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Using the Microsoft Teams Command Bar

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Top Tips for the Microsoft Teams Command Bar

As we reach a transformational point in the use of productivity and workstream collaboration (WSC) apps across all types of businesses, it is increasingly important to understand the features these collaboration apps make available. As the competition between collab apps heats up, competitive features to help increase productivity are surfacing at a faster rate – more Slack integration offerings, better Microsoft Teams notifications, and the the Microsoft Teams Command Bar.

The wave of collaboration applications is officially upon us, and according to Nemertes Research, workers can gain 7.8 hours of weekly productivity using collaboration apps. And if you aren’t drinking the WSC Kool-Aid, you will be soon. Gartner predicts that by year-end 2022, 70% of teams will rely on workstream collaboration as the primary means of communicating, coordinating and sharing information between team members, displacing email. So how can you tap into improving team efficiency?

To Start: What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams Command Bar

Microsoft Teams is a workstream collaboration app which is redefining the category by adding in UC (unified communications) as a key modality. As a core component of Office 365, Teams allows users to communicate with employees, partners, clients, and more, regardless of location. It provides a common work space to share information and has baked-in features like document sharing, personal messaging, team and group chats, etc.

What’s more, Microsoft Teams also comes fully integrated with other Office 365 productivity tools such as Skype for Business, SharePoint, Exchange, and Yammer, making it the one-stop software for all your communication and collaboration needs.

Quick Rundown: Microsoft Teams Command Bar

According to Microsoft, the command bar was designed with four key functions in mind: Multi-tasking, taking quick actions, querying for data, and being extensible to other apps. It allows you to start tasks without losing context, navigate to different features of Teams to get things done in fewer steps, and allows you to search for and access data with your fingertips. The ability for developers to extend the command functions to work for second and third party apps makes the command bar customizable to each organization.

So how does the Microsoft Teams command bar work?

Command Bar Categories

Microsoft Teams Command Bar with default commands

The Microsoft Teams command bar can help in multi-tasking, navigation, and search in three different ways. To master the command bar, you’ll need to master the slash (/), @-command, and search.

  • Slash commands (/) – This allows you to complete common tasks from keyboard. By entering the slash into the command bar, you can see some of the most common commands available. As Microsoft continues to develop the command bar, more and more commands will be made available. You can see a regularly updated list of available commands here.
  • @ Command – You can use the @ command to find a specific person using Microsoft Teams within your organization, or by typing @app_name you can share info with your team, so long as admin has granted access to these apps.
  • Search – By simply typing in the command bar, you can search location, people, and information such as messages and stored files.

Shortcuts vs Commands

The Microsoft Teams command bar serves as a place to take actions within the app, but also offers the ability to use keyboard shortcuts for navigation, messaging, meetings, calls and more. You can read more about how to master Microsoft Teams shortcuts in an upcoming Unify Square post.

Top 5 Favorite Actions to Take with the Microsoft Teams Command Bar

There are several key actions you can take with the command bar that will help improve your productivity and make you a Microsoft Teams pro. Our top actions include:

  • Presence: You can set your presence simply by going to teams, typing the slash followed by available, away, and busy. A personal favorite is to set /dnd (do not disturb) when it’s time to get heads down on a complex project.
  • Opening a specific team or channel: Using the /goto command, you can type a specific team or channel name, and Teams will automatically go to it. This can be useful for users who are a part of a lot of different work groups and find their list of teams long.
  • Unread activity: Typing /unread will open up your activity feed and filter all your unread messages.
  • File lookup: Odds are, you’re working on a handful of documents at any given time, but remembering the specific names of all those files is nearly impossible! You can use /files to pull up your recent files, and if you need to get a little more specific you can also begin typing a keyword in the file to help dig up the perfect one.
  • Make a call: Opening a chat and starting a call is one way to begin a meeting with someone, but if you haven’t had a conversation with them in a while, they might not be on the top of your recent chat list. To quickly start a call type /call and the person’s name to launch an audio call. You can also use the /chat feature to open up your chat with that person.

One thing to note is while these commands can make you a power desktop user, the command bar is not available on mobile. The good news is that you can still perform search while using a mobile device.

If you’re getting ready to pilot or deploy Microsoft Teams but need an expert to guide you through it, check out our Managed Services for Microsoft Teams.

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