Group conversations and group chat threads are common in the average chat application. The one problem with a group conversation is that everyone is talking and it’s hard to tell when someone is being addressed directly.
To make a conversation easier to follow, and to address someone directly in a group chat, apps allow users to ‘mention’ other users. This is normally done by tagging a user who will then receive a special notification telling them they’ve been mentioned by someone else.
Mention users in Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams, like most modern chat applications, allows users to mention other team members in a conversation. They can mention one, or several users by inserting the @ symbol, followed by a user’s name.
Mentioning a team member is easy but when you have to mention several team members, there’s always a chance you might miss someone. To make it easier, Microsoft Teams has group tags that can be used to mention several people with one tag.
1. Group tags in Microsoft Teams
In order to create a group tag in Microsoft Teams, you must be a team admin. Ordinary users do not have the rights needed to create a group tag.
- Open Microsoft Teams.
- Go to the Teams tab in the column on the left.
- Click the more options button next to the team you want to add a group tag for.
- Select Manage Tags from the menu.
- Click Create Tag.
- Give the tag a name. The name is what users will enter when they want to ‘mention’ multiple users. Make sure the tag name isn’t too long.
- Select users that will be alerted when this tag is used.
- Click Create.
Note: Group tags can be used by anyone, and not just team admins however team admins can restrict their usage for certain team members.
2. Using a group tag
To use a group tag, follow these steps.
- In Microsoft Teams, select Teams from the column on the left.
- Select a team channel.
- Click ‘New Conversation’.
- Enter the @ symbol and follow it up with the name of the group tag.
- Enter your message, and send it.
- Everyone in the group tag will be alerted to the message.
3. Edit a group tag
You can easily add or remove users from a group tag but like creating a group tag requires admin rights, so does editing one.
- Sign in to Microsoft Teams with a team admin account.
- Go to the Teams tab.
- Click the more options button next to the team you want to edit tags for.
- Select Manage tags.
- Select the tag you want to edit.
- Click inside the Add people field, and enter the name of new users you want to add to the task.
- Click the more options button next to an added user, and select Remove to remove them from the tag.
- Click the name of the tag to change it.
Renamed/edited group tags
A group tag, once edited will not change its name in older messages. For example, let’s say you had a tag named All, and you used it to send messages. A few days after using this tag, you rename it to Everyone.
When you go through the conversation history, the ‘All’ tag will still appear when it was used. Hover over it, and it will show a pop-up that displays its new name. For future conversations, you will use the tag’s new name.
As for members, they will be edited for old and new conversations. When you go back to a conversation where a tag was used, it will show the current number of people included in it. This means there may have been more or fewer people in the tag when it was originally used.
Group tagging is a feature that you won’t find on casual chat apps like Facebook Messenger but chat apps that are geared towards productivity and use in the workplace will normally have something like this. The concept isn’t alien since many advanced email clients have a similar feature for email groups.