In Lync 2013, as with the rest of the content, you can find program, monitor and desktop sharing options under the monitor icon. Here you can initiate a new session or quickly switch to recently presented content, listed conveniently in the same menu under Presentable Content. You can also Show the Stage if you want to have a look at a live preview of what viewers are seeing.

If you used Lync 2010 you should be pretty familiar with most of the functionality but I’ll quickly go through the basics first for new users before covering what’s new and different.

Managing presentable content

The Basics

Lync 2013 provides three options to present what’s on your screen to others.

All Monitors option allows you to present everything on your screen. If you have multiple monitors, viewers will see them side-by-side.

Monitor (Primary, Secondary..) option allows you to present everything on the monitor you select.

Program option allows you to present an application on your computer. In this mode, viewers will not be able to see any other content on your desktop. For example if you’re presenting a Microsoft Word document and an IM message popped up, viewers would not see the IM message. On Windows 7, Lync 2013 will remove the overlapping window and let viewers see the underlying window as if it is not occluded. However on Windows 8 you will notice that the overlapping area appears as a black rectangle. This includes overlaps with windows drawn by Lync as well. For example if you maximize a program, the presentation toolbar (we’ll talk more about this toolbar later) will appear as a black box on viewers’ screens if not hidden.

Present Programs dialog

You can pick one or more programs from a list of running programs (shown above). Both names and thumbnails are provided to make it easier for you to identify the application you’re looking for.

In Lync 2013 just as it was in 2010, you won’t be able to see elevated applications in this list. Also certain applications such as Lync itself and Windows 8 style apps cannot be presented this way. Presenting your desktop or monitor is the only way to share Windows 8 style applications via Lync 2013.

When sharing happens between two Lync endpoints, data flows between the two computers (P2P) without burdening the server. Only in meeting settings (2+ people, Meet Now or scheduled meeting) the server acts as the middleman.

Viewing a screen presentation 

Two viewing options are provided:

Actual size shows the content as it appears on presenter’s screen without scaling. This means if presented content is bigger than what can fit in your Lync window, scroll bars will be shown.

Fit to screen option on the other hand scales the image such that all the presented content can be seen without the need to scroll.

You can switch between these two options using the Actual Size icon icon located right next to the presentation region in the upper right corner.

The screenshot above shows content taking up the entire conversation window but you can also add video, IM, and the meeting roster to your screen while viewing the content. Content will adjust automatically to fit the available space.

You can pause sharing by simply minimizing the presented program and resume by restoring it.

"Now Presenting" chromeIf you’re presenting a program, you’ll notice a yellow highlight surrounding its windows so you can easily keep track of what is being shared. This is especially useful if the program you’re presenting creates new windows so you can immediately tell whether they’re being seen by the viewers.

When you’re presenting your monitor or desktop you’ll see the perimeter of the screen(s) highlighted. We also wanted to make sure you know which monitor you’ll be presenting before you start presenting (in case you have lots of monitors) so you’ll be able to see the highlight for the respective monitor(s) as you move your mouse over the options (primary monitor, secondary monitor etc.).

Lync 2013 also draws a toolbar at the top of the monitor being presented (or on the primary monitor if desktop or a program is being presented). Presentation toolbar is not only an indicator of sharing activity but also contains easy access to controls for stopping the presentation and giving control to viewers in addition to serving as a canvas to surface notifications such as incoming control requests, unread IMs Unread IM reminder and errors Alert icon.

If you’re using Windows 8, you may not always be able to see the presentation toolbar although sharing is in progress. When you bring up your start screen or launch a Windows 8 style app in full screen (as opposed to snapped view), the start menu or app would be drawn on top of the regular/classic desktop also covering this toolbar. It is good practice to check your desktop when in doubt.


Giving and taking control

Sometimes people you’re collaborating with may want to be able to use the programs on your computer. Using the presentation toolbar you can easily grant control to a specific person in the meeting or allow anyone in the meeting to take control without explicit approval.

Presentation toolbar

When a meeting attendee requests control and if you did not choose to Give Control Automatically,  the request will appear in the toolbar for your approval.

Incoming control request

Once you grant control to someone, you cannot concurrently use your computer, since he/she will be controlling your mouse pointer. If you want to take control back you can move your mouse to Give Control drop down and select Take Back Control or simply hit Ctrl+Alt+Spacebar.  If you rely on keyboard navigation you can put focus on this toolbar by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar and stop sharing using the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+S.

It is worthwhile mentioning that people who you gave control to in a desktop sharing session will not be able to interact with elevated prompts. If you’d like to give control to 3rd parties and they have to interact with applications that require administrative privileges, it is recommended that you run Lync “as administrator”.


What’s new?

You’ll notice some changes in the way IRM documents are handled by Lync in this release. Let’s talk about what we mean by IRM documents first.

Office Online defines IRM (Information Rights Management) as a means of “enforcing preferences concerning the transmission of personal or private information.” For organizations this also means ability to enforce corporate policy governing the control and dissemination of confidential or proprietary information.

When you open a document with such restrictions in an Office 2013 application, you’ll see a yellow information bar that tells you what you can and can’t do with it e.g. not allowed to print, forward, reply all. Also you may notice you can’t capture screenshots while the document is open.

On Windows 8, if you present such a document in a meeting by sharing your desktop or the program itself, you’ll notice that it will get blacked out. The thumbnails for these windows will also get blacked out in the present programs dialog to enforce the IRM policy. This way you won’t be accidentally sharing content that was meant to be for your eyes only. This behavior is not officially supported on Windows 7.

We have also made some changes to improve the viewing experience especially for content that updates frequently. Below are two screenshots of what viewers would see if you were sharing the Microsoft Surface announcement video with them. On the left is a screenshot with Lync 2010. You can see that the upper and lower parts of the image show different frames of the video since the entire frame is not rendered at once. For comparison, on the right side is how they’d see each frame with Lync 2013. Unless constrained by bandwidth, this means a much smoother viewing experience but both sharer and viewer must be using Lync 2013 for the best results.

Tearing      Full frame without tearing

Presenting what’s on your screen is a very important part of the meeting experience, allowing you to communicate more effectively by letting the attendees see what you see. We hope you’ll enjoy the Lync 2013 experience. If you have feedback or questions, please let us know in the comments section below.


Bora Beran
Program Manager, Lync Team