Communicate with MSN, AOL and Yahoo! users

If public IM connectivity is available on your network and your network is administered to do so, you can connect and communicate with IM users on MSN, AOL and Yahoo!. This feature is not available by default but if your network supports public IM connectivity, then you can users on the MSN, AOL and Yahoo! networks as personal contacts in Communicator.

There are some limitations as to how you can communicate with users of public IM service providers:

  • You can only send IM messages and view presence information. File transfers, audio, video, or other sessions are not supported.
  • When you add a public IM contact, there is no way to verify the e-mail address, so be careful that you type it correctly.
  • Your presence status as displayed to public IM users does not automatically change as it does within your organization. For example, if you are in a meeting, your status appears as "Online" to MSN, to AOL, and to Yahoo! contacts. You must manually set your status if you do not want to appear as Online to users of public IM service providers.
  • Multiparty IM is not supported with public IM contacts. You can only have one-to-one communication with users of the public IM service providers.
  • You can view the presence status of only those public IM users who are in your Contacts list.

 Note   If you have trouble connecting with users of MSN, AOL, or Yahoo!, contact your system administrator to verify that your network is configured for public IM connectivity.

Add an MSN, AOL, or Yahoo! user as a contact

To add a public IM contact

ShowBy using the Contacts menu

  1. In the Microsoft Office Communicator window, from the Contacts menu, click Add a Contact.
  2. In the Add a Contact Wizard, under How do you want to add a contact, click By e-mail address or sign-in name, and then click Next.
  3. Type the full e-mail address of the contact that you want to add, and then click Next.
  4. Under Add contact to this group, select the group to which you want to add the new contact.

ShowBy using the Find menu

  1. In the Microsoft Office Communicator window, in the Find box, type the full address of your contact, for example,
  2. In the Find results area, right-click the address, and then do one of the following:
    • Click Copy Contact To, and then select a group.
    • Click Add to Contact List if you have not created any groups in your Contacts list.

 Note   If you do not add your public IM contact to your Contacts list, the contact's presence status is always displayed as Status Unknown.

Add an MSN contact with a non-MSN domain

If you are adding an MSN Messenger user with an account or e-mail address with a non-MSN domain, enter the e-mail address in the following format: user_name(, where is the e-mail address of the user. For example, if you wanted to add, you would use the following format: ted(

For a list of domains that are administered by MSN, see the Supported Domains section in the following Knowledge Base article 897567.

Applies to:
Communicator 2007, Communicator 2005