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Lync Basic 2013 gives you instant messaging (IM), audio and video calls, Lync Meetings, availability (presence) information, and sharing capabilities all from one, easy-to-use program.

Note:  Looking for Skype for Business? See Explore Skype for Business.

Lync Basic 2013 is a slimmer version of the full Lync 2013 client that provides all of the same core functionality. However, to use the following features, your company would have to upgrade to Lync 2013:

  • Advanced call features: team ring, call forwarding, simultaneous ring, voice mail, call park, call delegation, response groups, and remote call control (not available with all Microsoft 365 subscriptions)

  • Calendar delegation

  • Gallery video view

  • OneNote sharing

  • Recording

  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS) (not available with Microsoft 365)

  • Skill search (not available with Microsoft 365)

  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) (not available with Microsoft 365)

To find out if you’re using Lync Basic, do one of the following:

  • Open Lync. If you’re using Lync Basic, you’ll see Lync Basic at the top of the Lync main window.

  • Click the Start button > Control Panel > Programs and Features, and look for the Microsoft Lync listing. If you’re using Lync Basic, you’ll see Microsoft Lync Basic 2013.

Read on to learn about key features in Lync Basic.

Some features to explore

The following features are new for this release of Lync.


Lync uses a Quick Lync menu with each contact listing to provide lots of functionality without any clutter. The Quick Lync menu contains buttons that are revealed when you pause on a contact’s picture, in your Contacts list. You can start a chat, an audio or video call, or view a contact card with a single click. Pause on the three dots on the right side to see more options.

Tip:  Use the Add a contact Add a contact icon to help you quickly build your Contacts list.


The Favorites group lets you build a list of people you contact most often. Just right-click a contact, and then click Add to Favorites in the drop-down list.

Add to favorites


The selections on the Contacts view give you multiple display options.

Click Groups to see your contacts and chat rooms organized by the groups you’ve defined. Click Status to see your contacts organized by availability (online, away, unavailable, or unknown). Click Relationships to see them grouped according to the privacy relationships you’ve defined for them, or click New to see a list of people who’ve asked to be included on your Contacts list.

Sort contacts by relationship

Use the Contact List options to set up how you want to sort and display contacts. You can select an expanded, two-line view that shows contacts’ pictures or a condensed one-line view. You can also sort contacts alphabetically or by availability.


With tabbed conversations, you can keep all your calls, instant messages, and chat rooms in one conversation window. The tabs along the left side of the conversation window let you navigate easily among all active conversations. (Of course, if you prefer one window per conversation, you can select that option on the Contact List options page.)

Use the pop-out button Pop out to break out a single conversation into its own window, and then resize it as you want. Then use the pop-in button Pop in to add the window back to the main conversation window. You can also use this pop-out/pop-in feature in a meeting where video or content is being presented.

Lync can remember your conversation state even when you sign out and sign back in.

The icons at the bottom of the conversation window let you quickly add others to an instant messaging (IM) conversation or upgrade it to an audio call, a video call, or a presentation with file-sharing and web conferencing tools (whiteboard, meeting notes, and attachments, for example). Pausing on an icon reveals its communication mode and the options available to you. Clicking the icon converts your IM to that mode.

Conversations controls


Lync includes persistent chat rooms where you can hold ongoing discussions with the friends and coworkers you choose. Click the Chat Rooms button in the Lync main window (above the search box) to search for chat rooms, monitor chat room activity, and read and post messages.

Note:  Chat rooms are not available with Lync Basic 2013 for Microsoft 365. To learn about other differences for Microsoft 365 users, see FAQ for using Lync Basic with Office 365.

When you create a chat room, you can set its privacy level to:

  • Open, which anyone can find, read, or post messages in. No membership is required.

  • Closed, which anyone can find, but only members can read or post messages in. (Default)

  • Secret, which can be seen by members only.

After you enter a chat room, the pictures at the top show you its members and their current presence status. You can also view any member’s contact card by pausing on their picture and clicking the down arrow.

Persistent chat in Lync

You can even create topic feeds so you’ll be notified if someone in one of your chat rooms adds a post containing specific words.

In the Persistent Chat options page, you can set notification alerts and sounds that apply when people post messages to your chat rooms.


With the Quick Lync menu, you can start a video call with a contact with just one click.

Before you place or accept a video call, you can see a preview of your own video in the invitation.

