FAQ about Lync

This article answers frequently asked questions about Lync. If you don’t see an answer to your question here, let us know and we’ll try to address it.

 Note    Some features described here may not be available in your organization. Check with your Lync administrator (usually the person who provided your user ID and password) if you’re not sure.

In this article


General questions about Lync

How do I keep my Lync conversation window on top of all the other windows on my computer, so I can see it while I work?

Select the drop-down button next to the Options icon, select Tools, and then select Always on Top.

How do I set up my display so Lync will by default appear on the task bar instead of always taking up space on my screen?

  1. From the Lync main window, select Options > Personal.
  2. Uncheck the box labeled Show Lync in the foreground when it starts. The next time you log on, the Lync icon will appear on the task bar at bottom of your screen. You’ll need to select it to open the Lync main window.

How do I keep Lync from starting automatically every time I log on to Windows?

  1. From the Lync main window, select Options > Personal.
  2. Uncheck the box labeled Automatically start Lync when I log on to Windows. The next time you log on, if you want to use Lync you’ll need to select it from the Start menu.

Questions about contacts

How do I add an internal contact to my Contacts list?

  1. In the Lync main window, click the Add a Contact button.
  2. From the dropdown menu, click Add a Contact in my Organization.
  3. In the search box, type the person’s name, email alias, or phone number. As you type, a list of people who match the search terms is displayed.
  4. Scroll through the search returns list until you come to the person you want to add to your Contacts list. Right-click the person’s search listing, and then click Add to Contacts List.
  5. Select a group from the list to add your new contact to.

How do I add a contact from outside of my company to my Contacts list?

  1. In the Lync main window, click the Add a Contact button.
  2. From the dropdown menu, click Add a Contact Not in my Organization.
  3. On the second drop-down menu, click the Instant Messaging service (Lync, AOL, MSN, Yahoo) your new contact will be using, if you know it. Otherwise click Other.
  4. In the search field of the Add [service type] Contact, type the email address of the contact.
  5. Select a group and a privacy relationship for your new contact, then click OK.

How do I find contacts within my organization?

  • In the search field on the Lync main window, type the name, email address, or phone number of the person you are looking for.

How do I block contacts from reaching me via Lync?

Although your name and email address are displayed to blocked contacts, they can’t reach you through Lync. To block a contact in Lync:

  • Right-click the contact you want to block, click Change Privacy Relationship, and then click Blocked Contacts.

How do I display only those contacts who are online?

Although you can’t completely remove offline contacts from your contacts list, you can send them to a separate group so they don’t clutter it up. Click Options->Contacts List and then select the checkbox labeled Show contacts with away, offline and unknown presences in a separate group. Unavailable contacts will now appear at the bottom of the display, in a group called Away and Offline Contacts.

How do I delete contacts from my Contacts list?

Right-click the contact you want to delete, and then click Remove from Contacts List.

How do I get added to or removed from a list of delegates?

  • To be added to or removed from a delegate list, you need to ask the owner of the list to make the change. The delegate lists are created and maintained by each Lync user.
  • To create or revise your own delegate list, click the Options button on the Lync main window, click Call Forwarding, and then click the Edit my delegate members link at bottom of the window. A dialog box will open where you can add, remove and/or change the permissions of delegates.

How do I organize my contacts by location, department, or other criteria?

Create a new group based on the category you need. For instance, you might create a group called “Headquarters staff” and add contacts to that group.

How do I create a group?

  1. In the Lync main window, on your Contacts list, right-click any group name (for example, Other Contacts), then click Create New Group. Or click the Add a Contact button, and then click Create a New Group.
  2. In the space that now opens up at bottom of the window, type over the phrase New Group to give your group a descriptive name.

How many contacts can I have?

The default maximum number of contacts that can be added is 1000. But your actual limit is set by your support team, so contact them if it seems you’ve hit your limit or if you’re not sure what it is in your organization.

How do I turn off all pictures in Lync, including my own?

Select Options > Personal, then clear the check box labeled Show pictures of contacts. This will remove pictures from your contacts list. It will also eliminate pictures of sender and receiver from IM and group conversations, and it will remove your own picture from Lync as well.

Why does the Relationships view of my Contacts list include people I never added to my list, and how do I get them off of it?

