms. Now that Zoom has started pushing for users to create paid accounts (by kicking you out of free meetings after 40 minutes), maybe it’s time to consider switching to Teams, and unlocking its more comprehensive approach to communication, that is if you haven’t already. Whether you’re new, or already spend your whole day in Teams, here are nine tips to help you get started with Teams.

1) It’s not Zoom!

There are plenty of adequate things about Zoom, but it’s not geared toward messages and its integrations with Outlook and Google can be clunky. If you’ve been put off by Zoom’s lack of integrated messaging, then Teams is a natural fit, but with far more functionality.

2) Put a Pin in a Channel

When you have a few teams set up, you’ll probably find yourself needing to prioritize some of them more highly than others. To do this, you can pin the channel that you need most often at the top of the Teams pane. You do this by clicking the channel’s three-dots menu and selecting “Pin.” If you pin a few of them, you can drag them up and down to further prioritize your pinned channels.

3) Put a Pin in a Message

If you need everyone to continually see a message in the chat, you can pin it to the top of the chat. To do it, you’ll just need to hover over the message, then click the dots and select “pin.” It’ll appear at the top of the window (until you unpin it or pin another message).

4) Save a Message

In Teams, you have a “Saved” folder in your account for messages that you choose to save for later. The trick is, you have to remember to go look at your Saved messages. You can do that by clicking on your profile picture at the top and going to Saved, or typing “/saved” in the search box.

5) Search Inside a Chat

Like most places throughout Windows, you can search a chat by pressing Crtl+F. This will only work in your current chat or channel to find the search terms.

6) Search Everything

If you can’t remember which chat something was in, you can use the Search Box to find (basically) anything. When searching someone’s name, for instance, you’ll see “People” come up. If you want to search for messages or files with that word instead, then make sure to push Enter after typing, and then click the Messages or Files tab at the top of the results.

7) Name Your Chats

If you find yourself regularly chatting with a group, name the chat something memorable to keep people organized. Keeping the chats organized helps you to make sure that the information you share in your organization is with the right people in the right roles. A quick glance at the chat name should help you remember how detailed you should be about certain topics.

8) Integrate Your Phones

If your organization uses Teams for all of your communication, you might want to consider integrating phone service into Teams. This makes the experience of calling, organizing your contacts and calendar, and scheduling meetings all the more simple. You can find more on Teams’ phone integration options here.

9) Make a Background to Hide Your Office

I’m not suggesting that you move to another country without telling your boss, but you can hide your location (somewhat) and look professional by making a nice background for video calls. If you want to just subtly cover some clutter, you could also just use the Blur provided in the Background Effects. You can do either (during a meeting) by selecting the three-dots menu, and going to Apply background effects.

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