A dozen ways to dial – in Teams

Most of my technical writing is analysis, documentation or support content specific to InterVarsity’s particular combination of strategic platforms. Once in a while, something seems useful beyond project teammates and a wider staff audience.

You can decide if this is one of those times.

Or if it’s about as relevant as that dialer above. Anyone else remember using one of those?

Nonprofit adoption of a collaboration hub

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I became “that Teams guy” in our organization because of alignment between

  • the spiritual and strategic value of collaboration for our 2030 Calling,
  • my incessant learning and experimentation with technology platforms,
  • Teams’ emergence as a unifying hub for Microsoft 365 and other apps, and
  • the openness of Dy and many other colleagues to a new way of working.

Our adoption of Microsoft Teams has been fairly organic, with about half of InterVarsity staff using it every month. It helps us communicate (mostly) internally, share files and more, and meet – alongside Zoom, of course. With the replacement of our National Service Center‘s telephone service, we continue connecting “all the things.”

Kinds of calling in Teams

The list below could be relevant if you or your organization use Microsoft Teams to make calls using voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and to the plain old telephone system (POTS).

  • have a Microsoft Calling Plan or
  • use Direct Routing plus Microsoft 365 E5 or Phone System licenses to integrate Teams with a cloud-based PBX service.

In our case, these new abilities only apply to staff based in our national office who have been assigned a phone.

Others – and even those who use Teams free – can start VoIP audio calls with tenant members and invited guests and video meetings with anyone. You just can’t dial phone numbers. (Teams free and personal does let you include someone through SMS in a chat.)

All the ways to call

As my Support & Solutions colleagues and I explored our new calling experience in Teams, we catalogued most of these methods for initiating audio calls.

In Teams’ Calls app

Like any add-in for Teams on the desktop and web,, you can drag Calls along the left-hand bar, or pin it.

  1. Dial a PBX extension using the dialpad. It’s even more fun on a touch screen!
  2. Type in any domestic phone number – or more, depending on your service plan.
  3. Copy and paste a number into the blank above the dialpad and press Enter.
  4. In the History tab, choose ••• next to a name or number for options like Call back.
  5. Add anyone to your Contacts (visible from Outlook) and use 📞 or a hyperlinked number.
  6. Add anyone to your speed dial list and call by choosing their 📞 or ••• then a number.
  7. Got the Teams mobile app? If 📞Calls isn’t on the bottom bar, choose ••• More then Reorder and drag Calls to the top five. Use the dialpad, history, contacts, or search your organization’s directory.

In or beyond the Calls app

  1. In the Search bar at the top of Teams’ main window, start typing the name of anyone in your organization.
    • Choose a name in the results to see their status (are they signed into Teams?), any status message (e.g., out of office from Outlook or Teams), and any chat history.
    • Choose the 📞 button at the top of their chat page to start an audio call.
    • Any known numbers show in a down-caret (v) button menu next to the 📞 button. Choose one to dial it.
  2. Hover over any person’s avatar (profile image or initials) in Teams and other Office apps for options to start an audio call or dial them by choosing a clickable known phone number.
  3. Type /call in Teams’ Search bar, tap Space, and start typing a name or paste a number.
  4. You can also use a screen reader to make and answer calls in Teams.
  5. Enter /keys in Teams’ top bar for keyboard shortcuts.
    • Start an audio call with Ctrl+Shift+C (Windows) or Cmd+Shift+C (macOS).
    • Decline one with Ctrl+Shift+D or Cmd+Shift+D.
    • To jump to the Search bar from elsewhere in Teams’ main window, type Ctrl+E (Windows) or Cmd+E (macOS).

Once you’re in a call, check out all the options on the ••• menu.

What do you think? Were any new to you? If you find another dialing method, please let me know!


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