Animated emoticons take over Lync

Recently, my copy of Lync 2013 updated itself into something called Skype for Business. Many of the functions I use with Lync have remained exactly the same, but there are some notable differences. For one, in my task bar, my Lync icon now appears with the Skype S:

Skype for Business icon

Interestingly, the program itself still says “Microsoft Lync (Lync)” at the top. (Don’t ask me why they feel the need to repeat it.) If you’d like to learn more about the changes, you can visit the Discover Skype for Business site here.

The change I find most distracting, however, is the addition of the Skype emoticons. Or perhaps I should call them emoji? (I’ve consulted this article from the Guardian to try to understand how to use the terms, but I’m still not quite sure: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/06/difference-between-emoji-and-emoticons-explained).

Why distracting?  Well, these happy little things are pretty much all animated. Now, many of the previous Lync incarnations were also animated, but after one or two repetitions they calmed down. The Skype for Business ones, however, keep going. And going. I have found myself actually making my chat window smaller and smaller so they will scroll off my screen faster. I don’t usually consider myself particularly prone to AD(H)D, but I can’t seem to stop watching them (I’m particularly entranced by (ninja), I have to admit), and they make it hard to concentrate.

So for those of you who can’t quite take all of that motion, there is a pretty simple solution. You just have to open the options dialog box by clicking the gear wheel (found near the top of the main Lync window).

Options gear in Skype for Business

Alternatively, you can click the drop down arrow next to the gear wheel, choose Tools, and then choose Options:

Options menu for Skype for Business, found under the Tools menu.

Either way, you arrive at the Options dialog box. From there, just choose IM in the list on the left, and you’ll see options to “Show emoticons in messages,” and under that, “Turn off emoticon animations.” Mark the check boxes as you see fit.

By the way, whether you disable the animation or hide the emoticons completely, this just turns them off on your end – if the people you’re chatting with still have them on, they can continue to be amused (or distracted) the same as before.

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