Microsoft Teams: Time to focus!

Published by Caroline Carlin on

Author:  Caroline Carlin – TELT

Teams is a big application.  With conversations, files, meetings, video conferencing and app integration it can do so much that it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming.  So, over the next few weeks in our Tuesday Tutorial slot we’re going to tackle Teams head on with a series of practical posts to help you make the most of it in teaching, learning and working.

If you’re a member of several active teams, notifications can quickly fill your screen and your inbox, so that’s where we’re going to start – managing notifications so that you can focus on what’s important to you.

Step one: Choose how your notifications are displayed.

In your overall Teams’ settings you can choose how you’ll see notifications.  The default for many notifications is ‘Banner and email’.  If you’re easily distracted by banner notifications popping up, getting these right is essential.

Click on your profile picture at the top right of the Teams window and choose SettingsNotifications.  Here you can specify exactly how you want to be notified for activity such as mentions, messages and meetings.  For example, if you don’t want to receive ‘Banner or email’ notifications, choose ‘Show in Feed’ – then new activity will appear in your Teams Activity Feed (top left of your teams window) in bold, and you can check it when you’re ready.

If you’ve got the Teams app installed on your mobile phone, you can control notifications in your app Settings.  To find out more, check the Microsoft Support Pages.

Step two: Choose what you want to be notified about.

By default you should only receive notifications for Teams and channels that aren’t hidden.


When you are added to a team, it will automatically appear at the top of your Teams list.  If it’s a team you’re less active in, you can move it to hidden teams by clicking on the ellipsis (more options) next to the team and choosing Hide.  Whether ‘hidden’ or ‘shown’, a team name will be bold if there’s new activity you haven’t seen yet.


You can be quite specific about the notifications you want to receive for channels.  Hide channels you don’t want to receive notifications about by clicking the ellipsis and choosing Hide to move them to your hidden channels.  For those you do want to keep track of, choose Show and they’ll appear in your main channels list.  As with your Team, whether ‘hidden’ or ‘shown’, a channel name will be bold if there’s activity you haven’t seen yet.

Once a channel is ‘shown’, you can then choose further options by clicking the ellipsis next to the channel name and choosing Channel notifications.  From there you can choose to receive notifications for all new posts, replies and channel mentions.

If there is a lengthy conversation in a channel you’re following which doesn’t affect you, you can switch off notifications for a specific conversation.  Just click the ellipsis for the conversation, and Turn off notifications.

Top tips:

  • You can filter your Activity Feed by type, for example if you just want to see when you’ve been mentioned in a conversation. Great if you’re a member of several busy teams.  Click the Filter button (funnel icon) for options.
  • If you’re a member of a particularly active chat/group chat, you can choose to stop notifications for a while by clicking the ellipsis next to the chat and choosing Mute. Go back and Unmute when you’re ready.
  • If you read a post in chat or in a channel that you want to revisit, click the ellipsis and Mark as Unread to return it to a bold unread status.
  • Save important channel conversations by clicking the ellipsis for the conversation and choosing Save this message. Find saved messages by clicking your profile picture and choosing Saved.
  • Change your status to Do not Disturb if you’re presenting on a screen or want some notification free time. Go to your profile and hover over your current status to see further options.  Your status is picked up from your Outlook calendar e.g. in a meeting, available.  Changing to Do not disturb will stop all notifications displaying on screen – just reset your status afterwards.
  • Add your own status message to let people know if you’re free, busy or out of your virtual office for a while. Click on your profile picture at the top of the Teams window and choose Set status message.

Whats new in Teams?

Keep up to date with new features in Teams by typing /whatsnew into the search bar at the top of the Teams window.


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