Every contact you interact with via Microsoft Office, whether in your Lync contacts list or not, has a "default" relationship with you. Your “unlisted” contacts (that is, those who are not included in your Lync contacts list) don’t get displayed in either the Groups view or the Status view. But the Relationships view shows all the contacts on your Lync contacts list plus any unlisted contacts whom you’ve assigned a non-default privacy relationship. To remove any of these “unlisted” contacts from your Relationships view, right-click on the contact, click Change Privacy Relationship, and select Auto-assign Relationship.

What does the red star or asterisk next to a contact's status mean?

The red asterisk next to a contact's status indicates that he or she has turned on the Out of Office reply in Outlook.

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Questions about alerts and Instant Messages (IMs)

How can I make the IM alerts more prominent so I don’t miss incoming IM requests?

Unless you have set notifications so alerts will not display when you are in Do not Disturb mode, Lync will by default always send you both a visual alert (in the lower right corner of your display) and a sound alert whenever someone tries to reach you via IM. Just the same, you may occasionally fail to notice an IM request. This is especially likely when you are using multiple screens or when your alert volume is too low or off.

To help ensure that your IM alerts are noticeable, try the following:

  • Set your display so Lync is always in the foreground when it starts. To do this, click the drop-down next to the Options button, click Tools, and then click Always on Top.
  • If you use multiple screens, make a practice of moving your Lync Main window onto the display monitor you are working on.
  • Confirm that the volume is turned up on your computer speakers and other audio device(s).
  • Confirm that Lync is set to send audible alerts. To do this, click the Options button, click Ringtones and Sounds, select Play sounds in Lync (including ringtones for incoming calls and IM alerts), and confirm that the other check boxes in the panel are not selected.
  • Consider choosing a more distinctive or more prominent alert sound than the default to notify you of an incoming message. To do this:
  1. Click the Options button, click Ringtones and Sounds, click the Sounds Settings button, and then click the Sounds tab.
  2. Drag the slider on the Program Events display panel down to the Microsoft Lync 2013 listings.
  3. Click Incoming Instant Message. The Sounds display at bottom of the window should read COMMUNICATOR_iminvite.
  4. Now click the drop-down arrow next to it and sample some of the other sounds on the list.
  5. Once you find a sound you want to use for incoming IM alerts, click Apply. (The Program Events display panel should now read Incoming Instant Message and the Sounds panel should display the name of whatever .wav file you’ve selected.)
  6. Click OK. (You can also record your own .wav file for this purpose, and then browse to that file to select it as your IM alert.)

Where can I find previous IM conversations, records of Lync calls, or IM requests I may have missed?

By default, if you are using Microsoft Outlook, Lync saves all incoming and outgoing conversations in your Outlook Conversation History folder, so you can review previous conversations. To see a list of recent Lync interactions added to this folder:

  • On the Lync main window, click the Conversations tab above the Search input area.

To see the entire folder:

  • Click the View More in Outlook link at bottom of the window.

 Note    If your conversations are not being saved in this Outlook archive, and you want to set up an archive for future conversations, follow these steps:

  1. Verify that you are using Microsoft Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013.
  2. In the Lync main window, click the Options button, and then click Personal.
  3. Click the Save instant message conversations in my email Conversation History folder button, and then click OK.

Unless your Lync administrator has set a policy to retain all messages, you can also delete conversations from the Conversation History folder.

What types of information can I copy and paste into an IM?

You can copy and paste text (formatted or unformatted), tables, and links from other Microsoft Office products directly into a Lync IM. You can also copy and paste images (screenshots, photos, etc.) directly into your IMs. Just select and copy the image (using Paint, the Snipping Tool in Windows Accessories, or a graphics program), then place your cursor in your IM where you want to add the graphic, right-click, and select Paste.

Can I use spellchecking in my Lync IMs?

Yes, Lync checks your spelling automatically. Lync won’t mark as misspelled any word that you’ve added to your Office custom dictionary. To turn off spellchecking in Lync, click the Options button, then click General and clear the Check spelling as I type check box.

Can I add customized emoticons to my Lync IMs?

No, you can’t. But there are 80 emoticons in the Lync assortment. To see them, click the emoticon icon to the right of the text input area on the conversation window.

How do I change fonts in my IMs?

To change the font, style, size or color for a specific IM you are writing:

  • Type your message, highlight the text you want to change, click the Font button in the IM composing area, and then make your selections in the Font window.

To change the default font details for all the IMs you send:

  • From the Lync main window, click the Options button, click General, click Change Font, and then select a default font, font style, font size, and font color. Then click OK. These selections will apply only to IM messages you send, not to those you receive.


