2012-08-10 16.01.08

How To Use The Soft Phone On ShoreTel Communicator

Yes! You can use the ShoreTel system entirely on your PC! You can make and receive calls and talk to people directly with ShoreTel Communicator. This is a great way to let telecommuters work from home without sending a phone, power brick, router, and a bunch of other stuff with them. It’s also the way a lot of call centers are set up to cut costs (headsets are cheaper than $300+ ShoreTel phones).

You need a couple of things before this will work properly.

The first thing you need is SoftPhone Licenses. If you don’t have these, you can still activate it but your server will lock down after 45 days. You can get a quote for these from your partner.

The second thing you need is some sort of headset. You can use the microphone and speakers on your laptop/desktop but the headset makes it a lot less aggravating.

Setting Up A User to Use The Soft Phone

Step 1 – Go to the user’s account under Shoreware Director.

Step 2 – Enable the soft phone for this user.

Step 3 – Save the changes.


Use the Soft Phone

Now you’ll need to go to the user’s ShoreTel Communicator and set up the SoftPhone.

Step 1 – Select Softphone from the Extension Assignment Menu. Drop it down, it should show up as the second option. If it doesn’t appear, make sure Communicator is up to date. Sometimes it just needs restarted, especially if you are connected over a VPN connection.

Step 2 – Make sure your headset is plugged in. Communicator will typically default to whatever is the current sound output. You can change it in the Options menu under “Smart Phone”.

If everything is set up right, you should now be able to make calls from ShoreTel Communicator and the call will play over your headset. If you need to send digits to the call (like to select menu options) just right click on the call and select the “Send Digits” option.




  1. JD

    Thanks for the info. Have you run into a case where the softphone option simply doesn’t show up in the menu? My account in Director is setup for it and I see the option in Communicator on my regular desktop PC, but when logged into a Citrix hosted desktop with the same version of Communicator it’s just not there.

    • aaron

      I have seen this issue. I have not seen it specifically with Citrix though. When I’ve seen it, it has always been something to do with ShoreTel Communicator not being able to see the sound card. I suspect Communicator can’t see whatever Citrix is using to transport audio over the internet to your desktop. Or they’ve blatantly disabled it for Citrix. Do you have anyone that can use the softphone through Citrix? My workaround for this would be install Communicator on your home PC and VPN into work. I’ve never been able to get this to work through RDP reliably either.

    • aaron

      I don’t know of any way to make it come through both the speaker and the headphones. With most Windows setups when you have the headphones plugged in it cuts the speakers off entirely. You might could find a way to rig that up, and there are some options under the Softphone that seem to indicate something like that is possible.

      However for the second question, yes you absolutely can have a call notification pop up. Under the “Telephony” option there’s a check box that says “Show Incoming Call Alert”. It pops up a little “toaster” alert by your system clock with an “Answer” and “To Voicemail” button on it. I worked at a job where were used the soft phone exclusively and this was how we solved this problem on the night shift. Typically it will also play a fairly high pitched little alert notification too, so I was usually able to hear that through the headset even if it was on my desk.

  2. Lorraine

    How can the ringer be ajusted? The ringer on my soft phone does not ring it beeps and the person is there. Any suggestions

      • aaron

        I’ve been seeing a lot of issues with the softphone over encrypted VPN connections. I had an issue with it over an L2TP connection, not that it didn’t work but the quality was terrible.

    • aaron

      So, good question. If you’re using regular old RDP, you can use the settings to share sound from the Remote Desktop to your local desktop and that might work (I’ve made it work sometimes, it’s not perfect). If you’re using a service like Logmein, or GotoDesktop or whatever, it probably won’t. What you’ll need to do is install ShoreTel Communicator on your local desktop and use VPN to connect to your workplace. Cisco VPN, regular old Windows VPN client, anything, and ShoreTel Communicator will happily connect to your server and work that way.

      Your IT Department can set this up fairly easily and it works.

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