The person who organizes a Teams meeting has become more and more important over the last few months. Many recent improvements are available for the organizer only.
Yes, so what?
Indeed, many meetings can be done without the organizer being present. Our team’s daily call, for instance.
But it can be an issue for situations where you need special things and the organizer does not plan to attend the meeting, e.g. a secretary who plans meetings for the manager or other people in the team, or our Convention Bureau who organizes webinars as a service for our education institute. In case you want to see who has attended a meeting, for instance, the organizer needs to be there to download the report. Also, the much awaited break-out room functionality can only be used by the organizer!
Unfortunately, the organizer role is not transferable, which also means that when the organizer of a recurring meeting changes roles, the meeting has to be cancelled and set up anew, especially if the audience of the meeting changes. While this has long since been the case for all meetings, with everyone meeting remotely with Teams it has become more visible. There’s a User Voice item to have the ability to transfer this role to someone else.
Awareness is key!
There’s not much we can do about it right now, except making everyone aware, that you need to think who will setup the meeting, especially the larger and more important events.
Since the start of this year, many extra controls have arrived in Teams meetings. We all remember the stories from early lockdown of students muting the teacher, or removing other students from the meeting, just because every Teams meeting was a free-for-all by default, which is of course excellent for regular business collaboration (its original purpose), but less than perfect for other situations.
By now there are a lot of extra ingredients to create a Teams meeting that is exactly suited for purpose:
The Lobby, which determines who can access the meeting immediately and who needs to wait for access
As we have a lot of different meeting types, and I am often asked for advice on how to set up a particular type of meeting, please allow me to share a few “recipes” for different types of meetings, from “no boundaries” to “tightly controlled”.
1. The recurring team/update meeting
These (default) settings are perfect for a recurring meeting for a well-established team. Within my own team we have these settings for our 3-times-a-week-meeting. We mostly talk, but occasionally share screens so it is nice if we all can do that when needed. We only use special features to test them if they are new (we used Spotlight a few times this week), or for the occasional prank. Everyone knows how to mute that colleague whose dog starts barking, and everyone does that when needed.
Who can bypass the lobby? People in my organization
Who can present? Everyone
Allow attendees to unmute: Yes
2. The formal meeting
This is usually a one-off, carefully planned meeting with known and sometimes unknown business partners. As it generally does not have too many people present and should be collaborative, everyone will need to be able to speak, but not necessarily present or do anything else that a presenter can do. If it is a recurring meeting with known externals, you may want to remove the lobby barrier, but I do not think any external contact will feel offended if they have to wait until someone admits them. If plans need to be discussed, screen sharing will be more important than Spotlighting the speaker. (It’s one or the other; if you Spotlight someone their presentation will be just another tile in your gallery of people present.)
Who can bypass the lobby? People in my organization (occasionally: Everyone)
Who can present? Specific people
Allow attendees to unmute: Yes
3. The group therapy session
As mentioned earlier, we allow Teams to be used for group therapy sessions as long as in-person sessions are not feasible and our preferred tool can not accommodate larger groups. These sessions are led by one or more of our therapists, and attended by clients, who are externals. The therapists need to be able to take measures when the group is too noisy or needs to focus their attention, so the occasional Mute All (with the option that a client can unmute) will be helpful, as will the Spotlight option to focus attention to a therapist. This will also reduce visual clutter and movement, as some clients are sensitive to that.
Who can bypass the lobby? People in my organization or Only Me, provided the therapist is the organizer (but that is not always the case).
Who can present? People in my organization
Allow attendees to unmute: Yes
4. The large team event
The autumn season always has a lot of large meetings, both as a get-together for teams after the summer holiday period, and as a starting point for plans for the year ahead. We have recently seen a lot of virtual get-togethers for these purposes. As these sessions often contain many people, and generally need to discuss too many topics in too little time, control is needed. As are breakout rooms! Spotlights can be useful to highlight a speaker, as well as Mute all.
Who can bypass the lobby? Only Me or People in my organization.
Who can present? Specific people.
