More new Microsoft Teams features arrive: Better content-sharing options, and less background noise on Macs

Microsoft rolls out noise suppression in Teams for macOS, a bunch of new emoji and an improved sharing tray.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

A series of new features for Microsoft Teams have reached the public preview stage. 

After bringing noise suppression for Teams to Windows 10 in December, Microsoft is rolling out improved controls for noise suppression in a public preview for Mac systems. 

The AI-powered noise suppression was a nifty addition for work video meetings conducted from home during the ongoing pandemic.

SEE: Top 100+ tips for telecommuters and managers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Microsoft previously showed off how it could wipe out the sound of a person opening a bag of potato crisps and it can also reduce other ambient noises around the household, like kids, dogs, computer games and so on. 

In December, the real-time noise-suppression feature was only available on the Teams client for Windows 10, but now it's reaching the Mac Teams client. It relies on trained deep neural networks to filter out background noise while allowing the speaker to be heard clearly. 

This update gives users more control over how much noise suppression they want.

Noise suppression isn't available to general consumers using the free version of Teams. IT admins also need to enable the preview version of Teams. Microsoft also notes noise suppression does not support Apple's new Arm-based M1 processor for Macs, meaning only Intel-based Macs are supported. 

Users in organizations with an Office 365 subscription can turn on noise suppression in settings, which can be accessed by clicking the user avatar in the top right-hand corner of the screen. The Noise suppression options are within the Devices section of Settings. The settings for noise suppression include auto, high, low, and off. 

The high setting cancels out any background noise that isn't speech. It also requires a processor that supports Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2). It won't work for meetings that are being recorded or where live captions are turned on. Live captions are another new feature for Teams that matches Zoom's live-captioning service

The low setting suppresses noises like a computer fan or an air conditioner.  

Microsoft's emoji selection just grew almost 10-fold too, from 85 emoji to over 800. Besides more choice of emoji, there are new selectors for category, skin tone, and a shortcode picker.

The extra emoji and selectors are available on the Teams client for Windows 10, macOS, Linux and the web version in Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge. This is also limited to enterprise users with preview mode for Teams enabled. 

The third key feature reaching public preview now is a new content-sharing tray for sharing screens, just a window or a PowerPoint file using PowerPoint Live. 

It's mainly a change in the form factor of the share tray that's designed to make it quicker and easier to the find the content that users want to share. Other sharing options include the choice to share a computer's sound in a screen or window, as well as sharing a whiteboard. This feature is in public preview on the Teams client for Windows 10 and macOS. 

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