Control access to your presence information

With Microsoft Lync 2010 communications software, you use privacy relationships to control how much of your presence information others see. Contacts are assigned one of five privacy relationships, and each relationship provides access to a different set of information. For example, Colleagues, which is the relationship all new contacts are given when you add them, can see more of your information than External Contacts but less than Friends and Family. This topic describes what information each privacy relationship provides access to, how to change the privacy relationship that you have with a contact, and how to hide certain details from everyone.

What do you want to do?

Understand presence and privacy relationships

Your presence information includes your availability status (such as available or away), presence indicator (such as green, yellow, or red), schedule, location, and personal and out-of-office notes. The following table shows which presence information attributes are available for a given privacy relationship. Contacts with whom you have a Workgroup relationship are likely to be important. Only these contacts can interrupt you when you have set your status to Do Not Disturb.

Note:  Non-contacts when in Enhanced Privacy Mode and blocked contacts will see only your display name and email address


Presence Information

External Contacts



Friends and Family

Presence Status

Display Name

Email Address

Title *

Work Phone *

Mobile Phone *

Home Phone *

Other Phone

Company *

Office *

SharePoint Site *

Meeting Location #

Meeting Subject #

Free Busy

Working Hours

Location #

Notes (Out-of-Office Note)

Notes (Personal)

Last Active

Personal Photo Web Address

  • An asterisk (*) next to a presence information item in the table above indicates that if this attribute is defined in the company’s directory service, it will be visible to all contacts in your organization, regardless of privacy relationship, and to external contacts (if configured and recognized by your organization’s network).

  • A pound sign (#) next to a presence information item in the table above indicates that this attribute is visible by default.

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Change the privacy relationship for a contact

To view your contacts according to their privacy relationships, do the following:

  • Click the Relationships button in the area just above your contacts (other options are Groups and Status).

To change the privacy relationship you have with a contact, do the following:

  • Open Lync 2010, and, in your Contacts list, right-click a contact, point to Change Privacy Relationship, and then click a new privacy relationship for the contact.

Personalize Contact Information

By default, contacts are assigned the Colleagues privacy relationship when you add them to your Contacts list. If you have any contacts that you’ve subsequently assigned to another relationship, you can change the privacy relationship back to Colleagues by clicking either Colleagues, or Auto-assign Relationship.

For information about changing phone numbers and how this affects privacy relationships, see Set Phones options and numbers.

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Hide your activity feed

By default, for everyone except Blocked Contacts and External Contacts, updates to your personal note will appear in their Activity Feed list. Do the following to change this:

  1. In the Lync main window, click the Options button.

  2. In the Lync - Options dialog box, click Personal.

  3. Near the bottom of the right pane, under Activity Feed, clear the Show all my updates in Activity Feed check box. Changes to your status will appear only with your presence status, for example in others’ Contacts list.

Hide Activity Feed

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Hide your location

By default, Lync updates your location when you log on from different places. You can hide this information from others by doing the following:

  1. In the Lync main window, click the location menu below your name.

  2. Clear the Show Others My Location check box.

Set location for Lync

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Enable Privacy Mode

By default, everyone except Blocked Contacts can see your presence status. To modify the privacy settings, you can do the following:

  1. In the Lync main window, click the Options button.

  2. In the Lync - Options dialog box, click Status, and then do one of the following:

  3. Click I want everyone to be able to see my presence regardless of system settings (override default settings)

  4. Click I want the system administrator to decide - currently everyone can see my presence but this could change in the future

    Privacy Status

Your organization may have enabled Privacy Mode in Lync. If this is the case, you can choose whether to limit visibility of your presence information to only those people you’ve added to your Contacts list:

  • I want everyone to be able to see my presence

  • I only want people in my Contacts list to see my presence

Important:  If you are running Lync in Privacy Mode, older versions of Microsoft Communicator will be blocked.

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Block a contact

To prevent a contact from reaching you via IM or phone in Lync:

  1. In your Contacts list, right-click the contact you want to block.

  2. Click Change Privacy Relationship, and then click Blocked Contacts.

Note:  Your name and email address will still be visible.

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