Skype for Business: Stop sharing and start presenting!

Presenting in a virtual meeting to a large audience using audio, video and a PowerPoint deck can be a difficult and challenging thing. Not only does the technology have to work, but you also need to ensure your physical environment is well prepared. The last thing you want to have happen is an interruption from the kids, the dog or the delivery guy let alone interruptions on your computer’s desktop such as instant messages, emails and other things that your meeting audience can see as you share your desktop to present your deck. Luckily, Skype for Business has you covered for virtual meetings! When you are in a conference in Skype for Business and need to share a PowerPoint deck with your audience, there are a couple options to do so.

I’m going to take you through both options, personally I prefer option 2 because of the flexibility (and power) it offers for me as the presenter.

Option 1: Share your desktop

This involves sharing your desktop or a single application (i.e. PowerPoint) during the Skype for Business conference (meeting). This is a fast, efficient and frictionless way to share your content with the audience, but does have some disadvantages:

  • Prone to disruptions on your desktop or within the application:
    • Incoming email, instant message, phone call, etc.
    • The application may crash, not respond or freeze thus delaying the meeting.
  • You are not able to multi-task during the meeting (although we shouldn’t be, this is often the reality) such as taking notes or participating in a back-channel instant message with the team.
  • The audience is not able to review the PowerPoint deck on their own.
  • More network bandwidth is used.
  • When in full presentation mode, may be unable to see conference call controls (i.e. mute).

Here’s an example of sharing your desktop during a meeting:

Example of a disruption during desktop sharing (see lower right corner, incoming instant message):

To share your desktop, simply click the icon and select Share Desktop (easy enough).

Note: Sharing an application is also an option, but has some similar disadvantages such as the incoming instant message will be a black window – but can still be interpreted as an incoming instant message thus perhaps sending the wrong (distracting) message to your audience.

Option 2: Online Presentation (“Share PowerPoint” a.k.a upload PowerPoint). There’s a better way!

The advantages of this method allow you to not only to hide disruptions from your audience, but also offers them a way to fast forward the slides on their own and then return to the presenter’s view. This option also uses less bandwidth than desktop sharing and you are not at mercy of the application should it want to crash or stop responding on you – providing the best possible presentation experience for your meeting. There’s two ways to accomplish this during a meeting a) Share PowerPoint within Skype for Business or b) “Present Online”

Sharing within the Skype for Business Meeting involves clicking the icon and selecting Share PowerPoint Files:

This will upload the PowerPoint file to the Skype for Business meeting. Depending upon file size, this may take a few moments. I recommend joining the meeting a few minutes before it starts

The PowerPoint is now in the meeting, and the presenter has access to slide notes, thumbnails and can progress the slides:

The second method, Present Online, involves sharing the slides from directly within the PowerPoint application itself. This may be useful if you are not exactly sure where the file is stored but already have it open on your computer, or simply because the application is already open.

To perform this method, from within PowerPoint on the Slide Show tab click Present Online and select Skype for Business:

Select the current Skype for Business meeting that is in-progress (Note, a new “meet now” meeting can be launched from here) and the deck will be uploaded to the meeting:

This is the view the audience will see once the deck has been uploaded to the meeting:

Note, if Megan was a presenter, she would also be able to see slide thumbnails/notes and have access to the button to take over as presenter.

A really cool advantage of presenting using this method enables the attendee to download the PowerPoint file. Click on the icon and selecting Manage Content displays the manage content dialog box for all content during the meeting:

Clicking on the icon allows you as the presenter to configure permissions for who can download the file:

If “Everyone” is selected, as an attendee, clicking on the and clicking the icon allows you to save the file locally (or save the file with annotations):

Conclusion: Depending upon your situation “uploading” the PowerPoint deck to your meeting might be the better option enabling the flexibility to multi-task, give attendees a better experience (i.e. less bandwidth), reduce your risk of the application crashing and disrupting the meeting, enabling attendees to view slides and notes at their own pace (if given presenter rights), and lastly my favorite feature: enabling the attendees to download the PowerPoint deck.