Allow attendees to unmute: Yes.
5. The seminar, lecture, training, speech
Our education season has also started again, and with it the need to do this online. Now that Hard Mute is available, smaller events may be done in a Teams meeting rather than in a Live Event. For questions, you can use chat or allow unmuting after each lecture. Spotlight may be useful for a speech. The Live Event has some advantages: the moderated Q&A, the option to see the presenter next to their slides, the fact everyone can focus on the presenter and they are not distracted by the videos or pictures of other attendees, etc. but for each event you could balance the easy setup of the Teams meeting versus the more complicated formality of the Live Event.
Who can bypass the lobby? Everyone (for education events) or People in my organization (for an internal speech).
Who can present? Specific people.
Allow attendees to unmute: No.
The new options are valuable additions to the existing toolkit. I especially like the option of Hard Mute, as it may allow some events to be done in a Teams meeting rather than in a Live Event.
I am looking forward to making everyone aware of these new features, and helping organizers to mix the various options to make their own event the best possible experience.
Oh yes, and we are all SO looking forward to the break-out rooms!!!
Now that the initial shock of working from home, and learning to work with Microsoft365, has been absorbed, I notice that my colleagues are quickly trying to get their work done “with the new tools”.
My organization is also a research and education institute for nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists and other therapists, so we have a lot of research, knowledge sharing and training going on in our core business.
Suddenly I am being called frequently by colleagues who are used to organize face-to-face events, but want to set up a webinar now.
For the larger and more formal events we advise Live Events (which I am currently trying to get proficient in), but for smaller and less formal events a regular Teams Meeting can be used as well.
My own experience
My colleague and I are still giving webinars on the various aspects of Teams almost every week, using a Teams Meeting.
These take an hour, have up to 10 people, can also be taken in the evenings, and we make sure everyone can ask their questions. They fill up rather quickly!
We generally do a personal introduction round for all, then present a few explanatory slides, give a demo, recap what we have shown, and ask for final questions.
We have found that people like to sign up, because not only does it give them an opportunity to learn new things, brush up their skills, or allows them to ask their questions, but also because they like to connect with their colleagues, who they have not seen for more than two months by now. So it is fulfilling a social need, too!
For those situations a regular Teams Meeting does the work, so here’s how to organize that.
1. Create a Form to collect submissions
We have a professional tool available for the larger and more complicated events, but for smaller and impromptu webinars you can use a Form.
Just create one and share it with a colleague (as a back-up).
If you have internal attendees only, collect names and emails automatically.
If you have externals joining too, please make sure you use the setting “Anyone with the link can respond” and ask for (at least) their email address.
2. Communicate your event in the regular way
If you are sending emails, publishing on internet or intranet, you can add the link to the Form (or to the formal system) to collect responses.
If you are using printed materials (wall posters, flyers) you can add the QR code to the Form.
The Form will give you a spreadsheet with email addresses.
3. Schedule the Teams meeting
You can do this from Outlook or from Teams.
If you want to send the standard invitation to everyone, you’d better use Outlook as I have found this works better with contact persons, email distribution lists or Excel files with email addresses. Also, if you want to hide people’s email addresses, use Outlook.
You can add an attachment with meeting instructions – I liked this one for external users. How to join a Teams Meeting – as a guest
If you want to use another way of communication (e.g. an email with instructions and some more information), you can best use Teams, invite your presenters only and then add the link to the meeting to the rest of the information.
This post will tell you more on the pros and cons of Teams or Outlook when scheduling.
For a presentation for a large audience including external attendees I would suggest to add a lobby for externals, and make sure everyone except the presenter(s) enters the meeting as an attendee.
Arrange the lobby and presenter settings as explained in my earlier post.
5. Send links and instructions
If you have used Outlook, you will have done this already, but in case you want to send a different email than the standard invitation, you can add the link as grabbed under 3 and add instructions. For internals it may not be necessary (although it may not hurt) and for externals you can use something like these: a link or as a PDF: How to join a Teams Meeting – as a guest
6. Prepare and rehearse
In most cases presenters will share a PowerPoint presentation, and it is a good idea to make a PDF version as a handout. We usually share these via the chat during the webinar. Be aware that external attendees can not access the chat when they have logged off, so tell them when you are sharing it.
