Microsoft Teams will finally be a lot easier to use on iPad and iPhone

Apple users are set to get a welcome productivity boost when it comes to using Microsoft Teams on their mobile or tablet device.

The video conferencing platform has revealed it is working on bringing Picture in Picture mode to iPhone and iPad users, letting them view multiple windows at once on their device.

This could mean users are able to carry out a video call on their device whilst consulting a useful document or presentation at the same time, without the need to switch between apps and potentially drop their call.

Microsoft Teams Picture in Picture for iOS

In the official Microsoft 365 roadmap entry for the update, the company notes that, “the new Picture in Picture mode lets you see your meeting in an adjustable window while using other apps on your mobile device.”

The feature is still listed as being “in development”, but has an expected availability date of December 2022, meaning users shouldn't have too long to wait. When released, it will be available to all iOS users of Microsoft Teams across the globe.

The launch is the latest in a series of productivity-themed releases from Microsoft Teams as it continues to try and boost the usability and efficiency of its platform.

This includes a number of under-the-hood speed-related upgrades aimed at improving the user experience when navigating around Microsoft Teams, namely an upgraded framework which is now able to render HTML trees faster, run JavaScript and serialize arrays more efficiently. 

The company claims that these changes should contribute to a 30% speed increase when switching between Microsoft Teams chats or channels.

In other multi-tasking news, the company also recently announced that in-app games are coming to Microsoft Teams

However, far from just being a distraction, Microsoft claims that interaction through play is designed to tackle some of the greatest challenges of the hybrid workplace, including “struggling to build trust, create connections, and improve team morale.”

It also recently revealed that transcription for 1:1 calls and group calls is now available on the Microsoft Teams app for Android, giving users the chance to review exactly what was said, or if any details were missed. 

Users will also be able to start transcription for meetings on Microsoft Teams for iOS and Android, as well as being able to view the meeting transcripts after their calls have finished.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 steals a great Microsoft Teams feature for better video calls

Windows 11 is set to get one of Microsoft Team’s best features, thanks to “Voice Clarity”, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make your voice in calls and recordings much clearer.

Microsoft Teams, an app that many people use for video calls, has a very similar feature that does an excellent job at minimizing and eliminating background noises for people in noisy environments, ensuring they can be heard clearly.

With the feature being so acclaimed, it’s little surprise to see Microsoft bring it to the wider Windows 11 operating system, which would allow the feature to work with other video calling apps. Voice Clarity was announced at Microsoft’s recent ‘Hybrid Work’ event as one of the ways the company is making its products better for people who are now spending their time working from home, as well as in an office.

While the noise-canceling features in Microsoft Teams have proved popular, there’s not a huge amount of love for the application itself, so bringing it to Windows 11 itself could prove a popular move.


Analysis: There’s always a catch

Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)

While the idea of making Voice Clarity available to more apps and users, the catch is that at the moment, the feature will only work on the Surface Laptop Studio, a relatively niche product from Microsoft.

That’s certainly a shame, as it means that the vast majority of Windows 11 users still won’t be able to make use of the feature.

It’s a bit of a puzzling decision, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask why this is the case. It may be due to some hardware-specific requirements that only the Surface Laptop Studio has. Or, Microsoft could just be limiting the availability of the feature to help boost interest in the Surface Laptop Studio.

But, with an increasing number of us relying on video calls for keeping in contact with friends, family and co-workers, any tools that can help make those calls better is certainly welcome, and we’d love to see Microsoft make the Voice Clarity feature more widely available.

Via Windows Latest

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 steals a great Microsoft Teams feature for better video calls

Windows 11 is set to get one of Microsoft Team’s best features, thanks to “Voice Clarity”, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make your voice in calls and recordings much clearer.

Microsoft Teams, an app that many people use for video calls, has a very similar feature that does an excellent job at minimizing and eliminating background noises for people in noisy environments, ensuring they can be heard clearly.

