A reader I’ll call “Mr. BV” emailed last week. He asked if there was a way to change the ‘Incoming Call’ popup Lync displays.

This popup is called the “Toast”.  Normally it displays basics: name, number, etc.  Mr. BV was interested in displaying some additional details about the caller in the Toast popup.

Hmmm, could we do this? I did some research to find out. But as far as I can tell, directly modifying the Toast popup is not permitted in Lync.

Why Can’t We Modify Toast?

This inability is a little puzzling. It’s all digital information, right? Calls come to Lync through VoIP, so the caller ID data IS available. Why not display full contact details by default, or at least allow for modification to add them in?

However, I can think of one good reason not to: Phone systems are not consistent.

Not all phones are VoIP. Varying systems & standards exist for voice communication throughout the world. There’s a lot of consistency built in, of course. Otherwise people couldn’t call a PBX from their cellphone, or make an overseas call from Lync.

But without some universal standard, picking contact details from an incoming call is not guaranteed to retrieve the same details every time.

What if Lync can determine an incoming caller’s name, but they don’t have the company name? What should the Lync Server do? Ignore the call? Fail to display the Toast popup due to insufficient data?

Any hesitation or failure to display could result in a missed or lost call. Thus defeating Lync’s purpose.

I think this is why the Lync SDK doesn’t allow direct modification of the Toast popup.

What CAN You Do? Two Options

That doesn’t meant there’s nothing you can do with Toast.

During research, I came across two possibilities for modifying Lync *around* call popups.

1. Create a second Popup. Using Lync’s SDK, you can create a secondary popup to activate whenever Toast pops up. THIS popup you can configure all you want, displaying whatever details are available. I’ve seen multiple comments saying this in Lync support forums. However none had specific directives on how to go about it. I looked, but came up dry.

I’m sure there’s an answer in the SDK documentation:
Lync 2010 SDK Documentation
Lync 2013 SDK Documentation

I will keep looking for more on this one. SDK-related posts are overdue on the Lync Insider.

2. Third-Party Add-ons. Matt Landis posted about a couple third-party Lync extenders, SuperToast and LyncPopper. I think I referenced SuperToast the other day; it’s an add-on that creates additional notifications if you miss a conversation. (Geared mostly toward IM.)

The SuperToast download page is: http://www.modalitysystems.com/software/super-toast

Sadly, this means I must give Mr. BV some bad news. His query about changing the Toast popup’s contents when you receive a new call just won’t work. (Today at least; maybe in the future we’ll be able to modify it.) But there are ways to extend the popup if you really want to.

But at the same time: Lync is extremely open to modifications, through the Management Console, PowerShell and its SDK. Inability to modify one minor aspect does not take away from Lync’s overall utility.

Have you coded an addition to Lync’s Toast popup? Please share your ideas in a comment!

Can You Change Lync's Incoming Call Popup?

One thought on “Can You Change Lync's Incoming Call Popup?

  • May 25, 2017 at 11:17 am

    *Since this sounded harsh towards you when I wrote it, I want to say this is absolutely not directed at you, with the exception of your apparent acceptance of the way this works, rather than any indication that you think this is odd. This is aimed at Lync. This is a really dumb design that probably has a reason, but I just cannot fathom what that might be, and I cannot imagine the reason that things are this way is a good one.

    I cannot believe how easy this should be. These should be options in the UI that the user can set himself. I expand below, but the common-sense answer boils down to “if it doesn’t have information for a field, just don’t show that field”. Why does the information that gets displayed on Toast have anything to do with how Lync handles the call? Like, at all?

    How about, if there is no Company Name, put “NA” for Company Name, or just leave it blank? Is that so hard? It’s the default on most forms, is the internal data structure of Toast really so convoluted that this is a difficult thing to do? Is Toast actually DOING something with the data, rather than just displaying data that’s available? Why would a lack of information available for Toast cause the call to fail in any way?

    If it’s a regular phone call and there is no information in the database about the caller (e.g. not in Caller ID or Contacts), just leave the missing fields blank, or don’t show them at all.

    This should not be hard, and the answer should not be to design a second, new popup that’s going to do what the first popup should be doing.

    Obviously the user wants more information, but if it isn’t there he can’t get it anyway. So just show what’s available (within the limits set by the UI, which the user should be able to adjust), and if it’s not available don’t try to show it. Simple.


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