If presenters are giving a web demo, it helps to have a script, so they know what they are going to show. They should keep the script visible.
Making screenshots of the screens they plan to show (in case the internet or wifi drops, or the website is suddenly unavailable) is always a good idea.
On the day of the event, the presenter clicks the link to the meeting well before time.
The Teams app has a Test call option, to check if audio has been set up correctly. Type /testcall in the Command bar and you will be taken to that old test call we know and ❤ from Skype. You will even receive a report!
Of course the presenters have also turned off all kinds of sounds and on-screen notifications. You don’t want to know the email previews I have seen arriving while people were presenting. 😜
Please also ask presenters to check their hair, clothes and background before people enter the meeting. Of course they can blur or select a background, but it helps if they know they are not sitting in front of that flipover with the upcoming reorganisation or divestiture written out.
Ask them to close all tabs and programmes that they do not need today, so they do not run the risk of accidentally sharing something confidential or embarrassing.
Teams may have originally been intended as a business-to-business meeting and collaboration tool, it is now, in COVID-19 times, used heavily for all kinds of gatherings. The education sector is using it big time, my own organization is using it temporarily as a group therapy session tool, and I use it to meet with my fellow “citizen activists” who want to keep our lovely home town a great place to live in for real people.
So, right now Teams is being used by many non-business people, and I have had a lot of questions about “how it works” for non-business external users, as in: “what do they get and what do they have to do in order to participate?”
The fun part when you use Teams for “consumers’ is the variety of systems that people use – devices, browsers, email clients. So, I tried a few things, starting from my own Office365/Microsoft365 tenant.
I sent this to various online emailclients: Outlook.com, Gmail.com, Yahoo.com
I opened the mailboxes with various browsers on laptop and the Outlook one on Iphone and Ipad.
I looked at the invitation and accepted the meeting (where possible).
What does the invitation look like?
What have I found so far?
Do not expect a response message if you are inviting external non-business users. I did not receive any responses except from the Microsoft365 user, even though I did accept the meeting on Gmail and Outlook.com.
Invitations to Gmail often go into the Spam box, especially when I used the “hide meeting attendees” option. You may want to check with your externals that they have seen the invitation.
Check if the meeting is on the right date and time on the receiver’s end. If people have their mailbox on a different timezone, they may want to adjust it.
Or in case of Gmail, do they realize that the time is in UTC and what UTC means?
Tell people that the invitation may move out of their inbox after accepting or declining it and that they can find it in their Deleted Items if they want to keep it.
Sending an invitation does not mean that the date and time are added to the Calendar option of the email client automatically. In some case you need to download the .ics file (which not everybody may understand) or specify to the email client that invitations should always be added to your calendar.
“Do not forward” appears to work only within Microsoft email – the option to forward is greyed out in Outlook, but the emails sent to Yahoo and Gmail could be forwarded and the recipient could enter the meeting. ☹
Please note that I have an up-to-date Windows 10 laptop with current versions of browsers – be aware that non-business users may have different setups and different versions!
Do not assume!
In other words, do not assume that everything will work in the same way as with your external business contacts. Your “consumer” audience has a much larger variety in devices, mail clients, updates and browsers than your business contacts (who in many cases use Outlook, if not the full Microsoft 365suite). Your “consumer” audience may also be less exposed to formal meetings and be not as tech savvy – or be more savvy with other systems than Microsoft365.
Our health care organization has gone a step further in using Teams.
Our dedicated (non-Microsoft) software for helping our clients online was just (=before COVID-19) being rolled out with various amounts of success. Some people loved it, and saw the benefits for both client and therapist (no need to travel for both parties, client being in their own environment, connection with the client registration systems), others said they needed the face-to-face meetings to be able to provide real help.
