Skip to content
July 3, 2020

Microsoft Teams 101: Our Top 10 Tips & Tricks

Updated May, 2023

Microsoft Teams is one of the most powerful and effective group and collaboration platforms out there. It has a wide array of features and integrations, making it hugely helpful to your organization. However, this expansiveness can make it daunting to get started with. 

Below, we've listed our top 10 Microsoft Teams tips and tricks. However, to get the most out of MS Teams, we recommend reading our Teams 101 Guide. 


Microsoft Teams Tip 1: Use @Mentions in Microsoft Teams Channels

@Mentions are key to how you communicate in Microsoft Teams. When you use the mention “@Team” in a channel, every team member gets notified. When you use “@Channel”, each team member who follows that channel will be notified. You can get a team member’s attention in a channel by @mentioning them in the channel. Type ‘@’ in front of their name and select them from the menu that appears. You can also send a quick message to a team member without interrupting what you were doing by typing '@' in front of their name in the search bar.


Microsoft Teams Tip 2: Make use of your Microsoft Teams Activity Feed

Think of the Microsoft Teams Activity Feed as your new inbox. It aggregates activities – both yours and others –  in a single location. It is a summary of everything that’s happened in the channels that are in your Teams list. If you feel like you’re getting spammed with Microsoft Teams notifications, this can really help.

Use the activities feed to filter your activities by type – for example, unread messages, @mentions, or replies. When a red circle appears next to ‘“activity”, that means you have a notification in your feed. A notification will remain in your feed for 14 days and then expire.

Image: Microsoft Teams - 'My Activity' in Microsoft Teams Activity Feed.

Microsoft Teams Tip 3: Don’t Make Everything “General”

It may be tempting to keep everything in the General channel of your team, adding tabs for each need you come across. Ultimately, this approach will result in confusion and it’ll be difficult to find anything with all these countless tabs. Instead, use the General channel for high-level team interaction, and create a channel for every specific topic or function. 

Remember, the more tabs you add to the General channel, the fewer people will see them. If you find your general tabs don’t fit in the average screen size, it’s a sign you have too many. 


Microsoft Teams Tip 4: Easily Schedule and Hold Meetings

You can schedule meetings directly from chat in Microsoft Teams. When you are chatting one-on-one you can easily schedule a meeting with the user by clicking on the calendar icon, which will open up the meeting dialogue with the current user already selected. It will even select the next available slot for both users. 

Scheduling meetings from MS Teams chat only works for one-on-one meetings, but you can also schedule meetings from within a team or channel. Simply click the small camera icon to meet now, or using the same icon you can also choose to schedule a meeting as you would in MS Outlook. You can also see your calendar and meetings within teams by clicking the meetings icon.

Screenshot Desktop View of Microsoft Teams Virtual Meeting
Image: MS Teams - Virtual Meeting

Microsoft Teams Tip 5: Make Guests Feel Like Part of the Team

Microsoft Teams makes it easier for your team to work together, but it also allows guests from outside of your organization to collaborate with you too. As long as a guest has an email address, they can be added to Microsoft Teams and can participate in channels, conversations, chats, and meetings. Guests can also share files in channels, add new channels, and more. You can add and manage guest permissions by clicking the ellipsis (‘…’) next to the team.

Microsoft Teams Tip 6: Take Advantage of Status Updates 

Are you familiar with status messages from other tools, such as Skype for Business and MS Outlook?

This functionality is also part of Microsoft Teams. Your status update is a great way to display your current status so that other users know when they can and can’t reach out to you. Plus, using a Teams status message means that you’ll know when you should or shouldn’t expect a quick response from your team members. This is an easy way to be more transparent and improve communication.

Screenshot - Notification of Microsoft Teams Status Message
Image: Microsoft Teams Status Notification

Microsoft Teams Tip 7: /Command Bar Shortcuts Save Time

One of our favourite Microsoft Teams tips is that the command bar allows you to quickly and easily access commands and apps that you have installed. To access the command bar, use the shortcut Ctrl+E.

To see available commands, type ‘/’ into the command bar. (You can also see the commands for specific apps by typing ‘@’ into the command bar. Note that you will have to install the specific app to use the commands for it). Some of the most useful commands:

  • /keys will show you MS Teams keyboard shortcuts. 
  • /saved takes you straight to your list of bookmarked messages.
  • /files shows your recent files, and allows you to go to the file you’re looking for
  • /dnd  will set your status to ‘do not disturb’ to suppress notifications when you’re trying to focus or giving a presentation
  • /goto takes you to a specific team or channel

Microsoft Teams Tip 8: Save Your Place With Bookmarks

If you receive an especially important message that you know you’ll need to reference in the future, you can bookmark it. A bookmark lets you save a message or attachment for later reading and helps you find frequently used information.

To add a bookmark to any place in a chat, click the bookmark icon. Then to find your bookmarked chats, Type “/saved” in the search bar to find all your saved messages. Being on a team that handles a variety of different tasks, with a constantly evolving stream of new projects, the bookmark feature has been invaluable to me.

Microsoft Teams Save Conversation & Bookmarking how to
Image: How to save a conversation in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams Tip 9: Store and Share Files with SharePoint

If your organization already uses SharePoint as a collaboration platform and to securely store files, you’ll be happy to learn that it is highly integrated into Microsoft Teams. This allows you to collaborate more quickly and easily with your team.

Simply click the Files tab in any channel to share files with team members via SharePoint or access SharePoint files already shared to the channel. Team members can collaborate on files shared to a channel using Office Online or an Office desktop app.

Microsoft Teams Tip 10: Work Together Across Devices

Microsoft Teams allows your team to collaborate no matter what device they have access to. All Microsoft 365 subscriptions give users access to web, desktop, and mobile apps. Microsoft Teams mobile app is available for Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. It focuses on team chats and channels without a lot of extra layers and features. Teams also run as a web app or a desktop client for Windows or Mac, meaning you have a lot of options for access.


Unleash the Full Power of Microsoft 365 with Orchestry

Most organizations are not using Microsoft 365 to its full potential.

Orchestry makes Microsoft 365 simple for all users.

Orchestry  takes the uncertainty out of M365, delighting even the most non-technical members of your team with preconfigured Teams templates, an informative Workspace Directory, and more!

To see Orchestry in action, request a demo!


Other posts you might be interested in

View All Posts