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Last Week in Microsoft Teams: Week of October 5th

IT Pros

an illustration of Microsoft Teams features and how to harness them

Direct from Microsoft

Missed some sessions from this year’s Ignite conference? This Microsoft Docs article has links to all the Teams sessions presented at Ignite 2020.

The Microsoft Teams blog released two new posts this week. The first covers new capabilities on Microsoft Teams phones that were recently shipped in a software release. The release includes an improved home screen with activity reminders, customizing quick access apps and call views, and support for Teams button that quickly take you back to the home screen.

The second post is their monthly What’s New in Microsoft Teams roundup for September 2020. This covers new and planned features for the service and application. Notable entries include allowing users to author messages when offline, release of large gallery and together mode for video participants, Microsoft Lists in Teams, more Graph API capabilities, and new Teams Room devices.

The Microsoft Education Blog also released their own What’s New in Microsoft Teams for Education roundup for September 2020. Microsoft has released or is planning many new features targeting the education sector due to increased distance learning this year. Some of these include requesting to speak when hard audio muted (meaning the participant cannot unmute their audio), presenter modes in the Microsoft Whiteboard app, and only allowing the meeting organizer (or an educator) to enter a meeting first while students wait in the lobby.

Virtual breakout rooms are also a major feature being released in October 2020. This allows meeting organizers to break participants into their own virtual meeting space. Later, the organizer can bring those participants back into the main meeting space. This is a big win for educators and other learning scenarios and brings into feature parity with Zoom.

Territory Channel Manager Michel Bouman shared a picture on LinkedIn of the new pre-join meeting experience. This change is meant to help people choose the appropriate audio option, device, and video settings prior to joining a meeting.

screenshot of the pre-join meeting experience in Microsoft Teams

Community Contributions

NDI released a video covering how to use the new NDI support with Microsoft Teams. NDI technology allows for broadcasting audio and video streams using the Microsoft Teams client and service.

Teams Templates have been available for a few months, but Microsoft recently released the ability for admins to create their own templates to meet their organization’s needs. Vesa Nopanen shares his experience in how to use new Team Templates with custom team provisioning. Adam Deltinger also covers this new feature in his post Getting started with Teams Templates.

Darrell Webster covers how to prepare for a new feature being released where Microsoft Teams meeting recordings are shifting to OneDrive and SharePoint. Sharing meeting recordings with external participants in Stream has long been a pain point, so this improvement by Microsoft has been anticipated by organizations for quite some time.

Speaking of breakout rooms, Tony Redmond has a great roundup of the feature in his article Breakout Rooms in Teams Meeting Help People to Work Smarter.

Shane Young also released a new YouTube video covering how to create Teams meeting link from Power Apps and Power Automate for Outlook.

Upcoming Events

This week the all-digital and free TeamsFest 2020 event is happening. Be sure to register and check out all their great content.

Road Map and Message Center Updates

Road Map: Microsoft Teams Focus Mode
Focus Mode enables meeting participants to view just the materials being presented by removing other participant’s video feeds. This only affects the view of the user who enables it and not the participant’s views. This feature has already launched.

Road Map: “Only Me” Lobby Admin Policy

“Only Me” allows just the meeting organizer to start a meeting, then allow meeting attendees entry from the lobby. This prevents meeting attendees from starting the meeting prior to the organizer arriving. This feature has already launched.

Message Center: Microsoft Teams Meeting Invitation Formatting Update

The join details in a meeting invitation will now say “Click here to join the meeting” instead of “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting”. This is meant to provide clearer language and make a better join experience for participants. The expected rollout is mid-October 2020.

Message Center: Ability to Appear as Offline as New Presence Status

Microsoft is adding the ability to appear as offline as a status option. The expected rollout is mid-October 2020.

Message Center: Microsoft Teams Meeting Recordings Saved to OneDrive and SharePoint

Microsoft is changing the storage location for Teams meeting recordings to OneDrive and SharePoint instead of Stream. Starting this week, customers can opt in to have the recordings shared with the new locations. By early November, this will become the default location unless administrators specifically set their meeting policy to continue storing in Stream. By Q1 of 2021, no new meeting recordings will be allowed to be saved to Stream.

Message Center: Prevent Attendees from Unmuting in Teams Meetings

Meeting organizers and presenters can prevent meeting attendees from unmuting during a meeting. This feature has primarily been targeted at educators performing remote learning to prevent student disruptions. Be sure to configure meeting presenters and attendees prior to sending out the meeting invite. This feature will start rolling out in October 2020.

Training Resources

Check out Microsoft Teams Chalk Talks covering calling, audio and video quality, automating IT workflows, and Firstline Worker engagement.

Tip of the Week

The Microsoft Education YouTube channel released a new video showing how to use spotlight in Microsoft Teams meetings. This allows for locking a specific person’s video as the main view for all meeting participants. Great for putting a teacher’s video front and center for all students to view.

Jeff Brown

Jeff Brown

Jeff Brown is a cloud engineer specializing in Microsoft technologies such as Office 365, Teams, Azure and PowerShell. You can find more of his content at


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