#26: Further Outlook Calendar Fun

Following on from last week’s tip on New Outlook and its addition of the “In-person” switch to designate a meeting as taking place in actual 3D, here’s a quick look back at another calendary thing that’s been in Exchange and Outlook since the year dot – the meeting status.

When you create an entry in your calendar, you can set whether it shows you as busy or not – the original status choices being free/tentative/busy/OOF. Microsoft added the new “Working elsewhere” more than a decade ago, though it never really took off. It wasn’t helped by the lack of support on some clients, and an initial gnarly bug in Exchange 2013 which meant Working Elsewhere appointments sometimes disappeared. It does work pretty well now, though – Think of it like a soft Out of Office which doesn’t get in the way of people booking time with you, but it does signify that you’re not physically in the office. That’s a lot more likely these days than it was 11 years ago.

Showing your actual availability is a bit more nuanced than it was when Outlook was launched in 1997; you might be technically Out of Office but still able to be contacted in some ways. You could set a status message in Teams to add context to where you are or how available you might be.

Of course, making sure other people can see your calendar (at least sharing the high level view of where you are and what you’re doing) will help, and do tell people to use the scheduling assistant in Outlook when trying to book meetings with you. Maybe also set your Work Hours to make it clear if you habitually work at different times to your colleagues, take Friday afternoons off etc.

If you have a group of people who work closely together, you could try using a variety of other tools to track whereabouts and make it easier to meet – check out TeamLink, a free Power App that runs inside of Teams, or perhaps the supposedly forthcoming feature set formerly introduced as Microsoft Places.

Finally, there are two stages of Out of Office – there’s the automatic message you might set to respond to emails to say you’re away; the best OOF messages might just apologize that you’re gone so will probably never read these emails. Alternatively, you could set the status of your appointment to show OOF and then people who can see your calendar will know you’re just gone for a while, such as away for the afternoon, but you haven’t gone to the extent of setting up an auto-response.

Both of these can also help with voice messaging, either external telephone calls if you’re using Teams Phone or just “calls” directly into Teams from colleagues or other external contacts. Look in Teams settings, and you can set up how you want to handle calls that go unanswered. You can record your own greeting, or just type in a message and have the system say that to the caller.

Note the granularity where you could have a message played only during times when your calendar is showing Out of Office.

#23: Licensing the overlords

People might be using AI to create new art and for writing but most would prefer it to take the drudgery out of their life; and that doesn’t just mean summarizing your emails. One day, technology might fulfil that Keynesian idyll of having more leisure time than we know what to do with, but for now we’re reduced to automating a few tedious tasks while replacing them with new ones.

Robotics pioneers dreamt of having autonomous domestic servants. Aside from pervasive advancement made in manufacturing, most have been somewhat underwhelming, despite some amazing looking machines. Boston Dynamics recently unveiled the frankly terrifying new Atlas humanoid robot…

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… as a replacement to the previous variant which had been the star of many videos (including the “Do You Love Me” viral hit)…

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… even if its cost and complexity meant it was good for little more than making fancy videos. Why make a machine that looks and acts vaguely like a human if all it needs to do is move things around, where a machine dedicated to that specific task could be built more simply and with less money?

If the rise of AI and robots is giving you cause for concern, allay some of those fears with the Reddit group, /r/sh**tyrobots, which showcases epic fails of people with perhaps too much time on their hands. (The same could be said of much of Reddit but that’s another topic altogether).

One aspect of AI and robots that is conveniently overlooked is the huge cost of doing them well; don’t expect future technologies to do everything and answer all your questions without something in return, whether that’s sharing all your information with them or handing over all your money and other stuff.

Software robotics

In current times, using software to take care of tedious tasks imposed by other software can bring immediate benefits without costing the earth. Collectively known as RPA or Robotic Process Automation, the field varies from simple If-This-Then-That type logic which can knit different systems together, to altogether more engineered solutions that are part of a much bigger development.

Microsoft’s own Power Automate – formerly known as “Microsoft Flow” – starts off with an easy-to-use editor not unlike IFTTT but can encompass web-based logic or can be run on a PC to help automate repetitive tasks within installed applications. There’s a Copilot for Power Automate (of course) and AI can help to figure out what you’re trying to automate locally too.

