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Microsoft Teams: Here's what's new, from emojis to chat upgrades

Microsoft in December rolled out new whiteboard capabilities in Teams that should make it faster to collaborate on a shared canvas.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Microsoft rolled out several new features for Teams in December, including the ability to delete a chat and new capabilities in whiteboard sessions that should enhance meetings. 

Teams users can now delete chats and remove themselves from a conversation without impacting other participants in the same chat conversation. Users can also add new participants to a chat with an @mention, while Teams will now recommend colleagues for a conversation. 

"Using AI, Teams chat will assist you in initiating new conversations by recommending colleagues based on your previous collaborations". This feature will be generally available by the end of the year, Microsoft said in a blogpost

There is also an expanded set of emojis: "Express feedback more creatively with over 800 Teams emojis for every situation. Communicate reactions to celebrate, express your agreement, or emphasize the completion of tasks," Microsoft said.

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The bigger updates for Teams in December concern Microsoft's collaboration whiteboard features for Teams Rooms on Android displays, as well as easier content-sharing options for hybrid work scenarios,   

In December, Microsoft released the Teams Rooms on Android Update 3 (version 1449/, which brought a new "walk up" feature that made it easier to launch a whiteboard. Previously, users had to prepare ahead of a meeting to use a whiteboard. Now, users can walk up to a device and begin whiteboarding activities by touching the whiteboard button on the home screen. Admins need to enable this feature with the "Allow initiate Whiteboard" setting on the device. 

Whiteboard users now also have the option to start an online space to co-create with remote participants by tapping the "Start meeting" button on the local whiteboard screen. This lets users start an ad hoc meeting from the whiteboard and add remote participants, so they can contribute to the same whiteboard in real time. Also, users can see remote participants side-by-side with the whiteboard using a new Content + Gallery layout. Previously, users would need to choose whether to view the gallery or the shared whiteboard. 

Microsoft has redesigned the share menu in Teams with a new option to share a whiteboard. In a Teams meeting, Whiteboard creates a sharing link that's accessible by anyone within an organization.

It also introduced touch screen support, so users can control the room system from the touch display and the touch console. Admins need to turn the feature on via the "Enable touch screen controls" setting on the device.

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Chat bubbles have now arrived on Teams meetings for displays running Microsoft Teams Rooms on Android. The chat bubbles display chat messages happening in the meeting. 

To manage PDFs on Teams, Adobe in December released a new integration of Acrobat for Teams, which can be also set as the default PDF app in Teams. It should make it easier to access PDFs in SharePoint or OneDrive. The Acrobat app for Teams lets users view, edit, export, convert, compress, and restrict access to PDFs. The integration cuts out the need for email by giving users a tab in Teams that, for example, notifies them in Teams when comments are added to PDFs.   

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