Microsoft Teams: Unleashing the Power of Communication

Microsoft Teams is not just another communication tool; it is a powerful platform that combines the best features of Slack and Skype. Designed for seamless communication and video-conferencing, Microsoft Teams offers a plethora of hidden features that can enhance your productivity. In this article, we will explore some tips and tricks to help you make the most of Microsoft Teams.

Background Blur & Virtual Background

Working from home has become the new norm, and Microsoft Teams understands the need for privacy. Just like Skype, Teams offers a background blur option to keep your surroundings discreet. Although it cannot be permanently enabled, you can easily activate it for each video call. Simply click on the three dots on the floating bar during a video call, go to “Background Effects,” and select “Blur my Background.” Voila! Your background will be elegantly blurred.

Apart from background blur, Teams also provides virtual backgrounds. While these backgrounds replace your original background, currently you can only choose from the templates provided within the Teams app. To learn more about virtual backgrounds and blur mode on Microsoft Teams, check out our dedicated article on the subject.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Efficiency is key when it comes to navigating Microsoft Teams. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts can save you valuable time and effort. To access the keyboard shortcuts, simply press “Ctrl+.” at any moment. Here are some essential shortcuts to get you started:

  • Ctrl+E (⌘+E on Mac): Go to the search bar
  • Ctrl+plus (⌘+plus on Mac): Zoom in
  • Ctrl+minus (⌘+minus on Mac): Zoom out
  • Esc: Close pop-ups
  • Ctrl+G (⌘+G on Mac): Go to any team/channel

Slash Commands

If you are familiar with Slack, you will appreciate Microsoft Teams' slash commands. These commands allow you to perform specific actions quickly. While slash commands only work on the topmost search bar, they can be a game-changer for your workflow. For example, typing “/dnd” activates the Do Not Disturb mode, ensuring you receive only urgent messages from priority contacts. Similarly, executing “/available” changes your status to “Available.” Another useful slash command is “/goto,” which enables you to jump to a channel or team instantly.

Before enabling the Do Not Disturb mode, make sure to set your Priority contacts under the Privacy tab in the Settings menu. Here are a few more handy slash commands:

  • /goto: Jump to a team or channel
  • /call: Call someone
  • /mentions: See all the chats and activity where you are mentioned
  • /unread: See all your unread activity
  • /saved: View your saved messages


When searching for relevant information within a channel, it's crucial to focus on messages that directly concern you. Microsoft Teams allows you to filter messages that mention you, ensuring you don't miss any important updates. Simply type “/mentions” in the search bar or head over to the Activity tab, click on the Filter icon next to the Feed option, and select “@Mentions.”


By default, Microsoft Teams bombards you with notifications for every little activity. However, you can customize your notification settings to avoid unnecessary distractions. Click on the profile icon at the top-right corner, then select “Settings.” In the Notifications tab, you can configure the actions for different types of notifications. Choose between “Banner and Email,” “Banner,” or “Only show in feed” to tailor your notification preferences.

For instance, you may want to receive banner notifications for mentions in Teams or Channels while keeping emails at bay. Adjusting these settings can significantly improve your focus and productivity.

Bots & Apps

Microsoft Teams offers a wide range of apps and bots that can enhance your collaboration experience. From holding polls within meetings with Polly to chatting with Slack and WebEx contacts with Mio, these apps provide additional functionality and integration options. Zoom can even help you hold group conferences seamlessly. For a detailed overview of the best Microsoft Teams apps, including installation and features, check out our comprehensive article.

Change the Whiteboard

Microsoft Teams' built-in Whiteboard feature is functional but limited to basic inking. If you frequently use whiteboards for sprint programming models, wireframe designs, or video storyboarding, you might find the Freehand by Invision whiteboard more suited to your needs. Offering additional shapes like rectangles, lines, and circles, Freehand can be used during video conferences or as a standalone whiteboard. It is perfect for storyboarding YouTube video intros and other creative endeavors.

Immersive Reader

Microsoft Teams integrates the popular Edge browser's Immersive Reader, providing a valuable read-aloud mode. Simply click on the three dots over a message and select “Immersive Reader” to access this feature. The read-aloud mode can be particularly useful for listening to articles and scripts shared on Teams.

Remember, certain features like Channel & Team Email IDs, Cloud Meeting recording, and Skype intercommunication require a Microsoft 365 account. If you have any questions or issues related to Microsoft Teams, feel free to let us know in the comments section.

Also Read: Slack vs. Teams: Which Communication and Collaboration Tool to Use