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Keep up to speed with what’s new in Power Automate on the Release Wave documentation or on the fairly frequently updated blog.

Licensing for dummies

Power Automate is free for some things, but costs money for others. Some external systems are free to connect to, while others need you to pay directly or have an existing license. If you were designing a licensing scheme, you certainly wouldn’t start from here, in fact you could make a profession out of understanding Microsoft licensing.

Dynamics 365 pricing is going to rise pretty significantly in October 2024, though it’s the first such hike in 5 years. Still, the recent Business Applications Launch Event showed where some of the money is going; the tl;dr summary is, “Ooooh, isn’t Copilot GREAT!”.

Sometimes, Microsoft’s licensing complexity is due to external factors, though. Various competitors have also been complaining about how unfair it is that Redmond has bundled Teams in with Office 365 rather than making customers pay for it separately, and the EU pressured Microsoft to remove it from Office suites sold in Europe.

Remember the EU forcing Microsoft to ship separate versions of Windows that didn’t include a media player, because Real Networks complained? Consumers all over the world must have rejoiced.

Rather than offer a specific version to EU customers alone, Microsoft has decided to revamp the M365 suite worldwide into “with Teams” and “without Teams” versions. What this means in practice is that if you do use Teams already, you can carry on running for the same money – for now at least – depending on how you license your M365. Details are set out here.

Some customers might welcome that they can now buy their M365 subscriptions for a few $/user less than before, if they don’t currently use Teams and especially if they do subscribe to Slack, Zoom, Webex (yes, it’s still there) etc. For anyone currently using Teams it either makes no difference, or it raises the prospect of one day having to pay a $/user fee on top of the core M365 suite, and at least on the plans for M365 Enterprise for new subscribers, that will cost them more than they’d pay today.

Currently, personal/family plans are unaffected, and “business” subscriptions for M365 are available as previously or newly-discounted without Teams. Enterprise users will need to get to grips with the idea of paying for Teams separately unless they’re existing subscribers, in which case for a while, at least they don’t need to. Easy as that.

Someone has to pay the ferryman.

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No automated wirting here. If you enjoy the process of writing and the creativity it can unleash, the last thing you’d want is to have it machine-generated. AI drafting is for boring documents which will probably only get summarized by AI at the point of consumption, so who cares if they are dry and dull? Tip of the Week remains a 100% hand-crafted endeavour. Well, apart from some of the banner images because, you know, DALL-E et al can draw some groovy stuff.

684 – Teams, Countdown, Go!

clip_image002The word “Go” has so many connotations for such a couple of letters. It’s typically upbeat & positive, forward-looking and action-oriented. You get £200 for breezing past it in Monopoly, it’s the oldest board game known, it’s a popular open-source programming language and it’s what the Thunderbirds do.

Back in April 2021, ToW #574 talked about sharing a countdown timer in Teams, if you want to make it clear in a meeting that it’s about to get underway. That was by sharing the application window of a countdown clock, meaning that it would replace any other desktop sharing/slides etc being shown.

Also, the timer will loom very large on the screen of everyone watching, which could well be effective though maybe lacking some of the subtlety you’d prefer.

clip_image004A more nuanced tip would be to overlay a timer on your own video feed, so you could make the point that things are about to change, and it could be shown alongside other content or whatever else might be happening in the meeting.

Depending on how you do it, the timer could disappear altogether when it has finished, and you’d carry on with the video as before. You might even want to replace your own camera feed with a backdrop and timer until you’re ready to go and show your face.

One recommended way to achieve this effect is to use OBS Studio, open source software which started life as a kind of video manipulation tool aimed at recording or streaming, and has grown to offer a host of features and plugins to modify and manipulate video in real time. It can look a bit scary to start with, but the basics can be picked up quickly.

OBS Studio can apply a series of effects to one or more video sources – could be the real-time recording of windows showing a live demo or a physical camera, with some other stuff like a video file, overlaid on top. You can go down a rabbit-hole of effects (like put a real-life green screen behind you, then chroma key a backdrop or video onto your own video feed – see Scott Hanselman’s tutorial for inspiration).

clip_image006OBS also includes a virtual camera driver, so while you’re running the software and combining several sources – like a real camera and one or more media sources overlaid on top (along with selected effects) – OBS will combine everything to look like it’s a camera feed that can be selected in Teams, Zoom or any other software that could use a video input.

