Microsoft Teams: Take Command of the Command Line

“Once you know what you are doing, productivity becomes your one true competitive advantage.” David Allen, the Getting Things Done guy said that. For our purposes, I am going to assume you know what you want to get done. My purpose here is to talk about productivity shortcuts coming out of the Microsoft Teams team that I find particularly useful. In my last blog, I wrote about five favorite Teams tips. Today, I’ll focus on the command line, that open box at the top of the Teams UI.

Command Line

Slash and At ( aka / and @ )

There are currently seventeen slash commands. I am not sure that is their official name but to invoke them you type a “/”. According to the documentation, there are two such “commands” – the slash and the “@” command so a distinction is required.


Let’s get right to my five favorite slash commands and how they will help your daily Teams productivity.


When I am trying to find something one of my colleagues posted, I can often recall who posted, I just can’t remember where. That is the scenario this handy command covers. I type in /activity in the command line and the name of my team member and Teams will list me their recent activity, including where, what and when they posted.


Yes, Microsoft Teams has speed dial. It is the /call command. Try it. type /call then the name of your teammate and hit return. You’ll start ringing them immediately. Faster than you can say “butt dial” you’ll be connected. This is a serious power tool.


You know that moment where you need to just dog ear the corner of a book so you can pick it back up later? Teams can do that for you with the bookmark feature. To retrieve those bookmarks, invoke the /saved command. It lists your bookmarks lickety-split and provides navigation back to those posts in context.


Similar to my scenario for using the activity slash command, I can usually recall a file that I worked on recently, I just can’t remember where (again). Hitting /files returns me a list of recent files that I can choose from and dive back in.


When you need to find someone, try /org. Type it in and then start typing the name of the person you’re looking for. This slash command has the comfort of the old company phone book, but faster and with the person’s place in the organization in an easily navigable form.

Keep in mind…

There are a dozen more slash commands. You can get to the command line quickly by using the keyboard shortcut, “alt-k“. These commands are desktop and web features and not yet available in the mobile app. The Teams team is very open to ideas, so if you have a thought for a command, drop them a note.

I’d be interested in how you use the command line. Please leave a comment or send me a note with your ideas. Thanks!

Five Tips for Using Microsoft Teams

I work for a software company and we took the plunge with Microsoft Teams as an experiment to better understand what the platform had to offer (we create reporting and analytics solutions). Since that day, some nine months ago, we have settled in as daily users, leveraging Teams as our primary comms and collab tool.

Here are five quick tips for getting more out of Teams. This is by no means a “Top 5” but rather five tips that have helped shape our adoption and ongoing engagement.

Learn One Keyboard Shortcut a Week

Keyboard shortcuts can be hard to learn, but learning a few as you go, can pay big dividends. Do you have a weekly team meeting? Set aside 10 minutes before or after to learn a new one. Start with Alt-H. This gem gets you help and not your Dad’s WordPerfect manual kind of help. You are now a click away from starting a chat with T-Bot, perusing online help, release notes, an FAQ and my favorite, videos. By the way, T-Bot can help you with “keyboard shortcut a week” goal, too.


Become a Headline Writer

One of our most quickly accepted best practices was agreeing to start new chats with a headline. This helps you identify what a thread is all about without having to go too far in the text. When I say write a headline, I really do mean, put yourself in the shoes of the reader. What would help someone get the gist of the conversation? Resist the temptation to be clever (save that for choosing memes).


Spend Time on your Teams and Channel Naming Strategy

Some of us are secret taxonomists. We love curating content and we KNOW our way is the best. Unfortunately, the Lone Wolf approach can lead to confusion among your team. Sense-check your structure. Since my company creates software, we have a Product team and each of the channels within it, are specific products. This way, the team knows exactly where to post to maximize the chance for a response.

Fine tune your notifications

Fine tune your notifications before you start and then every once in a while to ensure you are getting the pings you want and none you don’t. Super easy to do. Just click on your face in the upper right hand corner (as of this writing) and you’ll find Notifications under Settings.

Need to let the whole team in on something?

You can “at mention” the whole gang by typing @team within a channel. This is a powerful command so best to use sparingly. On the other hand, individual “at mentions” is the obvious way to help our team find chats aimed at them. That big white @ symbol on a red background that sits astride chats, is a nice visual clue as well.

at mentioned

I’d be interested to hear what you’ve found that works for your team. Drop me a note below!

(Blog notes: While Microsoft Teams is our front and center tool, we are equally big Yammer users. Our tyGraph Customer Network is Yammer-based. Gifs in this blog were made with Screentogif).