How to Contact Skype Customer Service

If you’re having trouble learning how to do something or getting something to work on Skype, there is an extensive help section on Skype.com that may be able to point you in the right direction. However, if you’re totally stuck and need some professional help to get some part(s) of Skype working again, this lesson will show you how to do that. Note that, unlike most other things that you can do with Skype, contacting their customer service department has to be done through their website, not the computer or mobile application.

To contact Skype customer service:

  1. Go to Skype’s support request page on their website. It can be a bit tricky to find, so here’s a shortcut to it.

  2. If you are not currently logged into Skype (either on the website or in the application) you will be asked to log into your Skype account.

  3. Once you’re logged into your Skype account, click the drop-down menu labelled “Choose a Help Topic” and select the general area of Skype that you are having a problem with. Then, click the drop-down menu labelled “Choose a Related Problem” and select the specific issue that you are having.

    How to indicate the issue that you are having with Skype

    Skype will suggest a number of help articles related to the issue that you’ve selected under “These Might Help.” Click on one to visit it. If, instead, none of Skype’s suggestions match the exact problem that you’re trying to solve, click Next.

  4. Depending on the options that you chose in step 4, you may be offered different ways to contact Skype. The most common one is Text Chat Support; click that to start a chat session with a Skype customer service representative.

    How to choose the way in which you wish to contact Skype

    If you don’t get this option, try clicking Back and repeating step 4 with different options.

  5. When you’re ready to chat with someone from Skype customer service, click Start Chat.

    How to start a text chat with a Skype customer service representative

A window should pop up that’s akin to common text messaging programs. Simply type in what you want to ask the customer service agent from Skype and press the “Enter”/”Return” key on your keyboard.  Continue this process until you’re able to satisfactorily resolve the problem that you’re having with Skype.

4 other ways to contact Skype

1. Browse the Skype help community to see if other users have encountered your issue.

You can visit Skype’s user help community at https://skype.com/go/community.  This contains several forums filled with questions asked by Skype users and answered by Skype representatives or experts.  Have a look through here and see if another Skype user has experienced the same problem that you’re having with Skype; someone else may have already found a way to fix it.  If not, you can ask a question yourself and see if anyone knows an answer to it.

2. Send tweets to Skype on Twitter for short tech support questions and answers.

If you have a quick question for Skype that you think will take 140 characters or less to ask and answer, you can post it on their Twitter page at https://twitter.com/Skype. Since posting messages on Twitter is quick and easy — and since Skype will probably want to look responsive to customer needs in front of its social media followers — you should hopefully get a response in short order.

3. Send Skype a message on Facebook regarding your problem status.

If you want to send Skype a personal message or ask them a public question on Facebook, you can do so at https://www.facebook.com/Skype. Like Twitter, Facebook may be a good way to contact Skype if you want a timely (but more thorough) response to your question, as Skype will likely want to show its subscribers on Facebook that it is committed to customer service.

4. Visit Skype’s YouTube channel for video demonstrations on how to troubleshoot it.

Skype’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/Skype is full of instructional videos on how to do different things on Skype.  Plus, if there’s something that you’re having trouble with on Skype, you can leave a comment on one of their videos and see if someone has an answer for you.

 

Those are some different ways to get in touch with Skype’s customer service branch if you’re having trouble using the program!  Next, we’ll have a quick primer on Skype’s premium services.


Skype Settings

There are lots of settings that you can change in Skype so that it works just the way you want it to.  You can adjust your microphone volume and webcam settings, choose which sounds play when something happens in Skype (if they play at all), control who can contact you or do other functions involving you in Skype, and more!

To change Skype settings

  1. Open your Skype desktop program and log in.

  2. Click on Tools in the menu across the top, and then click Options.  (As a shortcut, you can hold down the "Ctrl" key and then press the comma [,] key.)

Classes and sub-classes of Skype settings

Skype does a very thorough job of organizing the settings that you can change, so we'll go through them by category and sub-category.

General

General Settings

This lets you change:

  • Whether or not Skype automatically places a call to a contact when you double-click them

  • Whether or not Skype will automatically change your status to "Away" after not doing anything with it for a certain number of minutes (an amount chosen by you)

  • Whether or not Skype automatically launches after your computer boots up

  • The language that Skype displays in

  • Whether or not Skype shows people's profile pictures in the "Contacts" menu and during any kind of conversation (they will still show up in status updates, though)

  • Whether or not Skype shows you partial messages beside the contacts who sent them to you in the "Contacts" menu

Skype Audio Settings

This lets you select the microphone and speakers that Skype uses, and adjust the volume of each of these.  This is a good place to start fiddling with your settings if you're having trouble hearing another person during a phone call on Skype, or they're having trouble hearing you.

