July 1, 2022

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The ten greatest new Microsoft Groups assembly options

Over the previous yr or so, Microsoft has added a number of latest capabilities to Groups, its chat and videoconferencing hub, targeted on enhancing video conferences with co-workers and different colleagues. Here is a rundown of the important thing new options to know and use them.

Be aware that this information refers back to the Microsoft Groups desktop app for Home windows and macOS included with Microsoft 365/Workplace 365 enterprise and training subscriptions. A few of these options aren’t supplied within the internet or cellular apps or in client variations of Groups, together with the free model.

1. Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms are principally mini-meeting rooms which can be related to a bigger assembly. Every breakout room has a lot of the ordinary assembly options together with participant audio and video feeds, a chat pane, and screen-sharing capabilities.

You probably have a small staff that should converse and current in a gathering, they may profit from prepping and conferring with one another in a separate breakout room whereas the primary assembly is going down. In one other state of affairs, you could possibly put all assembly contributors into breakout rooms to facilitate small-group discussions earlier than bringing all people again to the primary assembly.

microsoft teams 01 breakout rooms Microsoft

Breakout rooms allow small-group discussions aside from a bigger Groups assembly. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

To arrange breakout rooms, you should be a gathering organizer or a presenter with breakout room supervisor privileges. Throughout a gathering, you possibly can entry this function by clicking the Breakout rooms icon (a smaller sq. on high of a bigger sq.) on the higher proper of the assembly window. This can open a panel the place you possibly can create a number of breakout rooms and both manually assign individuals within the assembly to them or have the assignments made mechanically.

Alternatively, you possibly can arrange breakout rooms earlier than a gathering by opening the assembly invite in Groups and deciding on Breakout rooms > Create rooms.

Breakout room managers also can rename breakout rooms, set closing dates for breakout classes, enter and depart varied breakout rooms, ship bulletins to breakout rooms, and extra. For particulars, see Microsoft’s assist web page on establishing and managing breakout rooms.

2. Improved whiteboard

Groups has lengthy built-in with Microsoft’s Whiteboard app in order that assembly contributors can collaborate on a shared digital whiteboard in actual time. Staff members can add textual content, photographs, diagrams, notes, sketches, and extra to a board. The not too long ago revamped model of this app provides a number of enhancements together with greater than 40 new templates, the flexibility to insert photographs and paperwork, response icons, and quite a few inking device enhancements.

microsoft teams 02 whiteboard Microsoft

The Microsoft Whiteboard has an overhauled interface and new capabilities. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

To launch the Whiteboard app whereas in a gathering: On the higher proper of the assembly window, click on the Share content material (up arrow) icon. On the panel that opens, click on Microsoft Whiteboard.

Exterior of a gathering, you possibly can add the Whiteboard app to any of your Groups channels. (It may be helpful to work on a whiteboard earlier than or after a gathering.) Open the channel and click on the + icon on the high of the channel. On the “Add a tab” pane that opens, click on the Whiteboard icon. One other pane will open the place you sort in a reputation for the whiteboard. Click on the Save button on the decrease proper, and your new whiteboard will likely be added to this channel.

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It’s also possible to add a whiteboard to a chat. Open the chat. Whiteboard could already be listed as a tab alongside the highest of the chat window. (Or chances are you’ll have to click on Extra to open a small menu that lists Whiteboard on it.) If Whiteboard is listed as a tab, click on it to launch the Whiteboard app within the chat. If it isn’t listed wherever alongside the highest of your chat, then click on the + icon and observe the identical steps above for including a whiteboard to a channel.

