Search for people in Skype for Business

If you're a Skype user, you know how easy it is to find and connect with your Skype friends and colleagues just by doing a simple search of the Skype directory.

You can search that same directory using Skype for Business. After your admin has enabled this feature, you can locate anyone with a Skype Name, whether or not they're in your organization, then add them to your contacts list, view their presence information (e.g., online, away, offline), send and receive instant messages, and make audio and video calls.

Notes:  Version 15 of Skype for Business comes with two different user interfaces: the Skype for Business user interface, which looks a lot like the consumer version of Skype; and the Skype for Business (Lync) user interface, which looks like Lync.

Side by side comparison of the Skype for Business contacts page and Skype for Business (Lync) page

Searching the Skype directory works only with the Skype for Business user interface, not the Skype for Business (Lync) interface. Your IT department decides which user interface you will use (see Why do I see Skype for Business when I'm using Lync? for more information).

Version 16 of Skype for Business only includes the Skype for Business experience.

Search for people in the Skype directory

Find the search box on the main Skype for Business contacts page, just below the Contacts tab.

When the Skype for Business Search box is empty, the available tabs are Groups, Status, Relationships, and New.
  1. Click in the search box and type information about the person you want to search. This can include Skype Name, full name, location, email address, or Microsoft account (the email address used to sign in to services like, OneDrive, Windows Phone, or Xbox LIVE). See "Ways to search the Skype directory" below for examples.

  2. Click the Skype Directory tab to search the directory.

    When you start typing in the Skype for Business Search box, the tabs below change to My Contacts and Skype Directory.

    Add more information in the search box if you need to narrow down the results.

  3. When you see the listing for the person you want to add, point at their picture or avatar to see your options (such as message, voice call, video call or add to contacts).

  4. If you want to add them to one of your groups, click the Add to contacts Add contact button button. If this is a new contact, you can add them to a group, but they have to accept your contact request before you can send them an instant message, call them, or see their presence information.

Ways to search the Skype directory

There are several ways you can search the Skype directory. Each piece of information that you add into the search box helps narrow down the list of results that search returns. Here are some examples:

Search by


Name (full or partial)

Sean, Sean Chai

Skype Name



in Chicago, in Illinois

email address

Microsoft account

What if search doesn't work?

Before you can search the Skype directory, you admin needs to set a toggle in your organization's Skype for Business service to allow it. See these instructions: Let users contact other Skype users.

How are Skype contacts different from Skype for Business contacts?

Skype for Business is used by organizations to enable their employees to collaborate, meet, and share. Skype users can connect with Skype for Business users but aren't able to use the following Skype for Business features:

  • Skype for Business meetings or conferencing services

    Tip: Invited meeting guests who don't have Skype for Business can join the meeting by using the Skype for Business Web App.

  • Group audio calls

  • Whiteboard (a collaboration tool used during Skype for Business meetings)

  • Desktop and program sharing, including presenting PowerPoint slide shows

  • File transfer (such as Excel, Word, or PowerPoint files)

Additionally, Skype users cannot use the Skype directory to find Skype for Business contacts, because Skype for Business users are not listed there. A Skype user who wants to add a Skype for Business user to his or her list of contacts must create the contact using the full email address of the Skype for Business user, such as

See Also

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