What do the symbols mean in Microsoft Teams chat?

Symbols are a great way to identify functions without the need for labels. However, some users may not be able to understand the symbols properly and may be confused about what they mean. So in this guide, I will show you what each symbol means in Microsoft Teams.

Presence/Status symbols
Seen/Sent symbols
Compose box symbols
Chat symbols
  • Availability Symbols: Availability symbols allow users to monitor the status of other users in the organization. This is a fantastic way to know if a user is free to communicate with you or if they are busy with other tasks. Each color represents a user’s status; the green status symbol means the user is available for communication. The red status symbol, however, shows that the user is not available for communication because they are busy. The orange symbol represents that the user is away, and therefore we may not be able to communicate with you. 
  • Seen/Sent symbols: Microsoft implemented these symbols to allow users to see whether someone has viewed their message and whether the message has been sent. In this example, the tiny tick represents the message sent, and the small eye symbols show that the user has also seen the message.
  • Compose box symbols: This section incorporates a lot of symbols to allow users to compose messages in the best possible manner. I will show you what each of the symbols represents in this section and how you can effectively construct a message in Microsoft Teams using those symbols.
  • Symbols on chats: Some symbols in the chat section of Microsoft Teams that users may not understand. The small camera icon represents that you can have a video call with someone and the phone icon represents that you can have a voice call with someone. The small arrow symbol pointing toward the right shows that you can expand the chat tab.

Each symbol serves its purpose in the Microsoft Teams program; I highly recommend that you go through each of the symbols to better understand how to use the Microsoft Teams program and the various symbols.

We’ve also created a video to help explain what each symbol means:

Presence/Status symbols

The symbolThe statusWhat the symbol means
AvailableIf you have this status next to your profile picture, it shows you are available for communication. Another user may be able to call you or drop a message, and you will be able to receive it and respond to the message if needed.
BusyThis status shows you are busy and cannot be interrupted when you have this status enabled. This generally occurs if you are in a task that involves no external communication, such as an exam or a private meeting.
Be right backThe status symbol shows that you are in the office but are currently unavailable.
Do not disturbThis status symbol shows that you are engaged in an important task and cannot be disturbed. If you try to send a message or call someone with this status enabled, you may not receive a reply or get your calls answered.

This status symbol is similar to the one used for the status representing that you are busy. However, this status symbol includes a white dash in the center of the symbol to distinguish a difference.
Appear awayThis symbol is generally used by Microsoft Teams users who are active on the program. However, they cannot or maybe do not want to respond to messages. This shows users that while you may be active on Microsoft Teams, you may not be able to respond to anyone’s conversations.

Many users may use this feature if they are engaged in another Microsoft Teams task. This excludes meetings as there is a separate symbol used for this task.
Appear offlineIf you want to show users that you are no longer online or you do not wish to respond to messages, you can use this symbol. This is an excellent way to show users who send the message that they may not be able to receive a reply. Microsoft Teams will use this symbol if you are offline.
DurationYou need to click on this symbol to assign a status you want to apply to your program; you can also set a duration for the symbol. You can change the duration if you want to change your status symbol. I will show you a guide on how you can do this below.
Reset statusYou can choose this option if you want to use the Microsoft Teams default availability status. If you have applied a custom status to your Microsoft Teams program, it will remove them and restore it to the default.

These are all the availability status symbols that Microsoft Teams will use to help other users distinguish whether you are available or not. Each status symbol in Microsoft Teams identifies your availability on the program and duration set so users can be aware that you may not be available for a long time.

How to change the duration of your status in Teams

If you want to apply a different status symbol to the one you currently have on your Microsoft Teams program, you can do so using these steps. You can also set a duration for the status symbol so it automatically reverts to the default after a certain time. Follow the steps below to better understand how you can complete this.

  • Firstly, open Teams.
  • Click on your profile picture.
  • Click on the dropdown next to your current status.
  • Select Duration.”
  • Choose a status.
  • Now choose a duration for the status.
  • Click on “Done” to complete the process.

Now users will follow up on the current status symbol that you have set on your Microsoft Teams program using these steps. You can return to this section anytime and change their status or the duration of the status if you require its use. The changes that you apply here will be set in place immediately.

Seen/Sent symbols

If you are wondering what the status of a message you sent in Microsoft Teams is, you can use the sent and seen symbols provided by Microsoft to help visualize the status of the message. Once the user has seen your “sent or seen” message status, they will immediately recognize whether the message they have sent has been read or not. While you can manipulate the availability section in Microsoft Teams to a status you may not currently use, these cannot be overridden.