To change the default font details for incoming IMs as well (to improve their legibility, for example):

  • From the Lync main window, click the Options button, click General, click Change Font, and then select a default font, font style, font size, and font color. Then select the Apply settings to incoming messages checkbox, and then click OK.

How do I set an alert to notify me as soon as a particular contact becomes available?

In the Lync main window, in your Contacts list, right-click a contact, and then click Tag for Status Change Alerts.

How do I disable IM alert sounds?

You can instruct Lync not to play your audible IM and/or phone alerts whenever your presence says Do not Disturb, and you can further instruct Lync to notify you only if the person trying to contact you is a member of your workgroup with that privacy relationship.

To view and adjust these settings:

  • Click the Options button in the Lync main window, and then click Alerts.

To turn the audible alerts off altogether:

  • Click the Options button in the Lync main window, click Ringtones and Sounds, and then clear the Play sounds in Lync (including ringtones for incoming alerts and IM alerts) check box.

Can I recall (block the delivery of) an IM?

No, an instant message can’t be recalled once you hit the Enter key to send it.

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Questions about presence

How do I get rid of the Out of Office note in Lync?

If your Lync account is synced via Microsoft Exchange Server to your Outlook calendar, an out-of-office message appears in Lync after you turn on the Out of Office reply in Microsoft Outlook. To get rid of the out-of-office message display in Lync, you need to turn off the Out of Office reply in Outlook:

  • Click the File tab in Outlook, and then click the Turn off button in the Automatic Replies panel.

 Note    It may take several minutes for the message to disappear in Lync.

Why can’t I set my presence status to "Appear Away"?

Your organization may have turned off the Appear Away status option, on the grounds that it can interfere with the reliability of the presence indicator. If a lot of people use this status constantly, presence in general won’t mean much. Keep in mind that you can also use privacy relationships to avoid interruptions. For example, if you don’t want to be disturbed by most people, you can set your status as Do Not Disturb and then grant certain people permission to interrupt you by adding them to your Workgroup.

What do the settings on the Status options window mean?

On the Status options window you can change the number of minutes that elapse before your presence status changes to Inactive and Away, if you don’t want to use the default settings. You can also have Lync automatically detect when you are sharing information from this computer. Lync will set your status as Presenting and block others from sending messages to you during that time.

To set these presence status options:

  1. In the Lync main window, click the Options button, and then click Status.
  2. Click the up and down arrows to specify the number of minutes before your presence status changes to Inactive.
  3. Click the up and down arrows to specify the number of minutes before your presence status changes to Away.
  4. Click the appropriate button to control general status (override default settings or accept them), and then click OK.
  5. Select the checkboxes labeled Show me as Do Not Disturb when I present my desktop and Show me as Do Not Disturb when my monitor is duplicated to let others know not to interrrupt you when you are giving a presentation or otherwise collaborating online from your Lync-enabled computer.

How can I give people more information about my status?

Although the presence states in Lync are pre-set, you can always write a personal note at the top of the Lync main window to provide more details about where you are and what you’re doing. Just click the note display area and type over the note that’s currently displayed.

What do the various presence states mean, which ones are set automatically, and which ones can I set myself?

Here’s a table that describes the contact presence states that people can see, what each state means, and how it gets set.

Presence Status Description
Lync Presence Available Available You’re online and available to contact. Automatic or user-selected setting.
Lync Presence Busy Busy You’re occupied and shouldn’t be interrupted. Automatic (if user is in an Outlook-scheduled conference) or user-selected setting.
Lync Presence Busy In a call You’re in a Lync call (two-party call) and shouldn’t be interrupted. Automatic.
Lync Presence Busy In a meeting You’re in a meeting (per Lync or per Outlook) and shouldn’t be interrupted. Automatic.
Lync Presence Busy In a conference call You’re in a Lync conference call (Lync meeting with audio) and shouldn’t be interrupted. Automatic.
Lync Presence Do Not Disturb Do not disturb You don’t want to be disturbed and will see conversation notifications only if they are sent by someone in your Workgroup. User-selected.
Lync Presence Do Not Disturb Presenting You are giving a presentation from your Lync-enabled computer or are otherwise sharing your desktop and are not to be disturbed. Automatic.
Lync Presence Away Be Right Back You’re stepping away from the computer for a few moments. User-selected.
Lync Presence Away Away Your computer has been inactive for a period of time (5 minutes by default; value can be adjusted.) Automatic.
Lync Presence Away Off Work You’re not working and not available to contact. User-selected.
Lync Presence Unknown Offline You’re not signed in. If you have blocked individuals from seeing your presence, you’ll appear offline to them. Automatic.
Lync Presence Unknown Unknown Your presence is not known. If others are not using Lync as their instant messaging (IM) program, your presence might appear unknown to them. Automatic.

