What's new in Skype for Business 2016?

We're always working to improve Skype for Business and are excited to tell you about the latest features that are available now.

Skype for Business on Windows

February 6, 2017

Improvements to call notifications

Notifications in Skype for Business now have a more modern look and feel. New notifications provide more information about incoming calls, and make it easy to take quick action on calls.

Notification window showing the improved design

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Improvements to call transfers

A new Consult button has been added to the Skype for Business user interface to improve how calls are transferred. The Consultative Transfer feature makes it easier to confer with someone before transferring a call to them.

Call Controls window showing the Consult button

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Note: Don't see these updates in your Skype for Business client yet? They're just starting to roll out and you should see them soon.

November 8, 2016

New look for the user interface

The Skype for Business UI is getting a visual facelift. Updates include improved keyboard navigation, screen reader compatibility, color changes and icons that provide greater text-to-background contrast, and other visual enhancements designed to help make the experience more accessible for all users.

Example of new visual updates

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August 15, 2016

Video-based screen sharing in meetings

Experience a faster, reliable, and more efficient screen-sharing experience in meetings and conference calls. This feature was previously available only in peer-to-peer video-based screen-sharing.

Note: This feature requires the new version of Skype for Business Server 2015 2016 Cumulative Update (Office 365 only). Read more about version requirements.

For more information, see Video-based screen sharing for Skype for Business Server 2015.

July 1, 2016

Offline messaging

Don't wait until someone is online before sending them a message in Skype for Business. You'll no longer receive those "this message can't be delivered" notifications when you send a message to someone who is offline.

Show me how

Preload meeting attachments

Get a quick start to meetings by preloading attachments when you set up your online meeting in Outlook so that you can get started as soon as the participants join.

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Launch Skype for Business from Office 365

You can now launch and perform some basic Skype for Business tasks right from your navigation bar in Outlook on the web for business (Outlook Web App) in Office 365.

Launch Skype for Business from the navigation bar

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February 9, 2016

Prompt to switch audio to newly connected device without putting ongoing call on hold

You are prompted to switch audio for an ongoing call or meeting to a newly connected device, without putting the ongoing call on hold.

December 1, 2015

Leaner Skype for Business

Various engineering investments resulted in a smaller, more nimble Skype for Business 16 client. Not only does it take less space but also requires less memory than version 15, resulting in quicker performance for all users.

Co-author in a Skype for Business meeting

If you're writing a document or creating a spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation and need to collaborate with others, you can use Office 365 and Skype for Business to co-author and edit while in a meeting or instant message (IM) conversation. Everyone who participates in the co-authoring session sees changes being made to the document in real time.

Show me how

Smart contacts list

The first time you use Skype for Business, you'll see that your contacts list already includes your manager and the people on your team, and all are tagged for status updates. That's because Skype for Business checks your company's global address book and picks out those people who share your same manager. Of course, you can make changes to this list by adding and removing contacts, creating groups, and sorting contacts into groups that make sense to you.

Don't want to see status updates from your team? You can untag a contact.

This feature is turned on by default for Office 365 users. On-premises customers will have the feature turned off by default but admins can enable it through an in-band setting.

Smart contacts lists are available to both Skype for Business 15 and Skype for Business 16 clients.

Tell me how to add contacts

Tell me how to untag contacts

Contextual tips

Contextual tips are helpful suggestions that encourage you to try Skype for Business features that you might not have used before. The tips are relevant to the task at hand. For example, when searching for a contact, you might see a tip like this:

Tip that pops up when you enter the beginnings of a name in the search box

Click the X at the top of the tip to dismiss it. Once dismissed, the tip will not display again.

This feature is only available in Skype for Business 16.

Peer-to-peer video-based screen sharing

You and your colleagues will enjoy an improved screen-sharing experience thanks to the video-based screen-sharing (VbSS) technology in Skype for Business. While you won't see any changes in the way you present on-screen content during your peer-to-peer calls or chats, you will notice that the connection time is drastically reduced, and the screen presentation is always in sync between presenter and viewer.

VbSS is only used when both parties in the conversation are using Skype for Business 16. For more information, including network bandwidth requirements, see Video-Based Screen-Sharing for Skype for Business Server 2015.

