Lync is a powerful little tool, with the ability to do everything from basic text chat, to voice, to video, and even includes the ability to share your screen and/or display a whiteboard for the meeting. Also, it integrates with Outlook and SharePoint for a truly unified corporate communications tool.

However, there is a lot of that functionality that isn’t being used, just because users aren’t aware it’s there! Below are some of the more useful and interesting things I’ve found.

1. Clear, easy to understand help files with screenshots and videos

One of the things that I’ve always thought that Microsoft struggled with was making their help documents for applications easy for the end user to understand. This seems to have been corrected in Lync 2013; the help documents are clear even for the novice user to understand, with common tasks listed on the first screen. Most are complete with screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and in a lot of cases, video – and all from the Lync program.

Simply click on the Options icon (the little gear), then Help, and Lync Help.

Lync Help

2.  Create custom Contact List Groups

One of the things I always like to do is organize my contact so that it is easy to find the person I need, right when I need to contact them. Lync 2013 gives you the ability to create Contact Groups, and then file contacts in them.

Creating a new group is easy – just right-click on one of the existing, default groups, then choose Create New Group. After the group is created, just drag and drop contacts into it!

Lync Create New Group

3. Schedule and join a Lync Meeting, right from Outlook

Lync 2013 integrates right with Outlook 2010 and 2013. As a result, you can actually schedule and create a Lync meeting right from within your Outlook calendar.

Open your Outlook calendar and click the New Lync Meeting button. Fill out the meeting information as normal, choose your recipients, and then send! They will get a meeting notice with a hyperlink to your Lync meeting. This is incredibly helpful if you are planning a video or presentation meeting.

New Lync Meeting from Outlook

4. Share your desktop or a particular program in a Lync meeting

Suppose you want to share a PowerPoint presentation with someone, perhaps a team member in a different office. In the old days, you would have to email it back and forth with comments, or post it to SharePoint or a network drive. Now, you can share it via Lync’s Presentation feature.

In an open message or meeting window, click the icon that looks like a little monitor, and you are greeted with plenty of options. Included are the ability to share all your monitors (if you have multiple connected to your computer), a choice of which monitor, or Program. When you click on the Program option, it gives you a list of currently running applications on your computer – and when you chose one, it shows just that application window, and not other details (for instance, you desktop or your email program).

Lync3

5. Create a Whiteboard for brainstorming during a meeting

This is probably one of the most useful features. It allows an interactive whiteboard where you can draw, type, insert pictures, and present during your meeting. It’s reachable via the same method as 4. above, click on the Present icon, then Whiteboard, and get creative!

Errr.... Your results may vary.

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