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How to use accessibility features on Microsoft Teams

We look at how you can make your meetings more accessible when using Microsoft Teams.

A meeting on Microsoft Teams
A meeting on Microsoft Teams. Source: Microsoft


Features available to guest users

  • Use captions (from automated speech-to-text software or from a human speech-to-text reporter*)
  • Connect to a wired or Bluetooth output source (e.g. Bluetooth connected hearing aids)
  • Use Push to Talk shortcut
  • View invited British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters in the call.

*If set up by the host.

Extra features available to paid users

  • Create, view and save meeting transcripts
  • Select between 4 levels of noise cancellation
  • Record meetings to the cloud
  • Have a notetaker take shared notes.

Text alternatives to speech

Automated captions

Switching on captions during a meeting

  1. Select the … from the menu at the top
  2. Select Language and Speech
  3. Select Turn on Live Captions.

With a business account

Business users also have the option to set whether they are automatically identified in meeting captions.

This can be changed in Teams’ Settings under ‘Captions and transcripts’.

Automated transcript

Users within your organisation

You can start transcription of a meeting by:

  1. Selecting the More menu indicated by three dots
  2. Selecting Record and Transcribe.

This begins both meeting recording and transcription.

To save the transcription, you must also be recording.

The transcript will be available to view in the meeting window and will be available in the Teams chat after the meeting.

Users outside of your organisation

With a business account

Users with a business account will be able to view the transcript during the meeting but not start, stop or download the transcript.

Guest users

Guest users cannot view the transcription. They are notified that a transcription has begun.

Speech-to-text reporters

A speech-to-text reporter needs to be invited to the meeting in the same way as a normal participant.

Before a meeting

The host needs to:

  1. Open the meeting invite
  2. Select Meeting options
  3. In Meeting options, turn on the Provide CART Captions switch, and then select Save to create the CART caption link
  4. Provide the CART captioner with the generated link to input into their captioning software.

We recommended testing this before the meeting starts.

During a meeting

The host and participants can access the speech-to-text reporter’s live captions in the usual way.

  1. Select the … from the menu at the top
  2. Select Language and Speech
  3. Select Turn on Live Captions.


A notetaker should be invited to the meeting the same as a participant would be.

It’s good practice to let other participants know that a notetaker is present and agree with them prior to the meeting on how the notes are laid out and saved.

Teams also provides the option for shared note taking during the meeting. This option can be selected in the More menu (3 dots) under Meeting Notes.

Clear speech

Noise cancellation

Business users have the option of three different types of noise suppression or to turn noise suppression off. There is also a high-fidelity music mode available which can be found in Teams Settings under Devices.

Before a meeting

In the initial window when you go to join a meeting go to:

  1. Computer Audio
  2. Select ‘Customised Setup’
  3. Under Noise Suppression you can select from the following depending how noisy your environment is:
  • Auto
  • High
  • Low.

During a meeting

  1. Select the More menu
  2. Select Settings
  3. Under Device Settings, you can pick from the same options.

Read more about reducing background noise on the Microsoft website.

Connecting hearing aids and other audio devices

If you have a Bluetooth device, such as a Bluetooth connected hearing aid, you’ll first need to make sure it is connected to the computer/phone you are running Teams on by going into your Bluetooth settings. You can make sure wired or USB devices are connected correctly by going into your system’s sound settings.

Changing an audio output or input device appears similarly for guest and business users.

Before a meeting

Paid users

In the initial window when you go to join a meeting go to:

  1. Computer Audio
  2. Select ‘Customised Setup’
  3. Under Audio Settings there will be drop down menus for Microphones (input devices) and Speakers (output devices including connected hearing aids).

Guest users

Select the cog at the bottom of the video. It will bring up device settings.

If the device you want to connect to does not appear in any of these menus, you’ll need to check the device is set up correctly in your system’s settings.

During a meeting

The same settings can be found in the More menu under Settings then Device Settings.

Push to Talk

To use Push to Talk, you must first be on mute.

You can then press crtl+spacebar to unmute your microphone for the duration the keys are pressed.

British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters

An interpreter is invited to the meeting the same as any participant would be.

Before the meeting starts, make sure people who require the interpreter have pinned the interpreter so they are always visible.

Viewing the BSL interpreter

To pin the interpreter so they are always visible, a participant needs to:

  1. Hover over the interpreter’s video
  2. Select ‘…’ after their name
  3. Select ‘Pin for me’.


If you have a BSL interpreter, make sure that the account recording the call has the interpreter pinned.

Users within your organisation (business accounts)

Only users within your organisation can start, stop or access a meeting recording. To do this go to:

  1. The More menu indicated by three dots
  2. Select Record and Transcribe

This begins both meeting recording and transcription.

If you want to make a recording without a transcription, you can then go back to the ‘Record and Transcribe’ menu and turn off or hide transcription.

Recording captions and BSL interpretation

If you have a BSL interpreter, make sure that the account recording the call has the interpreter pinned.

The downloaded audiovisual file will not have the captions embedded into the recording.

To embed the captions, you will need to use a video editor to link the audiovisuals with the VTT file (which has both the text of the captions and timing information).

Accessing the recording

Links to the recording appear in the chat for the meeting and are stored in your organisation’s agreed upon location.

If it’s saved to OneDrive, you’ll then be able to stream it and have the option to toggle captions on and off.

You will also have the option to:

  • download the audiovisual recording (as .mp4)
  • edit the transcript
  • download the transcript (as .vtt)
  • set noise suppression as default for other online viewers.

For help using Microsoft Teams, visit the Microsoft Teams support website.

These features were tested on Version of the desktop app (Windows) and in the browser, with a paid business account. They were also tested as a free participant on browser.

Page last updated 17 May 2023.

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Page last updated: 17 May 2023

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