Modern authentication

Modern authentication takes advantage of the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL) to enable various sign-in scenarios for users of Office 365 and Skype for Business. These scenarios include multi-factor authentication, Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) -based identity provider sign-in, and smart card and certificate-based authentication.

Admins can learn more about ADAL by visiting MSDN.

Support for Office 365 Groups

You probably already know that you can add individual contacts to your contact list, but if your organization uses Office 365 Groups, you can now add those to your list, too. The process is the same, just search for the Group name, right-click the name when you see it in the list, and click Add to contacts list.

Features no longer available in Skype for Business 16

The Lync experience    is only supported in version 15. In version 16, all users will have the Skype for Business experience only.

Remote Call Control    was a feature in previous versions of Lync and Skype for Business, which enabled users to control their private branch exchange (PBX) phones with their Lync and Skype for Business clients.

Note: Microsoft is working with select partners to ensure their IP Phones and other products work seamlessly to provide enterprise grade communications solutions for our customers. See the Skype for Business Solutions web site to learn more about this partnership.

Skype for Business on Mac

Updates are available from Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU). To use MAU, start Skype for Business on Mac, and then choose Help > Check for Updates. If you have not yet installed Skype for Business on Mac, you can do so from the Microsoft Download Center.

February 2017 release

Release date: February 7, 2017

Features added

  • Users can now share their desktops during peer-to-peer IM conversations.

    Note:   Peer-to-peer desktop sharing from Skype for Business 2016 on Windows client for on-premises Skype for Business Server 2015 users requires February Updates for Skype for Business Server 2015. Peer-to-peer desktop sharing from Skype for Business 2016 on Windows client for on-premises Lync Server 2013 users is not supported.

  • Certified support is now available for the following USB devices:

    • Polycom CX300

    • Jabra Speak 510

    • Jabra Evolve 65

    • Plantronics Blackwire C520-M

    • Logitech Webcam C930e


  • Duplicated contacts and contact’s email are shown at same time when users search a contact. Now users will only see one contact by using the workaround of deleting the sign-in info:

    1. Log out of Skype for Business on Mac.

    2. Delete any sign-in info.

  • Fixed bugs related to desktop sharing and conference calling.

  • Implemented improvements to CPU performance when viewing shared screens over Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). 

  • Improved UI and notifications in the client   .

  • Fixed an issue where Microsoft Auto Update channels were being overwritten by the client. 

  • Fixed issue with users unable to transfer calls. 

  • Improved issues related to accessibility.

  • Fixed crash issues.

  • Implemented other bug fixes.

Known issues

New issues



Presence not updated if not in Outlook

If a user is not logged in to Outlook, presence information in Skype for Business on Mac does not update based on the Outlook calendar.

Can’t see desktop sharing in IM conversations

A Skype for Business on Mac user sometimes sees a blank screen when a Skype for Business on Windows user shares the desktop in an IM conversation (peer-to-peer or group IM).

Workaround: The Skype for Business on Windows user shares the program or window, or the Skype for Business on Mac user restarts the Skype for Business on Mac app.

Can't join Skype Room Systems meeting

Skype Room Systems cannot join a meeting scheduled by Skype for Business on Mac.

Workaround: Dial in to meeting or use Skype for Business on Windows client to schedule the meeting.

Complete list of known issues

See Known issues - Skype for Business on Mac.

Release date: December 20, 2016


  • Fixed an issue for organizations that use a custom channel for the ChannelName preference in Microsoft AutoUpdate.

Release date: December 12, 2016

Features added

  • Video-based screen sharing (VBSS) viewing is available for Office 365. VBSS is technology that allows for a more efficient way of sharing content over the network as compared to RDP. Learn more.

  • Single window mode for Lync Server 2013 users. Skype for Business on Mac already offers a great experience to manage multiple conversations in a single window. Now that experience is extended to Mac clients that connect to Lync Server 2013, which was not supported prior to 16.2. In addition, if server-side conversation history was previously disabled, single window was not available either. This is now addressed unless your organization has disabled EnableAutoIMArchive explicitly. Also, messages can be auto-accepted if the Mac client is active, and IMs can be shown as missed messages.

