MS Teams "Together Mode"

Seems like a cute idea, not sure it adds much over the usual “Hollywood Squares” presentation, though.

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Cute, but weird since it gives the appearance of everyone looking at the front of the room and no one looking at each other. I also am skeptical of the supposed advantages such as better visual clues from body language … either the body part is in the camera or it isn’t and, if anything, this view is likely to clip something if the person sticks a hand out to the side or whatever.

Not to mention my experience thus far with virtual backgrounds being less than stable and I can just imagine the whole background dissolving in this view.


Seems like a cute idea, not sure it adds much over the usual “Hollywood Squares” presentation, though.

I like it! If feels a lot more natural when people are “together.” There is political show with five presenters each in a box that works well enough but as the number of boxes with disconnected backgrounds grows, distraction grows as well. There is a lot of room to innovate in tele-conferencing.

Denny Schlesinger


I had the same reaction. This just feels weird to me because no one is looking at each other. Or worse everyone is looking at me. Either way it is creepy to me. I don’t think we will get the intended experience without VR.

Their ‘together’ mode might be new for TEAMs, but certainly is old news for Webex (I’m using it in that mode as I type this for an international video conference) and Zoom. Both have had this feature for a long time.


“…and Zoom. Both have had this feature for a long time.”

How do you do this in Zoom? I can’t find it on their website docs and I haven’t seen it in-app.

Interesting idea.

On a related to Teams note, my company (a large consulting practice) just started using Teams. I have a history of using Zoom for years now. I get on my first Teams meeting with the head of our division and am sharing my video and I get a Chat message “Can you please turn off your video?” I am thinking they must not like my hair after months of no haircuts. Why? I ask. “There isn’t enough bandwidth and things are breaking down”. Really? There were 4 people on video plus me being #5. I’ve seen Zoom run hundreds and have read releases of them running tens of thousands without a hitch. I think Microsoft has big problems they can’t fix with backgrounds. I don’t know corporate I.T. won’t give up on Microsoft and move forward.




It’s called Gallery mode. You can swap around between the people you see, shared screens etc.

I think they’ve got it right with 25 on the screen at the same time. The pictures are big enough to clearly see everything.

It’s been there since at least last September when I first used zoom. It had over a 100 people participating from Australia to Alaska to me and Europe. Crazy!! Went flawlessly.


"It’s called Gallery mode. You can swap around between the people you see, shared screens etc. "

That is not at all the same as what MS Teams has done in this thread. Gallery mode is the the mode they thing they are displacing with this weird feature.

Also on zoom you can adjust the number of people in your gallery as well as hide those without video. It also gives you left/right arrows when you have more people than you can fit. This is how I use Zoom all the time. I also use the two-monitor setup where you have the gallery on one screen and the featured speaker or screen-share on the other screen (or rather another window, which can then be put on a different mentor and full-screened separately if you wish). This lets me see a full-screen computer share while still seeing everyone in the meeting. It is amazing and unique as far as I know (the display options with independent monitors in the mix).

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If Zoom doesn’t have this Gallery view, I imagine they’ll have it in a few weeks - “a simple matter of programming”. I’m getting the sense that MS Teams and Zoom are going to be pushing each other to be the best that they can be. The user community will win.
I was working with a division of the Federal Govt last week and they mentioned that they are happy using Zoom today, but since MSFT committed special terms and advanced features in Teams, they expect to be migrating to Teams in the fall. My guess is that they will find it hard to give up Zoom and become users of both Zoom and Teams.