Sounds

This lets you choose when Skype plays a sound to notify you of something, and lets you pick what sound that is.  You can enable or disable all sounds at once, and if you feel like being creative, you can even use your own custom sounds!

Skype Video Settings

This lets you change which webcam you're using for video chat (if you have one).  You can also adjust the camera's settings while seeing what your webcam sees.  Both of these settings are useful if you can't see yourself in your webcam, or a person you call says they're having trouble seeing you.  From here, you can also use your webcam to take a picture of yourself, and use that as your profile picture on Skype!

Finally, you can choose who you want to be able to send video to you, or share their screen with you (without you having to approve it): Anyone, People in My Contact List Only, or No One.  This is an important privacy setting that you can use to control how people interact with you on Skype.

Skype Wi-Fi

This allows you to enable or disable your ability to connect to Skype-specific wireless Internet connections.  You probably won't use this setting much, unless you travel frequently.

Privacy

Privacy Settings

There are lots of really important settings here.  You can choose:

  • whether you want to accept calls from Anyone or People in My Contact List Only

  • who you want to be able to send video to you, or share their screen with you (without you having to approve it): Anyone, People in My Contact List Only, or No One

  • whether you want to accept instant messages from Anyone or People in My Contact List Only, as well as how long a record is kept of your messages; you can also delete all previous messages here

  • whether you want Skype to display your online status on websites (this is usually just if you've set up Skype to display your contact information on your website so that people can instantly call you for personal or business reasons, but it wouldn't hurt to disable anyway)

  • whether you want Skype to store information on your computer ("cookies") related to how you use Skype (though this may help Skype give you a faster and more personalized experience, you may just want to turn them off for privacy's sake); you can also clear all Skype "cookies" here

  • whether you want Skype to show you targeted advertisements based on your age and gender (again, while this may help personalize your Skype experience, you may want to turn this off for privacy reasons)

Blocked Contacts

This lets you see a list of people whom you have prevented from contacting you on Skype.  You can add more people to this list, or take someone off the list so that they can contact you again.  This is useful if someone sends you an unsolicited call or message, or you think a friend's account was hacked (i.e. you can block the account until they fix it or get a new one).

Notifications

Notification Settings

This lets you choose when Skype sends you a notification about someone doing something on Skype, like one of your contacts logging in or out, or someone sending you a file or instant message.  You can also choose whether or not Skype sends you a notification if the Skype program itself has something to tell you, or you're recording a video message or sharing screens with someone.

Calls

Call Settings

This lets you choose:

  • whether you want to accept calls from Anyone or People in My Contact List Only

  • whether or not you want options for the "Call" window to be displayed if you are focused on another program besides Skype

  • whether or not you want to automatically accept incoming calls, and automatically turn them into video chats if possible (turn both of these settings off for more privacy)

  • your default location if somebody needs to make an emergency call to you

Call Forwarding

This allows you to automatically send calls made to you on Skype to your home or mobile phone if you are away.  However, this feature costs money.  Click the Internet links highlighted in blue for more information.

Voice Messages

This deals with allowing people to leave voice messages for you on Skype if they call you while you are away.  For more information, click Set up Voice Messaging.

I.M. and S.M.S. (Instant Messaging and Simple Messaging Service)

I.M. Settings

The basic settings here just allow you to choose who you want to be able to send you instant messages: Anyone or People in My Contact List Only.

Advanced settings allow you to, among other things:

  • choose how long a record is kept of previous messages, or delete all previous messages at once

  • choose how Skype handles pasting a copied message

  • choose whether pressing the "Enter" key sends a message, or just skips a space

  • choose whether or not the other person sees a notification when you're typing

  • choose whether to show actual images in conversations, or just file names to click on

  • choose where to save files that other people send to you, and whether to automatically accept them or not

I.M. Appearance

This allows you to choose if emoticons appear as images in messages or not, and if they do, how large they are, and whether they're animated or not.  You can also choose whether or not to show the time that a message was sent next to the message, and what type of font messages are displayed in.

S.M.S. Settings

This allows you to set up Skype to send text messages directly to people's mobile phones.  However, this costs money.  Click the links in blue for more information.

Advanced

There isn't really much in this section that you'll want to change.  The possible exception is the Hotkeys menu, which allows you to set up Skype to use its functions quickly by pressing keys on your keyboard, rather than having to find and click a bunch of stuff.

 

When you are done making changes, click Save at the bottom, or click Cancel to discard your changes.

Well, that's an overview of the settings that you can change on Skype!


