• 04/17/2014
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Microsoft Lync: 10 Ways To Do More

Lync does much more than instant messaging. Check out these tips and tricks for getting the most from this communication and collaboration tool.

"last modified" details. To view text modifications, point at the text, then hold the mouse over the solid rectangle that appears about the text.

Whiteboard will also recognize gestures if you open the feature using a touch-friendly device such as a tablet or presentation screen, says Stark.

4. Preview video.
If you plan to hold or participate in a video meeting, it's a good idea to preview how your video appears to check on variables such as lighting, framing, and your appearance, Stark says. "You want to make sure that you look appropriate, and video preview will show you exactly what others will see."

To preview your video, hover over the Video icon, but don't click it. A window will pop up that shows you exactly how you appear to others.

Figure 2:

5. Mute meeting participants.
Meetings with many attendees can be distracting if participants haven't muted their phones. Luckily, Lync lets you mute either individual attendees or everyone on the call or in the meeting. To manage audio for individuals, select the microphone icon on top of the participant's picture or video. To mute all participants, click the People icon, select the Actions tab, then Mute Audience.

6. Add your picture to Lync.
To add or update your photo, click your picture in the main Lync window. You can default to your corporate picture, if there is one, or upload a photo from a Web address. Note that this photo will also appear in other Office programs you might use, such as Outlook.

7. Add an external contact.
"One of the most underused features in Lync is the federation piece," Stark says. "It's probably the most transformative feature -- to be able to have meetings with a diverse group of partners and collaborate with people outside your organization."

To add contacts from outside of your company, they must be federated, meaning their companies must allow identification and authorization outside their own organizations. To search for an external Lync user, type her email address into the search bar above your contact list. If she's federated, you'll be able to access her contact card and add her; if not, it will say "presence unknown."

8. Block messages from external contacts.
If you don't want to receive messages from users outside your company, click Options on the Actions menu and then click Permissions. Select the checkbox next to "Block messages from federated contacts that are not already in your Permissions list."

9. Tag for status change alerts.
If you need to message a contact but he's busy or in a meeting, right-click his name and select "Tag for Status Change Alerts." Lync will alert you when your contact's status changes to Available so you can get in touch.

10. Use skill search to find an expert.
If you're looking for a colleague with a particular expertise, you can search for him or her using Lync's skills option. To do this, begin typing keywords into the search box. Lync will return a list of colleagues whose skills from their SharePoint profiles match your request.

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Lync does a lot more than I knew. Too bad our IT department didn't explain it all.

Lync potential

Lync is more diverse than just IM and video calls. But companies have been slow to use all its rich features. I think Microsoft buying Skype created confusion that still exists today about how Skype and Lync are different. Also I think you're better off using Lync on Windows. I'm using Office for Mac 2011 and the Lync features are bare bones. I can't figure out for the life of me how to add my headshot to Lync on a Mac, but this is an easy thing to do in the Windows version of Lync 2013.

Re: Lync potential

A company I used to work for was a strong Lync shop, but honestly, most users still relied on it as an IM system.  Lync has a strong potential to replace a full UC build, and offers great services in terms of desktop sharing and video conferencing, making it also a potential competitor to web meeting services.  I think the issue relies lies in that users aren't getting the training required to leverage all these functionalities which is the real force holding up mass adoption of Lync.


Lync is more useful than most know, mainly because of the lack of information about it which I blame on Microsoft.  It took me a long time to master all these functions of Lync, even adding external users can be a challenge if both sides do not have external access turned on.  Still, I am very happy I can offer it to my clients as a rich feature of SharePoint\Office 365.  I am hoping MSFT eventually ties in Skype more intuitively as so many use it already (and it has the ability to edit IM posts which Lync lacks).  

This tool can be huge in opening up collaboration.  Everything from status (green-yellow-red) to quick information exchanges to desktop sharing to full blown conference room type meetings, with or without video. The tool is an under the radar feature which many companies are underutilizing due to lack of familiarization.


Caladan Consutling, Inc.

Lync also has a suite of APIs

What a lot of people don't realize is that Lync also has an extensive suite of APIs that allows developers like us to integrate and build applications on top of it. We've developed an entire 3D virtual environment that our customers use for instructor led training engagements. Our app relies on Lync to provide voice conferencing, instant messaging, and even application sharing to all of the virtual participants.