With the feature being so acclaimed, it’s little surprise to see Microsoft bring it to the wider Windows 11 operating system, which would allow the feature to work with other video calling apps. Voice Clarity was announced at Microsoft’s recent ‘Hybrid Work’ event as one of the ways the company is making its products better for people who are now spending their time working from home, as well as in an office.

While the noise-canceling features in Microsoft Teams have proved popular, there’s not a huge amount of love for the application itself, so bringing it to Windows 11 itself could prove a popular move.


Analysis: There’s always a catch

Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)

While the idea of making Voice Clarity available to more apps and users, the catch is that at the moment, the feature will only work on the Surface Laptop Studio, a relatively niche product from Microsoft.

That’s certainly a shame, as it means that the vast majority of Windows 11 users still won’t be able to make use of the feature.

It’s a bit of a puzzling decision, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask why this is the case. It may be due to some hardware-specific requirements that only the Surface Laptop Studio has. Or, Microsoft could just be limiting the availability of the feature to help boost interest in the Surface Laptop Studio.

But, with an increasing number of us relying on video calls for keeping in contact with friends, family and co-workers, any tools that can help make those calls better is certainly welcome, and we’d love to see Microsoft make the Voice Clarity feature more widely available.

Via Windows Latest

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

This cringeworthy Microsoft Teams feature could soon be forced upon you

Microsoft is readying an update for collaboration platform Teams that will allow admins to change the way meetings are displayed for all attendees.

As explained in a new entry to the company’s product roadmap, meeting hosts will soon be given the option to enable Together Mode for all participants. The update is still under development, but should take effect by the end of May.

Launched in the summer of 2020, Together Mode for Microsoft Teams brings all attendees into a shared virtual background, with the goal of “making it feel like you’re sitting in the same soom with everyone else”.

Together Mode

Together Mode in Microsoft Teams. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Together Mode in Microsoft Teams

Although the ambition behind Together Mode is a noble one, the execution leaves plenty to be desired. In this writer’s opinion, the virtual background filled with floating heads only serves to emphasize the fact a meeting is not, in fact, taking place in-person.

While Microsoft’s AI system does a decent enough job of cutting out each person’s home office background, and some people will get on with the feature better than others, there’s an welcome strangeness to the final result.

The idea that meeting hosts should be able to dictate that everyone uses the feature is particularly strange. While there’s something to be said for operating on a level playing field, some users are bound to find the feature more helpful (or unhelpful) than others, which makes a blanket policy counterproductive.

However, not all of Microsoft’s attempts to introduce variety to the way Teams meetings are displayed have been quite so divisive.

Last year, the company rolled out a series of new presenter modes designed to help Teams users flex their presentation style to the occasion. Standout Mode, for example, seats the presenter’s video feed in front of the slide deck, while Reporter Mode places content above the shoulder in the style of a news broadcast.

The features were an example of the way in which virtual backgrounds and clever positioning of content can legitimately improve the quality of video meetings, delivering on Microsoft’s stated ambition to “help presenters deliver content more professionally and offer meeting participants dynamic experiences”.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

This cringeworthy Microsoft Teams feature could soon be forced upon you

Microsoft is readying an update for collaboration platform Teams that will allow admins to change the way meetings are displayed for all attendees.

As explained in a new entry to the company’s product roadmap, meeting hosts will soon be given the option to enable Together Mode for all participants. The update is still under development, but should take effect by the end of May.

Launched in the summer of 2020, Together Mode for Microsoft Teams brings all attendees into a shared virtual background, with the goal of “making it feel like you’re sitting in the same soom with everyone else”.

Together Mode

Together Mode in Microsoft Teams. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Together Mode in Microsoft Teams

Although the ambition behind Together Mode is a noble one, the execution leaves plenty to be desired. In this writer’s opinion, the virtual background filled with floating heads only serves to emphasize the fact a meeting is not, in fact, taking place in-person.

While Microsoft’s AI system does a decent enough job of cutting out each person’s home office background, and some people will get on with the feature better than others, there’s an welcome strangeness to the final result.

