Posted on 11 November 2021

The latest Microsoft Teams updates: Autumn 2021

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A number of Microsoft Teams updates have been released in recent months, continuing to enhance the collaboration platform for its users. We’ve summarised the latest features, and the ways they could help you and your business below.

Reply to a specific message in Teams chats

In a Teams chat, you can now reply to a specific message. To do this, hover over the message you want to reply to and select ‘more options’ then ‘reply’. A preview of the message you’re replying to will appear in the box where you type your response, helping everyone in the chat to understand the context of your message. Quoted replies will be available in 1:1, Group, and Meeting chats.

Lock a meeting once it has started

The meeting host can now lock a meeting and prevent additional attendees from joining once a meeting has started. To do this, select the ‘Participants’ icon and then click ‘Lock the meeting’.

Spotlight multiple participants during a meeting

You can now spotlight multiple participants (up to a maximum of 7 participants simultaneously) during a meeting, meaning you can control what each attendee is seeing. Previously you could only spotlight one participant at a time, so this update should help make group presentations more seamless, avoiding switching between spotlighting speakers.

Pin multiple participants during a meeting

Using the pin feature allows you to put the focus on a participant in your view of the meeting only. You can now pin multiple participants (up to a maximum of 9 participants simultaneously) to the screen who will become the focus in your view, regardless of who is speaking.

Use PowerPoint Live in Teams to share your presentation slides

Instead of sharing you PowerPoint slides from your desktop, you can now share your slides directly from Teams using PowerPoint Live. This is a useful new feature where you can see everything happening in one place. Whilst viewing your presentation content and upcoming slides, you can also see the reaction of your audience, as well as being able to access the chat from your meeting or call.

You can access PowerPoint Live after clicking on ‘Share Content’.

New default settings when opening Office documents in Teams

This new feature means you can have better control over how you open your Office documents (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) when collaborating on documents or sharing your screen in Teams. You can choose to open a document in either Teams, your Desktop app, or your Browser. The option to open in the Office desktop apps is only available for users who have Office version 16 or newer installed and activated.

New layout styles for Presenter mode

2 new presenter modes are available when sharing your desktop and window in the Teams desktop app, helping to make virtual presentations more immersive and engaging for meeting participants.

  • Reporter mode places your content (e.g. presentation slides) as a visual aid above your shoulder, appearing like a news story.
  • Side-by-side mode allows you to display your video feed next to your content.

The presenter mode options appear when you click on ‘share content’.

Starting recording and live transcript simultaneously

When recording a meeting, Teams will now automatically start live transcription, recording a transcript of the meeting for you to access at a later date through the ‘Recordings & Transcripts’ tab of your meeting details. For this to work, ‘Allow Transcription’ and ‘Allow cloud recording policies’ need to be turned on in settings.

Teams’ meetings now available on Apple CarPlay

Apple users can now join Microsoft Teams meetings and calls though Apple CarPlay. A Teams icon is available on your Apple CarPlay screen, and you can use voice command through Siri to join a meeting hands-free when driving, as well as sending messages or making a call. This feature only supports audio mode.

All-New Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams

The Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams has been completely rebuilt to provide a rich visual collaborative workspace. It includes more than 40 new customisable templates, ability to insert images and shapes, and 8 new reactions. Insert documents such as PowerPoint presentations and annotate with 15 new pen and highlighter colours to use together and bring your ideas to life.

Breakout room pre-meeting room creation and participant assignment

Organisers can now perform breakout room configurations and participant assignment tasks before the meeting starts via Teams desktop app. You can create multiple rooms at once, add or delete individual rooms, configure meeting options, adjust session settings like the timer, and pre-assign participants via both manual and automatic assignment options.

Chat supervisors can delete messages

This feature, designed with our Teams for Education users in mind, allows chat supervisors to delete messages in a Teams chat. This can help if inappropriate, off-topic, or other messages are posted that shouldn’t be.

For more information on Teams or Office 365 solutions for your business, get in touch today at [email protected]