How to Configure Microsoft Teams Notifications

Microsoft Teams Logo

Microsoft Teams does a great job of informing you about new messages and other activity, but it can get a bit overwhelming if you’re in lots of teams. Here’s how to turn off or customize Microsoft Teams notification.

Teams will provide notifications about chats, meetings, direct messages, mentions, other people’s status, and even when someone you know joins your team. It will do this by adding a number to the Teams icon on the taskbar, making that same icon flash, playing a noise, and popping up a banner notification in the bottom-left corner of your screen. And if you miss any of that, it will send you a missed activity email.

If you work somewhere that uses Microsoft Teams a lot, this can become a barrage of alerts that constantly interrupt you with information that you don’t need to know. Getting pulled out of your focused zone by an alert telling you that Geoff from Accounts has just come online is really not helpful or productive. You should decide what’s worthy of breaking your concentration, not your software.

RELATED: How to Turn Off or Customize New Email Alerts in Outlook

Fortunately, you can change all of these settings and make Teams alerts as loud or as quiet as you like, and it’s easy to do. You can also change notifications for specific conversations and chats, or change notifications for specific periods of time.

How to Manage General Notifications

Open Microsoft Teams on your computer, click your profile picture, then select “Settings” in the menu.

The "Settings" menu option.

In the “Settings” panel, click “Notifications.”

The "Notifications" option in the Setting menu.

This is where you can customize all of your notification settings. Let’s start at the top and work our way down.

At the top of the Notifications are three options, all of which can be turned off:

  1. Missed activity emails: The frequency of emails sent to you when you miss a chat message, channel mention, or anything else worthy of an alert. This can be set to “Off” entirely if you don’t want to be bombarded with emails, or at best “Daily,” so you only get one email a day.
  2. Show message preview: Whether or not a “toast” popup (the notifications that pop up in the bottom right of the screen) showing a preview of messages you’ve received is displayed. These are distracting at best, and they get in the way when you’re trying to type messages in Teams, so turn them off.
  3. Play sound for notifications: Nothing breaks your concentration quite like a loud “ding” going off in your headphones, and whilst the Teams notification isn’t the most irritating alert noise, it’s still annoying. Turn it off here and get your peace and quiet back.

The "Email" and "Appearance and sound" notification options.

The next section, “Teams and Channels,” covers messages in the standard “Posts” tab in every channel.

The "Teams and channels" notification options.

It’s not absolutely clear what the first two options will cover and what they won’t. For example, does “Mentions and Replies” alert you to reactions? It’s not obvious. That’s far from ideal, so instead choose “Custom.”

The "Custom" option in the "Teams and channels" section.

This will open up the individual settings that cover all teams and channels.

The "All teams and channels" custom notification options.

All of the dropdowns (except “Personal @mentions”) have three options:

  • Banner and feed: Show the “toast” popup, and also mark the channel with an icon
  • Only show in feed: Mark the channel with an icon
  • Off: Don’t show the toast popup and don’t mark the channel with an icon. “Personal @mentions” doesn’t have this option, because Teams won’t let you turn off alerts entirely for mentions.

You may want to choose different values for different dropdowns here. “All New Posts” is off by default and that makes sense unless you’re monitoring a channel for a reason. But you probably want at least “Only show in feed” for “Replies to conversations I started.”

Once you’ve finished changing the dropdowns, click “Back To Settings.”

The "Back to settings" link.

The remaining four options deal with specific areas of Teams.

  • Chat: Covers notifications for mentions, replies, and reaction in chat messages (that’s direct messages between you and someone else, not general messages in the Posts tab of a channel).
  • Meetings: Notifications for when a meeting starts, or when someone posts in a meeting chat.
  • People: Set up notifications to find out when specific individuals become available or go offline.
  • Other: Choose whether to get a notification when someone in your Outlook contacts joins Teams.

The options for Chat, Meetings, People, and Other.

Click the “Edit” button next to each item and choose your notification options.

When you’ve finished editing the notifications, close the “Settings” panel and watch as Teams no longer yells at you every few seconds.

How to Manage Notifications for Specific Channels

After you’ve set your general notifications, you can set notification rules for specific channels if you want more fine-grained control of when you get notified.

Hover over a channel, click the three-dot icon to the right of the name, and then select “Channel Notifications.”

The "Channel notifications" option.

You can use these settings to change the notifications for this specific channel without changing the general notification settings that act as the default for all other channels.

How to Manage Notifications for Specific Conversations and Chats

There will be times when you have your notification settings just the way you want, but specific conversations or chats keep pinging notifications at you anyway. This often happens when someone pulls you into a channel or chat to ask a question and then you get notifications about all the replies and reactions even though you’re not really involved.

Rather than changing your general notifications, you can turn off notifications for a specific conversation in a channel, or mute a specific chat.

To turn off notifications for a specific conversation in a channel, hover over the first message in the thread, click the three-dot icon, and select “Turn Off Notifications.”

The "Turn off notifications" menu option for a conversation.

From now on, you’ll only get a notification about this conversation if someone mentions you directly. To resume notifications, hover over the first message in the thread, click the three-dot icon, and  select “Turn On Notifications.”

The "Turn on notifications" menu option for a conversation.

To mute an entire chat with someone, hover over their name in Chat, click the three-dot icon, and select “Mute.”

The "Mute" menu option for a chat.

From now on, you won’t get any notifications from this chat. To resume notifications, hover over their name in “Chat,” click the three-dot icon, and select “Unmute.”

The "Unmute" menu option for a chat.

How to Stop Notifications for a Specific Period of Time

If you want to completely stop notifications for a while, you have a couple of options (other than closing the Microsoft Teams app entirely, of course). The first option is to change your status to “Do Not Disturb.” This will silence all notifications so you don’t get any popups or noise notifications until your status changes.

To change your status, click your profile picture, select your current status, then choose the “Do Not Disturb” option in the menu.

The "Do not disturb" status option.

Microsoft Teams will keep you in Do Not Disturb status until you change it to something else manually, enter a scheduled meeting, or close the Teams app.

The other option for turning off notifications for a period of time is to use Focus Assist, a built-in Windows tool that hides alerts from any (or all) apps at times and situations you choose. We’ve covered Focus Assist in-depth, but here’s what you need to do to make sure it does what you want for Teams.

While you can open Focus Assist in a number of ways, we’re going to go there through the “Settings” panel. Press Windows+i on your keyboard to open up the “Settings” panel, search for “Focus Assist,” then select “Focus Assist Settings” from the dropdown menu.

The Windows Settings search box.

Scroll down to the “Automatic Rules” section and turn on the options you want to enable.

The "Automatic rules" section of Focus Assist.

Each option allows either “Priority Only” or “Alarms Only,” which can be amended by clicking the option and changing the “Focus Level.”

An example of the "Focus level" dropdown.

“Alarms” specifically refers to alarms generated by the clock or alert apps. If you don’t want to be disturbed at all, you can set the option to “Priority Only” and remove all priority apps.

You can additionally customize “During These Times” by clicking on it and changing the time options.

The time options in the "During these times" rule.

This is useful if you want Focus Assist turned on only at certain times of the day—like dedicated focus time—or just weekdays and/or weekends.

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