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Questions about audio and video

How do I know my devices are set up correctly?

Lync automatically detects your audio and video devices. However, we strongly recommend that you check before making a call or joining a meeting, to make sure they are set up correctly.

See Set up and troubleshoot Lync video and Set up and troubleshoot Lync audio for instructions.

Can I use Lync to make a call?

Yes, there are two ways to call others with Lync:

  • Lync call
  • Using Dial Pad to call a number

A Lync call is made from your computer to someone else’s computer who is also using Lync (computer audio).

  • A Lync call placed to a contact rings all their devices that are enabled for Lync, such as desktop and laptop computer.
  • You can also make Lync calls to federated contacts. A federated relationship with other companies is just a virtual alliance that lets you add users from other companies to your contacts lists, send them IMs, make audio, video and conference calls, and exchange presence information.

You can also use Lync to call a regular phone line, just like a traditional desk phone.

  • Use the dial pad to dial a number
  • Pause on a contact’s picture and use the menu on the phone icon to choose a number to call.

For more information, see:

Make, receive and manage a Lync audio call

Make, receive and manage a Lync video call

Where is the Lync phone dial pad and how do I use it?

You use the Lync dial pad when:

  • You need to dial a phone number for people who aren’t on your Contacts list.
  • You need to type a code or make a selection when calling your voice mail.
  • You need to enter a PIN or make a selection to respond to an automated voice system or when in a conference call.

The Lync dial pad is available in two places:

  • The Lync main window, on the Phone tab.
  • In a conversation window that opens when you start a call. Pause on the phone/mic icon to see the dial pad.

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Can I make a phone call without adding someone to my Contacts list?

Yes. Type a phone number in the search field, under Contacts or Phone tab. Then in the results, double-click the number that you want to call.

You can also dial the number by using the dial pad on Phone tab, and then clicking Call.

If you search for a person, type their name in the search box, and then in the search result pause on their picture. Click the drop-down menu next to the phone button and pick an option to call.

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What phone numbers are valid for calling contacts?

Follow these guidelines for valid phone numbers:

  • Use only digits. No hyphens, parentheses, or spaces are required. If Lync doesn’t accept a phone number, contact your support team.
  • For calls within your company, dial the phone number. If asked for an extension, you can use the dial pad in the conversation window.
  • For local calls, dial the phone number. You may need to first dial a number such as 9 to go outside your company.
  • For long-distance calls, type the + sign, then use the country code, such as 1 for the United States, followed by the area code and number.
  • You can also enter 1-800 numbers and numbers with alphabetical characters in the search field. The alphabetical characters are converted to numbers to place the call.

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Why am I having audio problems?

If there’s a problem, a notification is displayed in the conversation window or the Lync main window. You can click the notification for more information or suggested solutions.

For example:

Screen shot of audio error and options to check

If you’re not getting sound, check that:

  • Your speakers are turned on, both in Lync and your computer, and the speaker volume is high.
  • Your telephone handset is on the cradle (if you’re getting audio through a phone).
  • The device you’re using is selected on the DEVICES tab, (pause on the phone/mic icon and click the DEVICES tab).

What can I do to improve device audio quality?

  • It’s important that a noise-canceling microphone is positioned close to the mouth, approximately less than 1 inch away from the mouth, to filter out unwanted background noise.
  • Most headsets have a button to adjust the volume depending on which audio device the headset is connected to. If you or other callers hear a buzzing noise, make a test call and then adjust the settings on the headset until the buzzing noise is gone.
  • If you’re using the speaker on your phone and callers complain about background noise, make sure that the phone is on a flat surface, and you are close to the phone.
  • If you’re using two separate devices for audio (such as desktop speakers and camera), try to place them at an appropriate distance from each other to minimize echo.
  • We recommend that you don’t make calls over a wireless connection, virtual private network (VPN), or remote access service (RAS) connections.

What is Enterprise Voice?

