Skype for Business: Tips and Tricks for Business Users

With Skype for Business, users can communicate efficiently with one another and use teamwork functions. The possibilities of Skype for Business go beyond simple instant messaging. These tips will help you work more productively.

Skype for Business and Skype for Business Online offer extensive communication options, including teamwork functions. Companies can either operate their own Skype for Business server or use Skype for Business in Office 365. In the new version, companies also have the option of implementing improved hybrid deployments. Microsoft is also offering the new version as an online service that can be booked individually. This costs between 1.70 euros and 4.60 euros, depending on the functions that are to be used. Companies therefore have the option of operating the service completely in the cloud, together with Office 365, only in the company, or as a hybrid deployment.

In order to test Skype for Business 2015 free of charge, users should ideally use a deployment via Office 365. The current client can also be connected here without having to configure the server.

For users, it makes no difference whether Skype for Business is operated locally or in the cloud, since the application and range of functions are identical. The client is available either through Office 2013/2016 Professional Plus or in Office 365.

In most cases, the Skype client can be operated intuitively. However, there are exceptional cases, as some options are hidden in menus that are difficult to find. The following explains the most important settings of Skype for Business so that users can get the maximum benefit from the application.

Customize the Skype for Business client

In the Skype for Business client, users can set their own status by clicking on the “What’s happening today?” Link. This status is displayed to other users.

The settings are accessed via the gear symbol and the selection of Extras \ Options. Here you can specify, for example, that Skype starts automatically when the computer starts, but that the client is not brought to the fore. To do this, the option “Start app automatically when logging on to Windows” must be activated and the option “Start app in foreground” must be deactivated.

Start meeting, chat and phone call

If the mouse is moved over a contact in the Skype client, the client shows various options to communicate with the contact. More options are available via the context menu. Calls or chats can be started here. But new e-mails can also be created using the context menu.

Teamwork with the Skype client and other Microsoft Office programs

The status of the logged on users can also be seen elsewhere in Microsoft Office programs. If a Skype contact is entered as an e-mail recipient in Outlook, Outlook shows the status of the user. A call or chat can be started via the context menu.

The information is not only available in Outlook, but also in the other Microsoft Office programs. Especially when working in a team with several users on a document in Office 2013/2016, chats can be opened in parallel without having to leave the program.

Share desktop, files and programs

Various options are available in the lower area within a chat. Here, users can start a telephone call or video conference from a normal chat. The desktop or any program can also be shared so that the participants in the meeting can work with it.

The support for multiple monitors is particularly interesting when sharing the desktop. Only individual monitors can be included in the meetings. Participants cannot see the content of the other monitors if they do not want to. As soon as the desktop has been released on the corresponding monitor, the other participants can see the content, but cannot take any actions. Control of the desktop can also be passed on to a participant in the meeting via a control bar in the upper area.

Files can also be sent using the options for sharing the desktop or programs. However, these are not downloaded automatically; the other participants must first confirm the download manually. The release of the desktop or other areas must first be confirmed by the participants.

Where the files are saved on the local computer, users can specify in the settings of the Skype client via the file storage area. The “My received files” directory in the computer’s documents folder is used by default.

Present together with PowerPoint and Skype

If users have a PowerPoint presentation, they can also directly start the option to share PowerPoint files in a meeting using the share button. The participants in the meeting do not edit the file together, but use Presentation mode. Who will present the file can be specified in the client at any time. Switching between the different slides is carried out in the Skype window.

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