A simple trick could be to add only a countdown video to OBS and then choose the OBS Virtual Camera in Teams; it will display the video instead of your camera feed, and then when you’re ready to get going, just change the video settings in Teams to go back to your own webcam.

There are plenty of sources online for free countdown videos – here or here for example; download the file, add it to OBS as a Media Source and you’re off. If you’d like to take it up a level, here’s a more in-depth tutorial, and you can even script your own custom ones if you like to delver deeper into OBS features.

678 – New Old Things again

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In ToW 632 – New Old Things, the topic of the old version of OneNote getting some spiffy new features was raised. This week carries on the same theme in a different direction – some altogether new versions of old applications, which might be worth taking a look at, even if they’re not quite fully featured yet.

In the beginning there was Skype. Well, actually, before that there was MSN Messenger and its variants. Business environments then got Live Communications Server, Office Communications Server, eventually Lync, and finally the confusingly branded Skype for Business.

Teams came along from the left field around 6 years ago and from a real-time collaboration product point of view, swept all before it (at least in Microsoft), eventually replacing Skype for Business, as the pandemic turbocharged its adoption and appeal. Skype is still with us, with reasonably recent releases and even integration of the new Bing and GPT driven AI.

The thing is, the original Teams client grew up pretty quickly and though it has had lots of improvements, it’s never been especially resource-light, or quick. The Teams team (herein lies one challenge with its name) took the decision to start over and build a new Teams client, shiny and slick and running like greased clip_image003lightning.

If you feel like giving it a try, you may see a Try new Teams slider on the top left of the main Teams client window; clicking that will restart Teams by closing the old app and starting the clip_image005new. There are some features not quite there yet, but the list is being updated frequently as functionality improves. If you switch to the new Teams preview and don’t like it, you can quickly switch back – but you’re either/or running one or the other.

Outlook has a longer heritage – it came out first with Office 97 so has its roots in early/mid-90s code, and even if the core of the app has been re-engineered and the UX has had numerous polishes over the years, there are still occasional peeks at a Windows 95 era application lurking beneath.

There has been a push for some time to make the Outlook Web client a more viable alternative for many users, including showing Outlook Web in an Edge sidebar even when clicking a link from the PC desktop client. Functionality differs between the full-fat desktop, the web client and the various mobile apps.

There’s a “new Outlook” on the way, now too – previously codenamed “project Monarch” it’s supposedly been in the works for years, yet looks a lot like the web client that happens to run in a window – it’s available in preview now. It may end up replacing the variety of desktop, web and mobile apps, though that could take a while. In near terms, the new Outlook will likely supplant the default Mail & Calendar apps in Windows 11.

clip_image007You may see a Try the new Outlook slider on the top right of the main Outlook window; flicking that will restart Outlook in its new guise, however unlike the new Teams, it is possible to run both new and old, side-by-side.

clip_image009One way would be to make the switch, then on the new “Outlook PRE” icon that appears on the taskbar, choose to Pin it. Then flick clip_image011back and you’ll now have both old and new Outlooks available together. You could configure the New one to remove your main M365 email account, and just have your Outlook.com / Hotmail or now even a Gmail account, while leaving all your work emails in the old Outlook UX.

If you want to keep old and new Outlook with different account setups – business in the old, private in the new, for example – go straight to the Store and install the New Outlook app, then configure it as you like when it starts.

652 – ‘Av @, ta!

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One of the most eagerly-awaited updates to Microsoft Teams took a step closer, with the announcement at Ignite that Mesh Avatars are going into preview.

clip_image004When Mesh (the new metaverse avatary thing, rather than the Ray Ozzie sync tech from 2008) was first unveiled 18 months ago, Brad Sams from First Ring Daily had a new business idea. Using Mesh avatars for Teams, the floating torso thing is less of an issue. Since most people in Teams meetings are sitting or standing at a desk, those who use their camera (rather than feigning some technical reason to not do so) will generally only be visible from the middle up anyway.

