Windows 11 Insider Preview Adds Microsoft Teams Chat Feature

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The latest insider release for the upcoming new version of Windows lets you chat with other people even if they don’t have Teams.

Microsoft has delivered another promised feature for Windows 11, namely chat through its Teams app. The latest version of the Windows 11 Insider preview reveals a taskbar icon through which you can use Microsoft Teams to chat with other people. But the selling point here is that the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t need Teams to chat with you. When you text a non-Teams user, your chat will take place via text.

SEE: Checklist: Securing Windows 10 Systems (TechRepublic Premium)

Integration with Teams marks a transition for Microsoft. In the past, the company has touted Skype as its go-to app for VoIP chat and calling. But as Zoom and other virtual meeting apps have gained attention in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the shift to remote working, Microsoft has touted Teams not just for business users, but increasingly for home users.

For this initial release, the Teams chat feature only supports text chats with individuals and groups. Audio and video calling, meetings, screen sharing and other features will roll out over the next few weeks, Microsoft said in a statement. blog post announcing the new Teams chat.

You can personalize your texts with special formatting, emoji, animated GIFs, and attachments. But because SMS is limited, the other person will need the Teams app to view formatting, GIFs, and attachments. If the chat is run via SMS, the person on the other end will receive a link to download the Teams app. Teams is available free for Windows, macOS, iOS / iPadOS, Android, Linux, and the web.

To set up the Teams feature, make sure that you are running Insider Preview for Windows 11 and that you’ve opted for the Dev channel to get the latest updates. Then go to Settings and Windows Update. Allow the latest version to be installed and restarted. After you log back in, you should see a new icon in the taskbar that says Chat when you hover over it. Click on this icon and you are prompted to download Teams. Click on the Configure button.

In the next window, click on Get started. Choose the Microsoft account you want to use with Teams and enter your password. A Teams window opens for you to confirm your name and choose to sync your Skype and Outlook contacts to find people you know on Teams. Click the Let’s Go button.

The Teams app opens where you can invite people, start a chat, start a group, start a meeting, check your activity, and view your calendar.

The next time you want to chat with someone, just click on the Teams taskbar icon or press Win + C and choose Chat. You can now chat with one or more people by entering their name, email address or phone number.

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