Enjoy and good luck presenting!


Configure Toll-Free Numbers for Dial-In Conferencing in Office365

In this post we will discover how to configure Toll-Free Numbers for Dial-In Conferencing in Office365. Total time 5 minutes.

What is Dial-In Conferencing? (a.k.a. Cloud PSTN Conferencing or CPC)

Please see the following for more information: How To Enable Cloud PSTN Conferencing in Office365 in Skype for Business Online

What are the requirements for Toll-Free Numbers?

  1. You must meet the licensing requirements. See Skype for Business Online Licensing Overview for details.
  2. PSTN Consumption billing is required. See What is PSTN Consumption billing? for details. If PSTN Consumption billing is not purchased, you will receive an error message when attempting to acquire toll-free service numbers.
  3. For more information on Toll-Free numbers, see Getting Skype for Business service phone numbers
IMPORTANT: Existing toll-free service numbers can be ported from your existing telephony carrier. See Port a Phone Number to Cloud PBX in Office365 for more details on number porting. When porting, open a service request with Office365 Support to ensure the toll-free number being ported is configured to support higher concurrent calling capacity.

How Do I Configure? (Click on the images to zoom in if needed)

  1. Login to the Office 365 Admin Portal as an administrator by browsing to
  2. On the left side, hover the mouse cursor over the iconicon and select Skype for Business.

3. Within the Skype for Business Admin Center, on the left side click Voice.



4. Within the Voice section, the Phone Numbers tab will be displayed. Click the + sign.

phone numbers tab


5. You will be presented with two options 1) New User Numbers 2) New Service Numbers. Click New Service Numbers.

select new service numbers


6. On the Add New Service Numbers section, from the State/Region drop down menu select Toll-Free. In the Quantity field, type the amount of numbers you wish to acquire. When finished, click Add.


Select Toll Free Service Number


7. In the Toll-Free, United States section, click Show Numbers to see the toll-free number that will be acquired. When finished click Acquire Numbers.





8. You will be returned to the phone numbers tab. Locate the new toll-free number that was just acquired in the list, and check the box next to it to display it’s details:



returned to phone numbers tab toll free shown



9. Click Assign. Review the configuration on the fly out then click Save.




10. You will be returned to the Phone Numbers tab. Confirm the number has been assigned on the right side.


number assigned successfully

Congratulations! You have successfully configured Toll-Free numbers in Office365! The next section will demonstrate how to test.

11. Create a new user account and assign the Office365 E5 license to the user. Allow time to pass for the user account to be enabled for Skype for Business.

12. Return to the Skype for Business Admin Portal. On the left side click Dial-In Conferencing.

click dial in conf


13. Click the Dial-In Users tab. Click the user account you just created. Confirm the Default toll free number for the user is the number that was previously acquired.


dial in user

14. Create an Outlook profile for the user account you just created and launch Outlook to connect to that user’s mailbox. Launch Skype for Business and sign-in as that user account.

15. From within Outlook, create a new Skype Meeting.

16. In the body of the Skype Meeting, confirm the toll-free number is displayed.



Connect Polycom VVX Phone to Cloud PBX in Office365 (Skype for Business Online)

In this blog post we will explore how to connect a Skype for Business 3PIP phone to Cloud PBX in Skype for Business Online in Office365. This will allow users to not only use the Skype for Business client on their PC but can also use a physical desk phone with the same call control features available in the PC (soft) client.

For purposes of demonstration I will be using a Polycom VVX 400 VoIP phone, however any phone from the list of supported phones below may be used. Enjoy!