The Mesh Avatars for Teams feature is currently in private preview, and will roll out more widely “later” – if you’re interested in taking part in the public preview, sign up for more info, here.

In a nutshell, this capability allows you to be in a Teams meeting but instead of showing your camera image, it displays an avatar you define instead.

clip_image006The avatar doesn’t move, other than its mouth mumbling along if you are talking.

Although the stock images in the preview docs show various types of engagement, all of them are done by the avatar’s operator so most of the time, a team meeting full of avatars will have everyone staring blankly out into space.

One side effect of this is that the avatars still look vaguely engaged, even if their humans have left the room to make a cup of tea. Why sit in a boring meeting when you can have your avatar do it for you?

clip_image008You create your own digital likeness in a similar process to how you’d customize a character on Xbox – there are numerous options for shape, colour, clothing, accoutrements and so on.

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Start by clicking the “…” button on the vertical left toolbar in Teams and search for Mesh Avatar to kick the process off. If you don’t find that in the apps list, then you’ll need to wait until the preview is available to you.

In use, you can either have your camera on or you can use an avatar, and you will be able to add custom backgrounds to either.

You could freak everyone out by taking a webcam photo of your real backdrop, just without you in it, and let your avatar virtually inhabit your actual office.

During a meeting, there is a fairly diverse gallery of actions that you can make your avatar do – from simple stuff like giving a thumbs up or visibly laughing, to a range of theatrical reactions that might help convey how you feel about the meeting you’re currently in. 

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650 – All hands meetings

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Even though Dilbert isn’t funny any more there have been some good ones in the past, satirising corporate life. People who used to be cubicle or office based might struggle to deal with the new reality that most office workers would rather not be in the office 5-days-a week, 9 to 5, yet bosses would prefer people to not be slacking off at home in their PJs.

Zoom, Teams and other platforms adopted a metaphor in an online meeting, where attendees can figuritively raise their hand so they can be asked to speak. It works well when the people running the meeting have the discipline to check that they don’t have a forest of lifted paws before asking, “are there any questions?” to their audience.

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It helps if presenters are not doing the lowest-common-denominator thing of sharing their desktop to present slides. Using Teams’ own slide sharing means you can see the chat, and who’s joined, and whether they have their hand raised.

clip_image004Meeting participants also need to have the practice of raising their hand and waiting to be invited to talk, rather than blaring in to raise new topics or talk over others. Other attendees can also see who has their hand raised (look in the video gallery and you may notice those who have their hand raised are highlighted) and if you look in the People pane, you’ll see the order that attendees raised their hands as well, so if you’re the organizer then you can ask the top and most patient questioner to contribute at a point that makes sense.

A new etiquette has sprung up in hybrid meetings, though – how to balance commentary from remote attendees with chatter that’s happening in the room? Ordinarily, you’d rely on body language in a meeting room to decide it’s time to interject, nodding and perhaps making hand gestures yourself.

When some / half / most of the attendees are remote but you’re in the physical meeting room, it might be prudent to actually join the same Teams meeting on your PC – you’d only be sitting in the room looking at email on your screen anyway – and use the hand raise function before speaking, even if you’re sitting next to other contributors. This way, you’re on the same footing as all the remote attendees and it shows that you are at least giving the pretence of thinking about them too.

clip_image006When joining a Teams meeting on your PC, there’s a yeah-yeah dialog box which pops up just before entering the “room”, which presents various potentially relevant audio related options. The norm would be to use comptuer audio, then select what speakers/mic you want to use.

These join options can also give you a number to dial in to (or be called by the meeting, so you can stay silent and camera-less on somebody else’s dollar).

If you’re the first to join while in a physical Teams Room, you could bring the room system into your meeting and control it from your machine.


clip_image008If you are a bod in the room, though, then choose “Don’t use audio” to avoid any mic or speaker issues, causing endless echo. That way, you can enter the online meeting while being in the actual room, interact with other attendees on chat and use features like reactions and hand raising just as if you’re sitting at home.

Just remember that you are, actually, in front of other people, and also remember to change the default option back to “Computer audio” next time you enter a truly remote meeting, or you’ll spend the first few minutes saying “hello, hello? Can you hear me…?”

