Add contacts from outside IU to UniCom Skype for Business for Windows

The following instructions are for the Windows version of Skype for Business only. Some of the options described below are not available in the macOS version.

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Use UniCom with external contacts

In Indiana University's UniCom service, you can add the following people from outside IU as contacts to your Skype for Business contact list:

  • People who use the Skype application for home use
  • People who use Skype for Business at organizations that are federated with IU, or that allow open federation
  • People who use AOL and MSN (IU is federated with these services)

You can then have audio, video, or instant messaging conversations with those contacts. However, you can't use the file sharing or desktop sharing features of UniCom with regular Skype contacts, nor can you hold multi-party conversations with them. (You can use these features with federated contacts.)

Alternatively, in Skype for Business, you can invite anyone with an email address into a conversation in certain circumstances, whether the person is a contact or not; see Hold a conference call or online meeting using Skype for Business.

Add an external contact

To add a contact in Skype for Business:

  1. In the main Skype for Business window, type into the search field:
    • For federated contacts: The person's exact email address
    • For Skype contacts:, using the Skype username of the person you want to add
  2. Right-click the search result and select Add to Contact List.
  3. After adding someone from another organization as a contact, if you can see his or her presence status, the other organization has open federation or is already federated with IU; you can now contact this person as with your other Skype for Business contacts.

    If you cannot see the presence status of your new external contact, the other organization's administrators may have not enabled automatic partner discovery on the Skype for Business Edge service.


When you use instant messaging with any external contact, the other party will see the message "Warning: Parties in this conversation may be archiving the instant messages"; you may see the same warning, depending on the other institution's settings. This warning does not mean that you or the other person is archiving the instant messages. Individuals can choose to save all instant messages (from both internal and external contacts), but all external contacts will see the warning, whether you've chosen to save conversations or not. To change your recording settings, see Save your UniCom calls and IM conversations (The default at IU is not to save IM conversations.)

Regardless of whether or not you see this warning, take the same precautions using IM that you would with email regarding sensitive data, especially when communicating with a federated contact. If you work with data regulated by HIPAA, see Guidelines for complying with HIPAA privacy and security rules when using Skype for Business and UniCom voice mail at IU.

Allow all incoming Skype invitations

If you want anyone using Skype to be able to contact your UniCom address without adding each person as a Skype contact individually, you can change your settings to allow incoming Skype invitations. To do so in Skype for Business:

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right, and select Tools and then Options.
  2. In the left pane, click Alerts.
  3. Under "Contacts not using Skype for Business", select either Allow invites but block all other communications or Allow anyone to contact me. Click OK.

More information

To learn how to perform common tasks in Skype for Business, see UniCom. Also, see Skype for Business help center.

For an introduction to UniCom, including how-to PDFs and videos, see UniCom.

This is document axua in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2019-06-19 13:22:43.

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