Microsoft Teams is a powerful productivity and collaboration tool that your business is likely already using, but are you getting the maximum value possible out of this Microsoft 365 app?
There are quite a few productivity tools and shortcuts within Microsoft Teams that most regular users don’t know about. But with just a little exploring, your employees and coworkers can greatly increase their efficiency within Teams.
One of the greatest “hidden” features within Teams is the Search Bar Commands. On the surface, it looks like any other search tool, a place to go when you aren’t sure where something is. But with Search Bar Commands, the Search Bar becomes a powerful portal to finding content AND taking numerous actions — all without losing your place within the Teams app.
Microsoft Teams Search Bar Commands: What They Are
If you’ve worked with Teams much at all yet, you know that the program has many different functions. You can access most of these functions with the tabs or buttons along the left side of the app. Even still, Teams environments can get complex, and it can be easy to become lost or disoriented when switching between Teams or app areas.
Search Bar Commands are a way to avoid some of that confusion — and to work more quickly.
To begin a Search Bar Command, simply click in the Search Bar and type the forward slash key (that’s this one: / ). Doing so will bring up a long list of commands you can type. For example, you could quickly set your status to available or away, using /available or /away.
You can launch a brand-new call or chat with someone without navigating away from what you’re doing, too, with /call and /chat.
Go ahead and try it now. You might be surprised by the number of functions you can access in this way.
Of course, you can access many of them another way. But being able to do so from the search bar can save you time and keep you focused on your current primary Teams task.
When You Might Want to Use Search Bar Commands
One of the best things about Teams is also one of its weaknesses: it can do so many things. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always toggle between those things so elegantly.
Say you’re deep into one of your Teams, collaborating on a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation. Teams allows you to open files shared within a Team directly in the Teams application. You and your colleagues can all simultaneously add to and edit a Word document.
But let’s say you’re in the middle of those edits and you need to reach out to a single colleague via chat for a clarification.
You could click over to the Chat tab and have your conversation. But when you switch back to the Teams tab? You’re probably not going to drop right back into your document. You’ll have to choose the right Team, then the right Channel on that Team, then reopen the document, find your place, and finally resume working.
By using a Teams Search Bar command, you can avoid all the navigation and just quickly send your message. Use /chat or even @[username] to send a simple message directly from the Search Bar. Or, for a more complex interaction, use /pop and then select a person to pop out that chat history into a separate window. Your main Teams window is unaffected, leaving you to continue editing in one window while you chat in another.
Search Bar Commands in Microsoft Teams are a powerful way to get more done faster and with better focus. Try adding just one or two to your workflow to get started. You can add more as you feel more comfortable.
Keep Improving Productivity with Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are another way to massively improve your speed and efficiency in Microsoft Teams. No matter what you’re doing, you can probably find a keyboard shortcut or two to speed it up.
These can get overwhelming quickly, so again, our advice is to add them in slowly. Pick two or three to add to your routine, and then add more once those feel like second nature.
Wherever you are in Teams, ctrl+period (or command+period on Mac) will show you a list of relevant keyboard shortcuts.
Here are a few that are really useful:
- Ctrl+E will jump to your Search Bar
- Ctrl+equals sign will zoom in
- Ctrl+minus sign zooms out
- Ctrl+n opens a new chat
And that’s just the beginning. See the full list from Microsoft for more.
Microsoft Teams is already a great application, but by adding in Search Bar Commands and keyboard shortcuts, you can take your Teams usage to the next level.