Computing Services

The department behind IT services at the University of Bath

Tagged: Skype for Business

Skype for Business whiteboard, poll or Q and A page

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📥  IT Literacy

Hi again,

Since writing my last blog on using Skype for Business, and receiving a question on the subject on one of my training sessions, I’ve had a play with a few additional Skype for Business features that I’d like to share with you. These features are available if you’re in a video call, audio call or Instant Message conversation.

The three items are:

  1. Whiteboard
  2. Poll
  3. Q&A page

These items are all accessible through the Present button () – just click on the button and click on More to see the three options. Note: the Present button is greyed out/unavailable if you’re conversing with someone who’s not using Skype for Business.

If you select Whiteboard the whiteboard will appear on your screen and those of everyone who is included in the conversation:

Anyone can place items onto the whiteboard. By default, you can type text onto the whiteboard – just click where you want to place it and type (everyone will see your text as you type it). A tool bar to the right of the whiteboard enables you to do some other things, including:

  • Change the mouse pointer to a pen, so you can draw, try to write, etc. and change the ink colour (you could, for example, ask each contributor to use a different colour), if you wish,
  • Draw straight lines or a square/rectangle or circle/oval, again, setting a different colour before you draw it,
  • Select a highlighter to help you emphasise something,
  • Select a laser pointer to draw everyone else’s attention to what you’re talking about (can’t really see this working with an IM, but might be useful if you’re talking),
  • Save a copy of the whiteboard (click on the three dots, select Save As, then select where you want it and give it a name).

If you select Poll you will see this window:

Type in the question, type in each of the possible responses, or Choices.  Change the Poll name from Poll to something else, then click on Create to launch it into the conversation for everyone to make their selection. As choices are made, you will see percentages appear next to each option. You also get to close the poll when you want to.

If you select Q & A Instant Messaging gets switched off and everyone will see a window inviting them to type a question:

Anyone can ask a question, but only those who are presenters can answer questions (using an Answer option that appears under the question).

If you have had/do have a go at any of them, please add a comment to say how useful they are in the real world, any problems/limitations you encountered and any workarounds or fixes you’ve found.

Finally, if you work at the University of Bath and have not used Skype for Business (maybe you’re waiting for a web cam and headset), just have a go at sending an IM. If you're not sure how to do that, or want to know more, book onto a Skype course, it will be good to see you!!

Bye for now,



Simple, fast communications, built into the applications we develop

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📥  Business Support Systems, Computing Services

Hello all

There's some really exciting news about a new enhancement to communication tools at the University which has now been rolled out to all staff: Skype for Business.

Skype for Business  gives you a range of fantastic new communication and collaboration tools:

What's even better is that you can do this from directly inside your BSS-developed applications such as BSS Boards, Central Contracts Repository (CCR), CAROL, TRAD and C-MIS.

Imagine, for example, that you are using the CCR and you want to ask about some changes to a document:

  1. Hover your mouse over the name of the person who last saved the document and you will see ways to contact them, which you can initiate from right there.
  2. You click on the Instant Message icon and a chat window opens up. You ask if the person has 10 minutes to look at a document with you and they say yes.
  3. You click the Screen Sharing icon and hey presto, the other person can see your screen! You can both see the document that you have opened and can discuss it by message, over the phone or via a headset (if you have one).
  4. You could even give them control if you want them to make changes to the document in real-time.

There's no need to hunt for another application, no confusion about who you are contacting and no cost to use it. It's great when what you need is a brief discussion, or when you are in separate buildings, sites or continents!

You can also add your own contacts, who may be outside the University, and you will be able to communicate with them in the same way.  Even better, the tight integration with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook means that you can schedule virtual meetings with people (even if they don't have Skype for Business) and they will get a link to the virtual meeting, hosted on our servers, so that they can join and have all of the functions that a Skype for Business user can have!

I'm sure you can tell that I'm very excited about how Skype for Business will enhance the applications that we develop and deliver.  This is another example of the great benefits to be gained from Enterprise Platforms which are designed to work together!

If you want to use voice or video over Skype for Business, you will need to buy a headset and/or webcam which is certified for use with either Skype for Business or Lync (the old name for Skype for Business). Contact the ITP Shop in the Library for details of great deals on the right equipment.

You can also sign up for a Skype for Business course to learn more about it.


Until next time!


Using Skype for Business

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📥  Computing Services

Hi all,

You are probably aware, if you work at the University of Bath, that Skype for Business has just been rolled out.

