On the First Day of Christmas, The Waffle Brings to Me...Everything Wrapped up in Microsoft Teams! 

December 23, 2023
7 min read

Did you sing that right along with me?  Yes, you did. Or you should have. Maybe you need some more of my special eggnog to get you in the singing mood. We’ve arrived at the final Day of Christmas and what’s our topic for the day? Yup! The app that rules them all. Why do I say “Everything Wrapped Up in Microsoft Teams,” you wonder? Because nothing lives in Microsoft Teams. 

I will say it again for the people in the back. NOTHING LIVES IN MICROSOFT TEAMS. 

Those other apps we’ve visited are all the tools in Santa’s workshop. Teams is the toolbox we use to gather them all up and use them all in one place. I'll explain, but first we need to buckle up, grab the reins, and take the final flight past that waffle button in the top-left corner of Figure 1 (marked with a big red number 1) and select it from the options. I’d be VERY surprised if you don’t see it because Microsoft is quite proud of this app. Just in case, click on "Explore all your Apps" and rummage through the apps you find there until you find Team. Spoiler alert: It's more than sugarplums and hot cocoa. 

Screenshot of the Waffle menu with step indicators for the App Launcher and Explore all your Apps. Other options include Outlook Word, PowerPoint, OneDrive, and OneNote.
Figure 1: Explore Your Apps Using the App Launcher (Waffle button). View Full Size

Once you’ve found it, click through to see the Card in Figure 2. 

Screenshot of the Teams card is indicated by the number three.
Figure 2: The App card for Teams View Full Size

Click the Teams card shown in Figure 2 to open the app. 

Step right into the Teams home page, a bustling winter wonderland where chaos dances merrily to the tune of the fiddlers fiddling and the pipers piping. It's like hidden sentimental presents waiting to be found beneath the holiday glitz. Let’s take a look around in Figure 3.  

Screenshot of the Microsoft Teams landing page. Details are identified in the following list.
Figure 3: Take a tour of the Microsoft Teams landing page. View Full Size

Come look at this bag of treats:  

A. The Left Rail: A mishmash of icons and labels that'll make your head spin. Chats, Teams, Calendar, Calls, Files... and those fun little numbers all lit up like Christmas bulbs letting you know you missed stuff. 

B. Teams: Get ready for a blizzard of teams you're tangled up in. It's akin to stepping into a bustling Christmas market where everyone's peddling their goodies. 

C. Channels: Just like Santa organizes his workshop into sections like Toy Assembly, Wrapping Station, and Sleigh Maintenance, Microsoft Channels are these virtual spaces in Teams where teams can focus on specific projects or topics. 

D. Tabs: Remember all the tools I’ve been yapping about for the last 11 days? Here is where you stuff them into the turkey so you don’t have to run around like a Christmas goose with…well, let’s not get gruesome here. You get the gist. 

E. Activity: This is the activity feed, akin to a busy North Pole workshop bustling with updates, notifications, and messages. Like a ceaseless flurry of snowflakes in a blizzard, only organized like the crystals in a single snowflake. 

F. Profile and Settings: Your control panel to attempt to bring some sanity back into your Teams world. 

My final gift to you this Christmas? Taming all the notifications that bombard you in your life. Ding! Ping! Buzz! Your attention, please! Microsoft Teams is like that toddler all sugared up who won’t go to sleep. Let’s tame that beast! Take a look at Figure 4 next to your gorgeous picture in the upper right. (You DO have a picture there, don’t you? Otherwise, you are just adding to the Alphabet soup!) Click the Settings and more […] button (4) then select Settings (5).  

Screenshot of the profile and settings section of the window with step indicators for the Settings and the More buttons and the Settings menu option.
Figure 4: Use the Settings and more buttons to change your notification settings. View Full Size

There are a lot of jingle bells and whistles in here, but where do we find the Peace on Earth? Why, it’s right there in that Notifications and activity group, as can be seen in Figure 5. 

