Microsoft Teams announced the Together Mode last month. It garnered a lot of hype in the community for its ingenuity. Microsoft has apparently “decades of research” – as they put it – into the idea that the Together Mode will bring people closer in the virtual setting.
What is Together Mode
The name has a nice ring to it, but what exactly is it? Together Mode in Microsoft Teams does exactly what its name says. It creates an illusion of you being together in a physical space with the other meeting participants, breaking down the walls (quite literally) that separate us virtually.
When we’re normally in a video meeting, the video of all participants appears in separate spaces, enclosed in rectangular walls. Together Mode knocks down these walls, and everyone appears in a shared space – say in an auditorium, meeting room, or a coffee bar.
Enabling Together Mode in Microsoft Teams
If you’ve tried to use Together Mode in a meeting but couldn’t find it, you’re not alone. Before using Together Mode, you need to enable support for it from the settings. Open the Microsoft Teams desktop client. Then click on the ‘Profile’ icon on the Title Bar and go to ‘Settings’ from the menu.
The General settings will open. Under the label, ‘Application’, go to the last setting, i.e., the option for ‘Turn on new meeting experience (New meetings and calls will open in separate windows. Requires restarting Teams.)’. Click on the checkbox to enable it and restart Microsoft Teams.
This allows you to use all the latest features in Microsoft Teams, including features like Together Mode, Large Gallery View, Focus Mode, etc.
If you can’t see this option in your settings, make sure that you are using the latest version of the desktop client. Click on the ‘Profile’ icon and select ‘Check for updates’ from the menu to trigger a manual update of the client.
If there was indeed an update pending, this will take care of it. Now go to the settings again and check for the option. But if you still cannot see it, there’s nothing else left to do but wait. Together Mode is slowly rolling out to the masses, and it might take some time to reach your account.
Using Together Mode in Teams Meetings
Together Mode is only available on the desktop app currently. Join the meeting in Microsoft Teams from the desktop app. Prior to the new update to the app, a meeting in Microsoft Teams used to start in the same window. This update starts the meeting in a separate window so you can efficiently multitask in Microsoft Teams while also seeing the meeting window.
The new update has also shifted the meeting toolbar from the 3/4th region of the screen, where it previously used to appear, towards the top of the screen, so it won’t obscure any content on the screen anymore. Also, where you previously had to hover to reveal the toolbar in the middle of the meeting, it is now permanently docked at its position.
Go to the meeting toolbar to enable Together Mode and click on the ‘More actions’ option (three dots). A menu will appear. Click on ‘Together Mode’ to enable it.
Note: The option for Together Mode is only available when there are at least 5 people in the meeting.
The view will change to the auditorium mode, and any participants who have enabled their video will appear in one of the seats.
The auditorium view will change its size to effectively show everyone in the meeting. So, if there are only 3 people with their video on, there will be less number of seats and the video will be bigger. But the number of seats will increase, and the size of each person’s video will decrease to accommodate more people.
Currently, Together Mode supports only the auditorium view, but Microsoft plans on bringing more views like a meeting room, or a coffee bar. So when that happens, you will be able to choose which view you want in Together Mode.
Together Mode is the next step in feeling closer to other people when meeting in a virtual setting is mandatory for safety. It is already garnering huge popularity in Microsoft Teams. In fact, the Together Mode is also allowing people to be virtually present in a game during the NBA and cheer on their favorite teams.