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Ultimate Guide to Chat in Microsoft Teams, and 9 Tips to Become a Pro

Learn all about Chat in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular Workstream Collaboration apps available right now. Its sophisticated and streamlined interface is very popular with the masses. And organizations use Microsoft Teams to go beyond just video meetings for this exact reason.

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Collaborating with team members is as easy as a pie in Microsoft Teams with various ways to chat. Whether you want to chat with your whole team, a smaller group, or have a private chat with someone, you can do it all with Microsoft Teams.

How to Chat Privately in Microsoft Teams

To have private 1:1 or group chats with your organization members, click on the ‘New Chat’ icon to the left of the Command Bar. The New Chat icon can be accessed no matter where you are in Microsoft Teams, i.e. you don’t have to go to the ‘Chat’ tab to start a new chat.

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The ‘New Chat’ screen will open. Type the name of people you wish to start the chat with in the ‘To’ section on the top. Then type your message in the message box below and send it.

A new chat will start with the recipients. You can access active chats at any time from the ‘Chat’ tab on the left navigation bar. Go to Chat from the left and all your previous Chats will be listed. Click on any thread to open it and start chatting.


How to Chat in a Channel in Microsoft Teams

Teams are made up of Channels that are dedicated places for different projects, departments, or topics that the team works on. Channels can either have all or some team members based on their creation. If you need to talk with all your team members, the Channel is the best place to do so. All Channels have the ‘Posts’ tab in them. This is where conversations happen.

Click on ‘Teams’ on the navigation bar on the left. All your Teams will appear with Channels listed underneath it. Go to the Channel you want to chat in.

By default, the ‘Posts’ tab will open. Go to the bottom of the screen. Type your message in the message box to start a new conversation.


9 Tips for an Enhanced Chat Experience in Microsoft Teams

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Chat is central to the Microsoft Teams experience for users. But Chat is not just an exchange of written messages in Microsoft Teams. It offers so much more. Become a pro and get more things accomplished by just chatting in Microsoft Teams with the following tips and tricks.

Use the Command Bar to Speed Things Up

Command Bar in Microsoft Teams isn’t a tchotchke. It’s there to make your life easier and you should definitely use it to its full potential. There are a few ways you can use the Command Bar to speed things up while chatting.

  • Find or Start a Chat from the Command Bar: Type the name of the person in the command bar with whom you want to chat. Their name and any group chats you both are a part of will appear. Click on their name to go to your 1:1 chat with them; if you have never had a 1:1 chat with them before, it will start a new chat. Or, select the group to resume chatting there.
  • Directly Send Messages from the Command Bar using the ‘/chat’ command: Command Bar is, first and foremost, a command bar. And it would be an awful waste to not use these commands, especially since they can save you a lot of time. If you just want to send a quick message to another person, do it straight from the command bar and save yourselves a couple of clicks. Type /chat in the command bar, follow it up with a space, then enter the person’s name and finally the message you want to send them.
  • Search for any old messages using the Command Bar: If you want to find any old messages, Command Bar is at your service again. Enter a keyword from the message you are trying to find and press the enter key. It will list all your messages containing that keyword. You can even use filters to execute a dedicated search based on Team, date, attachments, etc.

Press ‘Shift + Enter’ to Start a New Line

In Microsoft Teams, whether you are chatting in a private chat or a channel conversation, there’s something so annoying that it makes you want to stick your head in an oven sometimes. We’re talking about the barbarism of the ‘Enter’ key. While typing your message, pressing the ‘Enter’ key sends your message whereas all you were trying to do was insert a line break to make it easily readable.

And let’s be real. These are professional messages and it doesn’t look cute, like it might on your WhatsApp chats, to bombard the other person with strings of texts to convey a single message. But you also don’t want to send a very long single-spaced paragraph to the other person. So what to do?

When in this situation, remember that ‘Shift + Enter’ key instead of the plain old Enter key starts a new line in the same message without sending it.


Use ‘@’ Mentions and Replies to Keep Things Organized in Channel Conversations

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Channels may look like large group chats, but they don’t have to be as chaotic as group chats sometimes tend to get. When you are posting something on a channel, you are posting it for everyone to see. But if there’s a particular person whose attention the message needs, you can mention them using ‘@’ and the person will get a notification. Thus, ensuring that your message doesn’t get lost in the sea of messages on the channel.

When you are chatting in a channel, it is also a good practice to reply to the previous message while continuing the conversation. Doing so essentially creates a thread of the conversation and makes it easier for everyone to follow it. Click on the ‘Reply’ option below the original post to use this feature.


Prioritise Important Messages

In Private chats, you can set delivery options for important messages. Click on the ‘Set Delivery Options’ button (‘!’ symbol) underneath the message box and select from the options available. By default, the delivery option for all messages is ‘Standard’. But they can be changed to ‘Important’ and ‘Urgent’ as per your needs.

Note: Delivery options can only be changed for messages in Private Chats and not Channel conversations.


Format Your Messages for a Greater Impact

Whether you are chatting privately or on a channel, Microsoft Teams offers the feature to format your messages. So, save everyone from the plight of long, boring messages and use the formatting options to add some zest to them. Click on the ‘Format’ icon (A with a paintbrush) below the message box to open the formatting options and italicize, bold, underline, and do much more with your messages.


Delete Already Sent Messages

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You can also delete messages already sent in private chats as well as a channel in Teams. To delete a message, hover on it. A string of emojis will appear. Click on the ‘More’ option (three dots) at the end and select ‘Delete’ from the pop-up menu. This will delete the message from the recipient’s end too.


Share Your Screen In a Chat

Screen sharing during a meeting is common, but in Microsoft Teams you can share your screen from a Chat too. So if you ever want to quickly share your screen with someone you are chatting with, you can do so without having to start a meeting. Just click on the ‘Share screen’ icon in the chat and wait for the recipient to accept your request to screen share.

👉 Hop over here for a detailed guide on how to screen share in a chat


Use Tabs in Chats

Tabs are a brilliant way to access things quickly in Channels and save a lot of time. In fact, they are so brilliant that there is no point in keeping them confined to only Channels. You can add Tabs to private chats too. So add any files or apps that you are collaborating on with the recipient(s) as tabs in Chats and quickly access them.

Hide or Mute Chats You Don’t Want to See

There is no way to delete a conversation thread once it’s started, but you can hide the chats you don’t want around or mute them to get rid of notifications from them. Go to ‘Chat’ from the left navigation bar. Then, go to the chat you want to hide or mute. A ‘More options’ icon (three dots) will appear. Click on it, and then select ‘Mute’ or ‘Hide’ from the context menu.


Chat is an essential part of any WSC app. Getting things done in a chat can save a lot of time and make room for only important things during meetings. Conquer the realm of chatting in Microsoft Teams with help from some useful tips above and look like a Pro among your colleagues.