Microsoft Teams hidden features

In Teams, you may already be familiar with the basic features; however, several hidden gems can elevate your experience and boost your productivity in the program. This article will uncover the hidden features that can enhance your Microsoft Teams experience. So, whether you are a regular Teams user or just getting started, let’s dive in.

Streamline Your Navigation with Keyboard Shortcuts and Slash Commands

Keyboard shortcuts can save you time by allowing you to perform actions without reaching your mouse. Here are some essential shortcuts you should know:

  • Ctrl + N: Start a new chat
  • Ctrl + E: Access the search bar
  • Ctrl + Shift + M: Mute or unmute your microphone
  • Ctrl + Shift + O: Turn your camera on or off
  • Ctrl + 1/2/3…: Navigate through the app’s sections (e.g., Ctrl + 1 for Activity, Ctrl + 2 for Chat)

Additionally, Teams supports a variety of slash commands that can help you navigate and perform actions even faster. To use a slash command, type a forward slash (/) in the search bar followed by the command. Here are some popular slash commands:

  • /call: Initiate a call with a specific person
  • /files: View your recent files
  • /unread: Show all your unread messages
  • /mentions: Display all your mentions in one place
  • /goto: Navigate directly to a specific channel or team

Experiment with different keyboard shortcuts and slash commands to find the best ones. Remember, the goal is to enhance your Microsoft Teams experience.

Immersive Reader: Enhance Readability and Accessibility

One of the hidden features in Microsoft Teams is the Immersive Reader. Teams introduced this feature to improve accessibility for all users, including those with dyslexia, visual impairments, or other learning disabilities. Let’s explore how this feature can benefit you and your team.

How to enable the immersive reader

  • Firstly, open the Teams app or web browser.
  • Now click on “Teams.”
  • Select a team or channel where you need to view content.
  • Hover over a chat and click “More options,” shown as three dots.
  • Select “Immersive reader” to complete the process.

Customize Text for Better Readability

Immersive Reader provides options for personalizing text appearance, making it easier to read and comprehend. You can:

  • Adjust text size to make it larger or smaller according to your preference.
  • Change the font to one of several dyslexic-friendly options.
  • Modify text spacing to improve readability for users with dyslexia.
  • Customize the background color to reduce eye strain and create a comfortable reading experience.

Read Aloud with Natural Voices

For users who prefer listening to content or have difficulty reading, Immersive Reader offers a Read Aloud feature. It uses natural-sounding voices to read messages aloud, allowing you to:

  • Choose from various voice options and speed settings for a personalized experience.
  • Follow along with the highlighted text as it is read aloud to enhance comprehension.
  • Listen to selected text parts by clicking on a specific word or sentence.

Simplify Text and Focus Mode

Immersive Reader can help declutter your screen and improve concentration by offering:

  • Line Focus: Narrow your focus to a single line, three lines, or five lines of text, reducing visual distractions and making it easier to read
  • Syllables: Break words into syllables to assist with pronunciation and comprehension
  • Parts of Speech: Highlight nouns, verbs, and adjectives in different colors to simplify complex sentences

Translate Messages

Working with a global team? Immersive Reader can translate messages into your preferred language, making communication across languages a breeze. Select the message you want to translate, and the Immersive Reader will do the rest.

By leveraging the power of Immersive Reader, you can create a more inclusive and accessible workspace for all team members, ensuring that everyone stays engaged and informed.

Turn off Notifications for Specific Channels

Microsoft Teams can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the constant influx of messages and notifications. Fortunately, you can mute notifications from specific channels to reduce distractions and stay focused on relevant conversations. Here’s how to customize your notification settings for a more streamlined experience:

Muting a Channel

  1. Navigate to the channel you would like to mute.
  2. Click on the “More options” illustrated by three dots.
  3. Hover over “Channel notifications.”
  4. Select “Off” to complete the process.

Now you won’t receive notifications for any activity in this channel, allowing you to concentrate on more pressing matters.

Customizing Channel Notifications

If you’d prefer to have more control over the types of notifications you receive, you can customize your settings further:

  1. Click on “More options,” illustrated by three dots.
  2. Select “Channel notifications” from the menu.
  3. Now click on “Custom.”
  4. Choose the preferred settings for All new postsReplies, and Channel mentions.
  5. Once you are done, click “Save.”

This way, you can tailor your notifications to suit your needs, ensuring you stay in the loop without being overwhelmed.

Managing Global Notification Settings

You can also manage your overall notification settings across all channels and teams to create an optimal balance between staying informed and maintaining focus:

  1. Select “More options,” shown as three dots at the top.
  2. Select “Settings” from the menu.
  3. Choose “Notifications.”
  4. Adjust the settings for MessagesMentionsMeetings, and Other.

Message Translation

One of the most underrated features is the ability to translate messages received in foreign languages. This can be helpful for organizations that collaborate with global teams, enabling seamless communication across language barriers. Let’s explore how to make use of this feature.

Translating a Message

To translate a message in a chat or channel, follow these simple steps:

  1. Hover over the message you’d like to translate.
  2. Click on the “More options” shown as three dots.
  3. Select “Translate” from the menu.

The translated message will appear in your preferred language, as set in your Teams settings. To revert to the original language, follow the same steps and select See original message.

Tips for Effective Message Translation

While Microsoft Teams’ translation feature is quite powerful, there are a few things to keep in mind for the best results:

  • Keep sentences short and clear: Shorter sentences with simple language are more likely to be translated accurately.
  • Avoid idiomatic expressions: Idioms and slang may not have a direct translation, leading to confusion for the recipient.
  • Use proper punctuation: Proper punctuation helps the translation engine understand the structure of your sentences, resulting in more accurate translations.
  • Review translations: Although the translation feature is quite accurate, reviewing translations for possible errors is always a good idea, especially if the message is critical.