Total Time Required: 15 minutes



  • Cloud PBX is properly enabled and configured for your Office365 tenant (see this blog post for a tutorial)
  • A supported 3PIP phone for Skype for Business Online with the appropriate version of software installed. (see this Microsoft article for more information on supported devices, software and other requirements)
  • Compatible Power over Ethernet (PoE) capable switch or compatible OEM supplied power supply. (Review your phone’s technical documentation for more information)
  • Better Together over Ethernet (BToE) software provided by the OEM. (Polycom’s can be downloaded from here)
  • Two Ethernet cables.
  • PC with an available Ethernet port.
  • Optional: An enterprise provisioning system for the phone (OEM supplied ‘provisioning server’, Event Zero UC Commander, etc) for advanced configuration (i.e. mass provisioning, enabled advanced features such as DSCP markings for Quality of Service, etc)

IMPORTANT: BToE may be used for a seamless sign-in experience, and full integration with the  Skype for Business client on the desktop. However, you may also sign-in directly on the phone and use without integration with the Skype for Business desktop client, if desired. (i.e. for use in areas without a PC)


Setup the Phone:

First, we need to setup the phone and configure it.

IMPORTANT: This section for “Setup the Phone” is based on a Polycom VVX 400. Your experience may vary based on the OEM of the phone. Please refer to your phone’s documentation and OEM for more information.

Step 1: Connect the phone to the Local Area Network (LAN) and PC.

  • Plug one Ethernet cable into the LAN port on the back of the phone and connect the other end to the LAN (network jack connected to a network switch)
  • Plug the other Ethernet cable into the PC port on the back of the phone, and connect the other end to the Ethernet port on the PC.


Step 2: If the LAN has a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch, the phone will power on. If not, connect an OEM provided compatible power supply to the phone. Please allow a few moments for the phone to power up:



Step 3: Once the phone is finished booting up, the home screen will be displayed.


Step 4: Configure the phone for “Lync” mode.

  1. Press the Home button (button with a house icon on it). Using the directional pad, select the Settings icon.
  2. Select Advanced
  3. Type the administrator password (if not set, check your phone’s documentation for the default password) and press Enter
  4. Select Administration Settings
  5. Select Network Configuration
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the screen to Base Profile. Change Base Profile from Generic to Lync. When finished press the Back key
  7. When asked to Save Config select Save Config. The phone will reboot. Please allow a few moments for this process to complete
  8. After the phone has finished the reboot process, press the Home button and select the Settings icon.
  9. Select Features.
  10. Select BTOE.
  11. Ensure BTOE shows as Enabled (if it does not, press the Select button and choose Enabled)

Setup the PC:

Step 5: Download the Better Together over Ethernet (BToE) from the Polycom website and install on the PC.  (If your phone OEM is different, please refer to the phone’s documentation and OEM for additional information.)

Step 6: The BToE application will be placed in system tray when installed and launched.


Step 7: When the BToE application is started, and the phone is connected a” Successfully Paired” message on the phone will be displayed along with a notification from the Polycom application on the PC of “Paired”





Login to the Phone and Skype for Business:

Step 8:  Login to Skype for Business on the PC


Step 9: On the phone (from the main screen) press the Sign In button and select Paired Lync Client… the phone will display the following message: “Enter Login Information on Paired Lync Client”

Step 10: The Skype for Business client will prompt for login credentials. Ensure both the Sign-In Address and User Name fields contain the user’s email address and click OK


Step 11: The phone will attempt to sign in. Note, this process will take a few minutes to complete.


Step 12: When the login process is complete, the following message will be displayed. Press the Next button


Step 13: Select the Time Zone, and press the Done button


Step 14: The phone sign-in is now complete and you will be returned to the main screen. (Note, the envelope next to John Doe indicates new voicemail messages. Jane Doe is listed as she is marked as a Favorite in Skype for Business)



Note The Skype for Business client will display the phone as a new audio device:


Phone integration with Cloud PBX and Skype for Business Online is now complete. It is that easy!


Now that the Polycom phone and Skype for Business client are in a paired state, it is necessary to make an outbound and inbound test call to ensure integration with the PC and the device is functioning as expected.

Step 15: From the phone, dial a phone number (i.e. your cell phone) and press Dial. (Note, if Dial is not selected, the phone number will be dialed and the phone will go off-hook after a few seconds automatically.) This will place an outbound call to the dialed number.


Step 16: On the PC, a new call window in Skype for Business will be launched. Once connected confirm there is two-way audio. Hang up the phone when finished.


