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Microsoft Teams will soon allow you to share channels with external contacts

Teams
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Teams will soon receive a raft of upgrades designed to make online ollaboration easier, both between colleagues and with external partners.

Unveiled at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference, these updates include a new service called Microsoft Teams Connect, which will allow users to invite external parties (e.g. customers and partners) into a single shared channel as opposed to adding them as a network guest.

According to Microsoft, the service will allow external contacts to take advantage of all Teams collaboration capabilities - including chat, meetings, document co-authoring etc. - while giving the host organization tighter control over how users access data.

“Each shared channel will appear within a user’s primary Teams tenant alongside existing teams and channels, providing convenient access within their current flow of work,” the company added.

Microsoft Teams Connect is currently in private preview, but is set to be made available to all users later this calendar year.

Presenting in Microsoft Teams

In addition to cross-organizational channels, Teams is also getting a new set of features designed to “help presenters deliver content more professionally and offer meeting participants dynamic experiences”.

Instead of simply sharing the desktop when it comes time to present, Teams users can now make use of a PowerPoint integration that brings slides, meeting chat and meeting participants into a single view.

By allowing the presenter to interact more easily with participants, Microsoft hopes PowerPoint Live in Teams will make for a richer and more engaging meeting experience.

Coming later this month, meanwhile, is a range of new presenter settings that allow users to reconfigure the video feed to best suit the style of presentation.

For example, Standout mode pushes the presenter’s video feed in front of the slide deck, Reporter presents content above the speaker’s shoulder, while the Side-by-side option positions shared materials adjacent to the presenter’s feed.

Finally, Microsoft will deliver a new dynamic view that automatically optimizes the layout of different meeting elements (e.g. participant gallery, shared content etc.), which should make for a less cluttered view. This feature will be made widely available by the end of the month.