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Your Lync contacts are the online identities of the people you communicate with most frequently. You can add anyone from your company, and if your organization allows it, you can also add Lync users in other companies, and Skype users signed in with a Microsoft ID.

Add a contact in your organization

  1. In the Lync main window, select Add a Contact Add a contact, then Add a Contact in my Organization.

  2. Type the person’s name or email address in the search box.

  3. Right-click the listing, click Add to Contacts List, and select a group to add the contact to.

  4. (Optional) To view or change the privacy relationship, right-click the contact’s listing, and then click Change Privacy Relationship.

Add a contact outside your organization

If your organization allows it, you can use Lync to communicate with external contacts:

  • External Lync users    Admins in both your and the other person’s org must allow external communications.

  • Skype users    Must be signed in to Skype with a Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID).

See Features available with external contacts. Contacts using IM providers such as AOL, Yahoo!, or Google Talk are not supported.

  1. In the Lync main window, select Add a contact Add a contact > Add a Contact Not in my Organization

  1. Click the contact’s IM provider, Lync or Skype.

  2. In the IM Address box, enter your new contact.

Important: If your Skype contact is using their own email name as a Microsoft account login, the IM address requires special formatting. See What to try if you can't IM Lync or Skype external contacts.

  1. (Optional) Choose a group and privacy relationship for this contact.

  2. Click OK.

Keep in mind:

  • You may have to wait up to 24 hours before the new contact becomes available. If the contact shows “Presence unknown” after a full day, contact your workplace technical support.

Features available with Lync external contacts

Only features available to both you and the other Lync user are supported.

Features available with Skype external contacts

Available with Skype users

Not available with Skype users

  • Presence

  • Person-to-person IMs

  • Person-to-person audio calls

  • Finding and adding Lync contacts in Skype

  • Video conversations

  • Audio or IM conversations with three or more people

  • Desktop and program sharing

See also: What to try if you can't IM Lync or Skype external contacts.

Outlook external contacts

To add an external contact in Lync, the other person must have a valid IM and conferencing client—either Lync or Skype. To add an external user to your Microsoft 365 address book, all that’s required is a valid email address. Learn more:

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