Enterprise Voice provides enhanced calling options, such as call a contact, hold, forward, transfer, voice mail, conferencing, simultaneous rings, enhanced 9-1-1 calling, and calls to and from the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

  • Phone tab   provides a list of voice mails and call logs, as well as an on-screen dial pad for dialing a number.
  • Lync Call   computer to computer calls with one click.
  • Audio Quality   quickly places a test call to check the quality of your audio.
  • Call delegation   supports features such as shared lines (making and receiving calls on behalf of a manager), transferring calls to a manager and managing calls.
  • Call Quality Notification   provides notifications to help you improve the quality of your call if it detects device, network, or computer issues during the call.
  • Device transfer   enables you to switch your audio device during a call.
  • Calls to and from PSTN   sends and receives calls from numbers on the public telephone systems, outside your company.
  • Call Park   holds a call on one phone, and then retrieves the call from another phone.
  • Device Selection    receives incoming calls simultaneously on all your communications devices, enabling you to answer with whichever device is most convenient.
  • Integration with Exchange Unified Messaging   provides voice mail, voice messaging, email messaging, call answering, subscriber access, call notification, and auto-attendant services.
  • Emergency Services- 911   provides location information to dispatchers of emergency services, (available for North America only).
  • Simultaneous ringing   enables incoming calls to ring on additional phones, for example, cell phones or other devices.
  • Call forwarding   enables you to forward calls to other phones, such as your cell phone or home phone.

Questions about persistent chat

What is persistent chat?

Persistent chat is a Lync feature that provides chat rooms where you can have an online extended conversation with other people about a certain topic. You can participate in persistent chat rooms about topics you’re interested in and, in these chat rooms, you can share ideas and information by posting messages and browsing or searching the chat history. Messages are posted in real time and are saved (“persist”) over time, so they’re visible to current and future chat room participants. For more information about what to use chat rooms for and key terms, see What is persistent chat?

What’s the difference between joining and following a chat room?

To join a chat room is to get membership in it. The term applies only to so-called “closed” and “secret” rooms, which need the room manager’s permission to join. Open rooms don’t require or accept membership.

When you follow a chat room, you use the Notification and Topic Feed features to continuously monitor activity in a chat room. Anyone can follow an open room, but you have to be a member of a closed or secret room in order to follow it.

To learn how to join and follow a room, see Join a chat room and Follow a chat room.

What’s the difference between a notification alert and a topic feed?

These terms refer to the two types of alert that you can set up in persistent chat to help you stay in touch with activity in the chat rooms you’re following:

  • Notification alerts are sent automatically by Lync to alert you to activity in any room(s) you’re following. By default, these alerts follow the settings in the Persistent Chat Options window. You can change those settings, and you can also customize your notifications if you want more distinctive alerts.
  • Topic feeds are automatic alerts triggered, not by activity in a specific room, but by the appearance of words or phrases that you’ve told Lync to look for in the posts of the chat rooms you follow. A topic feed listing will display the name of the person who posted the message, the time it was posted, and the text of the message containing the target term(s).

To learn how to user alerts and topic feeds, see Use notifications to monitor chat room activity and   Use topic feeds to monitor chat room activity.

What is the Ego Filter I see in my Followed Chat rooms list?

Ego Filter is a topic feed that alerts you whenever your name or user I.D. is used in your chat room environment. Lync sets it up for you automatically.

What’s the difference between a post and a message?

In the context of chat rooms, a “post” is a message that you write in a chat room for other people to see. This word use can get confusing, because a chat room participant can send a “message” (an email or instant message, for example) to one or more other participants directly from the chat room interface, without “posting” it in the chat room. You just need to click the picture or participant listing of the person who’s getting your message.

What does it mean to broadcast a message?

To broadcast a message is to post a message to several chat rooms at once. To learn how to broadcast a message, see Broadcast a message to more than one chat room.

Can I delete something I’ve posted in a chat room?

No. Once you post a message with persistent chat, you can’t delete it. Your message “persists” as part of the history of the room and will continue to be seen by anyone with access to the chat room for as long as the room is enabled. You can, however, request that the room manager disable the room.

How do I find out who the chat room manager is?

The manager of an open or closed chat room is listed on the chat room contact card, which you can view by hovering over the chat room listing and selecting the See contact card icon. You’ll find the manager name listed at the right. You typically can’t find out who manages a secret room, because membership in those rooms is by invitation only.

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