Microsoft Teams How To Guide

In the current situation, video conferencing technology is proving itself to be a real game-changer. Before the COVID-19 lockdown many businesses (including ours) would use an audio or video conference call facility only if a face to face meeting was not possible. It was however something of a rarity – a back-up plan rather than the star of the show. But, inevitably, the lockdown has forced us to take the initiative and invest our time and effort into video systems to accommodate our entire workforce and service our clients.

Microsoft Teams is the current platform of choice here at Simmons Gainsford, so we have put together a few hints and tips to make using it that little bit easier.

How to make more faces appear during video calls

You can now see more people in video calls – increased from 4 to 9 – making team catch-ups more involved and enjoyable.

Tip: Not working? Try updating Microsoft Teams manually by clicking your profile picture and clicking on “Check for Updates”

How to multitask with chat windows

Now you can have more than one chat window open at a time.

Tip: Click on a Chat, then right-click and select “Pop out chat”

How to call or message someone quickly

Use the search bar at the top of Teams. All commands start with a forward slash.

Tip: As an example try /call John or /call Jane. There are other quick commands such as /testcall to quickly make sure you’re ready for your meeting. Simply try typing a forward slash to view them all.

How to fix the issue if your mobile device won’t ring for Teams calls

iPhone and iPad

Open up Teams > Go to Settings > Click on Sign Out > Sign back in again


Open up Teams > Go to Settings > Sign Out and uninstall the app > Reinstall the app and sign back in again

How to schedule a meeting in Outlook

You can create a Teams meeting from your Outlook calendar. You can also invite external contacts from here.

Open Outlook > Go to the Calendar > Click New Teams Meeting

How to name your group chats

Give your group chats a name so you can identify them more easily.

Click on a Group Chat > Click the pencil icon and choose a name

How to open a file in a separate window

Want to open a file outside Teams so you have them side by side?

Go to the team Files tab > Click on the 3 dots and then “Open in Sharepoint”

How to get someone’s attention

When typing in a Group or Team, messages directed to individuals can be missed. Simply use the @ symbol to force a notification which highlights your message to them. For example: @John Doe please respond!

Tip: If you’re in the Team channel and you want to get everyone’s attention, you can use @ followed by the name of the channel. For example: @General please respond everyone!

How to send an important announcement

Type your message > Click the A symbol beneath the text box > Click the “New Conversation” drop down and choose “Announcement”

How to send an urgent message

Type your message > Click the A symbol beneath the text box > Click the ! symbol

Tip: Don’t forget to use @ if you want to direct the message at someone

How to set a custom status message

Type a custom Status and people will see it when they message you.

Click your picture in the top right > Click “Set Status Message” > Type your message and click “Show when people Message me” tick box

Tip: Teams will automatically pick up your Outlook Out of Office message, so no need to do this twice. If you do, your custom Teams message will be the one that shows in Teams.

How to set quiet hours for mobile device notifications

Because not everyone wants to see work messages at 8pm or on a Sunday morning.

Open the Teams mobile app > Tap the menu in the top left > Choose Notifications > Quiet Hours > You can then specify what time and which days to suppress notifications

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