Microsoft scores strange own goal with latest Teams update

Microsoft is preparing an update for collaboration platform Teams that has the potential to help users make the most of their desktop space, but is limited by a strange design decision.

According to an entry in the Microsoft 365 product roadmap, Teams users will soon receive the option to pack a larger number of messages on screen courtesy of a new compact mode.

The view mode will reduce both the font size and space between lines, allowing for 50% more chat messages to be displayed at once.

The feature is still currently under development, but should roll out to all Microsoft Teams customers by the end of the month.

Compact mode in Microsoft Teams

Although compact mode in Microsoft Teams will probably be inappropriate for anyone that struggles with vision problems, it could prove useful in a range of scenarios.

For example, multitaskers running Teams in windowed mode will be able to reduce the amount of real estate taken up by the app without cutting the number of messages they can see. The new mode will also benefit those running Teams on a portable monitor or work laptop, who until now have had to make do with reading fewer messages at a time.

Bafflingly, however, compact mode will only apply to one-on-one chats, not channels. It’s a strange decision, given the volume of messages that pass through group channels is typically much larger than in private chains.

The update will also apply only to the Microsoft Teams desktop client, at least for now, which means those working from smaller smartphones and tablets will not benefit.

TechRadar Pro has asked Microsoft about the rationale behind the decision to exclude channels from compact mode, and whether iOS and Android users will receive the option in future.

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