How do I use Skype for Business?


Basic Features

  1. Signing In
  2. Adding Contacts
  3. Groups
  4. Instant Messages

Advanced Features

  1. Sending Attachments
  2. Voice and Video Chat
  3. Using the Virtual Whiteboard
  4. Sharing Monitors & Programs
  5. Group Conversations

Learn about the basic and advanced functionality of the Microsoft Skype for Business (previously called Lync) desktop client. This includes signing on to Skype for Business, finding and adding contacts, organizing your contact lists, starting an instant messaging session, sending attachments, voice and video chat, using the virtual white board, sharing monitors and programs and group conversations. While most of the content in the video below remains relatively unchanged, note that Microsoft "Lync" has been renamed as "Skype for Business."

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Basic Features:

Opening Skype for Business

On a Windows machine, you can find the Skype for Business client by searching for it on the Start Screen (Windows 8 or 10) or from the start menu (Windows 7) and clicking the icon to launch the program. Skype for Business can be installed with the latest version of Office 2016.

On a Macintosh, Skype for Business is still called Lync, and it can be found by searching for it in the spotlight at the top-right of the desktop. Alternatively, the Lync client may be on your Mac dock. Lync may not be installed with the latest version of Office 2016.

How to open Skype for Business.
Search for Skype for Business.

Signing In

Sign into Skype for Business by entering your full email address into the Sign-in Address field and enter your NetID password into the Password field.

Logging into Skype for Business.
Logging into Skype for Business.

Adding Contacts

To begin using Skype for Business, you must first add contacts. Just like your email account, Skype for Business is connected to the Global Address List, which contains the emails for all employees at the University of Idaho. This allows you to easily search and add contacts at the U of I.

To add a contact, simply begin typing their name or email address in the field titled Find Someone. As you type, Skype for Business will attempt to match your entry with a contact. To add the contact, double-click on their contact card or right-click and select Add to Contact Lists.

Additionally, you can add entire distribution groups instead of individual contacts.

Contacts within a group that you delete will also be removed from your group list.
Contacts within a group that you delete will also be removed from your group list.


After you add a contact, it will appear under the Groups view. You can organize your contacts into various groups, such as a "co-workers" group, a "supervisor" group, etc. People that have added you to their contacts who are not already in your contact list will show up in the New tab.

To create a new group, right-click on an existing group and select Create New Group. You will be prompted for a name and the new group will be created. You can then drag your contacts into this group.

You can also rename an existing group by right-clicking on it and selecting Rename Group and typing in a new name. If you find that you no longer need a group, right-click on it and select Delete Group to delete it.

Screenshot of how to manage groups in Skype for Business.
how to manage groups in Skype for Business.

Instant Messages

To start an instant messaging session with a contact, simply double-click his or her contact card in your contacts view or right-click on the contact card and select Send an IM. This will bring up a new mini-screen where you can send instant messages to each other.

Type your message into the text box near the bottom of the new window and hit the enter key to send the message. When your contact replies, the Skype for Business icon will flash yellow in your taskbar, notifying you of a new message.

If you have trouble following this tutorial, please contact ITS. Students should contact the Student Technology Center, while employees should contact their TSP or Sysad.

Instant messaging in Skype for Business.
Instant messaging in Skype for Business.

Advanced Features:

Sending Attachments

In the chat window, click the Present icon, which looks like a flat screen TV silhouette. This will bring up a pop-up window. From this window, click on Add Attachments. In the file manager that appears, you can select the file you wish to attach. Once selected, the file will show up in the chat window and will transfer as soon as the other user accepts the file.

Attachment Icon in the chat window.
Screenshot of attachment icon in the conversation window.

While Skype for Business does not have a theoretical file attachment limit size, ITS strongly recommends keeping attachment sizes below 25 megabytes. Attachments greater than this size can cause Skype for Business to behave in unintended ways.

Finally, due to security reasons, Skype for Business is unable to transfer any potentially self-executing files or source code files. This means files such as .exe, .mbd, /php and .vbs, among others, will not transfer. View a full list of blocked file types here.

Add Attachments.
Screenshot of the "Add Attachments" option.

Voice and Video Chat

Skype for Business can be used to initiate voice and video calls using Voice over IP (VOIP). To use this feature, you and your contact must have a usable microphone, and webcam (for video calls).

To initiate a Skype for Business voice call, press the phone icon while in a conversation or right-click the contact card in your contacts view and click Call. Then, select Skype Call.

To initiate a Skype for Business video call, press the camcorder icon while in a conversation or right-click the contact card in your contacts view and click Call. Then, select Skype Call.

One-button calling.
Screenshot of phone-call icon.

Using the Virtual Whiteboard

The Virtual Whiteboard in Skype for Business is a handy tool for demonstrations requiring the use of free hand drawing. This can be great for drawing flow charts, mathematical equations and quick sketches. While in a Skype for Business IM conversation, bring up the virtual whiteboard by clicking the present icon (which looks like the silhouette of a flat screen TV), then select Moreā€¦, and Whiteboard. If you have a drawing tablet, the whiteboard is should be compatible.

Access the whiteboard using the presentation button.
Screenshot of how to access the whiteboard.

When you are finished, you can close the whiteboard by clicking the Stop Presenting button.

The whiteboard appears with "stop presenting" at the top for easy access.Screenshot of the virtual whiteboard.

Sharing Monitors & Programs

Want instant feedback and results on a project you are looking at on your computer? Use Skype for Business's built-in screen-sharing or program sharing ability to display what you are seeing to your Skype for Business contact(s).

To share your screen, from the conversation window click the present icon, (which looks like the silhouette of a flat screen TV,) and then select Present Desktop. You can also present a specific program only, or a PowerPoint Presentation. If you have a dual-monitor setup, you can choose to select all monitors, the primary monitor only, or the secondary monitor.

Present your desktop through the presentation button.
Screenshot of Share Desktop option.

Choose which desktop if you have multiple monitors.
Screenshot of the menu for sharing desktops.

You can even let people take over control of your screen by clicking the give control button at the top of the shared screen and select the contact you wish to give control to. This will not take control away from you - simply allow your contact to control at the same time.

If at any point you want to revoke control rights, you can do so under the give control button and click take back control. Alternatively, hit the Ctrl Alt Space buttons together to revoke all control back to you. To stop sharing your screen or program, simply hit the stop presenting button at the top right of the shared screen.

Group Conversations

Skype for Business has the ability to host group conversations with up to 250 contacts at a single time. This applies to instant messaging conversations, voice and video conversations as well as collaboration tools such as the Whiteboard and program sharing feature.

Skype indicates the number of participants in the chat window.
Screenshot of group conversation indicators.

To initiate a group conversation and invite additional users from an already-opened conversation, simply click the Participants button and then the Invite More People button. This will bring up a search window where you can search for and add users to your conversation.

Adding more people is as easy as the click of a button.
Screenshot of the option to add more participants.

You can also initiate a new group conversation from the main Skype for Business window by selecting multiple users (hold down the control or command button on Mac while left-clicking the contact cards). Once the users are selected, right click and select Send IM Call or Start a Video Call options to initiate a group session.


Article ID: 107
Thu 12/7/17 4:58 PM
Mon 6/13/22 10:05 AM

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