Now that we have had to move all therapy online, we found a functionality gap in the software: the option to use this for group sessions, either multiple therapists seeing one client, or sessions with one therapist and several clients.
After discussing various options we agreed to make Teams temporarily available for this purpose, so our therapists can finalise the existing group therapies, and perhaps even start new ones.
Microsoft Teams is a business tool and meant for collaboration in an organisational context. Mental health therapy is something completely different, so we had to create special instructions to make sure that our therapists are in control of the meeting. But also in other situations, such as meetings with many attendees (You can have up to 350 people in a Teams meeting!) knowing these control options can be useful:
1. Create the invitation from Outlook
Create the invitation from Outlook Online, NOT from Teams.
Add the relevant title, attendees, date and time, and message info.
Make sure you make this a Teams meeting.
Before sending, click the “Response Options” top right and select “Hide attendee list”. Optionally, you can also UNselect “Allow forwarding” to avoid uninvited people getting into your group session.
As soon as you have made a choice, the popup will go away, so it is a good idea to check if you have made the right selections.
Alternatively you can add the attendees to the BCC field, but as this field is not visible by default, it means people will have to change their Outlook settings. Using “Hide attendee list” is easier. Those who use the Outlook desktop (in our case: hardly any therapist has this) can use the BCC field or add the users as a Resource. This is a bit of a weird workaround in my opinion. Just use Outlook Online, it is great!
Now, if the invitation is sent, the attendees will see only their own name in the invitation, which is a privacy requirement in this situation. If you have also disabled the “Forward invitation” option, this will be displayed on the invitation, depending on the recipient’s email programme.
2. Manage meeting options
By default, everyone can go into the meeting freely, and everyone can present. (Update 15-04-2020: the default is now that externals will have to wait in the lobby. Good idea.) While this is the easiest setting for regular business purposes, it is not always the best option. We have heard about Teams meetings in education, where pupils muted the teacher and/or changed his/her role into attendee or even threw each other out of the meeting altogether!
So, in our situation it may be best to prevent any issues and provide a little more control to the therapist(s). The following can only be done by the person who has organised the meeting.
Open the meeting in your Teams calendar
Click the Meeting Options, to the right of the time zones OR on the bottom of the invitation underneath the link to the meeting. (see the Outlook screenshot below)
Change the lobby settings to: “People in my organization” (so you can discuss with your colleague before you allow everyone into the meeting)
Change the presenter settings to anything except Everyone. “People in my organization” is a good one. This will make all others an attendee, and they can only use audio, video and chat. (Roles description by Microsoft)
Update Feb. 7, 2021: Determine if you want people to be able to unmute. By default everyone can talk, but you could start the meeting in silence, and then allow people to speak up later in the meeting.
Update Feb 7, 2021: Decide if attendees are allowed to chat (default: yes), or not, or in-meeting only. (=when at least 2 people are in the meeting)
This can also be done from the invitation in Outlook:
3. Change meeting options during the meeting (added Feb 7, 2021)
In case you would like to change presenters or other options during the meeting, the organizer can also adjust the meeting options from the control bar by clicking the … (1) and selecting “Meeting Options” (2):
4. Manage attendees during the meeting
During the meeting the organizer and presenters also have some other controls via the Participants icon.
You will now see the list of participants.
You can now “Mute all” or manage individual participants by clicking on the … behind their name and
Mute someone individually, e.g. when they provide background noise.
Pin, to make them visible all the time, for you only.
Spotlight, to make the visible all the time, for everyone. This is useful if someone gives a speech.
Make an attendee or, when they are an attendee, you can make them a presenter.
Remove them from the meeting.
Steven Collier has made a nice video where he explains “Teams-bombing” and the prevention thereof with an example of a rebellious student.
5. Avoid “private viewing” of your presentation
If you are sharing via PowerPoint, by default people are allowed to click through at their own pace.