Skype Video Chat

Making free phone calls with Skype is great and all, but wouldn’t you love to see the smiling faces of your friends and loved ones when you talk to them, rather than just hear their voices?  Skype can do that, too, thanks to its “Video Chat” feature!  And the great thing about it is that it isn’t that much different from making a regular phone call.

In order to have a video chat, both you and the person you’re going to chat with have to have a miniature camera/recorder called a “webcam”.  Most modern computer monitors have one built in, but you can purchase external ones at your local computer and electronics store.

To video chat on Skype

  1. Open your Skype desktop program and log in.

  2. Click on a person in your contacts list to select them, and then click the video chat button () in the top-right corner.  (As a shortcut, you can also hold down the “Shift” and “Ctrl” keys and press “R” after selecting the contact whom you wish to call.)

  3. The video chat interface is relatively similar to the call interface on Skype. The red numbers indicate important functions; their corresponding captions below the screenshot will tell you what they do.

    1. Full Screen – Click here to hide all other windows in Skype and make the call window take up your entire screen.

    2. Show/Hide Contacts – Click here to show or hide your contacts list on the left-hand side.

    3. Turn Camera On/Off – You can click here to turn your webcam off, so that the other person can’t see you.  Note that this won’t turn their webcam off, though, so you can still see them unless they choose to turn their webcam off, too.  Then you’re just having a plain old phone call.

    4. Mute/Unmute Microphone – Click here to turn your microphone on or off.  This might be useful if you’re trying to listen to the other person, and noise in the background at your location is being picked up by the microphone and making the other person difficult to hear.

    5. Advanced Functions – This button brings up a menu that lets you do some advanced things, such as:

    • Take a person’s picture using their webcam, and save it to your computer
    • Send a computer file to the person you’re calling
    • Send a person’s contact information on Skype to the person you’re calling
    • Share your screen with the person you’re calling (so that they see what you see)
    • Add other contacts to the current call

    6. End Call – When you’re done talking to this person, click here to hang up.

    7. Call Quality Options – If you’re having trouble hearing the other person, or the other way around, click here for some options that can help fix that, such as adjusting the volume on your microphone or speakers.

    8. Show/Hide Messenger – Click here to show or hide the “Messenger” window on the right-hand side.  You may want to keep it open in case the call stops working, or one of you wants to share something like an Internet link with the other.

How to start a group video chat on Skype

Group video chat is a feature on Skype where you can have a live video chat between multiple people; they’ll all show up on each other’s screens.  This is useful if, for example, you have children or grandchildren off at different colleges or universities, or family members in different parts of the country.  Just put them in all in a group on Skype and click the call button, and you’ll have yourself a big old family reunion that’s the next best thing to being face-to-face in the same room!

You used to need an upgraded form of Skype — called Skype Premium — to start group video chats, but now the service is free for everyone to use!

As mentioned, to make a group call on Skype, you must first create a group, and then place contacts in that group whom you wish to call, and then make the call.

  1. Start by clicking on the Contacts menu at the top of the screen, and then clicking Create New Group.

  2. Next, click the add people button () in the top-right corner to make a menu appear.  Click the check boxes beside the names of the contacts whom you want to add to the group, and then click Add to Group.

  3. Now that you have a group with some of your contacts in it, click the video call button ( ) to have a video chat with all of them at once.

    (NOTE: You can only have up to 10 people on one call at a time.  (However, we’re guessing that won’t be a problem, unless you’re having a REALLY big family reunion.)

  4. The interface for making a group video chat is pretty much the same as it is for chatting with one person.

Well, now you know how to have a video chat or group video chat on Skype!


How to Call on Skype

One of the coolest features of Skype is that you can make phone calls to other people who use Skype, and it’s absolutely free!  What’s more, you can even use it to make a phone call to someone’s home or mobile phone!  This feature costs money, though; we’ll cover it at the end of this tutorial.

How do Skype calls work?

Phone calls using Skype are made possible by a set of technologies known as “Voice over Internet Protocol”, or “VoIP” for short.  VoIP is able to convert the analog audio signal of your voice (when you talk, as if you were making a regular phone call) into a digital signal that can travel over the Internet, and then turn it back into an analog signal so that the person on the other end can hear and understand it. 

Basically, all that you need on your computer for VoIP to work is a microphone, speakers, a sound card, and an Internet connection.  Most modern computers have all of these things, as do many modern portable electronic devices (such as smart phones).  The only thing missing is a program that can take care of the back-end technical stuff easily… a program like Skype.

