UW Skype for Business (formerly UW Lync)

On this page

UW Lync Becomes UW Skype for Business

In mid-April 2015, Microsoft announced a new version of Lync called Skype for Business. This reflects the fact that Microsoft is in the process of bringing Lync and Skype under the same brand. People who have been using Lync 2013 on Windows computers will notice that Lync has been replaced by Skype for Business after applying the latest Windows updates. Windows users that have installed Office ProPlus via Office 365 (Office 365 Settings | Software) can update to Skype for Business by re-installing Office 2013 from Office 365. Changes to the Mac version and the mobile versions will follow. While this change is being rolled out across all platforms it may be a little confusing as people (and documentation) will refer to the program as both Lync and Skype for Business. Initially the changes are primarily cosmetic and should not impact the features and functions of either product.  To learn more about Microsoft's plans for Skype for Business or other components of Office 365 you can visit the Microsoft Office 365 Roadmap.

Overview of Skype for Business

UW Skype for Business is the University of Washington subscription to Skype for Business Online (aka Lync Online), a Microsoft service that provides instant messaging, presence (Busy, Available, etc.),  and conferencing with connections to UW users and off-campus users. For full Skype for Business functionality, you must download and install the appropriate Skype for Business client for your computer or mobile device. The Skype for Business Web Scheduler allows you to create and update meetings in the cloud without a local Skype for Business client. Although you must have a UW Skype for Business account to create meetings, anyone can join a Skype for Business meeting using only a Web browser.

Who Can Use UW Skype for Business

  • UW Skype for Business is enabled automatically for all current UW students, faculty, and staff.
  • Eligible users receive a confirmation email.
  • For shared UW NetIDs and sponsored UW NetIDs, accounts will be available on request. Send requests to help@uw.edu.

When you leave the UW:

  • Current student, faculty, or staff accounts are disabled and the files are automatically deleted.
  • Faculty and staff accounts are disabled after 14 days.
  • Student accounts are disabled after one academic quarter.
  • Emeritus faculty accounts remain enabled.
  • Retires are not entitled to MSCA services, but they may receive endorsements for services to facilitate active involvement with the UW community.

Your UW Skype for Business Account Name and Password

The format of your UW Skype for Business account name  is:

your-UWNetID@uw.edu   (where your-UWNetID is replaced with your own personal UW NetID)

Your password is the one associated with your UW NetID.

Accessing UW Skype for Business

You can access all features of UW Skype for Business by installing and using the Skype for Business 2013 application, or you can use the Skype for Business Web Scheduler with a Web browser to create and update meetings without installing any additional software.

If you have local technical support for your department:

  • Before installing software, contact your local technical support person for further information. Departments typically have different timetables, deployment plans, upgrade strategies, or distribution methods for software installations and upgrades.

If you do not have local technical support for your department, or if you've been instructed to install the software yourself:

  • Follow the steps below for the version of Office that you are currently using.

Office 2011 (Mac version)

You can obtain Lync 2011 through an update to Office 2011 (Mac version), which is available through our software licensing agreement with Microsoft. Once you have installed the software you will need to make sure that you have applied the latest update for Lync to work with your Mac. The current update can be found here:


Please note: UW NetID passwords longer than 16 characters will not work with the Office 2011 version of Skype for Business.  For more details, visit Microsoft's Mac troubleshooting article for Lync 2011.

Office 2013

Skype for Business is bundled with Office 2013, which is available through our software licensing agreement with Microsoft.

Office 2010

For Office 2010, install the Lync 2013 component from Office 2013. Lync 2013 with Office 2010 works only on computers owned by the University of Washington with a UW-licensed version of Office 2010. A custom installer is available for this installation.

To install Lync 2013 over Office 2010 using the custom installer:

  1. StepsActions
  2. If you have previously installed some other version of the Lync 2013 client (such as the retail version), uninstall it and restart your computer before using the custom installer.
  3. Navigate to the IT Connect page Desktop Software for UW-Owned Computers.
  4. Click Office 2010 and 2013 Professional Plus, and then click I understand and agree (to the license terms).
  5. In the list of software, under Office 2013 Professional Plus, click Download Lync 2013 (only) 32-bit self-extracting installer now.
  6. Click Save File to download the self-extracting installer (Lync2013-install.exe).
  7. When the download is complete, double-click the installer to begin the installation.
  8. After the Lync 2013 installation is complete, run Windows Update and check for new updates. The newly installed Office components require updates. Apply the updates and restart your computer before using Lync 2013.

To run Skype for Business 2013

  • From the Start menu, click All Programs, click Microsoft Office 2013, and then click Skype for Business 2013.

Mobile Devices

Lync Online supports a variety of mobile devices through an installed app:

**Please note that if you do not have an Exchange Enabled account you will see an error message that says " We can't connect to Exchange. Please try again later."  This can be closed and you will still be able to use the meeting functionality of the application.

Lync Web Scheduler (Web Browser)

The Lync Web Scheduler has fewer features than the Lync Business applications, but it allows you to create meetings, change meetings, and send invitations without a local Lync application installed. Microsoft has provided a list of supported browsers here.

Skype for Business Web App

You don't need a UW Skype for Business account to join a Skype for Business meeting. If you are invited to a Skype for Business meeting and you join from a Mac or a computer that does not have a Skype for Business application installed, the browser-based Skype for Business Web App opens automatically and allows you to join.

Usage Policies and Guidelines

UW Skype for Business is subject to University appropriate use guidelines and electronic records policies. For more information, see Usage Policies and Guidelines for Cloud Services.

UW Medicine Users: Before using UW Skype for Business for patient data, please see the UW Medicine guidance at Being Secure in the Cloud.

Additional Help

From Microsoft

Microsoft provides extensive online help for Skype for Business. When using Skype for Business, click the Show Menu arrow, click Help, and then click Link Help.

The Microsoft Skype for Business help topics catalog provides a comprehensive list of Skype for Business Help topics including, but not limited to:

Skype for Business Quick Reference guides from Microsoft:

From UW-IT

Last modified: May 18, 2015