Microsoft Teams gets new app features

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Microsoft has rolled out the biggest update to its Teams platform since it first launched last year, offering enhanced collaboration features to bring it more in line with market leader Slack.

The main focus of the update is ensuring the platform integrates as best it can with apps, including Microsoft's own Office 365 products, and third party offerings it supports, such as Trello, InVision, and SurveyMonkey.

Teams will now allow users to view, edit, and collaborate on Visio diagrams inside Teams. This kind of capability was previously available for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files through Office Online. Microsoft has extended these capabilities to Visio files so that users can make simple changes to diagrams without having to leave the Teams.

"Now you can have a conversation about content from an app without the need to include a screenshot or a hyperlink to the information," the company explained in a blog post. "In the same way that you can add an emoji or GIF, you can now bring information from apps into a chat or channel message with a simple click. For example, you can search for a specific task in Trello, a work item in Wrike, or a weather forecast, and include an interactive card with that information into a message."

A new personal apps section will also allow each user to access the apps they use most as fast as possible, from a special personal apps space. It will also showcase actions an individual user has been assigned tasks from, so you won't miss out on things you're supposed to be doing.

A new Apps Discovery feature enables you to find new apps for you and your team to use from a simplified interface. Search by for them by name, category (such as Project management or Analytics and BI), or integration type (such as Bots, Tabs, or Connectors) and add them to your personal apps space or Team in just a few clicks.

Several third-party application integrations are also coming to Teams, allowing users to access a lot of services in one place. The new apps in Teams include Jell, RSpace, Zoho Projects, AttendanceBot, Bitbucket, CrewHu, Evernote, Jira Bot, Karmabot, LawBot, and more.

The bot chat feature, which was announced at the Microsoft Build conference 2018, will allow users to send an image to the bot, the bot will recognize the text in an image and sends it back to the user as a file.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.