To make a call on Skype

  1. Open your Skype desktop program and log in.

  2. Click on a person in your contacts list to select them, and then click the call button () in the top-right corner.  (As a shortcut, you can also hold down the “Ctrl” key and press “R” after selecting the contact whom you wish to call.)

  3. The “Call” interface is quite a bit different than the “Messenger” interface, with the main part of the screen being taken up by the profile picture of who you’re talking to and how long the call has lasted. We’ve labeled other important functions with red numbers; the corresponding captions below the screenshot will explain what they do.


    1. Full Screen
    – Click here to hide all other windows in Skype and make the call window take up your entire screen. Click it again to go back to a normal-sized screen.

    2. Show/Hide Contacts – Click here to show or hide your contacts list on the left-hand side.

    3. Turn Camera On/Off – You can click here to quickly switch between a normal phone call and a video chat.

    4. Mute/Unmute Microphone – Click here to turn your microphone on or off.  This might be useful if you’re trying to listen to the other person, and noise in the background at your location is being picked up by the microphone and making the other person difficult to hear.

    5. Advanced Functions – This button brings up a menu that lets you do some advanced things, such as:

    • Send a computer file to the person you’re calling
    • Send a person’s contact information on Skype to the person you’re calling
    • Share your screen with the person you’re calling (so that they see what you see)
    • Add other contacts to the current call


    6. End Call
    – When you’re done talking to this person, click here to hang up.

    7. Call Quality Options – If you’re having trouble hearing the other person, or the other way around, click here for some options that can help fix that, such as adjusting the volume on your microphone or speakers.


    8. Show/Hide Messenger
    – Click here to show or hide the “Messenger” window on the right-hand side.  You may want to keep it open in case the call stops working, or one of you wants to share

How to do a group call on Skype

To make a group call on Skype, you must first create a group, and then place contacts in that group whom you wish to call, and then make the call.

  1. Start by clicking on the Contacts menu at the top of the screen, and then clicking Create New Group.

  2. Next, click the add people button () in the top-right corner to make a menu appear.  Click the check boxes beside the names of the contacts whom you want to add to the group, and then click Add to Group.

  3. Now that you have a group with some of your contacts in it, click the call button () to have a phone call with all of them at once.

    NOTE: You can only have up to 25 other people on one call at a time.  (However, we’re guessing that won’t be a problem, unless you’re having a REALLY big family reunion.)

The interface for making a group call is pretty much the same as it is for making a call to one person.

Skype Call Rates

As we mentioned above, using Skype to make a phone call to another person who is using Skype is absolutely free.  You can also use it to make a phone call to a regular home or mobile phone number, but this will cost you money.  How much money it will cost you generally depends on where the phone number you are trying to call is located in the world.

To see the general rates for using Skype to call home or mobile phone numbers, go to www.skype.com in your web browser, move your mouse cursor over Prices to make a drop-down menu appear, and then click Rates.  Click inside the box labelled “Search for the country/region you want to call”, and type in the place that you’re going to be calling most often.  Then, click one of the suggestions that appears in the drop-down box to select it.  This will display phone call rates (among others) to that area in the window below the search box.

See our Is Skype Free? tutorial for more detailed information and instructions.


How to Delete Skype Messages

We've all had those times where we send a message to someone on social media or over a messaging service like Skype, immediately regret it, and want to cancel the message.  Or, perhaps you'd rather not talk to someone on Skype for a while, so you'd like to hide previous messages from them.  Or maybe you'd like to forget everything that you've said (or has been said to you) on Skype and start fresh.  This lesson will show you how to do all three of those things!

To delete a Skype message:

  1. Open the Skype application and log in. 

  2. Write a message on Skype to someone. 

  3. Quickly right-click on the message, and then left-click Remove Message in the menu that appears.

    How to remove a single Skype message from a conversation

  4. A pop-up box will appear, asking if you really want to delete the message.  Click Remove  to delete the message.

    How to confirm the deletion of a single Skype message

(NOTE: You only have a limited amount of time to delete a single message.  If you wait too long after sending a message, you will be unable to delete it.)

To hide a Skype conversation:

  1. Open the Skype application and log in.

  2. Click Recent to see your active conversations on Skype.  Right-click on a contact's name, and then click Hide Conversation.

    How to hide a Skype conversation

  3. To show conversations that have previously been hidden, click the View menu, and then select Show Hidden Conversations from the drop-down menu.

    How to reveal hidden Skype conversations

(NOTE: Your conversation may also become visible again if you send or receive another message in it.)