The idea that meeting hosts should be able to dictate that everyone uses the feature is particularly strange. While there’s something to be said for operating on a level playing field, some users are bound to find the feature more helpful (or unhelpful) than others, which makes a blanket policy counterproductive.

However, not all of Microsoft’s attempts to introduce variety to the way Teams meetings are displayed have been quite so divisive.

Last year, the company rolled out a series of new presenter modes designed to help Teams users flex their presentation style to the occasion. Standout Mode, for example, seats the presenter’s video feed in front of the slide deck, while Reporter Mode places content above the shoulder in the style of a news broadcast.

The features were an example of the way in which virtual backgrounds and clever positioning of content can legitimately improve the quality of video meetings, delivering on Microsoft’s stated ambition to “help presenters deliver content more professionally and offer meeting participants dynamic experiences”.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

One of the most popular Microsoft Office builds will soon be killed off

Microsoft has confirmed that it will not be supporting its Office 2013 software suite for very much longer.

The company revealed that its office software offering will reach its official end of support within the next twelve months, after which it will no longer receive updates and security protection from the company.

Users of Microsoft Office 2013 are now being urged to upgrade or switch software before April 11, 2023, or possibly risk being hit by cyberattacks.

Farewell Microsoft Office 2013

“After five years of Mainstream Support, and five years of Extended Support, Office 2013 will reach the End of Extended Support on April 11, 2023. Per the Fixed Lifecycle Policy, after this date security updates for Office 2013 will no longer be available,” Microsoft said in an email to customers seen by BleepingComputer.

“After Office 2013 reaches the end of support, Microsoft won't provide any new security updates, and the continued use of Office 2013 after April 2023 may increase your organization's exposure to security risks or impact your ability to meet compliance obligations.”

In place of Office 2013, Microsoft has suggested users switch to Microsoft 365 Apps, a subscription-based model. Most commonly seen as part of Microsoft 365 and Office LTSC 2021 subscriptions, this package provides most of the key apps for business users, and receives regular updates and patches.

“Please start upgrading to Microsoft 365 Apps, which is designed to receive regular updates, and will help you stay current by getting security updates and our latest features,” noted Microsoft.

“Alternatively, if your organization requires a static, unchanging product, consider moving to Office LTSC 2021.”

The news is the latest key Microsoft product to reach its end of life in recent months. Most famously, Windows XP was put out to pasture back in 2014, although following months of back-and-forth, Microsoft eventually relented and said it would still offer some forms of support for users of the ancient software.

Via BleepingComputer

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

One of the most popular Microsoft Office builds will soon be killed off

Microsoft has confirmed that it will not be supporting its Office 2013 software suite for very much longer.

The company revealed that its office software offering will reach its official end of support within the next twelve months, after which it will no longer receive updates and security protection from the company.

Users of Microsoft Office 2013 are now being urged to upgrade or switch software before April 11, 2023, or possibly risk being hit by cyberattacks.

Farewell Microsoft Office 2013

“After five years of Mainstream Support, and five years of Extended Support, Office 2013 will reach the End of Extended Support on April 11, 2023. Per the Fixed Lifecycle Policy, after this date security updates for Office 2013 will no longer be available,” Microsoft said in an email to customers seen by BleepingComputer.

“After Office 2013 reaches the end of support, Microsoft won't provide any new security updates, and the continued use of Office 2013 after April 2023 may increase your organization's exposure to security risks or impact your ability to meet compliance obligations.”

In place of Office 2013, Microsoft has suggested users switch to Microsoft 365 Apps, a subscription-based model. Most commonly seen as part of Microsoft 365 and Office LTSC 2021 subscriptions, this package provides most of the key apps for business users, and receives regular updates and patches.

“Please start upgrading to Microsoft 365 Apps, which is designed to receive regular updates, and will help you stay current by getting security updates and our latest features,” noted Microsoft.

“Alternatively, if your organization requires a static, unchanging product, consider moving to Office LTSC 2021.”

The news is the latest key Microsoft product to reach its end of life in recent months. Most famously, Windows XP was put out to pasture back in 2014, although following months of back-and-forth, Microsoft eventually relented and said it would still offer some forms of support for users of the ancient software.

