During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft Teams became one of the most widely used communication and collaboration tools across the globe. And it’s no wonder, given Teams’s wide array of features designed to support remote and hybrid work environments.
Microsoft is constantly making improvements to Teams to enhance user experience and help businesses stay connected, engaged, and productive. Here are a few of the new features available in Microsoft Teams.
All-new Whiteboard app
Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams has been revamped to improve collaboration among members of an organization. Aside from an easy-to-navigate user interface and large, colorful icons, Whiteboard’s new features include 41 fully customizable templates designed to help users jump-start meetings or brainstorming sessions. What’s more, users can add titles to sticky notes and sort them by color to keep track of ideas presented during the whiteboard session. They can also react to their colleagues’ suggestions, insert images onto the Whiteboard canvas, and even reposition pictures, notes, and other objects.
Presenter mode “standout” in PowerPoint
With Presenter mode in PowerPoint, presenters can choose how their video feed and slides appear to participants in a Teams meeting.
- Standout mode overlays the presenter’s video feed on the bottom-right corner of their slide presentation.
- Reporter mode shows the slides above the presenter’s shoulder.
- Side-by-side mode displays the presenter’s video feed right beside the slides.
As of this writing, only standout mode has been made available to Teams users; the feature works for both PowerPoint Presenter view and PowerPoint SlideShow view. Meanwhile, reporter mode and side-by-side mode are expected to be rolled out by the end of 2021.
Breakout room creation and participant assignment
Organizers now have the ability to split participants into breakout rooms before a Teams meeting. While scheduling the meeting, the organizer can create rooms in bulk (up to 50 rooms) and manually assign participants to each one. The organizer can also appoint breakout room managers and set the time limit for breakout sessions ahead of time.
By enabling the live transcription feature in Teams, the need to take down meeting minutes will be eliminated, as everything that’s spoken during a Teams meeting will be automatically recorded. The written transcription will be displayed on the right-hand side of the screen during a meeting and attendees can also download a copy from the meeting event on the calendar. Aside from what was discussed during the meeting, each speaker’s name can also be found on the transcription, unless the speakers turned off attribution in their profile settings.
To turn on live transcription, go to the meeting controls at the top of the screen and click More options () > Start transcription. To display the transcription during the meeting, go back to More options () and choose Show transcript.
Improvements to chat
Previously only available on Teams for iOS and Android, the Quoted Reply feature is now available on the desktop version of Teams chat. With Quoted Reply, you can respond to specific chat messages, which provides more context and clarity to conversations. To use this feature, click on the message you want to reply to and select More Options > Reply, then type in your response.
You now also have the option to automatically start a new chat in a new window instead of Teams’s main window. Enable this feature by going to the “Settings and more” option at the top of the app, then select Settings. Click Open new chat in > New window.
Visio Viewer capabilities
Microsoft Visio is a diagramming application that’s used for presenting data in a visual or graphical way. It’s typically used to create flowcharts, network diagrams, and even floor plans. Until recently, users with a Visio license could only share, edit, and comment on Visio files in Teams using a tool called Visio Viewer. Meanwhile, those using the free version had to resort to third-party software to view Visio files shared with them via Teams. But now, Visio Viewer allows all users, whether they have a license or not, to access and work on Visio files within Teams. They can even download and print diagrams and images made in Visio without having to switch to another app.
As a Microsoft Silver Certified Partner, Cutting Edge Network Technologies can keep you updated on Microsoft Teams’s newest features. We can also properly implement Teams for you so that your organization can make the most out of it. Get in touch with us today.