Understanding presence and member status and instant messaging

Group Chat reports your presence status and enables you to see the presence status of other people. Presence status, which is the colored circle next to a contact’s name, indicates a person’s willingness and availability to communicate. Green presence status, for example, indicates that a contact is Available for a conversation, whereas red presence status indicates that the contact is Busy and might not want to be interrupted.

When you use Group Chat, you might notice that chat room members appear and disappear. In addition to presence status, Group Chat also indicates a chat room's current participation status. For example, a chat room member only appears in the chat room Participant List if the member is signed in to Group Chat, and is currently joined to the chat room that you are viewing. The presence status of a contact, and the availability of a contact in a chat room, determines how and when you start an instant messaging (IM) session with another person.

What do you want to do?

Presence status

To change your presence status

Chat room member status

Start an IM session with a contact

To start an IM conversation

Presence status

Presence status appears next to users’ names, including yours, in several areas in the Group Chat client. You can use presence status to indicate your availability to communicate to other people. You can also use presence status to determine whether another contact is available for an IM conversation.

Group Chat and other Lync Server 2010 clients, such as Lync 2010, Lync Web Access, and Lync 2010 Mobile, are integrated with Lync Server 2010 so that presence status is continuously updated based on your activity, or in some cases, lack of activity. When you change your presence status in Group Chat, your presence status is immediately updated so that other users who are running Group Chat see your status change in their Group Chat. The following table describes the presence buttons and their corresponding status text.

Presence Button

Status Text

Description

Green

Available

The contact is online and can participate in conversations. This status can be set manually by the user.

Orange

Busy

In a Call

In a Conference

In a Meeting

The contact is available but engaged in another activity. Activities include the following:

The contact is in a phone, voice, or video conversation.

The contact is in a multiparty conversation using phone, voice, or video.

The Microsoft Office Outlook calendar shows that the contact has a scheduled meeting.

Red

Do Not Disturb

You see this status if the contact has assigned you to an access level other than the Team access level and the following condition exists:

The contact has manually set their presence to Do Not Disturb.

Orange

Urgent interruptions only

You see this status for a contact if the contact has assigned you to the Team access level and the contact has manually set their presence status to Do Not Disturb.

Yellow

Appear Away

Out of Office

Be Right Back

The contact is probably not available. This status appears for the following reasons:

  • The contact’s computer has been idle for more than the idle time period setting – 15 minutes by default. By default, the transition from Available to Inactive occurs after 5 minutes. Then, after 15 more minutes, the status changes to Away if there is still no activity on the computer.

  • A contact’s Outlook calendar or Out of Office Assistant tool indicates they are out of the office.

  • The contact is temporarily unavailable. When activity is detected on the contact’s computer, Lync 2010 automatically resets the presence status to the appropriate state.

  • The contact has manually set their presence status to be Away or Be Right Back.

Green and Yellow

Inactive

This contact might be available, but their computer has been idle for more that the idle time period setting – 5 minutes by default. In this state, the contact is online and transitioning from an Available state, as indicated by the half-green/half-yellow button, This status is set by Group Chat.

Yellow and Red

Busy (Inactive)

This contact is engaged in a meeting or is scheduled to be in a meeting (as indicated in the Outlook calendar), but their computer has been inactive for the idle time period setting – 5 minutes by default. This status is set by Group Chat.

Red circle with a bar through the circle

Blocked

This button appears in your Contact List next to the contact name that you have blocked. To the person who you’ve blocked, you seem to be offline.

Light Peach

Offline

The contact is not available because of the following reasons:

  • The contact has manually set their status to Appear Away. (Appear Offline is not available in Group Chat. Lync 2010 users might be enabled to see Appear Offline though.)

  • Lync 2010 and Group Chat are not running on the contact’s computer, or the contact has not signed in. The contact has blocked you from seeing their presence status.

White

Presence unknown

Lync 2010 cannot determine the status of the contact. This status appears because the contact’s presence status is stored on another computer system, such as that of an organization that is not a federated partner.

You can manually change your presence status to communicate your availability to other Group Chat users. For example, if you will be away from your desk for several minutes, you can set your presence status to Be Right Back.

To change your presence status

  • Click the Presence button, and then click the presence status icon.

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Chat room member status

Each chat room has a Participant List that shows the active members of the chat room. Chat room members are considered active if they are signed in to Group Chat and they have joined the chat room. Chat room managers appear in the Participant List only if they are signed up as members of the chat room, they are signed in, and they have joined the chat room. Managers' names appear bolded in the Participant List. If a person belongs to a chat room and is signed in to Group Chat, the person’s name appears in the Participant List. If the person is not signed in to Group Chat, the person’s name does not appear in the Participant List.

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Start an IM session with a contact

Group Chat provides several ways to start an instant messaging conversation with a contact. For example, you can click a contact’s name in a chat room message area to start an instant messaging session or you can click a contact’s name in a chat room Participant List. Before you try to start an instant messaging session, check the contact’s presence status to make sure that it is Green – Available – before you send a message. Remember, you should only send an IM to a contact if the contact’s presence status is Available. If the contact is Away, for example, they will receive the instant message that you send but might not be present to read it in a timely manner. If the contact is Busy, you should probably try again later or interrupt the contact only if the message is urgent.

To start an IM conversation

  1. In the Participant List, double-click the contact’s name.

  2. If the contact is not available in the Participant List, search for the contact in My Chat, and then click the name if available. IM contacts are listed in My Chat chat rooms and filters.

  3. If the contact is not available in My Chat, click File, click Add Contacts, and then type the first name, last name, or e-mail address of the person, and then click the magnifying glass icon. Select one or more users from the Search Results list, and click the Add button to add them to your My Chat list as Contacts. Click the new Contact’s name in your My Chat list.

  4. To send an instant message without searching for a person, click the Go menu, and select Send an Instant Message. When the dialog box appears, enter the recipient's SIP address, and then press <Return>.

  5. In the Message Entry Area, enter the message text, and then click Send. Contacts who are inactive or away will receive the message immediately but might not read it on their screen until they are actively using their computer again. Contacts who are offline will not receive any messages that are sent to them.

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