Reply directly to messages in Teams

Sometimes you get a few messages after each other in a one-on-one or group chat. You then want to reply to a specific message instead of all of them. Teams now allows you to respond directly to a message sent via a chat. Go to the message you received and click ••• (More options) > Reply. A message preview appears above the reply field.

Change to how meeting recordings are saved

Microsoft has changed the way that meeting recordings are stored

  • Standard meetings: These are scheduled and ad-hoc meetings that are set up via Outlook or the Teams calendar using the Meet now or New meeting features. These meeting recordings are uploaded to the meeting organiser or recording owner’s UCT OneDrive for Business account.
  • Channel meetings: These take place in a channel or team and are accessible to all team members. These meeting recordings are now saved in SharePoint.

Bigger selection of emojis

The emoji library, which is accessible for Teams chats and posts, has increased from under 100 to over 800 options ot choose from.

Manage attendees camera usage

If meeting organisers prefer that attendees don't switch on their video cameras during meetings, they can set this via Meeting options before the meeting. Open the meeting invitation click the Meeting option tabs. You can then turn off Allow camera for attendees. During meetings, click ••• (More options) on the toolbar > Disable camera for attendees.

Out of office notifications in Teams

You can now set your out of office notifications in Teams. Click your Teams profile icon in the top right corner (it contains your initials or profile pic) > Set status message > Schedule out of office. Alternatively, click ••• (Settings and more) next to your profile icon > Settings > General > Out of Office > Schedule.

Change your Teams notification format

You can choose how you would like your Teams notifications to be displayed. By default it is set to the purple layout, however, if you prefer the Windows notifications layout, you can reset it by clicking ••• (Settings and more) next to your profile icon > Settings > Notifications. From the arrow next to Notification style select Windows.

Invitees can bypass the lobby

You can indicate before the time who can bypass the lobby for your Teams meeting. if you would like all attendees who were invited and who the meeting invitation was forwarded to join the meeting directly, then set this up prior to the meeting by opening the meeting invitation and clicking the Meeting options tab. From the Who can bypass the lobby dropdown menu, select People I invite

Updated mic settings for attendees

Attendees can now be unmuted without them having to first raise their hand. 

Organisers and presenters can ensure that attendees are unable to unmute their mics during a meeting, by clicking the Show participants icon on the meeting toolbar. Click ••• (More options) next to the participant's know and select Don't allow to unmute.

Share emails via the Outlook desktop app to Teams

If you receive an email that you would like to share to a channel in Teams, open the email in the Outlook desktop application and click Share to Teams on the ribbon.

Disable chat during meetings

Yes, the meeting organiser can now decide if they would like the meeting chat enabled or disabled during meetings. 

  1. Go to Meeting options.

    • Before the meeting: Open the meeting invitation you created and click Meeting options.
    • During the meeting: On the meeting toolbar click the ••• (More options) > Meeting options.
  2. Click Allow meeting chat, which is enabled by default.
    • You can either leave it Enabled.
    • Select Disabled, which will allow no further messages to be displayed, even if someone is trying to type.
    • In-meeting only: Allow the chat to only be used during the meeting and not after the meeting ends.
  3. Select your preferred option and click Save.

Set up a shared calendar in a Teams channel

You can now set up a calendar per channel, making it easier to manage events. This option is not available for guests, so you will to invite them directly.

Teams breakout rooms are finally here

They’ve heard your requests and now Microsoft has finally brought the breakout rooms feature to Teams.

This feature is currently only available for the desktop app and accessible for standard meetings.

  1. Join the meeting you scheduled.
  2. Once all the participants have joined, select Breakout rooms from the meeting toolbar and indicate the number of required rooms.
  3. Automatically assign participants to a room or do so manually.
  4. Click Create rooms.

All you need to know about breakout rooms

Alternatively, watch the ICTS Training’s short video on how to set it up.

Five minute warning

You may have started seeing a banner pop up towards the end of your scheduled meeting, that you only have five minutes left. This is to alert you that your scheduled time is nearing an end and that you should start to wrap up to avoid going over time. 

Teams at UCT public team

If you’re keen to stay updated about new Microsoft Teams features, or learn more about what it has to offer, join the Teams at UCT public team. This public team is aimed at establishing a community of practice where you can ask and respond to questions, get more information and essentially learn from one another to make the most of your Teams experience.

Alternatively, view the extensive Microsoft Teams at UCT at

Audio and video settings in meetings

You can now set your audio and video settings when joining a meeting. Select whether you would like to stick to the default, which is your computers speakers, as well as using a meeting room, mobile device, or simply disable your audio.

A video preview appears on the left, where you also have to option to turn on background effects. Click the cogwheel icon under the video preview to view device settings and find an alternative mic and camera.

Manage video audio while screen sharing

You share a video in an online meeting and see a message in the chat that there is no sound. Instead of pausing the video and stop sharing, simply click pause and move your mouse to the top right of your screen where the Presenting toolbar appears. Click the Computer Sound icon 

, which is located between Give Control and Stop Presenting, and continue playing your video.

Pin a post

We often receive numerous posts in a channel and may miss some important information. You can now use a pin to highlight this important information by hovering over the message and clicking ··· More options > Pin. All pinned items are visible in the channel info pane located at the top right of the channel

. Pinned posts appear below the names of those who recently interacted with the channel.

Block out sections of your workday directly in Teams

You always had the option to set your status in Teams, but now they have added a feature that lets you determine how long your selected status should be displayed for. Click on your profile picture in the top right of your Teams screen and select a status (i.e. available, busy, do no disturb. You can then set the duration for the length of time it should be displayed.

You also have the option to appear offline even though you’re using your computer. This comes in handy if you need to finish something without any distractions. Messages will still come in but to the sender you will appear offline.

Limit background noise

If you’re working in a noisy area, Microsoft Teams can assist you in reducing background noises so that those on the call with you, cannot hear what’s happening where you are. Click on your Teams profile picture and click Settings > Devices > Noise suppression. The higher you go the quieter your background.

Use apps to enhance your meeting experience

Microsoft Teams allows you to add a number of applications to your meetings so that you can manage everything in one central place. This includes adding forms. 

Spellchecker adapts to your language choice

While using the Windows desktop app, Teams spellchecker will automatically switch to whatever language you’re using as you type. It also adapts to your operating system’s keyboard language.

Set your preference for message previews

Some people like message previews so that they can see who is communicating with them and what assistance they require. While it allows a quick overview of the incoming conversation, it may not always be suitable if you have someone seated next to you and they too can read the conversation. You now have the option to turn off this default setting by going to your Teams profile picture and selecting Settings > Notifications > Show message preview. You can then turn it off.

Transfer from one device to another

Sometimes you start a meeting on your computer, but then the power goes off affecting your WiFi connection. To ensure that you don’t miss the meeting, you can simply transfer the meeting to your mobile device if you have the app installed, and no one will ever know you left.

New meeting experience in Teams

Teams' new meeting experience, which is accessible by going to your Teams profile picture and selecting Settings > GeneralTurn on new meeting experience, allows you to better manage meetings. Your meetings open in a separate window so you can continue working in Teams, even while a meeting us underway. Additionally, the meetings control toolbox appears on the top of the meeting window and you can now see up to 49 videos in one meeting window.

One of the cool features of this new experience is that you can set Together mode. When enabled, everyone whose videos are on will look like they are together in one venue. Initially there was only background, which is auditorium. Additional backgrounds have since been added so you can choose your preferred one by going to Together and clicking Change scene 


Get help