You may have seen the recent announcement of new meeting features in Teams in Reimagining virtual collaboration for the future of work and learning (if not, check it out!). Today, we’re pleased to share that we’re making several of these features available to most users of Teams over the next few days.
We’re gradually rolling the features out. Once you’ve got the build that has the new experience (Teams desktop app only), you’ll have the option to turn it on. Read on to learn how to turn it on, what comes with it, how to use it, and answers to some common questions. Let’s get right to it!
Turn on the new experience
You do this via a checkbox in Teams Settings. Here’s how:
- Select your profile pic at the top of the Teams app, then Settings > General. (General should be what’s showing when you open Settings, so you probably won’t have to select it.)
- Select Turn on new meeting experience.
- Restart Teams by doing the following:
a. Right-click or Cmd-click the Teams icon in the Windows task bar or Mac System Tray.
b. Select Quit.
c. Start Teams again like you normally would.
You might also see a notification that announces the new experience or reminds you to turn it on. Then it’s even easier—in that notification, choose Turn it on now if you’re ready at that point, or Maybe later if you’re in the middle of something.
What happens after you’ve turned it on
After turning on the new experience and restarting Teams, the biggest thing you’ll probably notice is that any calls and meetings will pop out into their own window, separate from the main Teams window. Like this:
If you’re still seeing calls and meetings in the main Teams window after turning the setting on and restarting, go to your profile pic again and select Check for updates. Once that is done, do the same quit and restart procedure per above. That should do the trick.
But wait, there’s more
Here are the other new things you’ll see and can try out:
- Meeting controls are moved to the top of the meeting screen. They’re docked there so you always have access to them (without jiggling your mouse) and they’re out of the way of the content and video that’s being shared.
- Large gallery view lets you see up to 49 video streams at once. This view is available when there are 10 or more attendees who are sharing video. To switch to large gallery, go to More options (…) in the meeting controls > Large gallery.
Here’s what it looks like—pretty cool to see all those faces!
- Together mode lets you feel like you’re in the same shared space with everyone in the meeting. (It might be even more fun than Large gallery.) It’s in the same menu as Large gallery, just below it. Here’s Together mode:
Together mode is available when 5 or more participants are sharing video.
Both Large gallery and Together mode are being rolled out gradually over the next few weeks. If you don’t see them right away, check again later.
- Meeting notes are now taken directly on the meeting’s Meeting notes tab in the main Teams window. (This is one of the benefits of having the meeting in a separate window.) To access or take notes from within the meeting window, select More options (…) > Show meeting notes and you’ll see the usual side pane come up. In the pane, there is a Take notes button that brings you to the Meeting notes tab.
- Focus mode is available when content is being shared. If you’d like to pay close attention to content, without the distraction of seeing video feeds, Focus mode is for you. It’s available in the meeting controls under More options (…) > Focus mode. Give it a whirl!
- Has screen sharing changed? How do I share my screen?
No big changes here. In the meeting controls at the top, select Share screen. The screen choices you have will come up from the bottom of the meeting window just like they did before.
To stop sharing your screen, select Close screen share in the meeting controls. It’s the icon next to the Leave button.
- Why are message extensions grayed out? I like to send polls in meeting chat.
We’re working on it! For now, if you want to send a poll or use other message extensions in the meeting chat, go back to the main Teams window, select the meeting chat (either via the Calendar or the list in Chat), and do it there.
- What about InVision Freehand whiteboard?
Yup, we’re working on that, too.
- Will live events also open in their own window?
No, not yet—that functionality is coming soon.
- Focus mode is nice, but what about Full screen view?
We like Full screen view, too! (It’s available currently in meetings that happen in the main Teams window.) We’re working on bringing that to the new experience as well. When we do, you’ll have both Focus mode and Full screen view to choose from.
- Is this available for any license type?
The new experience isn’t available for Teams for Government or Teams free just yet. But soon.
The new meeting and calling experience is available for the Teams desktop client on both Windows and Mac. It’s not available for Teams on the web. (If you need to download the desktop client, go here.)
- What if I don’t turn the new experience on?
We’d love for you to try it out. We’re making it available in this way partly because in the near future, we’ll turn the experience on by default. Eventually, the setting to turn it on and off will go away. At that time, the experience of meetings in separate windows, with the meeting controls at the top, will become the norm. So we want you to have ample time to get familiar with it.
- What happens to the new meeting experience if I sign out of Teams or switch to a different Teams org?
If you sign out or switch to a different Teams org (also known as a “tenant”), you’ll have to turn on the new meeting experience again. Follow the instructions for turning it on in Settings and restarting Teams.
That’s our overview and how-to for this new meeting and calling experience. We hope you’ll try it. Remember to check for updates and restart the Teams client after you turn it on. Enjoy!