Top 10 Features in Microsoft Teams from 2020

by | Jan 12, 2021 | Collaboration

Microsoft Teams has had hundreds of new features released since its launch, with a robust collection of core functionality, like chat, file sharing, and online meetings. Since the COVID pandemic has forced us to work from home, new functionality for meetings, calling, and so much more have been announced. Here are my Top 10 features in Microsoft Teams from 2020 that can really help with your productivity! 

1. Real-time Collaboration 

To kick-off out Top 10 features in Microsoft Teams from 2020 is the real-time collaboration component. You can work in real time with your teammates as you chat and work on files through Teams. No more taking turns emailing files back and forthFinally, you won’t have multiple versions of everything! 

2. Access Teams on Any Device

Available on Android, Windows, and iOS, Teams provides a simple and easy-to-use app that allows you to chat with your team via text, have a voice conversation, or a video meeting. These mobile versions are being increasingly popular in today’s technology workspaces and are must-haves for Teams users.  

3. Teams Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are used to quickly find whatever you are looking for in Microsoft Teams. You can quickly attach a file to a message by just pressing Ctrl O. To view all the keyboard shortcuts possible in Microsoft Teams, simply press Alt and the forward-slash key together (Alt-/) in Windows or Option and the forward-slash (Option-/) on a Mac. Here are my favorites: 

  1. Mute (unmute) yourself during a meeting: Ctrl + Shift + M
  2. Turn on (turn off) your camera on a call: Ctrl + Shift + O
  3. New chat to start: Ctrl + N 
  4. Use up arrow key to edit the last message sent by you: ^ 
  5. Select a file to attach and send in your chat: Ctrl + O 
  6. Toggle background blur: Ctrl + Shift + P
  7. Use the combination to navigate in your left navigation rail: Ctrl + 1+ 2 + 3 (i.e. Ctrl + 1 = Activity feed; Ctrl +2 = Chat; Ctrl + 3 = Teams etc.) 
  8. Call a search bar at the top of the app to quickly find conversations, files, and more: Ctrl + E 
  9. Check all of the available shortcuts allowing you to navigate to various destinations, access needed content and change your current status: Ctrl + /  
  10. Discover emojis – then search related to a word (e.g. baseball or golf): Win + ;
4. Slash Commands 

A slash command is a shortcut phrase, preceded by a slash (/), which causes a specific action within an app. They’re meant to make some everyday functions quick and easy to activate. The most common slash command is likely “/away”, which sets your status to Away. However, they can do much more than that!

When used in a chat app, slash commands let you join a channel, invite other users into a channel, mark yourself as away/busy/available, and dozens of other things. Here are just a few examples of what you can do:

  • View someone’s activity: /activity 
  • Changes your Teams status
    • “Available”: /available 
    • “Away”: /away 
    • “Busy”: /busy 
    • “Do Not Disturb”: /dnd
  •  Initiate a call: /call
  •  See your recent files: /files
  •  Go to a certain team or channel: /goto
  •  See all of you mentions: /mentions
  •  Check for unread activity: /unread
 5. Secure Collaboration

You can be confident in the leading-edge security and compliance capabilities that come with your Office 365 subscription. With Microsoft Teams, you can enjoy advanced security controls that cover data-loss prevention, retention policies, eDiscovery, legal hold, and more. 

While both in transit and at rest, your data is encrypted. All Office 365 services, including Teams, meet compliance standards, including: ISO 27001, HIPPA. SOC 2, and EU Model Clauses. Microsoft Teams lifts itself above competitors in the security realm.

6.Enhanced Searching

Use the search function in Microsoft Teams to easily find relevant information from past conversations or filesThese content search capabilities provide a way to search your Microsoft Teams information, including: 

  • Exchange 
  • SharePoint Online 
  • OneDrive for Business 
7. Quickly Integrate with 3rd party Applications

Microsoft Teams supports over 800 third party applicationswhich give you the functionality of integrating Teams into other areas of your business for streamlined processes and communication. Here are ten of the more popular apps we see customers using:  

  1. Polly – Get live feedback from your team 
  2. Trello – Organize & prioritize your projects 
  3. Karma – Promote good behavior & habits 
  4. Wiki – Create a central knowledge repository 
  5. ScrumGenius – Automate daily standups 
  6. AttendanceBot – Track & analyze work hours 
  7. MURAL – Think & Collaborate visually 
  8. MeisterTask – Increase Task Management Efficiency 
  9. SoapBox – Make Meetings More Organized 
  10. Adobe Creative Cloud – Easily Share Graphic Assets 
8. Recording 

Teams has the function of letting users record their meetings and group calls within the app to capture audio, video, and screen sharing. These recordings used to only be stored in Microsoft Stream. The downside to this was the ability to share these recordings.  In 2020, Microsoft has allowed video recordings to use OneDrive for storage. Being able to share meeting recordings outside the tenant is a major change over the capabilities available in classic Stream that will be welcomed by many. 

9. App Pinning 

The Teams App Bar lets you pin personal apps to the Teams app bar (on the left-hand rail). All you have to do is locate the app you’d like to pin for easy access, right click on the app icon, and choose “pin.” The app icon will remain in your Teams app bar so that you can access it easily. Microsoft Teams also lets you pin apps to relevant channels or chats. Simply find the app, right-click the app icon, and select “pin”. Even after you navigate away, the app icon will remain so you can easily return to it. Also take advantage of being able to pin apps to relevant chats and channels, too! 

10. Integrate Outlook and Teams 

Last, but certainly not least on our top 10 features of Microsoft Teams in 2020 list, is Outlook integration. In your shift to keep your collaboration iTeams, we realize that email will still be used daily. Microsoft knows this, too. That’s why they have made the relationship between Teams and Outlook seamless with the function of being able to move a Teams conversation to Outlook just by clicking the “…” icon, which means ‘more options.’  We also integrate your calendar into to the app, this way you can easily schedule or join meetings without having to leave the app! 

With new features being released in Teams all the time, it is important to keep a pulse on all that Teams is capable of in order to provide the greatest value to your business. To stay on top of the latest Teams updates, I will  be hosting a monthly This Month in Microsoft Teams webinar. Registration can be found on our events page.

We’re ready to help you implement or better utilize Microsoft Teams to keep you and your organization on the same page. We can help offset some of the costs of implementation with Microsoft funding, learn more about funding and if you qualify here. Contact us at to learn more! 

For more information on Microsoft Teams, check out this blog from our partner at Interlink Cloud Advisors.