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Communicate with Skype Users with Microsoft Lync

Learn how to use instant messaging, audio calls, and presence information to communicate with Skype users while using Microsoft Lync (and vice-versa).

Microsoft Lync supports connectivity with Skype. This connectivity lets Lync users add Skype contacts by using the Skype user’s Microsoft Account (MSA). Skype users can also add Lync users to their contacts list. Lync and Skype users will be able to communicate using instant messaging, see each other’s presence, and initiate audio calls.

NOTE: Lync-Skype video calling is not yet available from Microsoft.

What is an MSA?

If you use an email address and password to access services such as Microsoft OneDrive storage technology, Windows Phone, the Microsoft Xbox LIVE online game service, and the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client (as well as (previously) Microsoft's Hotmail web-based e-mail service or Windows Live Messenger), you already have a Microsoft account (MSA) (previously called Windows Live ID). If you also have a Skype account, it's easy set up single sign-on to access a variety of additional applications and services, including Lync-to-Skype voice calls, etc.

To set up a Microsoft account, see the Microsoft account sign-up page at

Using Skype with Lync (and Lync with Skype)

If Skype users sign in to Skype with a Microsoft account (MSA) (previously called Windows Live ID), they may use Skype to communicate with their non-Skype contacts who are using Lync (and vice-versa).

NOTE: Be sure to link your Skype account to an MSA. A Skype account that is not linked to an MSA will not be able to communicate with Lync users.

You can find out if your Skype and Microsoft accounts are already linked by checking

Skype account settings window with user (censored) @gmail address shown.

Learn more about using Microsoft accounts with Skype.

To set up a Skype account, visit

As a Lync user, how do I add a Skype contact?

NOTE: These screenshots and instructions are for the Lync 2013 client for Windows, however the process for Lync 2010 for Windows and Lync 2011 for Mac are very similar. For Lync 2010 and Lync 2011, begin the process from Step 3 of these instructions.

  1. From Lync, click Add a Contact -> Add a Contact Not in My Organization.
  2. From the list of available contact providers, select Skype.

    Lync UI with "Add A Contact", "Add A Contact Not in My Organization", and "Skype" selected
  3. In the IM Address field, enter the Microsoft account (MSA) of the Skype user you wish to add.

    NOTE: Be sure to use their Microsoft account (MSA) address, not their Skype ID.

    • If their MSA is in the domain or or, enter their MSA as-is. Example
    • If their MSA is NOT in one of the 3 domains listed above, use format user(domain_name) For example, if the MSA of your Skype user is, enter janedoe(
  4. If you are using Lync 2010 for Windows or Lync 2011 for Mac, use this MSA address to add your contact as a normal contact in Lync (outside of your company). The user will now appear as a contact in Lync.
  5. Ask your Skype contact to accept your contact request or to add you to their contact list. Until he or she also adds you as a contact, you will not be able to communicate and their presence will show as Offline.

NOTE: At present, Lync users can only connect with Skype for Windows (desktop), Skype modern client (included in Windows 8 / 8.1) and Skype for Mac OS X, but Skype should begin supporting additional platforms soon.

As a Skype user, how do I add a Lync contact?

  1. Sign in to Skype.
    NOTE: You must sign in using Skype's Microsoft account sign-in page with your MSA account.

    Skype Microsoft account sign-in screen with user email and password filled in
  2. Select the Add Contacts icon.
  3. Enter the Lync sign-in address of the Lync user you wish to add (usually their U of I email address). For example,
  4. When Skype finds the match in the search results, look for the word "Lync" below the Lync user’s name. If "Lync" is present, this indicates that Skype has located the Lync user's address. Click their name.

    Skype UI showing Lync contact "Gregory Chesser" available
  5. In the top right corner of the window, click Add to Contacts.
  6. The new contact is now added to your contact list; however, you will see a question mark instead of their status icon until they accept your request. When your new contact accepts your request, you will be able to see when they are online, when they initiate IM conversations, and when they make audio calls.

Need Help?

If you are using Microsoft Lync and need help adding a Skype contact, please contact the CITES Help Desk at (217) 244-7000 or

If you are using Skype and need help adding a Microsoft Lync contact, please visit

Last updated Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 11:16 am