It may be a good idea to switch that off, especially if your presentation has a carefully designed build-up. After selecting to share “PowerPoint” and your presentation, you will see some controls in the meeting control bar. Click on the eye icon to turn off private viewing. It looks like this:
6. End the meeting
If you want to make sure that the conversation stops when the meeting ends, you can click the arrow next to the “Leave” button and click “End meeting”, which will stop all audio and video. The chat will still be accessible for people in the organization and can still be used, if you have enabled chat this way.
The default settings of Teams may be a little too “flexible” for non-business purposes. Fortunately there are many options to have more control.
Mind you, you as my regular audience will probably know all of this, but our therapists generally know only the basics of Office365 (oh, I need to say Microsoft365 now, right?) and they need detailed instructions, as they have to schedule these sessions themselves.
We had updated our instructions for working from home, either with work laptop, work smartphone, private computer or private smartphone, because everyone has to work from home, where possible, until further notice.
We had created and tested instructions for Teams chat, calls, videocalls and online meetings, internally and externally, because of course many meetings would shift to online.
Our support team was ready to take calls and take over people’s laptops from home, our netwerk had been tested, and everyone knew we would have a lot of questions starting Monday.
We are a mental health care organization, and our psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, nurses and care-takers have chosen their jobs because they want to work with people, not with computers. We knew they would have many questions when they suddenly had to do intakes and consulting sessions online, or organize a Teams meeting for their daily handover meeting.
So, we were prepared!
…Or were we?
However, we were not prepared for the lack of digital skills of some of our work force, some of whom did not know how to download an app from the app store, how to open the Office365 start page (it is actually a button in the Start Menu), or that they have to slide their web cam cover open in order to show their face to their colleagues during a videocall 😮
We were also not prepared for the number of people that attempted to download the Teams app, while they have the F1 license (which is for web apps only). But can you blame people that they click the most visible button, especially at times of hurry or digital stress?
We have all voted in User Voice – please vote as well and help us get that “Get the Windows app” off the start page – or at least make it less dominant!
And it was a complete surprise to get an overwhelming number of Team site requests. We thought everyone had been informed well enough that a Team site is not a prerequisite for organizing a Teams meeting. But my colleague and I were flooded by requests. Even after filtering out exact requirements we still had to create tons of Team sites (we create them centrally to have at least some control over the names of Groups) and improvised a number of “Team site for owners” and “Team site for members” webinar sessions to quickly show all those new users how Teams can help them get their work done in an effective way.
Some of my colleagues were not prepared to have their whole family at home, as schools have closed as well, and everyone needed a place where they can work or learn.
This resulted in some of my colleagues preferring to do part of their work in the evenings, when children are in bed, the network is used less, and a proper seat and table does not need fighting over. Which led to a meeting in the evening and we will do some webinars in the evening next week, because many colleagues are in the same situation.
On the plus side
Although this is not a fun situation to be in, it has a few advantages:
Suddenly all colleagues had to upgrade their digital skills, whether they wanted or not. We try to help them as much as possible, but it is ultimately up to them. For many of them it turned out to be just a small hurdle and they are becoming regular users now.
Teams (which until now we created very sparingly) is now a standard product for the organization, which means we can move our strategy forward much faster than anticipated.
Our online tools for therapy (non-Microsoft) are being rolled out much faster than anticipated.
All colleagues feel much more “together” now that we have to face this crisis.
It is interesting to see that we can improvise so well when needed.
For me, the whole situation has not made that much difference yet. Apart from staying at home for at least 23 hours of the day, it has just been a week working from home, like I do normally one day a week. But you may want to ask my husband who suddenly has a wife at home all the time 😉
But who knows how long this will last…and not being able to go outside much or visit family or friends may become rather a strain.
I am still puzzled by all those Team site requests though. The group chat may be a replacement of all the daily talk you do if you are sitting in an office. Well, we are already thinking about doing a survey to see if and how Teams has helped in these “interesting times”…
At the very last “Office365/SharePoint Connect” gathering in Haarlem* I was quite impressed when Rick van Rousselt gave us a demo of Kaizala, sharing his telephone on a large screen.
