Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

  • Microsoft Teams or Zoom or Google Meet?

    Microsoft Teams or Zoom or Google Meet or Skype

    Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet are three of the leading video conferencing solutions. But what is the difference, which one should you use and what about the others?

    Microsoft Teams

    Teams is the new communication and collaborative working tool that is part of the Office 365 family. It has instant chat, meetings, video calls, voice calls as well as screen and file sharing. They are adding new features all the time and there are already plugins to many Microsoft and third party services. It replaces Skype for business, which will be removed from the Microsoft offering soon (and had nothing to do with Skype).

    We are making effective use of teams whilst working from home to keep in contact with each other, have meetings and share information. It is a great tool for inter-business communications.

    But it is also good for communicating with contacts outside your business too. You can invite a non-team contact to an online meeting and they can join via a web link - without the need for teams to be installed or even a teams account.

    If your email system is on Office 365 chances are you already have teams and you should try it.


    Has rocketed in popularity during the the current lockdown (Even my children use it to keep in contact with their classmates) Currently, there is a basic free subscription and higher levels with more features, which are summarized here It is easy to use and some nice features. Such as break-out rooms so you can have a smaller, more private sub-meeting. There are add-ons to expand its functionality beyond just video conferencing.

    Google Meet

    Google meet is the video conferencing solution built into G suite. It has a host of teleconferencing features and it integrates with the rest of the google family of products. You can display any google docs and collaborative work on them in the meeting. You can schedule meetings and invite others who do not have a google account to join.

    If your email is on the g-suite platform this is definitely one to try.

    What about the others?

    Google hangouts

    You can use this with a free gmail account, it is a cut down version of google meet (see above).


    Skype one of the largest communication platforms it allows you to communicate via voice, video or chat with other Skype users. It’s been around since 2003 is now owned by Microsoft, who merged their MSN messenger into the platform. Its features are aimed at consumers rather than business but there is a Skype meeting functionality where participants do not need a Skype account, but a lot of people have Skype accounts. It might be a good option if you primarily need business to consumer communications.

    Apple Facetime

    This is an apple-apple video calling tool - All participants have to have an Apple device, really a consumer tool - but could have business to consumer uses.

    Google Duo

    This is Google’s answer to Facetime (video calling tool) - All participants have to have Google accounts. It is really a consumer tool - but could have business to consumer uses.

    Which one to use?

    If none of the unique features have stood out to you and you are not sure where to start:

    If you already have Office 365 - try Microsoft Teams

    If you’re on the G suite platform - try Google Meet.

    If your email system is not on either - and want online meetings with lots of participants give zoom a try. (also contact us to discuss upgrading your email system!)

  • Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks

    We have put together 11 top tips and tricks we think everyone using Microsoft Teams will find useful.

    Tip 1 - Save important messages

    1. Locate the message you want to save
    2. Hover your mouse over the top right of the message
    3. Click on the three-dot icon
    4. Click Save this message

    To find a saved message

    1. Click on your profile icon in the top right corner
    2. Click Saved

    Tip 2 - Learn some simple commands in Teams

    1. Click in the search bar at the top of Teams
    2. Type the following character: /
    3. All the commands you can use will show

    For example /saved will take you to your saved items

    Tip 3 - Grab someone's attention in a post

    1. Type the following character: @
    2. Immediately start typing the person's name
    3. A list will appear, select the appropriate person

    You can also remove their surname by pressing backspace once

    Tip 4 - Add someone new to your team

    1. Go to the Teams section
    2. Right-click on the team you want to add someone to
    3. Click on Add Member
    4. Search for the user and select them
    5. Click the Add button

    Tip 5 - Make a high priority channel more visible

    1. Go to the Teams section
    2. Right-click on a channel name
    3. Click Pin

    The channel will then move to the top of all your teams

    Tip 6 - Find posts you have been mentioned in

    1. Go to the Activity section
    2. Click on the filter icon
    3. Click on the three-dot icon
    4. Click Mentions


    In the command bar in the top type the following: /mentions

    Tip 7 - Use a virtual whiteboard to brainstorm in a meeting

    Note: This only works in a meeting not a call
    1. When in the meeting click the share button
    2. Click on Microsoft whiteboard
    3. If this is the first time you have used it clickUse whiteboard in Teams instead

    The whiteboard will then load up for everyone to see and use

    Tip 8 - Start a group chat

    1. Click on the new chat icon, in the top left of teams
    2. In the To: bar, enter each person’s name
    3. Type a message in the bottom
    4. Press enter or click the send button

    Tip 9 - Add more functionality your channels

    1. Go to the channel you want to enhance
    2. Along the top, next to the other tabs, click the + button
    3. Select the app you want to add e.g. Planner

    Experiment with the available apps, you can add simple files like Word and Excel, link to YouTube videos, or integrate information from other cloud services.

    Tip 10 - Share your sound when sharing your screen

    Note: By default when you share your screen it does not share your sound

    1. Click the Share button
    2. Tick the include system audio box
    3. Select the screen you want to share

    If you forget to tick that before sharing your screen you can click this icon on the presenting bar along the top of your screen.

    Tip 11 - Add a virtual background to your video calls

    Note: This video effect requires a processor with Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2) support so the option might not be available.

    1. In a video call click the three-dot icon
    2. Then click Show background effects
    3. Select the image you want
    4. Click Apply
  • Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks Part II

    We have put together 7 more top tips and tricks we think everyone using Microsoft Teams will find useful.

    Click here for the first 11 tips

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