Video preview


Lync provides high DPI support, enabling you to scale text and graphics for 125% and 150% dots per inch. High-contrast support means that Lync is looks good, even when used with the different high contrast themes of Windows.

Display set to 100% scale

Display set to 150% scale

Also, Lync offers more than 100 keyboard shortcuts for important functions, giving you direct access without a mouse. For example, you can press Alt+C to accept a call, or Alt + I to ignore it, without even having to tab or set the focus. You can also use the keyboard to end a call with Alt+Q and open the Tools menu with Alt+T.

Extensive screen reader support in Lync ensures that all notifications, incoming requests, and instant messages are read aloud so you’re always kept in the loop.

Meeting features


Whether you’re in your office or on the road, you can join a Lync Meeting with only a single click. You no longer need to write down or remember dial-in numbers and passcodes. Simply click Join Lync Meeting from an Outlook meeting reminder.

Join Lync meeting

Or, in the Lync main window, join from the Meetings view by clicking Join.

Meetings view in Lync main window

Join Lync Meetings even if you don’t have Lync installed by using Lync Web App. For details, see Lync Web App later in this section.

If you don’t see the Meetings view, you need the latest Lync update. Go to Windows Update, and install from there, or contact your workplace technical support to find out when you’ll be updated.


When scheduling a meeting, you can select your own dedicated space, or create a new meeting room with a new ID and password. This lets you customize your meeting options to fit your needs, meeting type, or the participants. So, if you have external participants, specific presenters, or confidential information to discuss, you might want to create a more controlled meeting space.

Note:  A dedicated space isn’t available with Lync Basic 2013 for Microsoft 365.

Depending on the type of meeting, if you schedule the meeting by using Outlook, you can now decide if you want to disable IM, mute the audience, and allow or block video sharing when scheduling the meeting. These options are available on the Meeting Options page and are recommended when you have a meeting with more than 20 participants.

Tip:  If you don’t use Outlook, you can set up Lync Meetings by using the Lync Web Scheduler, available at

Note:  If you don’t see the option to disable IM, you need the latest Lync update. Go to Windows Update, and install from there, or contact your workplace technical support to find out when you’ll be updated.


Easy-to-use audio controls in the meeting room let you mute and unmute yourself, change your audio devices, and even transfer seamlessly to another number.

The Present menu gives you access to all presentable content in one place, such as Desktop, PowerPoint presentations, Poll, and Whiteboard.

You’re notified every time you share content, with an easy-to-view pop-up in the meeting.

You can even select multiple programs to share if you need to work with more than one program.

You can upload presentations that contain video clips. Just upload the PowerPoint presentation and point the mouse over the slide to unhide the video controls to play, pause, or adjust the audio.

While another participant is presenting a PowerPoint deck, you can review the slides privately, go back to the presenter’s view, or take over the presentation if you need to co-present.

As the presenter of the meeting, you can use No Meeting IM to disable IM to help people stay focused on the meeting contact. You can also allow or block sending videos. No Attendee Video lets you restrict video sharing to presenters only. This option is helpful when you have a large meeting and need to limit access to presenters only.

Options on the Actions tab

Hide peoples’ names under their picture or video in the gallery by using Hide Names.

Click Everyone an Attendee to instantly change all other presenters to attendees.

Note:  If you don’t see the option to disable IM, you need the latest Lync update. Go to Windows Update, and install from there, or contact your workplace technical support to find out when you’ll be updated.


Depending on your meeting type, you can select a specific view of content, presenter, or meeting participants by using the Pick a layout button.

Speaker View shows the meeting content with the presenter’s video or picture in the lower-right corner of the meeting window. Content View shows only the meeting content. You get a full view of the content, but you won’t see the participants. Compact View shows only the participants’ pictures. Just pause on a picture to see their contact information.


Lync Web App allows PC and Mac users to join a Lync Meeting from within a web browser, and delivers a full Lync Meeting experience, including:

  • HD video, which brings life and expression to Lync, letting people “see what you mean” in new ways.

  • Voice over IP (VoIP) so you can connect to your meeting from anywhere without getting hit with call origination fees.

  • IM, which ensures that you can communicate silently when necessary, such as when you’re in a coffee shop or on a train.

  • Desktop, program , and PowerPoint sharing so your content can be seen by other meeting participants, enabling you to continue collaborating without missing a beat!

Lync Web App

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