3. Reside transcription

Groups has lengthy supplied textual content transcripts of recorded conferences after the conferences are over. One other helpful longtime function is AI-driven textual content captioning that reveals what assembly contributors are saying in actual time. A more moderen reside transcription functionality combines these two options, providing a Transcript sidebar that reveals the whole lot that’s been stated in a gathering, full with speaker attribution.

microsoft teams 03 live transcription Microsoft

A reside assembly transcript will help contributors sustain with the whole lot that’s been stated in a gathering. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

Reside transcriptions will help those that can’t hear nicely or who aren’t fully fluent within the language being spoken within the assembly. And anybody who arrives late to a gathering or is momentarily distracted can rapidly catch up by scrolling again by way of the Transcript sidebar. The entire transcript is obtainable after the assembly is over for invitees who missed the assembly or contributors who wish to overview what was stated.

To start out reside transcription in a gathering, click on the three-dot Extra actions icon on the higher proper of the assembly window, and from the menu that opens, click on Begin transcription. Assembly contributors will see a notification saying that the assembly is being transcribed.

Alternatively, in the event you file a gathering (click on the Extra actions icon and choose Begin recording), reside transcription is mechanically turned on on the similar time. Assembly contributors will see a notification saying that the assembly is being recorded and transcribed.

Groups at present helps reside transcription in 28 languages. If everybody within the assembly is talking a language apart from English, you possibly can change the transcribed textual content to the one which they’re talking. Click on the three-dot icon on the high of the Transcript sidebar, choose Change spoken language, choose a unique language, and click on Verify.

After the assembly, the transcript will likely be accessible for obtain within the assembly occasion on the calendar.

Reside transcription should be allowed by your Groups admin. For extra particulars, see Microsoft’s assist web page on reside transcriptions in Groups.

4. Spotlighting individuals

Assembly organizers and presenters can “highlight” sure assembly contributors — for example, at an all-company assembly the place a number of leaders are regularly known as on. If you highlight somebody, their video feed is displayed prominently within the assembly window for all contributors, principally pinning it in a distinguished place onscreen. As much as seven individuals may be spotlighted at a time.

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microsoft teams 04 spotlight Microsoft

You’ll be able to highlight sure contributors for everybody within the assembly. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

To highlight somebody, right-click on the particular person’s video (or your personal) and choose Highlight from the menu that opens. (If the video of no less than one different particular person has already been spotlighted, this selection will say Add highlight.)

Alternatively, you possibly can choose the Present contributors icon (with two individuals on it) on the high of the display screen to see an inventory of each particular person within the assembly. Proper-click on an individual’s identify and choose Highlight from the menu that opens.

To take away an individual from a highlight, right-click on their video and choose Cease spotlighting from the menu that opens. You’ll be able to cease spotlighting everybody within the Present contributors listing.

Be aware that the Highlight function is not accessible in case your view of everybody’s video feeds is about to “Giant gallery” or “Collectively” mode. Additionally, in case your assembly is being recorded, an individual’s spotlighted video will not seem as spotlighted within the ultimate recording.

5. PowerPoint grid view and extra

There’s an improved technique to current a PowerPoint doc in a gathering, the place you possibly can present particular slides and never need to flip by way of all of them. On the higher proper of the assembly window, click on the Share content material (up arrow) icon. On the panel that opens, scroll to the “PowerPoint Reside” part and click on Browse OneDrive or Browse my pc, whichever has the PowerPoint doc that you just wish to current.

After the PowerPoint doc is loaded, you’ll see the slide that’s being offered to assembly contributors in the primary space of your display screen, with a strip of thumbnails for different slides alongside the underside of the window. You’ll be able to click on any thumbnail to go on to that slide.

Beneath the slide that’s being offered, there’s a Grid view icon (with a number of squares). Click on this icon or press the “G” key, and the slide thumbnails will likely be organized in a grid. You’ll be able to click on certainly one of these thumbnails to current it for individuals within the assembly to see.

Assembly contributors watching a PowerPoint Reside presentation in Groups have a Grid view icon as nicely; they will use it to leap to any slide within the deck after which click on the Sync to Presenter icon to return to the slide being offered.

For extra particulars on grid view and PowerPoint Reside, see Microsoft’s assist web page on sharing PowerPoint slides in a Groups assembly.

