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What is Office 365 Presence?


Presence is a combination of availability and willingness to meet. Skype for Windows determines your status automatically, based on the entries on your Office 365 calendar and your current Skype activity; you can also set your status manually. With Skype for Mac, you must set your presence manually. (You don't actually need to use Presence at all, but Skype for Mac won't set it automatically.)

Presence is a feature that works across many Office 365 applications. It is presented here in the context of Skype, which is the application where presence is most critical.

By default, only those people who appear on your Skype Contact list are able to see your status. Everyone else will see gray (offline) or white (presence unknown).

With Skype for Windows, you can change your setting to allow anyone with a Cornell Office 365 account to see your Presence status. This setting is not available in Skype for Business for Mac.

Some Examples

  • If your Presence indicator shows green (available), it means you do not have anything scheduled on your calendar right now, you are not actively engaged in Skype communication at the moment, and you have not chosen to manually set your status to something else. This lets other people know that you are open for an invitation to a Skype voice or video call or an instant messaging session.
  • If your Presence indicator shows red (busy), a voice or video invitation would be inappropriate, but an email or possibly an instant messaging query would be okay.
  • If your Presence indicator shows red with a white line (do not disturb), this tells others you have manually set this status, and it would be best to contact you later.

A More Thorough Description of the Permission Permutations

As mentioned above, the default setting displays your presence status only for people who are in your Skype Contacts. You can only see the presence status of people who have added you to their Skype Contacts. 

Users of Skype for Business (Windows) can choose whether to keep this setting or change it so that everyone with a Cornell Office 365 account can see their presence status. If you do not have Skype for Business (Windows) and want to change this setting, the IT Service Desk (room 119 CCC on the Ag Quad) has a computer you can use for this purpose.

Below we list the outcomes of all combinations of (A) which setting you've chosen and (B) who had been added to Skype Contacts.

Case #1: Both Phil and Dolores are using the default setting (presence only visible to users in your Contact list)

Scenario 1

Phil has added Dolores to his Contact list.

Dolores has NOT added Phil to her Contact list.

Phil can NOT see Dolores’s presence (Dolores will show as “Offline” or “Presence unknown”).

Dolores will be able to see Phil’s presence.

Scenario 2

Phil has NOT added Dolores to his Contact list.

Dolores has added Phil to her Contact list.

Phil will be able to see Dolores’s presence.

Dolores can NOT see Phil’s presence (Phil will show as “Offline” or “Presence unknown”).

Scenario 3

Neither Phil nor Dolores has added the other person to their Contact list.

Neither Phil nor Dolores will be able to see the other’s presence (each will see the other as “Offline” or “Presence unknown”).

Scenario 4

Both Phil and Dolores have added each other to their respective Contact list (Phil has added Dolores to his Contact list and Dolores has added Phil to her Contact list).

Both will be able to see each other’s presence (Phil can see Dolores’s presence and Dolores can see Phil’s presence).

Case #2: Phil has the default setting (only visible to users in Contact list), but Dolores has enabled the option for everyone to see her presence

All scenarios

Phil can see Dolores’s presence, regardless of whether Dolores has Phil in her Contact list or not, because Dolores has opted-in to let everyone see her presence.

Scenario 1

Phil has added Dolores to his Contact list.

Dolores has NOT added Phil to her Contact list.

Phil will be able to see Dolores’s presence (even though she has not added him to her Contact list, because Dolores has opted in to let everyone see her presence).

Dolores will be able to see Phil’s presence (because he added her to his Contact list).

Scenario 2

Phil has NOT added Dolores to his Contact list.

Dolores has added Phil to her Contact list.

Phil will be able to see Dolores’s presence (whether Dolores has Phil in her Contact list is irrelevant, because Dolores has opted in to let everyone see her presence).

Dolores can NOT see Phil’s presence (because Phil did not add Dolores to his Contact list, Phil will show as “Offline” or “Presence unknown”).

Scenario 3

Neither Phil nor Dolores has added the other person to their Contact list.

Phil will be able to see Dolores’s presence (even though Dolores has not added Phil to her Contact list, because Dolores has opted in to let everyone see her presence).

Dolores can NOT see Phil’s presence (Phil will show as “Offline” or “Presence unknown”).

Scenario 4

Both Phil and Dolores have added each other to their respective Contact list (Phil has added Dolores to his Contact list and Dolores has added Phil to her Contact list).

Both will be able to see each other’s presence (Phil can see Dolores’s presence and Dolores can see Phil’s presence, though whether Dolores has Phil in her Contact list is irrelevant, because Dolores has opted in to let everyone see her presence).

Case #3: Both Phil and Dolores have enabled the option for everyone to see their presence.

All scenarios

Both Phil and Dolores will be able to see each other’s presence, regardless of whom is in who’s contact list.

About this Article

Last updated: 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 9:49am

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