Microsoft 365 is the largest SaaS platform for mid-market and SMB companies. Microsoft 365 now has over 50 million subscribers. Over 1 million companies now use Microsoft 365 to power their core productivity functions.
Companies usually sign up for Microsoft 365 to get email and desktop applications. And increasingly now with hybrid work, Microsoft Teams is becoming a big feature of M365. There are, however, most users don’t realize that beyond the most popular features of Microsoft 365 lie some not-so-obvious capabilities and tricks that are severely underused. These “hidden” features are designed to make using Microsoft 365 simpler and more effective.
Whenever there’s a way to use technology to make our work more efficient, we’re all for it! With that in mind, we’ve put together seven hidden features of Microsoft 365 that, when used correctly, can make the way that you spend time on your computer more efficient and streamlined.
1. Teams Voice
Another little-known feature in Microsoft Teams is Teams Voice, which allows users to make and receive voice calls via the Teams app. You can take or make calls both from within Teams and externally via Cloud Phone, giving you a single number and a single app for voice and video calls on all your devices – in fact, you’ll never need to give out your mobile number again.
Choose from an array of full calling solutions with VoIP—including custom on-hold music, advanced call routing and queues, auto attendants, and call parking.
2. Teams Live Events
Microsoft is lowering the barrier for companies to host and run webinars and other live events with Teams live events. Companies can use the Teams platform to set up basic events within Teams or more highly produced ones using Microsoft Stream or similar tools. It is a great tool to get most companies started in doing live events. Teams features that help enhance Live events include breakout rooms, word cloud polling, and standout mode in which the presenter appears to stand in front of their presentation to create richer experiences for the audience. Teams also supports real-time captioning and translation services to help you reach a broader audience.
3. Content Sharing in Teams
Teams has some great ways to make it easier to share content from whiteboards and notebooks. Within the Teams application (on Mac or Windows), you can use the share content button to specifically focus on a real-world whiteboard or document visible in the camera You can also use the digital whiteboard feature to allow everyone to engage.
4. Shortcuts in Teams
Similar to Slack, Teams has slash commands that calls features directly from the Search box. You can change your status, make a call, or send a message with these simple commands. Here are some useful examples:
/call – Make a call
/chat – Send a message
/org – See the org structure of a person
/files – See your recent files
/available – Set your status to available
/busy – Set your status to busy
/mentions – Set your status to do not disturb
/activity – See someone’s activity
5. Task tracking and project management: Microsoft Lists and Microsoft To Do
Microsoft includes several task management tools within Microsoft 365 including Planner, Lists, and To-Do.
As the name implies, Microsoft Lists is a way to manage lists. Lists works within the whole Microsoft 365 suite to help people manage and track projects. It can have a bit of a learning curve, so Microsoft has provided pre-built templates to help you get started. A few interesting features include issue tracking for help desks, event itineraries, asset tracking, project planners, and social media calendars.
Microsoft Planner is a project management tool – think Trello from Microsoft. It uses Kanban boards to track and provide information about each task in the project and integrates with To-Do and Tasks in Teams making it simple to see whole projects briefly, and for users to see their own tasks from the different projects they are a part of. Microsoft Planner provides set fields to create your plans and tasks, making it easy to use and easy to understand.
Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Lists have a lot of overlap. It is easier to get started with Planner and is a good tool for most users. Lists provides a lot more flexibility and is likely better for full-time project managers or task automators.
Microsoft To-Do is intended more for personal task tracking. You can still use To-Do to collaborate with colleagues, manage their tasks, and many users love its task scheduler and prioritization tools. Tasks from Planner and Lists that are assigned to you will show up in To Do, so it is another place.
6. Real-Time Office Apps Collaboration
With so many people working from working remotely, it is always great to have new ways to collaborate. Microsoft has added a real-time editing feature to PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.
Like Google Docs, Microsoft 365 gives your team online collaboration to see edits made to documents and files in real-time. You can save your file to a shared drive and have multiple users making changes that update simultaneously, which is gratifyingly convenient for remote workers.
7. Workflow Automation
For the power users out there, Microsoft Power Automate enables workflow automation across all Microsoft 365 services. Flow is the tool used to take advantage of Power Automate and connects to IM alerts, email, files, SharePoint, and other triggers. Microsoft maintains a gallery of examples of flows you can automate to help get you started.
Montra successfully manages thousands of Microsoft 365 users across all our customer instances. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you get the most from 365, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.