In our last lesson, we went over some of the basic things that you can do in Skype. Now, in order to take advantage of the powerful (and free-to-use!) communication features available in Skype, you have to first find other people on Skype to talk to! These are known as your Skype contacts: other users whom you have connected with by mutually agreeing to be able to communicate with each other.
While you can use Skype to call people who aren't on your contacts list by dialing their landline or mobile phone numbers, you will usually have to pay to do so (see our article on how much Skype can cost for more details). Instead, the best way to use Skype is to find people you know who are already using the program and add them as contacts. That way, you can communicate with them any way you want for free!
By the way… if your friends, family, or colleagues don't have Skype already, ask them to try it. They just need to download and install the program, and then create an account. Be sure to mention that neither of these actions will cost them any money!
To find and add contacts on Skype
Open your Skype program and log in.
Underneath your profile and status indicators in the top-left corner of the window, click inside the box labeled "Search".
Type in the name of the person you're looking to find. If you know the person's Skype Name, email address, or phone number, you can search for them by typing any of those in instead. If the person isn't already in your contacts list, you can click Search Skype to see if a person by that (Skype) name exists.
If Skype finds anyone in your contacts list or the general directory with the name, Skype Name, email address, or phone number that you entered, those users will appear underneath the search box. Click on a user's name, and then click Add to Contacts in the main window. You can then click in the box that says "Send [person] a Contact Request" and type in a personal message to them, and then click Send.
If the person accepts your contact request, they will show up in your contacts menu on the left-hand side of the window.
To delete Skype contacts
If you want to delete someone's details from your contacts list, find them and click on them to select them. Then, click the Contacts menu at the very top of the window, and then click Remove from Contacts.
A window will pop up asking if you really want to delete that person's information from your contacts list. Click Remove if you are sure that this is what you want to do.
Note that deleting a contact won't remove you from their contacts list, so they can still communicate with you over Skype. If you want a contact to not be able to communicate with you, you can block them. (See the next section for instructions on blocking or unblocking contacts).
Also, don't worry if you want to get back a contact that you deleted, whether that's because you changed your mind or you deleted the wrong contact by mistake. Simply follow the process outlined in the "How to Find and Add Contacts on Skype" section above. As a bonus, if that person still has you as a contact, you won't need to wait for their permission to add them to your contacts list again!
Blocking and unblocking contacts
Sometimes, even if you remove someone from your contacts list, they will still try to communicate with you over Skype and won't leave you alone. That's when it might be a good idea to block the person, which prevents them from contacting you in any way.
Also, you may occasionally have people randomly request to add you as a contact. They may be attempting to promote or sell something, or otherwise take you to a website where you may not want to go. If you don't know who the person is, feel free to ask them. If it turns out that you don't know them, or something else seems fishy about them, it would probably be a good idea to block them.
Finally, if you block someone by mistake (or have a change of heart and want to talk to them again), you can unblock them, which allows them to communicate with you over Skype again.
To block a contact on Skype:
Select the contact whom you wish to block by clicking on their name in your contacts list on the left-hand side of the Skype window. Then, click the Conversation menu at the top of the window, and then click Block.
You can also right-click on a person in your contacts list or "messenger" window and then left-click Block This Person.
A window will appear asking if you really want to block this person; you can also click the check boxes highlighted here to hide this person in your contacts list, and/or report them for abuse (if they're threatening you, trying to blackmail you, bullying you, stalking you, etc.), respectively. Then click Block.
To unblock a contact on Skype:
Click on the Contacts menu at the very top of the Skype window, move your mouse cursor over Advanced, and then click Manage Blocked Contacts.
Now, in the window that says "Blocked People," click the email address or the Skype Name of the person whom you want to unblock, and then click Unblock this Person. Repeat for as many people as you want to unblock, and then click Save at the bottom of the "Settings" screen.
Now you know the basics of using contacts in Skype: how to find them, add them, delete them, block them, and unblock them! Our next few tutorials will teach you some of the ways in which you can communicate with your contacts over Skype: using the text chat interface, having a phone call, or even talking to them face-to-face via live video chat!