    Single window:

    • Will not depend on SSCH. It will only depend on EnableIMAutoArchiving.

    • On when EnableIMAutoArchiving is enabled or not set.

    • Off when EnableIMAutoArchiving is disabled.


    • Skype for Business on Mac will always auto accept IM if it is most active endpoint.

    • If SSCH is enabled, it will be accepted by the server. The conversation will persist in Exchange and display in the conversation list.

    • If SSCH is disabled or not set (for example, in Lync Server 2013), the client will accept IM and display in the conversation window, but will not save it to the "Conversation History" folder in Exchange.

      • If EnableIMAutoArchiving is enabled or not set:

        • Skype for Business on Mac will show the conversation locally and it will not roam.

        • When user closes the conversation window or restarts the client, the conversation will reappear in the conversation list.

        • If user does a clean installation of Skype for Business on Mac or logs on from another computer, there will be no history of previous conversation.

      • If EnableIMAutoArchiving is disabled:

        • When user closes the conversation window or restarts the client, the conversation will not be persisted or show up in the conversation list.

  • In audio calls, you can now add desktop sharing.

Note: Single window mode is already available for Office 365 and Skype for Business Server 2015 2015 users. However, if EnableIMAutoArchiving policy has been disabled by the admin, single window mode will not be available.


  • Changed the default notification type to banners. Users can change their settings on the Notification Center (Skype for Business > Preferences > Notifications).

  • User experience during meetings and calls.

  • Group management

  • Client stability and other bug fixes.

Known issues

New issues



Search contacts limitation

There is a known limitation with Mac search where it will not show federated contacts and Skype consumer contacts; it can only show contacts in the local Active Directory.

Desktop viewing in Skype for Business on Windows client

While in a call, desktop viewing is currently not supported from Skype for Business 2016 on Windows on-premises users.

Workaround: Users can join a conference call or using "Meet Now."

Important: Skype for Business on Mac client is compatible with Office 365, Skype for Business Server 2015, and Lync Server 2013. Customers using Lync Server 2010 should continue to use Lync for Mac 2011 as their Mac client.

Complete list of known issues

See Known issues - Skype for Business on Mac.

Release date: November 22, 2016

Features added

Manage contact groups

  • Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server 2015 users can now add and remove contact groups and enterprise distribution groups to their contact list.

Tag contacts for status change alerts

  • Skype for Business Online, Skype for Business Server 2015, and Lync Server 2013 users can tag a contact so that they are alerted any time the status of the contact changes to online.



  • Improved sender experience in the case when a recipient is unable to respond to incoming messages.

  • Fixed chat notification issues — in some cases, new chat notifications were not marked because the client assumed the user read them already.


  • Numerous fixes and reliability improvements so you get a more stable meeting experience.


  • Calendar syncing issues fixed so at start up meetings can be retrieved correctly.

  • Sign-in bug fixes — some account types were not able to sign in.

Known issues

New issues



Single/tabbed window experience not available

By default, if your topology meets the following requirements, all conversations will be shown in a single/tabbed window. However, there are cases when the client can’t detect if server-side conversation history is enabled and it will not default to single window view. This can be remedied by updating settings under Preferences.

Requirements for single/tabbed window experience:

  • Skype for Business Online or Skype for Business Server 2015

  • Server-side conversation history enabled.

Troubleshooting if single window mode is not available, check the following:

  • Preferences > General > Show conversation in separate windows is unchecked.

E-911 with ADFS not supported

This is a known issue and will be addressed in a future update of Skype for Business Server 2015.

Menu to add/rename/delete contact group are disabled right after adding a new group

Workaround: Select any contact or group, and the menu will be re-enabled.

Expand/Collapse Group Chevron icon is out of sync with the list of contacts after minimize/maximize Skype for Business

Workaround: Click on the chevron to correct the icon.

Adding a distribution group that has more than 100 contacts will result to 100 contacts only

Workaround: To view the full member list of distribution group, use Outlook to expand the group.

Complete list of known issues

See Known issues - Skype for Business on Mac.

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