Additionally new is the flexibility to cease presenting a PowerPoint deck after which choose up the place you left off later in the identical assembly — helpful for if you wish to break up a protracted presentation with a unique presenter or exercise.

6. Presenter mode

This function brings collectively your video feed and the doc or picture you’re presenting to others within the assembly to see in certainly one of 3 ways:

  • Standout removes the background behind you and replaces it with the content material you’re presenting.
  • Reporter locations the content material above your proper shoulder in a format like what you see on the TV information when an anchorperson is onscreen.
  • Facet-by-side is solely your video feed and the content material you’re presenting set subsequent to at least one one other.
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microsoft teams 06 presenter mode reporter Microsoft

Presenter mode combines your video feed with the content material you’re presenting.

On the higher proper of the assembly window, click on the Share content material (up arrow) icon. Underneath the “Presenter mode” heading on the high of the panel that opens, click on the icon in your most well-liked presenter mode.

To start out your presentation, select an merchandise below both “Display screen” or “Window” within the panel. (Presenter mode doesn’t at present work with PowerPoint displays, although Microsoft says that functionality is coming sooner or later.)

For extra particulars, see Microsoft’s assist web page on utilizing presenter modes.

7. Content material from digicam

This function enhances the picture of an object in your room, equivalent to a whiteboard, guide, or paper doc, so that individuals in your assembly can see it extra clearly. It additionally features a particular impact to make you seem barely clear when your physique, arm, or hand is in entrance of the whiteboard or different object or over the doc.

microsoft teams 07 content from camera Microsoft

Use the “Content material from digicam” function to sharpen whiteboards or different written materials.

On the higher proper of the assembly window, click on the Share content material (up arrow) icon. On the panel that opens, click on Content material from digicam and select Whiteboard, Doc, or Video. (Video is for displaying product demos or different reside motion.) In a preview window, you’ll be instructed to level your gadget’s digicam or a linked exterior digicam on the whiteboard or doc. When your whiteboard or doc comes into focus, this function will improve the legibility of the phrases and pictures on it. You’ll be able to then click on the Share button to current it to individuals in your assembly.

For extra particulars, see Microsoft’s assist web page on sharing whiteboards and paperwork by way of your digicam.

8. Name high quality monitor

If the audio or video of your assembly is spotty or missing, you possibly can examine on what will be the trigger. On the high of your name window, click on the three-dot Extra actions icon. From the menu that opens, click on Name well being. A sidebar will seem alongside the precise displaying the technical statuses of your community, audio, video, and display screen sharing. For particulars on learn the decision well being stats, see Microsoft’s assist web page on monitoring name and assembly high quality in Groups.

9. Keyboard shortcuts for digital hand elevating

Groups’ “elevate hand” function lets assembly contributors sign to the host that they’ve a query or remark with out interrupting the speaker. In 2021, Microsoft added a keyboard shortcut to make this faster.

To boost or decrease your hand and see who else has theirs raised, press Ctrl-Shift-Ok on Home windows or ⌘-Shift-Ok on macOS. To have your display screen reader learn aloud an inventory of others who’re elevating their hand, click on Ctrl-Shift-L on Home windows or ⌘-Shift-L on macOS. (See extra Microsoft Groups keyboard shortcuts.)

10. Assembly recaps

After a gathering ends, you will discover a abstract of it within the chat group that’s mechanically created for the assembly. Within the left sidebar of the Groups app, click on the Chat icon. Within the second column, search for the title of the completed assembly and click on it.

The recap window contains the chat textual content, notes taken, and information shared through the assembly, in addition to a video recording and transcription in the event that they have been created. In case you’re the organizer of the assembly, an attendance report will even be included; it may be downloaded as a .csv file.

microsoft teams 10 recap meeting Microsoft

Groups assembly recaps embrace assembly notes, recordings, transcripts, information shared, and extra after a gathering. (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

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