By leveraging the message translation feature in Microsoft Teams, you can effortlessly bridge language gaps and foster effective communication among your global team members.

Background Customization

A professional appearance during video calls is essential for business users. Microsoft Teams offers a range of background customization options that help maintain privacy and add a touch of personalization to your virtual meetings. This section will explore changing your background and enhancing your video conferencing experience.

Pre-Set Backgrounds and Blurring

Microsoft Teams provides several pre-set backgrounds and the option to blur your background, which can be accessed during a video call. To change or blur your background, follow these steps:

  1. Join a video call or start one by clicking on the camera icon.
  2.  Click on“Video effects” in the meeting controls.
  3.  Choose from the pre-set backgrounds or select “Blur” to obscure your background.

Custom Backgrounds

If you want to use a custom image as your background, Microsoft Teams allows you to do so. Here’s how to upload and apply a custom background:

  1. During a video call, click on the “More actions” (…) button in the meeting controls.
  2.  Select “Video Effects.”
  3.  Click on the “Add new”to upload your desired image.
  4.  Browse your computer and select the image file you want to use.
  5.  Click “Open” to upload the image.
  6.  Scroll to the bottom of the background options, select your custom image, and click “Apply.”

Please note that custom background images should be in JPG, PNG, or BMP format and must adhere to Microsoft’s code of conduct to ensure appropriate content.

Mastering Meeting Options and Controls

Microsoft Teams offers various meeting options and controls to help you manage your virtual meetings effectively. This section will explore these features, enabling you to maintain a professional and productive meeting environment.

Customize Meeting Settings

Before starting a meeting, it’s a good idea to fine-tune its settings to suit your needs. To do this:

  1. Go to your Teams calendar and click the New meeting” dropdown.
  2. Here select “Schedule meeting.”
  3. Fill in the necessary details.
  4. Click on “Save.”
  1. Now select the meeting and choose“More options” followed by “Meeting options.”
  2. Here, you can customize various settings, such as who can bypass the lobby, who can present, and more.
  3. Once you’ve made your adjustments, click “Save.”

Pro Tip: You can also access the meeting options during an ongoing meeting by clicking on the ellipsis (…) in the meeting control bar and selecting “Meeting options.”

Control Attendee Video and Audio

As a meeting organizer, you can enable or disable attendee videos and mute participants to minimize distractions.

  • To disable the attendee video, click “Meeting options” and select “No” under Allow attendees to turn on video.
  •  To mute all participants, click the “Participants” tab in the meeting control bar, then select “Mute all.”

Note: You can also mute or ask attendees to start/stop their video by clicking on their name in the participant’s list.

Spotlight a Video

During a presentation or when someone is speaking, you may want to spotlight their video to ensure all attendees are focused on the right person.

  1. Click on the “People” tab in the meeting control bar.
  2. Click on “More options” next to the user you want to spotlight
  3.  Find the person you want to spotlight, click on their name, and select “Spotlight for everyone.”

Manage Breakout Rooms

Read our ultimate guide to using and managing Teams breakout rooms here.

Breakout rooms are a great way to divide meeting attendees into smaller groups for focused discussions or brainstorming sessions. To create and manage breakout rooms:

  1. Click on the “Rooms” icon in the meeting control bar.
  2. Choose the number of rooms you want to create.
  3. Assign participants to rooms either automatically or manually.
  4. To start the breakout sessions, click “Create rooms.”

Remember, mastering these meeting options and controls will make your meetings more organized and efficient and create a more professional atmosphere for your team.

Live Captions and Transcripts

In an increasingly global and diverse business environment, ensuring everyone can effectively participate in meetings is essential. Microsoft Teams offers live captions and transcripts to improve accessibility and comprehension and facilitate post-meeting review.

Enabling Live Captions

Live captions provide real-time, on-screen transcriptions of spoken words during a meeting. To enable live captions, follow these simple steps:

  1. Join a Teams meeting and click on the “More actions” button (three-dot menu) at the top-right corner of the meeting window.
  2. From the dropdown menu, select “Language and speech.”
  3. Finally, click on “Turn on live captions.”

The captions will now appear at the bottom of the screen, transcribing the meeting conversation in real-time.

Note: Live captions are available in multiple languages, so select the appropriate language for your meeting participants.

Accessing and Downloading Transcripts

Microsoft Teams also allows you to access and download transcripts of your meetings. To do so:

  1. After your meeting has concluded, go to the meeting chat or channel where the meeting took place.
  2. Look for the Meeting recording card.
  3. Now click on the “More actions” button (three-dot menu.)
  4. Choose “Download transcript” and save it as a .vtt file.

Important: Transcripts are only available for meetings that have been recorded. To record a meeting, click on the “More actions” button during the meeting and select “Start recording.”

By using live captions and transcripts, you can:

  • Ensure accessibility for participants with hearing impairments or language barriers
  • Improve comprehension for attendees in noisy environments
  • Facilitate post-meeting review and documentation

With these features, Microsoft Teams helps to create a more inclusive and efficient meeting experience for all users.


In conclusion, hidden features in Teams can significantly improve business users’ productivity, organization, and collaboration. By leveraging these functions, you can unlock the full potential of Teams and create a more efficient workspace.

Don’t hesitate to explore and experiment with these features, as they can transform your day-to-day work experience. If you need more help, you can contact our team anytime; we will be happy to help.

Saajid Gangat

Saajid Gangat has been a researcher and content writer at Business Tech Planet since 2021. Saajid is a tech-savvy writer with expertise in web and graphic design and has extensive knowledge of Microsoft 365, Adobe, Shopify, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and more! You can connect with Saajid on Linkedin.

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