Quick Start: Use Group Chat

Microsoft Lync 2010 Group Chat enables you to participate in multi-topic, topic-based conversations that persist over time. With Lync 2010 Group Chat functionality, organizations can do the following:

  • Improve communication between geographically dispersed and cross-functional teams. With Group Chat functionality, teams can efficiently share information, ideas, and decisions as a group. The messages posted to group chat rooms (discussion forums) persist so that people from different locations and departments can participate, even when they are not all online at the same time.

  • Broaden information awareness and participation. Group Chat offers a user interface that helps users create chat rooms to organize themselves into virtual teams. Chat room members can participate in many concurrent discussions, thereby helping to remove communication barriers and improve information distribution across teams and the organization.

  • Improve communication with your extended enterprise. With the federation capabilities of Group Chat, business partners, customers, and vendors can join chat rooms and participate in secure, shared, group discussions.

  • Reduce information overload. With Group Chat functionality, you can create a customized list of active discussions (a My Chat dock) that can be pinned to your desktop. This provides one place for you to see and participate in active conversations. You can also create custom notifications and alerts to manage how you are notified of new messages—through unread message counts in a chat room, pop-up notifications, or even sounds.

  • Improve information awareness. With filters, you can define conditions, such as keywords in message content, or the value of the from field in a message, to receive notification when those conditions are met in instant messaging (IM) or chat room messages.

  • Increase dispersion of important knowledge and information. Documents and links can be included within discussions for access by the entire team. By posting questions to a broader team, users can benefit from responses by subject matter experts. Integration with other information systems enables important organizational data to be easily communicated to large groups.

  • Help to securely retain organizational knowledge. Search capabilities help you find past discussions so that you can learn the context of important decisions and become familiar with new projects or issues.

What do you want to do?

Explore the Group Chat user interface

Set up and sign in

To sign in using automatic configuration

To sign in using manual configuration

Join a chat room

To join a chat room

Explore the Group Chat user interface

Before you start joining and creating chat rooms, it is useful to explore the user interface (UI) of Lync 2010 Group Chat. This helps to understand the terminology used when referencing parts of the Group Chat UI.

The Group Chat UI consists of the following four main areas:

  • My Chat shows all filters, all contacts, and all the chat rooms that you have joined.

  • The Participant List shows the names and presence status of all members currently in the chat room. Names that appear in bold type indicate that the person is a chat room manager. You can right-click a participant to begin an instant messaging conversation, or to get more details on the participant.

  • The Message Area shows messages sent to the chat room. For each message, the author, date, and time are included. The message area keeps all previous messages on the screen until the number of messages exceeds the Maximum messages to keep on-screen setting for the chat room. The default is 200 messages. If the chat room is enabled for Chat History, messages are stored on the server, and are available through Search.

  • The Message Entry Area is where you compose messages and send them to a chat room. As you create messages, you can use the Message Entry Area toolbar to set High Importance status on a message, insert Web links, or links to other chat rooms, attach documents, add emoticons, or insert stories. Stories are basically long messages that you can encapsulate into what is, in Group Chat terminology, a story.

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Set up and sign in

Before you start to use Group Chat, you have to configure your sign-in settings. Group Chat provides two methods for signing in as follows:

  • Automatic configuration: To use automatic configuration, Lync Server 2010 must be configured for Domain Name System (DNS) SRV record support of automatic client sign-ins. For more information, contact your support team.

  • Manual configuration: To use manual configuration, you create a new sign-in account before you sign in.

To sign in using automatic configuration

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, and then click Microsoft Lync 2010 Group Chat.

  2. In the Account box of the Group Chat Sign In window, click Automatic Configuration. If the support team has configured a sign-in account by using Group Policy objects (GPOs) and set the account so that it is the only account available, that account is listed in the Account box. In that case, Automatic Configuration is not available and only the specified account appears in the Account box. Sign in by using the specified account.

  3. Enter your Sign-in address. This is typically the same as your e-mail address. If you don’t know it, contact the system administrator.

  4. In the User name field, type your domain and user name. For example: domain\user name.

  5. Enter your Password. This is typically the same password that you use to sign in to your network account.

  6. Click Sign In.

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To sign in using manual configuration

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, and then click Microsoft Lync 2010 Group Chat.

  2. In the Account box, select Edit Accounts. If the Edit Accounts dialog box is read-only, the system administrator has configured the account by using Active Directory Group Policy settings. If you need to configure another account, contact the system administrator.

  3. Click Add.

  4. In the Edit Accounts dialog box, in the Display Name box, type the name of the account as you want it to appear in the Account box of the Group Chat Sign In dialog box.

  5. If you want a single sign on (SSO) that uses the same credentials that you use for Microsoft Windows operating system, select the Use my Windows credentials to log on automatically check box.

  6. Under Lync Server Settings and Group Chat Functionality Server Settings, enter the server settings that are provided by the system administrator.

  7. Click OK.

  8. In the Lync Server 2010 Group Chat Sign-In window, in the Account box, select the newly created account.

  9. Enter your sign-in information, and then click Log In.

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Join a chat room

The easiest way to get started with Group Chat is to join an existing chat room. One way to join a chat room is to search for it. For example, you may have heard from a co-worker about a chat room that could be useful to you. To join, use the Group Chat Search feature to find, and then join, the chat room.

To join a chat room

  1. Click File, and then clickJoin a Chat Room.

  2. In the Search box, do one of the following:

    • Click the Search button (to the right of the Search box) to display a list of chat rooms in a domain. A domain could be one area of your company, it could be the entire company, or, if your server has been configured to permit federation, it could be another company.

    • If you know the name of the chat room, type the name in the Search box, and then click the Search button to the right of the Search box.

    • If you don’t know the name of the chat room, select Include topic and description in search, and then type keywords to help you find the Chat Room.

  3. Under Name, click the name of the chat room that you want to join, and then click Join.

Note:  Group Chat members can join a chat room. The chat room creator can also send out invitations to participants to join the chat room. You will not see "private" chat rooms in search results if you do not have permission to view these.

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