Make Microsoft TEAMS the default IM application

Make Microsoft TEAMS the default IM application

Having multiple applications that act as chat respective IM application but you want Microsoft TEAMS to be the default Instant Messenger application especially so Outlook e.g. shows the correct online/offline as well as free and busy status for employees and so they can start a conversation directly from there, you will need to make sure that Microsoft TEAMS is the default IM Provider.

This came up especially in combination with Cisco Jabber, that is often used as the software phone client for a Cisco phone system. This application might overrule the user settings and take presence especially in Microsoft Outlook. Cisco has an article about this here that talks about various registry keys. But this is actually not the direct solution for this issue.

In order to set TEAMS, if installed, the default application for your employees, it is easiest to engage Group Policies, GPOs, for this. Simply follow the below steps. Those settings will find out if Microsoft TEAMS is available and if so set it as default IM Provider. Close Microsoft Outlook and open it again and you will see the status icons and message box being associated with Microsoft TEAMS.

Of course, you could slightly adjust the suggested GPO settings and engage e.g. Cisco Jabber or any other IM provider available instead. Just have a look at the registry path HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\IM Providers and see what is available and set the GPO accordingly. All you need is the name of the sub key for the DefaultIMApp value.

Steps for the user GPO

  1. Create a new GPO (or chose an existing GPO)
    1. This will be a User Configuration
  2. Navigate to User Configuration\Preferences\Windows Settings\Registry
  3. Create a new Registry Item
  4. Settings on General tab
    1. Leave the Action settings to Update
    3. Key Path: Software\IM Providers
    4. Value name: DefaultIMApp
    5. Value type: REG_SZ
    6. Value data: Teams
  5. Settings on Common tab
    1. Check Run in logged-on user’s security contact (user policy option)
    2. Check Item-level targeting
    3. Click on Targeting and apply the following settings
      1. The following steps make sure that this is only applied if Microsoft TEAMS is available as a IM provider
      2. Click on New Item and chose Registry Match
      3. Match type: Key exists
      4. Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER 
      5. Key Path: Software\IM Providers\Teams
    4. It is good practice to provide a Description for this item – e.g.: This will set Microsoft TEAMS as default IM Provider for e.g. Outlook – if available as IM Provider.


Make sure the GPO applies to your users and you should be all set. This will make sure that even if a new application is installed and takes the IM Provider role over, that your clients will still fall back to Microsoft TEAMS. Of course, it will depend on when the GPO was reapplied and that the user actually closes and reopens Outlook.


Automate Outlook signature roll outs while pulling the information from Active Directory / LDAP

Automate Outlook signature roll outs while pulling the information from Active Directory / LDAP

The Outlook signature script you will find below is a bit more complicated then most other scripts I post, cause you might need to adjust a bit more. I used it for several years (as you can see in the script when it comes to Outlook versions and registry keys) in many networks and in most cases it worked just flawless once it was set up.

What does this script do exactly?

Good question – it actually writes every time a user logs on a signature file to his profile. The information in the file are pulled from Active Directory – where you are able to e.g. change the phone number, cell phone number or e.g. last name because the employee married. The signature file will automatically update. Even more important is the onboarding process, you actually can forget about setting up the signature. Assuming you don’t use roaming profiles, well – no worries – the signature will auto create everywhere, if you call it via a login script / logon script. In theory you could call it via a GPO as well.

What you need to do – simply said

  1. get an approved example signature from HR or marketing or who ever can provide you the signature and actually put it in your Outlook as signature.
  2. then replace names, phone numbers with variables (I come to that) and save it in your Outlook.
  3. go to your %appdata%\Microsoft\Signatures folder and grab the three files (.txt / .htm / .rtf) and the sub-folder with the name of the signature you saved
  4. copy them to your \\mydomain\netlogon\signatures folder (you might need to create it – any other location would need some adjustment in the script)
  5. you will need to open the all three file formats (.txt / .htm / .rtf) in a regular text editor – plain text editor like NOTEPAD.EXE (Windows) or Notepad ++
  6. make sure the variables are a complete word and not somehow divided or have characters replaced – if something is not how it should be, adjust it and save the files
  7. Copy the OutlookSignatures.vbs file to the same path and adjust it especially in the header-section with your domain information and execute the script in a CMD / command prompt via \\mydomain\netlogon\signatures\OutlookSignatures.vbs “my signature” 1 1
  8. Now go back to your Outlook (probably close and re-open) and create a new email – you should see your signature was auto-generated and the variables have been replaced with you user-specific values from Active Directory / LDAP.
  9. you should switch your email format to all three formats – HTML / Plain Text / RTF and check the signature in all three formats – to make sure all three files where generated correctly
  10. If something is not as expected, check the source-signature files and their variables and if needed adjust the variable-replacement section of the script

What you gain from this

The signatures will auto-generate and you actually have a cheap way to roll out corporate identity conform signatures, without spending a lot of money for tools that might provide you an easier to use configuration and some more fancy features – but if you don’t need those features and you can live with a more technical way to approach this you actually have a cheap way to implement this.

The variables

The script will pull certain properties / attributes from the currently logged on user object from Active Directory – those are configured in line 33 and if you need more you will need to add them here.

Between the lines 145 and 181 you see that the script is replacing place-holder variables in the source files (.TXT / .HTM / .RTF) with the information pulled from Active Directory – all those place holders in your source files need to be @@AnyName@@ – this is to make sure you have a unique definition of what the script will replace.


This does nothing else then:

  1. replace the variable strCurrentLine with
    1. search in variable strCurrentLine
    2. for the value @@GivenName@@
    3. replace it with LDAP attribute “givenName

There are a few special examples for putting e.g. a HTML conform line-break after Job-Title in the .HTM file only in the script (I had situations where only the HTML signature did not do a Line-Break, or the Text-Version alone was not doing something, etc..) – in the end this allows you to adjust something in a one of the three signature formats.

Another example in the script writes an additional line with the cell phone / mobile number if available. If the number is set in the user object, a new line will be created depending on the file format – if the number is not set the search-variable will be removed from the signature (you off course don’t want it there) instead of writing the information out. In this case we add a “Cell: ” as prefix before the number so the signature indicates clearly what this number is about. Simply said, since we replace a variable and not a whole line – we have to write out more then just the number – in this case we want to add text.

Can you execute the script with various signatures per department?

Yes – you actually can – but you would need to do this with an additional script and e.g. IFMEMBER from Microsoft or group based GPOs etc…

Can you create more then one signature?

Yes – you can execute the script in various ways – you can roll out a NEW MAIL signature (full length signature) and a second version for REPLIES (short signature) and additional signatures that the user could choose from that aren’t set as either NEW MAIL or REPLY signature. The script header explains how to call the script and what parameters it will expect and how to set them.

Feel free to use the script below, adjust it for your needs. I know some of the stuff like your domain-name could be searched automatically instead of putting it hard-coded in the script – even the reg-keys could be more advanced, feel free to do so – but in the end it is not that much work and it does its job either way.

Debugging the script

At line 79 the statement “On Error Resume Next” avoids that you see errors that might arise. This is good for production so that the client/user does see as little as possible messages due to timeouts or special circumstances – but if you want to debug something or in the process to test the script itself, please remark the line so errors actually occur. They might not mean much in some cases, but they might also give you the hint you need to see what is going wrong.