Screenshot of the Settings menu with a step indicator for the Notifications and activity group. Other options are General, Accounts and orgs, Privacy, Appearance and accessibility, Files and links, Calls, and Captions and transcripts.
Figure 5: Update your settings in the Notifications and activity group. View Full Size

Ahhh, the warming feeling of Christmas joy is upon us. Let’s start with the General settings. These are the overall settings for Microsoft Teams. No more bells ringing in your ears! Change which notifications are important to you (number 7 in Figure 6) and how often you want those emails that nag you about the hustle and bustle of your day (marked number 8). 

Screenshot of the General section of the notification settings window with step indicators for the Notifications options and the Missed activity emails options. Options include playing sounds and the sorts of detail you want in your notification, and a dropdown list of how often you want to receive the notifications.
Figure 6: The General notification settings View Full Size

Next up, Chats and Channels! This is where you keep all that chit-chat and banter that goes on all day. You are in CONTROL of the water-cooler effect right here! Change the settings for how and when you get notified of different types of activities, as you can see in Figure 7. Each option has its own dropdown menu (9).  

Screenshot of the Chats and Channels section of the notification settings window with the expanded drop-down menu indicated by the number 9. This is where you provide additional details about how and when you get notifications.
Figure 7: The Chats and Channels notification settings View Full Size

Not sure what a banner is?  It’s this little bugger right here (Figure 8). This is the one that pops up on your screen at the worst possible times. 

A Teams card that says “Stay in the know. Turn on Desktop notifications.” There are two buttons: Turn on and Dismiss.
Figure 8: Example of a banner notification View Full Size

And finally, here’s your Meetings settings in Figure 9. Do you need that nagging reminder that meetings have started? Turn it on or off (10)! And those chat notifications? You can mute those, too (11). 

Screenshot of the Meetings section of the notification settings window with step indicators for the Meeting start notification and Meeting chat notification settings. There’s a toggle switch to turn each of those on, and there’s also Mute option dropdown.
Figure 9: The Meetings notification settings View Full Size

Now, I know what you’re thinking. There’s always some stuff you need to know about more than other things. No worries! Each channel of a Team can have its very own notification settings. Right-click on a channel and select Channel notifications (as shown in Figure 10 as the number 12). 

Screenshot of the Channel options menu with the Channel notification option indicated by the number 12. Options include Hide, Pin, Manage channel, Get email address, Get link to channel, Edit channel, Workflows, and Delete channel.
Figure 10: The Channel settings menu View Full Size

In Figure 11, you can see how to change your settings for All new posts (13) and Channel mentions (14), and then click the Save (15) button. No more FOMO! 

Screenshot of the Channel notification settings window with step indicators for the All new post and Channel mention settings and the Save button.
Figure 11: Channel notification settings View Full Size

That’s your 12 Days of Christmas, all wrapped in a big red bow, peeps. Stay tuned for more content in 2024. In absolute sincerity, I wish you and yours a safe, healthy holiday and more peace in the New Year. Bring on 2024! It’s gonna be GREAT! 

Curious to learn more about Teams? Join me for our Teams sessions as part of our Kick Start 2024 emPOWER!Hour series. 

  • January 4, 2024: Getting Started with Microsoft Teams 
  • January 15, 2025: Best Practices in Microsoft Teams 

For more information, check out our 12 Days of Christmas promotion at: https://poweruplearning.com/2024-kickoff/  

Stay tuned and have a blessed holiday with your friends and family, peeps! Until next year, I’m Shortcut Shari and it’s my job to make your job easier. 

Shari Oswald

Shari Oswald

Shari is known as Shortcut Shari because she believes we should all work smarter, not harder, and she loves to share keyboard shortcuts. Shari has been using SharePoint since before it was called SharePoint and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with those who are as excited about technology as she is. Shari's focus is the “People Side of Change.” As a Microsoft 365 Solutions Architect and Consultant that grew up right along with SharePoint, her practical knowledge of the Microsoft Productivity stack coupled with her passion for empowerment via learning makes Shari an excellent resource as a consultant and evangelist for Microsoft 365. Her philosophies for information architecture and SharePoint design are centered on solving business challenges with technology and ensuring usability and adoption for the organization. Shari is a Microsoft Certified Trainer, a Microsoft Certified Specialist Master, consultant, presenter, author, and evangelist. When she is not architecting SharePoint magic as a consultant, Shari is in the classroom or creating online learning for LinkedIn Learning, ClipTraining.com, and Pluralsight.