Step 17: From another phone line (i.e. your cell phone) place a call to the phone number assigned to the user logged into the Skype for Business client and phone. Answer the phone by picking up the handset or pressing the speakerphone button.


Step 18: On the PC, a new call window in Skype for Business will be launched.


Step 19: Once connected confirm there is two-way audio. Hang up the phone when finished.

Step 20: Repeat Step 19 and leave a voicemail message.

Feature Testing:

Many features are available on supported 3PIP phones with Cloud PBX. A couple of my favorites are voicemail, conferencing, calendar and call control among others. (For more information, see my CloudPBX blog post referenced at the beginning of this post).

Step 21: Press the Home Button and select Messages.


Step 22: These are new voicemail messages. You may play, call back , mark as read and delete among other features when working with voicemail.



Note: For new voicemail messages, the Message Waiting Indicator lamp (MWI) will light up.

Step 23: An ad-hoc conference call can be started on the phone directly by pressing the Meet Now button (This is the same Meet Now feature available in the Skype for Business client that starts an ad-hoc Skype Online Meeting)


Step 24: Once connected, you may:

  • View list of participants
  • Invite additional participants
  • Mute all participants
  • View dial-in phone number and conference ID
  • and more!




Step 25: End the call. Place an outbound call to your cell phone or other secondary phone used  for testing purposes. Answer on the other phone.

Step 26: From the phone, various call control features are available. You may transfer the current call to a new number or contact, place on hold (and Music on Hold will play) or conference in additional participants. These are the same features that are available in the Skype for Business Client. Hang up the call when finished.



Step 27: Your calendar is also visible on the phone. If a Skype Online Meeting is scheduled, you may join directly from your phone without having to enter the dial-in telephone number or conference ID. Press the Home button and select Calendar




Step 28: Inside the calendar application, select a meeting:




Step 29: Once inside the meeting invitation, click the Join button to join the Skype Online Meeting. Once joined, hang up.




Note: A reminder will be displayed on the phone when the meeting is coming up:




As you can see, there are many features available when a supported 3PIP phone is connected to CloudPBX in Skype for Business Online in Office365. Please feel free to check out my additional blog posts on how to setup and configure CloudPBX, PSTN Conferencing, and Number Porting. Enjoy!

Enable Cloud PBX & Modern Voice (PSTN Calling) in Office365

In this post we will discover how to enable Cloud PBX & Modern Voice in Office365, that will allow a Skype for Business user to send and receive phone calls on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and have access to PBX features. Total time 5-10 minutes.

What is Cloud PBX & Modern Voice (PSTN Calling) in Office365?

To put it simply, Cloud PBX provides enterprise voice functionality to Skype for Business users in Office365 with the following features:

  • Calling using the Skype for Business mobile app
  • Call hold/retrieve
  • Call transfer
  • Call forwarding
  • Camp On
  • Distinctive Ringing
  • Simultaneous Ringing
  • Voicemail
  • USB peripherals (such as a USB phone)
  • Delegation (Boss/admin)
  • Team Call
  • Basic Call Policy

What are the requirements?

To enable, you must meet the licensing requirements. See Skype for Business Online Licensing Overview for details.

Note: If the proper licenses are not assigned, when managing the voice properties of a user the follow error will be displayed:

“This Skype for Business online feature either isn’t set up for your organization, or it isn’t available at your location”

How Do I Enable?

1) Login to your Office 365 tenant as an administrator

2) From the left side of the Office365 Admin Center, expand Admin and click Skype for Business.

3) From the menu on the left select Voice

4) From the Phone Numbers tab, click the + sign to add a new phone number to the pool.

5) On the New Numbers screen, select the State and City of where the users that will be enabled for voice are located. If the location of where your users are not located, choose the closest location. Type the number of phone numbers you wish to acquire in the Quantity field  and click Add

Note: Below is another example, if multiple phone numbers will need to be acquired:


6) Click Acquire Numbers to complete the task. Please allow a few moments for this to process. Note: The task will time out after 10 minutes.