642 – Finding work stuff

Data storage has become very cheap over the decades – a while ago, ComputerWorld wrote an article, saying that when it was founded 50 years previous, a 1MB hard disk would cost you $1M, and in 2017, that would work out at $0.02. 5 years later, $0.02 would get >1GB, more than 1,000 times as much.

clip_image002[4]This profusion has turned many of us into pilers – what’s the point of organizing data and deleting old stuff, be that files, emails, camera roll photos?

Outlook has a pretty good search function built in. OneDrive photos has some great organizing and filtering capabilities (like On This Day, or if you have GPS enabled on your camera/phone, you can easily group photos by the location taken from).

clip_image004[4]Still in OneDrive, there is also some AI-based tagging of your pics, which can sometimes be a bit hit & miss… but more often than not gets it about right.

While browsing “All Photos”, if you mouse-over to the right, you’ll get a scrollable timeline too (similar to the Windows Photos app), so you can quickly jump to a reference date.

Assuming you’re using Microsoft 365 / Office 365 at your workplace, there are other ways to find stuff that is more work-related, like documents, email and messages. One easily overlooked source is the “new tab” experience within the Edge browser.

clip_image006[4]The content on the default home page can be customized in a variety of ways, from choosing whether to show a background image or keep it clear; to displaying content from various “news” providers and clickbait advertisers that Microsoft News / MSN has elected to present to you, or hiding that altogether.

You can do some filtering of that content too, though for work purposes, many people may want to leave the page layout in “Focused”, which puts a link bar at the bottom and hides the content to be a scroll away.

Edge Profiling

If you have a “Work” profile (or you only have a single profile) and it is connected to your work account – ie your Microsoft 365/ Office 365 email address rather than your personal one – then you’ll see a “Microsoft 365” link within the list of content providers, which gives you a simple view of your most recent documents, SharePoint sites you visit and a whole lot more. To learn more about this Edge Enterprise tab, see here.

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Also, you’ll see the search box containing your company name – it uses Bing to search for whatever you put in there (somewhat controversially, regardless of what your default search engine in the browser is…). Edge doesn’t give you the option – like IE used to – of starting a tab with a completely blank page, though there are hacks to make that work.

clip_image010[4]If you stick with the standard new tab, it will also give you the choice of restricting your search to “Work”, so looking at documents and the likes. You’ll see a list of content sources clip_image012[4]displayed on the left side as tabs, allowing you to filter what you’re looking for or where you want to search.

There’s a fairly new one that searches “Messages”. At least for now, that means Outlook and / or Teams messages, but it could be really useful when trying to remember if a conversation you had was in email or in a Teams chat.

A quick way to jump to this section is to go to aka.ms/messages

– regardless of which browser you’re using, as it uses the Bing.com/work back end.

633 – Muting in Teams

clip_image002You’re on mute” became a catchphrase of 2020, even featuring in London’s New Year firework & drone display at the outset of 2021. A year later, Lake Superior State University added it their list of phrases that should be banned from the lexicon, along with “Deep Dive”, “Circle Back” and “New Normal”. Pioneer even sent aloft a loudspeaker saying “You’re on Mute” in several languages, symbolically firing it into space for good (though it went up as far as 30km, it did come back down again and space nerds will know that actual “space” isn’t regarded as starting until 100km from the Earth’s surface).

clip_image004Some functional improvements in Teams have been released to help manage the state of being muted/unmuted; the applications can even recognise that you’ve started talking but your mic is off and will remind you of the shortcuts to switch it on again.

clip_image006CTRL+Space is particularly useful if you just want to chip in a short comment on a call where most people are muted, rather than fishing around to click on the Mic icon within the meeting. Press and hold to talk and release to go back to being quiet.

