What’s new in Microsoft Lync 2010

Microsoft Lync 2010 communications software combines many enhancements to the features you know from Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 and Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007. It also adds some exciting new features.

In this article


Easier than ever and looking great

Now all your business communication tools are unified and readily available, without having to switch programs. Convenient filters help you:

  • Look up contacts, in the Contacts list.
  • Keep up with the latest from your contacts, such as office moves or personal notes, in the Activity Feeds list.
  • Manage multiple conversations and keep track of recent ones, in the Conversations list.
  • View your voice mail, and use a dial pad, in the Phone view.

Lync 2010 integrates the best features of social networking to help get your work done in these areas:

  • Sending and receiving instant messages
  • Making phone or video calls through your computer
  • Participating in interactive online meetings

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The “Me Area”

At the top of the Lync main window is an area where you can always see and modify the information about yourself that your contacts will see. Use the “Me Area” to:

  • Show your status. Lync keeps track of how available you are, whether in a meeting or call or away from your desk. Your contacts will be able to see your presence status at a glance through the use of red, yellow, and green indicators. There’s also a new status, Off Work, because you have to go home sometime!
  • Type a personal note. Show your contacts at a glance what’s on your mind, whether business-related or just for fun. You can even type a web address that contacts can click to visit.
  • Customize your personal picture. If your organization allows it, you can change your picture from the default photo by choosing one of your own from a website such as the Windows Live network of Internet services.
  • Specify your location. Your contacts or emergency services may need to know where you are, for example, in what room, building, or city.

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Contacts enhancements

You now can see your contacts’ corporate or custom pictures for quick identification and change the way you display your contacts, such as by presence status or contact group.

Your Frequent Contacts are the 10 contacts you most frequently have Lync conversations with (not necessarily the most recent). Lync pre-populates this contact group with your team members. 

You can “pin” your most important contacts to the top of Frequent Contacts by right-clicking the contact’s name and then clicking Pin to Frequent Contacts.

You need only point to a contact to receive rich information about that person or distribution group. You can start communicating from the contact card as well as from the Contacts list. When you expand the card, the information you see includes the contact’s organization.

Also, if you have Microsoft SharePoint services, searching for contacts is more comprehensive in Lync than it has been in the past. Because, in addition to being able to search for names or phone numbers, you now can search for items such as job title, department, or skills and expertise from a SharePoint profile.

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Improved online meeting experience

Lync includes similar features as the online meeting functionality of Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007, so now you can use a single program for instant messages and online meetings.

Meeting organizers now control who gets directly into a meeting and who waits in the lobby. Any presenter can admit or decline people who are waiting in the lobby.

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Improved information sharing

Collaboration has never been better. Now you can:

  • Share your desktop or a program. Have a team editing session, or let a group see multiple windows on your desktop.
  • Show slides. Add a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to the meeting, and give or collaborate on a presentation.
  • Write on a whiteboard. Take notes, or sketch ideas as a group.
  • Send files. Make handouts available to participants, or quickly send a document to one person.
  • Send and receive video. See participants from around the world at their desks. If you have Microsoft Lync 2010 Phone Edition for Polycom CX3000 (the new IP conference phone) or Lync 2010 Phone Edition for Polycom CX5000 (which replaces the discontinued Microsoft RoundTable conferencing device), you can see everyone around the remote conference-room table.
  • Record and play back meetings. Did someone miss the meeting? That person can see it later, in detail, using the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in. You can convert it to the Windows Media Player for easy distribution.

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Improved experience in joining meetings

Now, scheduling a meeting and inviting others is quicker and more streamlined. The Meet Now command lets you start an impromptu online meeting, with the click of a mouse. Or, you can use Microsoft Outlook to schedule a new online meeting, invite others, and join a meeting. You can also join a meeting from an instant-messaging (IM) conversation, a notification, your Contacts list, or your mobile phone.

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Lync 2010 Attendee and Lync Web App

If you have contacts that aren’t in your company, don’t have Lync, or have Microsoft Communicator instead of Lync, they can still join your meeting. Just send them the standard e-mail meeting request, and they can join using Microsoft Lync Web App, in a web browser, or by downloading and installing Microsoft Lync 2010 Attendee. Lync Web App requires Silverlight and a phone for audio.

When Lync 2010 Attendee is installed, it automatically opens when you join meetings hosted on Microsoft Lync Server 2010. Then you can participate with everyone else in IM and voice conversations and data sharing, which includes desktop and program sharing.

 Note    Some meeting capabilities might be restricted if you’re joining from Attendee as an anonymous (guest) user. For example, you won’t be able to initiate sharing activities unless you are a presenter.

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Video enhancements

Lync features improved video controls and a full-screen online meeting experience, including support for panoramic, multipoint, and video, as well as VGA and HD video.

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Location and emergency services

Lync can note your location and time zone information and share it with others. Additionally, location information might also be used for emergency services by routing emergency calls to the appropriate emergency response center via the transmitted location.

 Note    The routing service is provided by certified solution providers, and service is available only in the United States.

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Enhanced phone experience

Lync provides enhanced phone capabilities, with all the functions of a traditional phone system, plus useful productivity features.

In the Lync main window, the Conversations list lets you see the calls you’ve been in, missed, received, or placed, along with instant messages and meetings. The Phone view lists any voice-mail messages you haven’t heard yet, as well as an on-screen dial pad for convenient calling. You can even select your favorite song or other recorded announcement to play while your callers are on hold.

A new Voice over IP (VoIP) desktop phone is available with Lync Server 2010. The phone is designed to replace traditional phone systems (for example, the PBX system) in organizations. You can now see the number of missed calls and voice-mail messages, as well as place a test call to check the quality of your audio.

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Delegate enhancements

If you need other people to occasionally handle your calls, you can set them up to do so, and now they don’t need special software. Using Lync, a delegate can:

  • Make and receive calls, and schedule meetings, on behalf of someone
  • Select a distinctive ring tone for delegated calls, video, and conferences
  • Share programs

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Privacy relationships

If you have friends and family in your Contacts list, you probably don’t want to share the same kind of information that your workgroup members or other colleagues see. Now you can choose which contacts see more or less information about you, by assigning them to a different privacy relationship. This is an improved version of the access levels available in Office Communicator 2007 R2.

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Interoperability with Office 2010 and Windows 7

Limited Lync features are available in Microsoft Office 2003 and Office 2007, with many more available when you upgrade to the Office 2010 suite of programs.

In Office 2010, you don’t need different lists of contacts anymore, because your Outlook and Lync contact lists are unified. See your contacts’ status and communicate with them directly from your Office program. Send a contact an e-mail message right from Lync.

Lync features are also available from the Windows 7 taskbar.

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Improved audio device handling

Installation and identification of audio devices (such as telephones, headsets, and microphones) is easier than ever. Lync supports multiple devices, including Universal Serial Bus (USB) devices. Easily switch devices, even when you’re in a call.

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