Top Tips for Using Microsoft Teams

By now, you’ve heard of Microsoft Teams, the cloud-based messaging and collaboration tool available as part of the Office 365 suite. As one of the newer kids on the block there’s a lot to discover to make your working life more productive, efficient and collaborative.

Aside from all the obvious benefits with collaboration tools, like chat, video, meeting and file sharing capabilities, Microsoft Teams comes with functionalities that can make a real difference to your workday.

Here are our top tips to help improve your experience using Microsoft Teams:  

Customize your notifications

If you belong to a lot of active channels, like me, you don’t want to be interrupted with alerts every time someone makes a comment or mentions you. Customizing your notification settings is easy. Simply click on your profile picture in the top right corner and select the Notifications tab, where you can change the alert type and frequency.

Customize your notifications


Every workplace is different, and every workplace uses a different combination of apps and tools that suit their needs. The Teams platform allows you to integrate those other apps tools to help you collaborate more effectively and get work done faster. There are a bunch of programs are already available through the Teams Store and Microsoft regularly release new APIs to increase their integration capacity even further. Click on the Store icon on the bottom left corner to get started.

Click the store icon

Command more

The search bar at the top of your window, also known as the command box, helps you save time by quickly find what you’re looking for. Some of my favourite shortcuts include:

  • /whatsnew – This command takes you to the Release notes tab. Given there are updates to Teams at a fairly frequent rate, this one is really useful to help you stay up to date with the latest features and capabilities.
  • /goto – If you’re a member of a lot of teams and channels this command is handy for finding the right one with ease.
  • /files – Can’t remember which channel that file is saved in? No problem – find, view and edit all your files for the search bar with this command.
  • /mentions – See everywhere you’ve been mentioned so you can easily view and prioritize what needs your attention.
  • /help – as the name suggests, if you’re having any issues this command gives you a shortcut to the Teams help center. 

Break down language barriers

As organizations become increasingly global, the need to communicate effectively and efficiently across countries, cultures and languages is becoming more important. With Teams you can translate messages in different languages with the click of a button. Just click on the ellipses on the message in question and select Translate. As the name suggests, it will translate the message into your default language. So, this…


Becomes this…

Background Blur

This is a funky function. We’ve all been in a situation where we have to take a video call in a less-than-ideal setting – maybe you’re working from home and don’t want that external stakeholder seeing pictures of your last holiday on the wall behind you, maybe you’re in a busy office and don’t want people distracted by what’s going on in the background, maybe you don’t want to risk any confidential information accidentally being shared. The Background Blur function literally blurs your background and makes you the focal point on your video call. To activate, simply click the ellipses from the control panel on your call and select Blur my Background:

Blur my background

And like magic:


ESPC call for speakers 2024
And these are just the tip of the iceberg. Keep an eye on the Microsoft Teams blog (or command /whatsnew) for all the latest releases, tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Teams usage.

Is your organization thinking of rolling out Microsoft Teams? Watch our webinar on The Journey to Microsoft Teams.

Here are some other useful resources that can help you make your deployment a success:

About the Author:

Kate Daley is the Content and Social Media Manager at IR. She developed a love of writing at an early age and has honed her content development skills in a variety of roles in both Australia and the UK.

IR provide performance management and analytics for enterprise communications, collaboration, and payment systems. To find out more about IR, visit


Daley, K. (2019). Top Tips for Using Microsoft Teams. Available at: [Accessed 8th July 2019]

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