We’ve all been in Teams meetings when someone has left themselves unmuted and presumably doesn’t realise – they start talking to someone else in their house / dog barks / they start eating a bag of crisps / sighing noisily etc. Social etiquette will often have the speaker ask, “Oh, does someone have a question?” or the slightly more direct instruction to mute yourself unless you want to talk.

clip_image008By looking in the People pane to the side of the Teams meeting window, you can see who is making noise as their icon will have a halo around it. If you are the clip_image010organiser or have been given Presenter abilities (as is often the default), then you’ll be able to silence the heavy breathers and furious typists by right-clicking their icon and muting them.  It may be slightly passive-aggressive, but the offender gets notified and hopefully will feel a good sense of righteous shame. Unless they’re actually the current presenter, and someone else has pranked them by muting them in mid-flow.

clip_image012There are some other controls aimed at making online meetings less rowdy affairs, by giving the organiser the power to control who gets to speak or show their camera in the first place.

Bear in mind that it only applies to “Attendees” (ie all “Presenters” can choose to make their mic / camera available any time) and by right-clicking on an attendee’s icon in the Participants list, an clip_image014organiser can allow the Mic / Camera to be enabled for that user; note it doesn’t take them off mute, it just gives them the ability to unmute themselves. Just Imagine the horror if an organiser could switch on another attendee’s camera and mic without their involvement.

As we increasingly go back to hybrid meetings where remote participants will join a meeting room full of meatbags, it’s important once more to manage the microphone / speaker dance when several people in the same space join the same meeting. One best practice is to have people in the room log in to the online the meeting too, and potentially use the raise hand feature in Teams before they are asked by the organiser to talk, that way putting them on an equal footing with remote participants. But this will be bad news if those physical attendees don’t fix their laptop audio properly.

clip_image016If you have multiple people in one place who have their mics and speakers on, you’ll have the bad kind of feedback loop, with escalating echo. You could get them all to mute their mics, but the main meeting room microphone will pick up the sound of their speakers too, with the same effect; so in-room attendees need to mute both speakers & mic.

Pay attention to the “yeah, yeah” video and audio dialog that most people will rush through when joining a Teams meeting; there’s a “Don’t use audio” feature which means you’ll join and have no worry about your own laptop causing problems in the meeting room.

If you have a Teams Room system, you might want to join with no video too or you’ll end up with a gallery of attendees who are facing away from their camera, as they look at other people in the physical meeting room.

624 – Present in Teams, like a Boss

Present in TeamsEven after 2 years of mostly enforced remote meetings, it’s still amazing how many people have yet to master some of the basics of online meetings – like management of the mute button and general audio interference, positioning of screen/camera so you’re not looking up their nose or side of their face, professing to having bandwidth issues as the reason for not enabling video, and many more. One “room for improvement” function is that of presenting PowerPoint slides and not looking like an idiot.

Meet Now buttonFirstly, have a practice with Teams if you’re not sure how things are going to work out – just go to the Calendar tile and you’ll see a Meet now option in the top right; that creates a new instant meeting in which you can play.

Don’t share your screen to present slides in PowerPresent in Teams bannerPoint (unless you really insist). Instead, save your PowerPoint to OneDrive for Business or SharePoint, and you’ll see a Present in Teams button in the top right, or a larger button on the Slide Show tab.

Choosing this opens up a Presenter View akin to the one in PowerPoint, which is the default if you have multiple monitors and you start a Slide Show. This view lets you see Speaker Notes, jump quickly to specific slides rather than paging through them, and be more interactive with the meeting than you could ever be if you were simply sharing a screen showing a PowerPoint slide on your computer.

Show People or Chat panesPerhaps the most useful aspect of this mode in Teams is that you can still show the Chat or People pane to the side of the window – allowing you to keep an eye on attendees who might have their hands raised, or who ask questions in the meeting chat.

Presenter View

Lock content to current slideThere are some other controls of note – the eye icon  lets you decide if attendees can flick through your slides or whether you want to lock them to seeing only the slide you’re currently presenting. Useful if you have a Big Reveal coming at the end.

Next to that icon, there are some others which define the presenter mode – Content Only on the left, shows just the slide you want. Next to that is Standout, which takes your video and overlays it onto the slide rather than having it appear as one of the surrounding galleryStandout mode of other attendees. And next to that is a new preview PowerPoint feature called Cameo, which integrates with the Teams Client.

A downside of the Standout mode is that you don’t get to control where your image goes on screen, or how big it is – so you might well obliterate some part of the content you’re presenting. This new feature gives you a way to solve that.