Note 1: You can reserve up to 10% more phone numbers than you have licenses for. For example, if you have purchased 100 licenses, you can reserve 110 phone numbers.

Note 2: Supported geographic, country/region and area codes where you can get phone number from for PSTN calling

(For information on how to transfer (port a telephone number) to Skype for Business Online CloudPBX in Office365, please see the following blog post: Port a Phone Number to Cloud PBX in Office365  )

7) You will be returned to the Phone Numbers tab and the newly acquired numbers will be displayed in a list.

8) Click the Emergency Locations tab and click the + sign to add a new location.

9) In the fly out window on the right side, complete all fields and click Validate. This will validate the entered address with the Master Street Address Guide (MSAG).

Note: The system may display the following message during address validation. Confirm the address you entered is correct and/or confirm the newly modified address is correct and click Save.

IMPORTANT: For more information on Emergency Locations and Emergency Calling (911) please refer to the following article: What are emergency locations, addresses and call routing?

10) You will be returned to the Emergency Locations tab where the new address is now listed. Click the Voice Users tab.

11) Check the box next to the user you wish to assign a phone number to, using the fly out on the right side of the screen, click Assign Number.  (If needed click the magnifying glass to search for the user)

12) Using the fly out on the right side of the screen, click the drop down menu under Assign Number and select the phone number you wish to assign to the user. Next, under the Associated Emergency Location section, search for the city that is associated with the phone number you are assigning using the Find City search box. Then select the Emergency Address from the drop down menu and click Save. This will associate the emergency address to the phone number (this can be changed later).

Note: You may need to browse back to the Emergency Locations tab to find the correct city name, if the MSAG changed the city to an abbreviation (e.g. SD for San Diego)

13) Read the Emergency Address Disclaimer pop-up completely. If you understand and agree, click Agree. If you do not, click Decline.


14) You will be returned to the Voice Users tab. Notice the new phone number and it’s associated Emergency Location assigned to the user. (The Emergency Location associated with this user can be modified by clicking the Change button)

15) Enablement and configuration is now complete. To validate, login to a Skype for Business desktop client as the user.

Note: Basic call testing can also be performed using the mobile client for iOS, Android or Windows Phone.

16) Click the Dial Pad, type a telephone number and press Enter to dial the number.

17) Skype for Business will dial the number and will connect the call. Once connected, note the various call control features such as Hold and Transfer. Also note, the Devices button which allows you to switch between USB devices (such as a headset to speakerphone). Clicking the Invite More People button will allow you to add another Skype for Business user or telephone number to the call and will immediately turn into a conference call with the conferencing feature set (see How to Enable Cloud PSTN Conferencing in Office365 for more information on the available features)

Note: The user’s presence will change to In a Call


: If performing a test call from the Skype for Business Mobile App on a smartphone, similar in-call features will be available. The following screenshot is from an iPhone displaying the features available while in a current call.

18) Hang up the call. Next let’s test voicemail. Place a test call to the new phone number assigned to the user, and leave a test voicemail message.

19) Logon to the user’s mailbox using either Outlook or Outlook Web App. The new voicemail message will arrive as a new email in the user’s inbox. The message will be in the form of an .mp3 audio file attached to the message.

20) On the Skype for Business client from within the Dial Pad screen click the voicemail icon. This will allow you to setup voicemail, configure your voicemail greeting, or call Outlook Voice Access to listen to your voicemail messages.

21) From within the Skype for Business client, click the gear icon   to access the Options dialog box.

22) Click Call Forwarding on the left side. This will display various options related to Call Forwarding or Simultaneous Ring with advanced options for Team Call and Delegates.

That’s it! Cloud PBX and Modern Voice is that easy!

Have a Polycom VVX VoIP phone you would like to connect to Cloud PBX? Follow the instructions here: Connect Polycom VVX Phone to Cloud PBX in Office365 (Skype for Business Online)

Stay tuned for additional blog posts on advanced configuration such managing voice features using PowerShell. Enjoy!