Top ten tips for being productive on Microsoft Teams

Inevitably the number of teams to which you belong will grow over time, making Microsoft Teams noisier and more cluttered. This brings some challenges and can affect your day-to-day productivity.

In this article we share some tips about how to set up your app to fit your personal preferences and create a productive environment. We will cover how to:

  • quickly find the right teams and channels
  • never miss important notifications
  • find conversations with important information.

1. Pin channels

To quickly access frequently used channels, use the ‘pin channel’ function.

Select the channel and click on the ellipsis (three horizontal dots), then click ‘Pin’.

All pinned channels will always appear at the top of your teams.

Screenshot Microsoft Teams Pin channels

2. Change the order of teams

You can arrange your teams and put them in order that make sense to you. Either alphabetical or in order of priority, you choose.

Simply drag and drop the team to shuffle the list. 

3. Hide teams

Another simple way of reducing clutter is to hide  teams that you are not actively using. You remain a member and receive notifications, as well keep your access to conversations and documents. This is a good alternative to permanently leaving a team and loosing access to everything.

Select a team and click on the ellipses, then click ‘Hide’.

Screenshot Microsoft Teams Hide Team

The team will be moved to the section ‘Hidden teams’ at the bottom of the teams list.

Now you have all teams organised in three sections that you can collapse and open.

Screenshot Microsoft Teams Collapse view

4. Bookmark messages

When important information has been shared in a channel and you know you will need this information later, you can save a message to your bookmarks.

Select the message and click on the ellipsis, then click ‘Save this message’.

You can find all saved messages under your profile in the top right corner.

5. Configure app notifications

Another way to improve your focus time but stay informed is to review and configure notification settings.

Go to ‘Activity’ and click on the cog to open the notification settings.

SCreenshot Microsoft Teams Activity settings

Personalise settings to suit your needs and preferred style of work.

Screenshot Microsoft Teams Notification settings

6. Configure channel notifications

In addition to the global app notifications, you can configure notifications for individual channels. This allows you to turn off noisy and less important channels and focus on key announcements.

Select the channel and click on the ellipsis, then click ‘Channel notifications’. Make changes to the settings.

SCreenshot Microsoft Teams Channel notification settings

You can always revert to the default settings if you don’t like your changes.

7. Open documents in your browser or the desktop app

By default, when you click on a document title it opens directly in the Microsoft Teams window. This is useful when you quickly want to review documents but impacts your productivity if you need to work on the document.

Instead, open documents in the browser or desktop app. This will allow you to switch between the document and other functionality in Microsoft Teams.

Screenshot Microsoft Teams Open document menu

You can also change the default setting to always open in the desktop app.

8. Use search

Microsoft Teams has powerful search functionality that helps you find messages, people and files. So instead of trying to remember and then navigating to a team or channel where information was shared, try using search.

Simply enter keywords in the search bar at the top of the app.

Screenshot Microsoft Teams Search box

Use filters (e.g. Messages/People/Files) to narrow down search results to find specifically what you are looking for.

9. Use the ‘Don’t disturb’ mode

When you need time to focus on important tasks without being interrupted by notifications, you can set up your status to ‘Do not disturb’.

Screenshot Microsoft Teams Status menu

This mode will automatically mute notifications for you. You will only receive notifications that have been marked as ‘Important’ and you can specify if you would like to receive notifications about messages from specific people.

10. Pop out chats

 You can pop up a chat in a separate window. This lets you switch between the chat and other functionality in Microsoft Teams more quickly.

Select the chat and click the ‘square with an arrow’ icon.

Screenshot Microsoft Teams Pop out chat

This feature is not available for channels.


These are our top ten tips for being productive in Microsoft Teams. We hope you learned about some new features and will start using them daily.