The sent symbol, as shown above, is a hollow circle with a tick in the center. It indicates that the recipient has received the message you sent. However, the recipient has not yet viewed your message in the Microsoft Teams program. Suppose you see that the availability status of the recipient is set to available, and the messages have not been viewed. In that case, they may have chosen not to open the message or be engaged in another task while Microsoft Teams is open.

info Note:

Meetings automatically expire: Toggle “off” to stop new recorded meetings from expiring.
Default expiration time: The value is in days, and you can set it to between 1 and 99999.

This symbol representing small eyes shows that a user who has received your message has also seen it. This is a good way to see whether a user has engaged with your Microsoft Teams message or not. This symbol, similar to the previous one, cannot be overridden by Microsoft Teams users. Teams will immediately inform you that the user with this symbol has viewed the message as soon as the user has read the message.

Compose box symbols

If you have composed a message in Microsoft Teams, you can use these symbols to improve the quality of your message. Whether you want to add an emoji or an image to a meeting message, you can do so using these symbols. When you send a chat to another user, you will see these in the compose box of the chat.

The symbolThe compose toolMeaning of the tool
FormatThe format tool allows you to expand the formatting tools to help apply custom text formats such as Bold or Italics.
Set delivery optionsIf you have custom delivery requests, such as a message needed to be sent urgently to someone, you can use this option. Currently, there are three options. Those options are:

Standard: This is when you will send a message as usual.
Important: This is when a message is essential and needs to be attended to.
Urgent: This delivery option prioritizes the message and even sends the recipient a notification chime or banner every 2 minutes for 20 minutes. This option will not apply if the user is busy or cannot take messages due to absence.
Attach filesYou can use this option if you need to attach a file or image to the message. Currently, the only two places for upload are from OneDrive and your local desktop.
Loop componentsIf you want to send a message using an inline format, you can use this option. Upon selection, you will have the opportunity to send the message as a numbered list or a bulleted list.
EmojiThis one is pretty simple; if you want to send a visual form of expression, you can select the emoji option. You can then choose your emoji of choice and then send it.
GiphyYou can choose this option if you want to send an animated image to another user. Animated images are an excellent way to add some dynamic visual properties to a message you send.
StickersSimilar to Gipps’s, you can also send stickers that can visualize forms of emotion. However, unlike the Gif options, the stickers are stagnant animations that don’t move.
Schedule a meetingThis option will send you directly to the “Schedule a meeting” page, where you can schedule a meeting with the user in question or add other users if needed.
StreamIf you have a link from Microsoft Stream, you can paste it here, and it will stream the content to the message inbox of the other user. This feature implements the use of a third-party tool to help apply the content.
PraiseIf someone in your group has done some excellent work or you are happy with a response from the other user, you can send them praise by selecting this option. Simply click on the opportunity, choose a badge, add a name, and click on “Send.”
ApprovalsThis uses the approval app to send an approval from the chat; if you need to request time off, you can use this option to set an approval. Simply add your name, put in a request, and then send your authorization.
Viva learningIf you have a link to a Viva learning course, you can send it by clicking on this option and then adding the link. Then click on “Send” to send the link.
FormsThis option will allow you to send a form to another user in a Microsoft Teams chat. By clicking on this option, you will open the Forms app. Here, you will be able to input the form data sets, such as the form title and the questions that will be part of the form. Once you have finished the form, you can click on the “Send” option, which will send the form to the user. 

These are all the symbols that Microsoft Teams includes inside the compose section. When you compose a message in Teams, you can use these tools to help construct your message.

Symbols on chats

When you open a chat message in Microsoft Teams, you will notice some symbols on the top right side of the display. Some users want to know what these symbols do and how they can use them when using the Teams program.

The symbolThe featureWhat the feature does
Voice and Video callYou can use these options if you want to start a video or voice call with another user. When you click on these options, it will automatically call the other user, and you can converse with them regarding certain matters.
Screen shareIf you have something important you need to share with users in a video call, you can share your screen directly with this option. By clicking on this button, you will then be able to share your screen in Microsoft Teams.
Add usersIf you want to turn a chat into a group chat, you can do so by adding other members to this chat. Sometimes this may be more common if you want to share it with multiple users.
Expand tabIf you find the chat area too small and have too many elements blocking your view, you can expand the tub and minimize all that content. Content includes any additional tabs you have opened, but it will not remove the side menu.


Thank you for reading our content on what each symbol means in Microsoft Teams. We have provided a guide on each of the symbols that are illustrated by Microsoft Teams and what they do in the program. If you require further assistance with the steps, drop a comment below, and we will address them.

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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