Via BleepingComputer

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft could soon improve this divisive Windows 11 feature

Windows 11 looks like it might soon support third-party widgets, as another clue that they could be imminent has popped up courtesy of an eagle-eyed Twitter user.

FireCube did some digging and spotted that the widget manifest has been updated to reference downloading widgets – tiny apps that provide at-a-glance info, such as the current weather, or local traffic – from the Microsoft Store.

See more

The text informing users that they can “download new widgets and widget updates in Microsoft Store” is another piece of evidence that the eventual plan is to let developers put their third-party widgets in the Store, and allow Windows 11 users to download whatever they want.

The widgets panel would then be more useful, of course, with a bigger range of options and plenty more scope for customization, compared to the current situation where people can only use Microsoft’s own widgets in the panel.

As Windows Central, which spotted this, points out, its own Zac Bowden – a prolific source of Microsoft leaks – has previously said that the widget panel is expected to be getting third-party efforts, plus new features, and indeed that developers have already been briefed as to how third-party widgets will function. Previous leaks have pointed to third-party widgets being inbound, too.


Analysis: Expanding the widget panel in more ways than one

Bowden made those comments in December 2021, four months ago now, and with this latest spotting of a nugget of evidence that Microsoft is preparing to implement third-party widgets, it seems a firm enough possibility that they will debut at some point in 2022.

Would that be with the big H2 2022 (Sun Valley 2) update? Maybe, but given that Microsoft has been adding stuff to Windows 11 as and when it likes so far this year – witness the recent arrival of some big interface changes outside of major feature updates – then maybe this clue turning up now is a sign we could be installing third-party widgets in the OS sooner rather than later.

As for the other plans Microsoft has for the widget panel, at its recent Windows 11 reveal, we did catch a glimpse of a full-screen panel; so that could be in the pipeline too (and it’d provide more screen real-estate to populate with third-party widgets).

The widget panel is, of course, a divisive feature, and some folks really don’t appreciate it, viewing it as a rather pointless element of the UI. Its usefulness is certainly limited in its current form, being restricted to Microsoft services (like OneDrive, for example, and the likes of MSN weather).

Opening up the ability to add a huge range of new widgets from all over the shop would certainly help to make the panel a more compelling feature for Windows 11, and markedly improve the perception of this part of the interface.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft Teams may just help you get out of that dull work meeting

Sitting through another unnecessary Microsoft Teams call may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new addition to the service.

Microsoft has revealed it is working on a feature for its video conferencing tool that will allow users to adapt their Microsoft Teams status ahead of proposed meetings.

The feature should mean that users will be able to flag when they are free for a Microsoft Teams meeting, or alternately when they are too busy to attend, or are out of the office.

Microsoft Teams Calendar update

In the official Microsoft 365 roadmap entry for the new feature, officially titled, “Microsoft Teams: Calendar Show As in meetings”, Microsoft explains how it could benefit users with packed schedules.

The company notes how it would allow both organizers and participants of a Microsoft Teams meeting to choose a “Calendar Show As” status to reflect their availability, with options including free, busy or OOF. 

Organizers will also be able to select private meeting functionality, which will allow users to hide meeting details from other users when their calendar is shared.

The feature is still listed as in development for now, with Microsoft estimating a general release date in June 2022. The company says that, when available, the addition will be provided to all PC and Mac users.

The update is the latest in a series of features introduced by Microsoft in an attempt to make hybrid working and online collaboration less painful for users across the globe.

The company recently revealed a separate update entitled “working hours and location” will allow users to set a notice showing where they are working, whether that be at home, in the office, or anywhere else in particular, giving managers more visibility on where their key employees are.

Users of its Outlook email service will also be able to display a second calendar type, with the company noting that users will have “a variety of global calendars” to choose from, including the likes of the Chinese lunar calendar, Indian calendar and the Islamic calendar will soon be available as options within Outlook, so certain holidays or observances are not missed.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More