Instant Messaging, Presence, and Contacts

Office 365

Applies to: Office 365

Topic Last Modified: 2016-07-29

Presence is the ability to detect another user’s availability. Using Skype for Business, users can display their presence status—for example, Available, Away, Do Not Disturb, or Offline—to let others know their availability. Skype for Business presence information is presented throughout the Office 365 suite, such as in OneDrive for Business, which shows the status of the person who last edited a document. Users can instantly find and communicate with people from within Microsoft Outlook. This connection occurs wherever the user sees a colored presence indicator that represents a person’s presence status. The user can then click the presence icon and initiate a communication by using Skype for Business and the interactive Office contact card. This feature is called “click-to-communicate.”

When Outlook calendar integration is enabled, a user can check another user’s schedule and get up-to-date availability information directly from that person’s calendar. This makes it easy to determine when someone will be available.

Instant messaging (IM) is the ability to transfer text messages in real time over an Internet Protocol (IP) network such as the Internet or an organization's corporate network. Instant messaging is available for both Skype-to-Skype and multiparty communication. IM text is encrypted for enhanced security.

Customers can configure how their own Skype for Business contact card appears to other people.

Customers can control whether users can display their picture in the Skype for Business contact card. If picture display is enabled, users can also change their picture from the default picture that is stored in the directory service. With Skype for Business for Office 365 client and Exchange 2013, users’ replacement pictures can be of any fidelity, including high-definition (HD), and of any size. Exchange will adjust the file size and image dimensions to make it suitable for the contact picture. If there is no Exchange connectivity, the user’s Active Directory picture will display.

Not available to Skype for Business Online customers. For customers with an on-premises deployment of Skype for Business Server 2015, the URL photo experience feature allows users to change their Skype for Business picture to a photo from any public site, such as Yammer, Facebook, or OneDrive, through a URL.

You can create a persistent list of contacts for all Skype for Business users, ensuring that the contact information a user requires is immediately available. You can add other users to your Contacts list, organize, and group these contacts in different ways (by department, for example). You can also search those user's company address books to find other users—which means it is not necessary to add someone to the Contacts list to detect presence or send an instant message.

  • Users can add up to 250 contacts to their Skype for Business Contacts list.

  • Users each have a total of 200 concurrent presence subscriptions. Once that limit is reached, users can still send and receive instant messages and add users to a Contacts list, but they cannot see any additional presence information and will see a “Maximum Followers Reached” message when attempting to view a user's presence.

  • If a user is unlicensed or disabled in Active Directory (that is, if msRTCSIP-userenabled=False) with DirSync, and is then re-licensed or reenabled, contacts are not retained. Short of adding contacts to the user’s Outlook contacts list, there is not currently a mechanism for restoring contacts.

Unified contact store is a feature that provides a consistent contact experience across Microsoft Office 365 products. This feature enables users to store all contact information in Exchange Online so that the information is available globally across Skype for Business Online, Exchange Online, Outlook, and Outlook Web Access.

Using Skype for Business, service users can search the address book for other users in their organization. They can also add email addresses and distribution lists to their Contacts lists. Instant messages can be sent to individual members of a distribution list or the entire distribution list. Distribution lists can be expanded to see the individual members.

  • Distribution list expansion is allowed only for distribution lists with 100 or fewer individual members (regardless of the members’ presence or sign-in status).

  • Distribution lists with more than 100 members are allowed, but these distribution lists cannot be expanded to display individual list members.

  • A distribution list counts as one contact against the 250-contact limit per user, regardless of the number of individual members in the distribution list.

  • Address book synchronization between Skype for Business Server 2015 on-premises and Skype for Business Online is not supported.

  • In Skype for Business, address book and Global Address List (GAL) lookups are performed through web requests only. The Skype for Business client doesn’t download and save a local copy of the address book. This reduces the load on the servers, and it provides the most up-to-date information possible when you perform a contact search.

  • Users can add up to 10 distribution lists to their Skype for Business Contacts list.

Not available to Skype for Business customers. Customers with an on-premises deployment of Skype for Business Server 2015 can use Persistent Chat to participate in multiparty, topic-based conversations that persist over time. Users can also escalate a Persistent Chat room to a Skype for Business Meeting with all of the participants in that room. In Skype for Business Server 2015, Persistent Chat functionality is integrated into the Skype for Business client. As a result, users have access to Instant Messaging/Presence, Audio/Video, Conferencing, and Persistent Chat all in the Skype for Business client. For more information, see New Persistent Chat Server Features.

Within the Skype for Business IM window, photos of the sender/receiver appear inline with the conversation. This adds visual context to IM conversations, particularly in meeting scenarios where multiple people may be chatting at the same time. To learn more about Skype for Business IM conversations, see Send an instant message.

With enhanced presence privacy mode, users can restrict their presence information so that it is visible only to the contacts listed in their Skype for Business Contacts list. When enabled, the option to restrict presence information to contacts becomes available in the Skype for Business status options. When disabled, users can choose either to always let everyone see their presence information, or to adhere to any future changes the administrator makes to the privacy mode.

To view feature availability across Office 365 plans, standalone options, and on-premise solutions, see Skype for Business Online Service Description.

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