Sep 23

Grey Text in IM’s

Update 11 April 2014 – There is both a KB – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2941682 – and a fix for this issue – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2880474 It took about 5.5 months but at least it is officially fixed now.


Update – 26 February 2014 – It appears that Office 2013 SP1 fixes the font issue.


Update – 24 February 2014 – The Lync Product Group has accepted this issue as a fix in an upcoming Cumulative Update. So hopefully within a few months this issue will be put to rest.


Update – 13 November 2013: Microsoft has filed an internal bug for this. Expect this fixed in a Cumulative Update in early 2014.


Update – 3 December 2013: Apparently Microsoft don’t seem interested in fixing this. If possible, raise this as an issue with your Microsoft TAM. The more complaints MS hears, the more likely they will be to fix something they broke.


I was IM’ing with a Lync contact at the end of last week. The curiosity was that the first word of any given IM was black and the rest of the text was grey (or gray…whatever). I paid it no mind until it happened to me today. Two people I IM’ed asked me what was up with my font? Here is a screen shot of what I am talking about as well as some IM’s trying to figure out what was or wasn’t working:

Grey IM

You can’t tell from that picture but my font color was blue and my horrible font selection was something called “Bradley Hand ITC“. The change in font size carried through as did bold, italic, and underline.

I moved myself from a Lync 2013 pool to a Lync 2010 pool and the only change is that everything was all grey instead of the first letter being black.

At some point, I decided I should reset my font cache. This is done by going to c:windowssystem32 and deleting the file FNTCACHE.DAT. Once that has been deleted, go for a reboot. I didn’t try it without a reboot but PC Tech Support 101 says to always reboot.

After rebooting, everything in my Lync 2013 client was back to normal. People saw my blue font color and the correct font (Calibri, not that horrible Bradley Hand ITC).

This appears to be some kind of bug with the Lync 2013 CU patch and how it gets installed, i.e., it may not be installing everything correctly. Uninstalling the update returns the font situation back to normal. I will update this if I learn what the real fix is. Other than, of course, the Office team keeping their hands off the Lync client because the Lync 2013 client is a mess.

21 comments

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    • Gordon Shumway on 2013/10/09 at 01:29
    • Reply

    Hey, found your blog when googling away on this very annoying issue. I’m using Pidgin IM for myself but getting the “grey text thing” from all my colleagues using Lync 2013. Do you know if there’s a official solution for this yet? TIA

      • Gordon Shumway on 2013/10/25 at 02:55
      • Reply

      I can now also confirm that adding the registry key setting fixes the gray text issue. Many thanks for the info.

        • Michael Hinkle on 2013/10/25 at 10:30
        • Reply

        Can you provide details on the registry change you made to fix the issue?

          • Gordon Shumway on 2013/10/25 at 19:37
          • Reply

          Create a REG_SZ with the name “DisableRTFIM” and the value “False” in HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftCommunicator

          Good luck.

        • Michael Hinkle on 2013/10/30 at 10:14
        • Reply

        I added the entry as directed, but it had no impact on the issue with Lync. Sadly I am but a Lync user and do not have access to access to run the set-csclientpolicy command. If you have any other ideas, I am more than hoppy to give them a shot. I have found that typing my IMs in a text editor (UltraEdit), then copying and pasting them into Lync at least gets around the word wrap issue.

  1. We’ve opened a case with Microsoft, a formality to get it classified as a bug. I wouldn’t expect a fix until the next client CU is released.

  2. Same problem with Lync 2010 Client .4409

    • JP on 2013/10/24 at 10:01
    • Reply

    We have the same issue going on. I’d be interested to find out what MS told you and what the fix is or when it will be released. Thanks

  3. Apparently it is a bug in the way the latest CU interprets the “DisabelRTFIM” setting in the client policy. If this is set to True then you experience this behavior. Try setting it to False on your client policy and see if it reverts back. I have been told a patch is coming “soon” – which to my jaded mind says CU4.

  4. I have verified that setting “DisableRTFIM” to False (or at least “not true”) fixes the gray text issue.

  5. While you can certainly set the Registry value – and if you aren’t the Lync Administrator then this is icertainly your only option – the best fix is to edit the client policy to disable the setting. You can do this by the following command: set-csclientpolicy -identity -DisableRTFIM $False

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg398300.aspx

  6. Running Win 8.1 64-bit, Office 2013 64-bit. HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftCommunicator doesn’t exist in my registry. Instead, i have HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftOfficeLync. I’ve tried adding DisableRTFIM in that directory, in a directory I created matching the path above, and setting up DisableRTFIM as both the key itself, as well as the “folder”.

    Note: I’m probably butchering key terminology. Basically, these don’t work:
    HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftOfficeLyncDisableRTFIMDefault = False
    HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftOfficeLyncDisableRTFIM = False
    HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftCommunicatorDisableRTFIMDefault = False
    HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftCommunicatorDisableRTFIM = False

    For the non-Default keys, I created a string key (Type = REG_SZ).

    Any other ideas?

    1. I just checked on my Surface running 8.1 with Lync 2013 and I see the appropriate registry key.

      Again, the best fix is to change the Lync client policy and set disablertfim to $false or $null. However some people reading this are not the Lync administrators so changing the registry may be the best fix.

    • Anonymous on 2013/12/08 at 16:23
    • Reply

    I have tried adding the string ‘DisableRTFIM’ under the path ‘HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftCommunicator’ and setting it to ‘false’, but that doesn’t work for me..
    this is for Lync 2013 client on Win 7

    • Anonymous on 2013/12/08 at 16:23
    • Reply

    I have tried adding the string ‘DisableRTFIM’ under the path ‘HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftCommunicator’ and setting it to ‘false’, but that doesn’t work for me..
    this is for Lync 2013 client on Win 7

  7. Thanks for this blog. I swear the reg fix was working for me at some point, but no longer is. Maybe it broke with a more-recent MS update? Lync 2013 (15.0.4551.1007) x64, part of Office 2013. We’re using Office 365, so no access to that server-side client policy. Note there is no Communicator key when it’s Office 2013, it’s HKCUSofwareMicrosoftOfficeLync and HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftOffice15.0Lync. I have the REG_SZ DisableRTFIM (False) under both. *shrug*

  8. Thanks for this blog. I swear the reg fix was working for me at some point, but no longer is. Maybe it broke with a more-recent MS update? Lync 2013 (15.0.4551.1007) x64, part of Office 2013. We’re using Office 365, so no access to that server-side client policy. Note there is no Communicator key when it’s Office 2013, it’s HKCUSofwareMicrosoftOfficeLync and HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftOffice15.0Lync. I have the REG_SZ DisableRTFIM (False) under both. *shrug*

  9. WORKAROUND that worked for me.
    Under preferences > Conversations > Uncheck “Show formatting on incoming messages”

    Reference: https://developer.pidgin.im/ticket/13089

  10. WORKAROUND that worked for me.
    Under preferences > Conversations > Uncheck “Show formatting on incoming messages”

    Reference: https://developer.pidgin.im/ticket/13089

    • Andy on 2014/06/23 at 09:33
    • Reply

    I fixed this problem by turning all my plugins off.

    • Andy on 2014/06/23 at 09:33
    • Reply

    I fixed this problem by turning all my plugins off.

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