New hotkeys, music instead of beeps and editing lists and tables straight in chat

Hello! Microsoft Teams communications and collaboration platform continues to grow and evolve. In this article, we have collected the most important functionality updates from November 2021 to January 2022.

Meeting

Press to Unmute

Stay muted to avoid unwanted background noise during a meeting and rapidly respond when called upon. You can now use a shortcut to unmute by holding down the Ctrl+Space keys (Windows) or Option+Space keys (macOS), then release the keys to go back to muted state again. This feature is on by default. To disable, go to your Teams Settings > Privacy section and uncheck Keyboard shortcut to unmute.

Custom background on web

Custom backgrounds are now available to web users. You can blur your background or select from Microsoft-provided backgrounds during your video meeting or call, making your meetings more fun and personal. Note that blurring or replacing your background may not prevent sensitive information from being visible to other people in the meeting.

Music mode for Teams

High-fidelity music mode enables Microsoft Teams users to experience richer sound experiences when sharing non-speech content such as live music, songs through other applications, or medical signals during a virtual appointment with a physician. High-fidelity music mode enables significantly improved audio quality in Teams calls and meetings. The optimized experience in Teams applies to signals captured by microphones as well as audio played while sharing an application or desktop. Learn how to experience high-fidelity audio in Teams.

Mirror my video

You no longer have to see the text in your video flipped. Imagine a primary school teacher with a small whiteboard in hand, or you have a virtual background with text in it. While the meeting audience sees the text correctly, you see the text flipped. By providing you with the option to un-mirror, you will be able to see the text correctly. Simply go to your Device Settings and toggle off Mirror my video.

Content from camera

Content from camera in Teams enables intelligent capture which allows you to share content from physical whiteboards and documents in a high-quality way during meetings. You can use the camera in your laptop, a secondary USB webcam, or a document camera. Just like the experience available in Microsoft Teams Rooms, the intelligent content capture technology will detect, crop, and frame the asset while enhancing the content in the video stream. People standing in front of the asset can be made transparent so everyone can see content clearly. Learn more.

Word cloud for polls in Teams

When users collect responses for an open text poll in a Teams meeting, word cloud data insights will be available to give them a quick view on the top text phrases people answered.

Order of raised hands

Ensure that all voices are heard and people feel seen just as in person by seeing the order of raised hands in a meeting. Simply click on the Participants panel to see who raised their hand and in what order. Now you know the order of who to call on first to speak so that no participant is missed.

Teams meeting recordings

Recording meetings in Teams allows you to review what you may have missed and helps others who could not attend catch up on their own time. Over the past year, we’ve shifted to saving new Teams meeting recordings to OneDrive and SharePoint to provide better control and sharing options. We’ve also added a number of improvements including:

  • Multi-speed playback – Now you can watch recordings at slower and faster speeds (0.5x up to 2x)
  • High-quality transcripts – Transcripts now have speaker attribution for meetings that have Teams Live Transcription turned on
  • Indexed recordings – Recorded meetings are indexed into easier-to-consume segments based on slide transitions
  • Auto-recording – Meeting owners can set meetings to automatically start recording
  • Auto-expiration – Coming soon, admins will be able to set a default number of days after which newly created Teams meeting recordings will be sent to the recycle bin.

Phone

Transcription for 1:1 Calls

Transcription of one-to-one calls on Teams is now available. This can be enabled via the control bar within the Call window.

Chat and Collaboration

Add description to images in chat

Make your Teams messages more accessible to people with disabilities by adding alternative text to images. Similar to adding alternative text in Outlook, you now can add descriptions to images in Teams chat messages by right-clicking on the image and selecting “Add alt text.” This enables people who use screen readers to understand the full content of your message, even if they can’t see the image. Learn more about adding alt text.

Microsoft Loop components in Teams chat

Loop components allows you to create live, collaborative components that can be edited in the flow of your work, whether in chat, meetings, email or documents. The first part of this vision is rolling out now to Teams chat, enabling you to edit messages inline and avoid a long back-and-forth chat thread. Users also can send a message with a Loop component, like a table, action items, or a list and have it co-authored and edited by everyone inline. Learn more.

Loop component in Teams chat. Note that this experience will be updated to the Loop component icon in the upcoming weeks.

To use this functionality, click the Microsoft Loop icon in a Teams chat. To learn more

‘Top hits’ provides a new search result section

We are making it easier for you to search for and find the information you need by introducing “top hits” on Teams. This new section appears at the top of your auto-suggest results. Top hits gathers the most relevant results for you across the different search domains—people, group chats, teams, channels, and files—and reduces the need to scroll through all the search results, helping you quickly find what you need.

Updated search results page in Teams

A new search experience in Teams will make finding messages, people, answers, and files faster and more intuitive. A redesigned search results page provides better context and faster results, with AI-powered relevance based on the people and content you engage with most in Teams and other Microsoft 365 applications.

Calling

Custom Music on Hold

Tenant administrators can configure the audio being played to PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) callers when they are placed on hold. This allows departments or a group of users to customize announcements being played to PSTN callers on hold. To enable this, the admin will need to upload the audio file, configure the teams hold policy referencing the audio file, and assign the policy to groups of users. Learn more.

Route calls to unassigned numbers

You can now ensure that incoming PSTN calls to phone numbers that are not assigned to a user or resource account can be redirected to another user, a call queue, auto attendant, or an announcement. Tenant admins will configure the phone number or range and where the call should be routed. Learn more.

If you want to learn how to use Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) tools professionally, contact the SMART business team.

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