“So what?” you may ask.

So, have a go at using it to communicate with someone, especially where there are benefits over using email or the phone.

“What benefits?”

Instant Messaging

Sometimes I’ll use an Instant Message to contact someone, or someone will use IM to contact me. One of the main benefits for me is that I can quickly see that they’ve read my message and are responding, as Skype for Business tells me ‘… is typing a message’ – with an email, you can’t really be sure that they’ve even opened the message (unless you assigned a Read Receipt tag AND they click to let you know they’ve opened it).

If you want to use Instant Messaging but the other person sent you an email, you can still respond with an Instant Message – just click on the IM button in the Respond group within the Message ribbon.

You can add attachments, flag the message as ‘high importance’ and even add a ‘smiley’ or two!!

If you prefer to use emails because they give you a record of your conversation, guess what? So do IMs – they are stored in an area called ‘Conversation History’ in your Outlook folder. Worried about them not seeing the IM? If you miss one it will appear in your Inbox the next time you look!!

Phone/video calls

And if you have a headset and/or webcam, it’s even more useful.  You can call someone (audio or, if you have a webcam and don’t mind people seeing you, a video call) or a whole group of people.

To call someone, just find them in the list, see if they’re available and hit the ‘call’ button.

Conference call/IM

There are a few ways to include more than 1 other person in your conversation (or even an Instant Message), including (there are probably others – let me know if you find a good one):

·         Add extra people, 1 at a time

·         Start with a call to a group of people

·         Arrange a Skype Meeting in your Outlook calendar

Show them what’s on your screen

Whether you’re calling someone or using an IM, you can present a file, program or your whole desktop – just click on the Present button and say what you want to present: Desktop, program (any application/file that is currently open) or PowerPoint file (will open the file and automatically start the slide show). You can even give the other person control, so they can do the work!!

So consider having a go at sending an Instant Message the next time you’re sending an email.

If you want to know more or have a go at audio/video calls and conference calls, join me on one of the Skype for Business training sessions.

Bye for now,


Skype for Business roll-out, November 2016


📥  Computing Services

The roll-out of Skype for Business (Skype) to all staff is going well and will be completed before we break for Christmas this year.   Over the coming weeks staff who are not already using Skype will receive 2 emails, one before their go live date and one on the day.  We are encouraging staff to send an instant message as soon as they can so they get used to using Skype as soon as possible.  Floor walkers from Computing Services will be available to help you open and send your first instant message.

Find out more

Sign up for our training course to explore the different ways you can use Skype for work and research.  Use our guide to accessing Skype on your work computer and your own devices.

If you have any queries about Skype for Business please contact the IT Service Desk.


Skype for Business for Mac


📥  Apple, Communications & Collaboration, Computing Services

We're pleased to let you know that Microsoft have now released a Mac client for Skype for Business. This replaces the existing 'Microsoft Lync' client that was previously available. This client takes a huge step in bringing parity between our Windows and Mac estate in terms of capability and now, more than ever before, our Mac users can experience the same level of integration with the University's Communications & Collaboration infrastructure as our Windows users do.

If you have 'Self Service' on your Mac then you can download the Skype for Business client directly, by clicking on the Self Service icon in your dock and selecting 'Install' under 'Skype for Business'.

In addition, staff already using Skype for Business at the University can install Skype for Business on your personally-owned Mac. Once installed, open the application and enter your University credentials as follows, replacing 'abc123' with your own username. You can find your username on your library card:

  • Email address: Staff should enter '' where as for students it's ''
  • Password: Your University password
  • User Name: Enter 'campus\abc123'.

Find out more about Skype for Business being rolled out to all staff at the University on our blog post.


Announcing Skype for Business


📥  Communications & Collaboration, Computing Services

The long-awaited Skype for Business (Skype) roll-out to staff at the University of Bath has landed!  Staff can use Skype's collaboration capabilities to work more easily with colleagues whether they are on campus, in Manvers Street, Pall Mall or at other universities.

The roll-out to all staff starts towards the end of November 2016 and will complete before Christmas.  We will send you an email confirming the date you can start using Skype soon.   The roll-out will focus on getting people to use Instant Messaging and Presence but we will have resources available to you so you can decide how much of the functionality of Skype would be useful to you in your work and research.

Interested in finding out more?

Otherwise, we'll be in contact with you over the coming weeks about your roll-out date.  We are really excited about this change, some staff at the University are already happy using Skype and we hope you'll like it too!