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Collaboration between Support Services


General Guidance

searchingMake sure that you are up to date regarding your organisation’s data privacy and information governance considerations. Contact your Local Administrator (LA) or local IT team in case of questions.
Be aware that local settings may make the Teams experience different between organisations.
Note that Microsoft Teams is an ever-evolving tool and you might experience small incremental changes to the meeting experience.


Download the full Step by Step Guidance and Learning PowerPoint presentation to interact with the learning links


Getting ready to collaborate with external colleagues

1. Inviting guests

If you want people who are from an external ‘non-NHSmail’ organisation (and not federated, see list of federated organisations here) to join a chat or collaborate on data, grant them guest access to a Teams site that you have set up (here’s how to add guests to your Team).


Let these colleagues know that they are required to switch tenants. When they click on their profile picture in Teams, they’ll choose Accounts & orgs and join your tenant to work together with you.

Guests in a Team have reduced functionality which is set and cannot be changed. For more information see here.


Messaging via chat and in channel conversations

1. @ Mentioning

To capture people’s attention, you can @mention a specific person or the channel itself, e.g., @JohnSmith or @General. Just type @ before a person’s name and then select them from the menu that appears. You can also mention someone simply by typing their name. Start by capitalising the first letter and as you continue to type the name, a list of people will show for you to choose from. Click here to know more about chat overall.

2. Searching

Use the search functionality in your chat area to look back and continue chats with people that you may have started a while ago. Go to the filter sign next to the new chat icon at the top of your list of chats and enter the name of a colleague who was part of the chat to bring up past chats.


3. Renaming group chats

Note that you can give a group chat a name to make its purpose clear for its members. To do so, select the pencil to the right of the chat members’ names and enter the group name.


4. Add more members to the chat

While you can add additional people to a chat via the Plus sign at the top right corner of your chat window, consider moving the discussion into a Teams channel when you realise that you would need more than a handful of people to contribute. This way, you make the conversation transparent and searchable for everyone who is part of the Teams channel.



Working together in meetings

1. Recording a meeting

If you are planning to record a collaboration meeting, ask participants before hitting ‘record’ that they are ok with the session being recorded. Any participants who may join after the recording started will see a banner at the top of the meeting window that informs them that this meeting is being recorded. Please check the information governance in place for your organisation regarding recordings.

2. Use Live captions

You can use live captions to follow subtitles of the conversation. Please note that function to turn on/off Live Captions in Teams has moved and now sits under Language & Speech within the extended settings menu.


Live captions capture best what’s being said when you speak clearly and directly into the microphone. Note that live captions are not available for guests at the moment, we are working on a solution.


Please note that your meeting chat is persistent. The chat from a meeting will appear on the list of your chats and you can continue the chat conversation after the meeting.


Collaborating on content

1. Check accessibility

When you are sharing content with colleagues, think about reviewing your documents to make sure they are accessible to everyone. In Word or PowerPoint, for example, select ‘Review’, then select ‘Check Accessibility’. The accessibility checker will present the results of the inspection in a windowpane on your right-hand side. You can expand any of the results to see details of what needs to be fixed, e.g., missing alternative text or checking the reading order.

Open each item’s dropdown menu to see how to fix it. Click here for more information about the accessibility checker. For guidance about how you can adjust your settings in Teams to make it more accessible for yourself, see here.



2. Co-authoring

When you are co-authoring a document with colleagues, you will see their profile pictures appear at the top of your screen. This way, you are aware of who is in the document with you right now. You can see where exactly people are editing where a coloured cursor with their initials appears in the document.

3. Automatic saving

When you are editing documents in Teams, changes will be saved automatically. This is why there is no save button. If you want to revert back to a specific version, go to Version History. Click on File, then select Info and from there, choose Version History. Version History will display all the different versions of this document and you can select which version you’d like to restore or review.



How can I format my chat message or my post in a Teams channel?

To open your formatting options, select the Format button beneath the box where you type your message. Then select the text you want to format and choose an option like B or U to bold or underline the text.

There are also options for highlighting, font size, lists, and more. Open the More options button for additional formatting options. Click here to learn more about formatting.

Can I save important messages that I would like to revisit?

If you want to save a message, hover over it and click the three dots to open More options. Select Save this message. A bookmark will then appear under your profile. Saved messages can be accessed from the options behind your profile or by typing ‘/saved’ in the command box. For more explanation and screen shots of how to save a message, see here.

What should I consider when using ‘Meet now’ in a Teams channel or an ad hoc meeting from chat?

We recommend to schedule meetings in advance in respect of people’s time, but sometimes it can become necessary to turn a chat or a Teams channel discussion into a quick call. In those cases, you can select the Meet now button (see here for more information) within your Teams channel or the audio / video call buttons in your chat (see here for more information). Please note that it is a good habit to ask if your colleague(s) are free to speak before launching an ad hoc call. 

How to add Planner to my Teams channel to track tasks?

If you want to add Planner to a Teams channel, you can add it as a tab to the channel. To do this, click the plus icon next to the Posts and Files sections of the channel. A window will open that displays a selection of available apps that can be added as a tab. Select Tasks by Planner and To Do or search for it in the search bar. Before adding the tab, you can decide if you would like to create a new plan or use an existing one from within the Team that your channel belongs to. Click here for more information and illustrative screen shots.

What is a guest user in Teams ?

A guest user in Teams is someone from an external ‘non-NHSmail’ organisation who has been given access to collaborate as a member of a Team. Click here to find out more about guest permissions on the NHSMail Support Site.

How can I add guests to my Team?

External guests can only be added by using their full email addresses, they will not appear in the organisation people finder. Add a guest in the same way you would add any other member; select More options and Add member. Click here to find out more about adding guest members.



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Last Reviewed Date 31/01/2023
Updated on 31/01/2023

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