This may come in useful when we want to provide our colleagues with more information about the Office365 mobile apps. So, I thought I’d write out the steps and practice as I am usually quite clumsy when it comes to connecting devices. 😎
The secret ingredient is…a Teams meeting!
March 2020. As the next weeks will mean “remote working’ for a lot of people, due to the Corona virus, this may also come in useful if you want to demonstrate a cool new app to a colleague, or for helpdesks to support colleagues who have questions about the workings of a smartphone.
A few days before the demo
Make sure you have the Teams app installed on your presentation laptop and your telephone
Schedule a Teams meeting for the time of the demo
Remove any apps on your mobile that you do not want to show – or move them to a separate page – and check if your phone’s background image is suitable for the audience 😉
Create your demo (what do you want to show and which sequence)
Practice sharing your screen on your phone
The day before the demo
Charge your devices (and a powerbank, to be on the safe side)
Remove screen notifications and sounds to avoid disturbance (or embarrassment – you do not want to know what I have seen during all the years I have been working in multi-location organizations 🙄 ) during your demo
Sign in to both Teams apps with the account you want to use for the demonstration
At the time of the demo
Start well before time, if possible
Connect your laptop to the demonstration screen
Mute the sound on both devices to avoid an irritating reverb
Join the meeting on both devices, without microphone and camera
On your mobile, click the … in the meeting bar and select “Share”
Select “Share screen” (exact words may vary on iOS and Android) and then “Start broadcast”
Wait until your mobile phone is shown on the screen
Go to the content you want to show (on your mobile) and dazzle your audience!
8. When your demo is over, open the Teams app and click “Stop broadcast”.
Although my (iOS) app tells me that everything is recorded, (it even shows a timer in the red bar on top) it does not mean that a video is created. I guess they mean everything will be shared.
As usual, this is not rocket science, but I thought it might be helpful for myself and for others to share the detailed steps.
Are you ever demonstrating smartphone (apps) to an audience and are you using Teams or something else?
* Office365 and SharePoint Connect, Haarlem/Amsterdam
I am really sad that Office365 and SharePoint Connect will no longer be around, as it was always VERY useful, in a convenient location, well-visited by many people in my network, and not too expensive. Thank you, Nigel and Irene Clapham, for organizing this great event for so many years!
As List.ly still has not gotten their act together, please find here another set of intranet promotion videos from Vimeo. Their Help and Community pages have been showing up blank for the past weeks, so I am very afraid that I will have to move my video collection elsewhere – again 😦
1. Landmark Intranet Teaser (SharePoint)
A short teaser for a new intranet set to launch about now. This video does not go beyond the corporate part (news, events, video) but it is always nice to see another SharePoint home page. This is a UK commercial real estate company.
Uploaded February 2020.
Backpack, what a nice name for an intranet for a series of private schools in the USA! This is a demo – slightly on the long side (5 mins) but it has some nice features, such as the ability to select or suggest apps. Also, the presenters are chatty and relaxed which is nice to listen to. It uses Office365 for document management but not for the intranet pages. Uploaded January 2020.
3. Social Intranet RM IT
Silent demo for the intranet of a Swiss recruitment agency. Nice colours (completely different from their website, and not a company logo in sight) and the usual stuff. I am not so happy with the name “Wiki” for corporate policies (as the word “wiki” suggests to me that documentation is still in the crowdsourcing phase) but I know people will not agree with me 🙂
Uploaded February 2020.
4. Intranet launch Claro (in Spanish)
Upbeat teaser/demo for the intranet of an Argentinian telecommunications company. It looks nice and is accessible on all devices. I could not see that many details.
Uploaded February 2020/
5. Intranet relaunch Ricola (in German)
Very on-brand mockup design. The new intranet for this Swiss herbal sweets manufacturer has workspaces (collaboration spaces to reduce emails and paper), a community for help with the intranet, search function etc.
Uploaded February 2020.
Do you have to write the same text time and time again? For instance, an email confirming an appointment, a work instruction or an in-company invoice?
There are a few ways to do that.
