Thursday, June 18, 2020

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A reason to disappear into your Teams custom backgrounds

Ever seen people move so far back from their camera during a Microsoft Teams meeting that they disappear into the image behind them? Now that custom backgrounds in Teams are becoming more popular, I started thinking about this phenomenon and realized there's a potential benefit to this "blend into the shadows" effect...

What if the background I choose happens to be my profile pic? Perhaps with a few added graphics?:

In the case of the mockup above, I'm actually sharing my video feed during the meeting. But, I've closed the cover on my webcam (rather than moving away from the camera) so that only the background shows. I used a few Photoshop skills to create the image, then clicked "Add new" in the background settings to upload the image to Teams.

A few kool things about this:
  • Of course I support everyone turning on their live video feed during Teams meetings, but this could be a professional-looking compromise on those bad hair days :)

  • While I'm clearly trying to imitate a typical no-video-feed-in-Teams look here (black background and all), it gives me the chance to add things like company logo that a normal profile pic in a Teams meeting wouldn't provide.

  • The big win - I can show my profile pic in meetings outside my tenant! No more joining my customer's meetings as a guest with just the big "RW" circle showing.
What do you think?

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Microsoft Whiteboard vs OneNote

I've gotten a lot of questions from my government customers lately about how to use a whiteboard in Teams. In the government cloud, we're still waiting for the integration of the Whiteboard app in Teams, and so for now OneNote is one of the alternatives.

I discussed this on one of my Friday webinars, but at that time neglected to show the co-authoring experience. The video [below] demos that. Also coming soon is my session on OneNote that I delivered during the global Microsoft365 Virtual Marathon conference [video link here]. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Snatch your team members out of Outlook! - Using the Quote button for Teams Adoption

I talked today in my weekly webinar about using the Quote feature to increase Teams adoption, and kill minimize email. :)

This can help bring email conversations in Teams, or to help callout what parts of someone's message you're replying to. Check out the video below:

Sunday, March 8, 2020

One Files Tab to Rule Them All

The Problem: I need to access many different document libraries for the many project files that I oversee. But, I don't need to be in every Project Team's group, engaging in their conversation chats - I just need the files!  I also don't want to go clicking all over the place every time I'm looking for a project file library.

The Answer: Use "Add Cloud Storage" to turn one Files Tab into a 1-stop shop for accessing those other libraries!

Each link (seen below) will open that library in Teams (that's right, it's better than some bookmark that opens a new window), even if that library doesn't exist in Teams (ie, even if it's just some normal SharePoint Online library with no associated MS Team):

Permissions: You would of course need to have Permissions to access each library (all handled via SharePoint), and if you don't, clicking on the links will remind you of that:

Working with the files: Even better, I can still edit, co-author and chat with my team members on a document that lives outside Teams:

Channel 'Navigation': If you happen to be someone that likes to see 'buttons' for all your libraries listed down the left-hand side, you might consider making a Channel for each library. The Channel's only purpose would be to give you access to click on a link that opens that particular file library. For example:

Search: From a Search perspective, one downside to this approach is that my Teams search box is only going to find documents that exist in Teams that I'm a part of. I could still, at least, search my "NotTeams" documents by hitting the "Open in SharePoint" button and using the "Search this library" search box.

For organizations just starting with Teams, wondering how to incorporate all their existing pre-Teams SharePoint Online libraries, this could be the answer!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Mention with ease!

What if your hashtagMicrosoftTeams teammates are listed in the system as "Lastname, Firstname", but you want to use their first name when you @mention them in chat, and you're tired of all the backspacing? Use Ctrl+LeftArrow, then Backspace, and watch the magic happen... Did it work? :)

Friday, February 21, 2020

Not-so Invisible Files in Microsoft Teams

When I'm helping customers work with files in Teams, I often remind them to make sure their files are all in folders that are aligned to Channels, because otherwise Teams users can't see them.

This is mostly true, but this video talks about how there are some caveats to this, and also shows what changes to make to get the best files experience:

Friday, January 31, 2020

Quickest way to put an email in Microsoft Teams from Outlook

Essentially, you Save As your email in Outlook, then hit Save As again, and drag your email from that window into your Teams message.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Teams Live Event - Jan 10 Q&A

To all those who joined me in this morning's Live Event, I wanted to respond to a question here, as promised:

To the question of whether you could join a Live Event via phone bridge, looks like the answer is No. There isn't a phone number generated for the purpose of being used as an alternative to connecting via web and/or Teams client.

Given that the phone bridge scenario is often used as a friction-less, non-techie way of joining calls/events, at least we know that someone only needs a web browser to join and get audio/video, and doesn't need the full Teams desktop client, or some other software install. They could also join via mobile app as well.

Hope that helps!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Teams Gamification at the Columbus, OH User Group - Jan 2020

I'll be speaking next week at the local Columbus OH user group for Office365 on the topic of Microsoft Teams Gamification

It'll be a demonstration and overview of the topics I discussed in my blog post, showing the integration of Teams, PowerBI, Flow and more.

Find more detail at  Come check us out!