Cameo button

In PowerPoint, go to the Insert tab and on each slide add a Cameo (or a Camera as the object it creates is described in some controls), then place and size it as you want.

If you select the new object, the Camera tab will give you more customization options.

Cameo Mode in useUse the Camera Styles gallery to pick from a shape and border/shadow combination, though the Camera Shape menu offers other variants to enhance your impact.

You will need to add a Cameo to every slide you want to show up on – potentially useful if you want to only appear for intros and Q&A but perhaps leave the content on its own for other parts.

Camera optionsSince each slide has its own Camera object, they can be of different shapes and you can even use the groovy Morph animation effect to transition too.

Laser pointer and ink controlsWhile in Presenter view, try using a “laser pointer” to temporarily show traces around something on your slide, with mouse or Surface pen to control it. There is a pen or highlighter to make more durable Ink markups, and if you double-click/tap each icon, you can set options like size, colour, adding arrow tips etc.

Hide presenter viewOne downside of the Presenter View is that it shrinks the content on your own screen to the point of possibly making it difficult to read, especially if you’re showing the People or Chat pane as well – in fact, the content is only about 20% of your screen real estate.

Using Pop Out might help if you have a larger second screen connected, though chances are you’ll be using the camera on a laptop so ideally want to be looking at that display.

Since nobody really uses Speaker Notes anyway, you could try Hide presenter view, which means you’ll lose the slide thumbnails and speaker notes, but still keep the other controls. Go to the View control on the top left of the window and choose Full Screen to increase it even more.

For more details on using the new Cameo feature, see here – it is in preview which is rolling out through Office Insiders first so you may not see it right away. If you are presenting using simple app or desktop sharing rather than the PowerPoint Live model described above, there are some other options in how you appear alongside your content.

As well as launching the PowerPoint Live sharing from within PPT itself, you can choose to share recent presentations while in Teams – just scroll down past the various “share screen / app” options and you’ll see more. This topic was covered previously on ToW #576.

621 – Working Time Directive

Analog watch with GMT handTime Zones have featured lots on ToW; in an epoch when everyone was holed up WFH, the relative time people were at became especially important when trying to meet with them. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable that meeting times are unpalatable to some attendees if they’re in a far-flung time zone, but it’s worth reminding yourself how distant they are when trying to find the best time slot to speak with them.

There are whole genres of mechanical watches which can display multiple time zones (check out GMT or World Time if horology is your thing), or you could rely on phone or computer-based aides-memoire, such as displaying multiple time zones alongside your calendar in Outlook, using the Windows Clock app with its world clock view, or even showing several clocks on the Windows task bar.

Teams contact card showing time zone infoA new addition to the arsenal of time zone tooling is a neat feature that’s appeared in the contact card in Teams and Outlook, showing you what the time is for the person you’re looking at. The time displayed is set by the device they’re using, so if on Windows, that’s the Time Zone setting.

Outlook Time Zone optionsWhen travelling, rather than just manually winding the clock back or forward, it makes sense to set the correct time zone on your machine – either by allowing Windows to change it automatically or by specifically choosing it from the list.

If you have multiple time zones displayed in Outlook, you can switch between them from the settings page – just right-click on the timeline to the side of the calendar and choose Change Time Zone, or go to File | Options | Calendar and look for the settings in there.

When you swap them around inside Outlook, it will change the time zone on your PC.

In some parts of the world, there’s pressure to prevent “work” from creeping into personal time, meaning emails and other messages should be held back and not Viva Insights delay deliverysent during what’s supposedly down-time. Ireland has published a “right to disconnect” code of practice, and Portugal even made it illegal for an employer to contact their workers outside of working hours.

If you’re using the right kind of Microsoft 365 subscription, Outlook can offer to delay emails you’re sending to people who are in different time zones – part of the Viva Insights package.

Choosing this action has a similar effect to the Delay Delivery Outlook's delay delivery optionoption which is visible on the Outlook toolbar, except that it won’t need Outlook to be running; the regular Delay feature leaves a message in your Outbox folder, and that normally means the Outlook client needs to be running at the time you want it to be sent.

The Viva-powered delay option holds the message on the server until the allotted hour, and then delivers it to the recipients – handy if the sender is already outside their working hours by that point