1. Re-use and existing mail or document
I guess this feels as the easiest way. But how often have you forgotten to remove the “FW” when you forwarded that email, or forgot to change the salutation? And have you ever overwritten and saved a document that you wanted to keep intact?
Yeah, thought so 🙂
2. Store the text in Word or OneNote and copy-paste
You will have fewer accidents with this option, but now you may suffer from extensive but invisible make-up. This may cause your texts to have weird indents or line spacing when you have pasted them. The best way to strip off the code is to copy-paste to Notepad and then into the final message, but this is often forgotten and also not 100% guaranteed.
Besides, you will have to store that document or note and look for it whenever you need it.
3. Email template – text only
An easy way to manage your email texts is with an email template. That lives in Outlook so it is easily available when you need it – no need to search!
You can create as many templates as you want. You can store about 2100 characters in a template.
Open new email
In the ribbon, top right, click the … and select “View Templates” from the popup
You will see a few standard templates
To create a new template, click on +Template
Give your template a title (e.g. “Appointment confirmation”), add text and/or images and click “Save”
To use a template, click on the title and the text will be added to the email.
Outlook Online – Current Outlook
Open new email
Bottom right, click the Templates icon
Proceed with 3 as above
Outlook Online – The new Outlook
Open new email
Click the … at the bottom of the mail and select “My Templates” from the popup
Proceed with 3 as above
4. Email template – text and make-up (Outlook Client)
If you need to use a template that contains both text and make-up, for instance for an email newsletter or other format, you can do this in Outlook Client/Desktop. It is a much more complicated process, so I would suggest to use this only if the look-and-feel is important and needs to be consistent.
BTW, you get a free email Newsletter when you use SharePoint News, of course, but for all those other occasions this option will be useful.
Before I discovered the templates, I used to store repetitive texts in an email signature. I have shared dial-in information for my personal Live Meeting (I think that was what web conferencing was called in those days 🙂 ), and shared help and support information in that way. Although I only use templates now, there may be cases where you prefer an email signature.
Microsoft has good instructions for creating signatures. However the screenshots are a tad outdated. Now, you either use “Tell me what you want to do” or open a new email and click the Insert tab > Signature” to get to the signatures location.
You can have multiple signatures in the Outlook Client, but please be aware you can only add one per email, so always make sure your name and other information is included.
Outlook Online – current Outlook
To add a signature, click the Gear Wheel in Outlook
On the bottom of the popup, under “Your app settings” click “Mail”
Under “Mail > Layout” on the left of the screen, click “Email signature”
Add text and optional image, check the desired box if applicable, and click “Save”
To add a signature manually, open a new email, click … on top of the message and select “Insert signature”
Outlook Online – the New Outlook
To add a signature, click the Gear Wheel in Outlook
Click “View all Outlook Settings” on the bottom of the popup
Select “Compose and Reply”
Add text and optional image, check the desired box if applicable, and click “Save”
Please note you can only have one signature in Outlook Online.
6. Document template in SharePoint – general
You can add a template to a SharePoint document library for your team’s recurring documents. Think about reports or work instructions. You can do this for all Microsoft documents and you can have multiple templates in one library.
Anyone who can manage the document library can do this, so you will need at least Edit permissions.
I use and suggest this very often right now and wish it was also available in OneDrive!
Create the document you want to use as a template and save it with a meaningful name – it may help to add “template” to the name
Open the document library in question, click “New” and then “Add Template”
Upload the template
Check that it displays correctly.
To create a new document in the template, click “New” in the Document Library and select the template. A new instance of the template will open.
To move position of the template, or to make changes to the template itself, click “New” > “Edit New menu”. A popup will appear on the right-hand side of the page.
Hover over the document to be removed, repositioned or edited, click the three dots that appear to the right of the name and you will get a popup with options.
7. Document template in SharePoint – custom
It is also possible to add a custom template document as the default document. I can imagine this may have its uses when you want to use it for very formal documents, such as contracts or financial reporting. Those documents will have a strict format that needs to be adhered to.
In that case you can do that via the Library Settings > Advanced Settings. Microsoft describes the steps here. Although they mention SharePoint Online, they talk about “email-enabling” the library, which has been deprecated for several years by now, so I wonder when this has been last reviewed. (Of course I gave feedback to this article)
This needs Site Owner permissions but may also be done by an admin or IT.
So I thought to share my story, triggered by the workshop that Steve Bynghall and Chris Tubb hosted at the recent edition of IntranetNow. They showed their newly developed “Intranet and Digital Workplace Skills Matrix” which can be used to help teams determine if all relevant skills are covered and if not, which gaps need to be filled. But…it can also be a useful and fun exercise for yourself. In the workshop, Steve and Chris asked us to mark those boxes where we have experience. It was interesting to see that I have worked in each of the 5 categories and I think I was the only one who could say that. I usually describe my work as “helping people with using SharePoint and Office365” but within that definition I appear to have had very different roles over the years. So, as an example of how to get insight in your own career, let me share my career path with you:
1. Knowledge Management
After 20 years in new (food) product development, I started a role in Knowledge Management in the same organization, which at that time focused on new product development. Part of the project meant I had to share the outcomes on the intranet. This ticked a number of boxes in the Content and Communication “arm” mainly.
2. Intranet adoption (awareness and training)
During my Knowledge Management project I met the intranet team and they asked me to help them create more awareness and use of the intranet. In this role I tried to make people aware of the intranet and how people could use it for themselves. I also did some basic troubleshooting, support and training. At that time (around 2003 or so) intranets were generally custom-built and options were limited – apart from a Frontpage website, a home-built “document cabinet” and a Forum tool there was not much else. Still, in an international organization even these limited tools helped to share information with colleagues in other locations and businesses, so a number of people were very active on the intranet. The boxes ticked made a shift to the right.
3. Intranet adoption (configuration)
Then we moved to a SharePoint (2003) intranet and found so many options to help employees, that we decided to act as internal consultants, identifying painful processes and configuring sites to facilitate the processes and make them more efficient. I have blogged about this earlier: That was a wonderful job which taught me a great deal about business processes AND about SharePoint!
4. SharePoint site collection manager
After being made redundant as result of a reorganization, I found another job at a multinational organization. My role was to act as the site collection administrator, making sure procedures around customizatons were adhered to, the site collection did not grow too large (yes dear reader, in that 2007 SharePoint each site collection was allowed 2 GB, which is not much in current standards), doing housekeeping on empty sites etc. I also configured sites, did troubleshooting and gave advice and trainings.
5. SharePoint, Yammer, Video support
When we had launched our new intranet on SharePoint Online, I was part of the support team, figuring out issues with permissions, document management, pages and web parts, Yammer and Video. I also curated and created help materials and was in charge of a successful Yammer group on Office365, where we answered questions and informed people about changes in functionality or issues, and where people shared tips and tricks.
6. Office 365 adoption
My last role at that organization was to help people use the various elements of their digital workplace. The focus was on Office 365 but other all-employee tools were in scope as well, such as Adobe Creative suite license changes and a new password reset system. I was helping with software launches and changes by figuring out how much and what type of adoption effort was needed, finding help materials (or creating them if they were not available) and providing communication and training to local support people.
7. Office 365 functional management
A few months ago I had the opportunity to change jobs..in a big way! After 35 years of working in multinational commercial manufacturing organizations, I now work in an all-Dutch mental health care organization. I am still providing second line support, I am an Office 365 portal administrator, I help people understand all tools within Office 365, I invent solutions for awkward processes, I create training materials if I can not find them in Dutch, co-decide which of the endless changes in functionality needs to be communicated, and everything else about Office 365. So, which boxes have I ticked? Check it out:
You can see some skills coming back in almost every role. Of course I have my personal interests that I try to incorporate into each role. But also my (then) existing skillset and earlier experience have influenced the boxes that I have selected. I always try to create a role with maximum interest and learning opportunities for myself. I can heartily recommend this to get an insight into your own career. Give it a try!