To delete your entire conversation history on Skype:

  1. Open the Skype application and log in.

  2. Click the Skype menu at the top of the screen, and then select Privacy from the drop-down menu.

    How to access your Skype privacy settings

  3. From your  "Privacy Settings" on Skype, under "Keep History For", click Clear History.  Click Delete in the pop-up box that appears to delete your conversation history.

    How to delete your Skype conversation history

(NOTE: This will only clear your conversation history for the particular device that you are using Skype on.  If you are using Skype on a different device, even with the same account, this will not delete your conversation history for Skype on that device.)

 

Those are all of the different ways that you can hide or delete Skype messages and conversations!


How to Use Skype Messenger

The “Messenger” feature is one of the most basic ways that you can use Skype.  Basically, it consists of you sending quick text messages back and forth with someone else who is currently using Skype.

How to use Skype Messenger

  1. Open your Skype desktop program and log in.

  2. In the Contacts menu on the left-hand side, click on the person you want to send messages to, in order to select them.  In this example, we’re going to message Alyson, our video producer here at Techboomers.  Her status says that she is “Online”, so she will probably answer us fairly immediately if we send her a message (as opposed to Steve, as his status is set to “Away”).  A person’s name will be highlighted when they are selected.

  3. Your main window will change to show you a history of messages (and other activities) between you and the selected person, including the date and time of each action.  The lighter messages aligned to the right are from you, and the darker messages aligned to the left are from the other person (you can also tell because their picture is beside them).

    The buttons in the top-right corner let you do things like call the person, video chat with them, or add another person to the conversation.  We’ll get into how to use those in the Skype Calls and Skype Video Chat tutorials.

  4. For now, we’re just going to send a basic message.  Click inside the box at the bottom that says “Type a Message Here” and type in what you want to say to the person.  When you’re done, click the send button () or press the “Enter” key on your keyboard.

  5. Now, let’s wait for Alyson to send a message back to us.  When the other person is writing a message back to you, you will see the message “[person’s name] is typing…” at the bottom of the message list.  When they click the send button () or press the “Enter” key, their message will display on your screen.

  6. Now, let’s spice things up a bit by adding an “emoticon” to our message.  An “emoticon” is a small, sometimes animated picture that depicts a facial expression or other object to convey information, tone, mood, and so on.

    To add an emoticon to your message, click the emoticon button () to open a list of available emoticons.  When you move your mouse cursor over one, it will show you that emoticon’s animation and, at the bottom of the screen, what the emoticon represents and the shortcut that you can type in to get that emoticon (in the example here, to quickly get a “cheeky” emoticon, type in a colon followed by a “p”, like this:  “:p”).

    Click on the emoticon to add it to the message that you’re currently typing.

  7. Clicking the send other button () allows you to send things other than just text messages.  You can send:

    – a picture as a message
    – a computer file that the other person can download
    – a video message to the other person
    – information for one or more of your Skype contacts, so the other person can contact them, too

  8. When you click Photos or Send File, it opens a file explorer where you can navigate to the picture or file that you want to send, click on it to select it, and then click Open.

    If you send a picture, it will count as your message.  If you send a file, though, the other person has to accept it, and then it will be transferred to their computer.

  9. If you click Send Video Message, a new screen will come up where you can see yourself in your webcam.  Click the record button () to start recording your message, and then click it again to stop (or it will stop automatically after 3 minutes).

    Once you’re done recording, you can click the play button () that will appear at the bottom of the video to review it.  If you’re okay with it, click the send video message button ().  Otherwise, click the cancel button () to re-record the message, or stop sending it altogether.

  10. If you click Send Contacts, a pop-up list of your contacts will appear.  Click the check boxes next to the contacts that you want to send to the other person, in order to mark them.  Then, click the Send Contacts button.

And that’s pretty much everything that you can do using Skype Messenger!


How to Manage Skype Contacts

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

  1. Open your Skype program and log in.

  2. Underneath your profile and status indicators in the top-left corner of the window, click inside the box labeled "Search".

    How to search for contacts on Skype

  3. 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.

    How to search the Skype directory for contacts

  4. 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

    How to send a Skype user a contact request

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

  1. 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.

    How to remove a Skype user from your contacts list

  2. 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.

    How to confirm removal of a Skype user from your contacts list

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:

  1. 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.

    How to block a Skype contact through the 'Conversation' menu

    You can also right-click on a person in your contacts list or "messenger" window and then left-click Block This Person.

    How to block a Skype contact by using a mouse shortcut

  2. 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.

    How to confirm the blocking of a Skype contact

To unblock a contact on Skype:

  1. 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.

    How to manage your blocked contacts on Skype

  2. 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.

    How to unblock one or more Skype contacts

 

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!


How to Use Skype

The great thing about Skype is that there are many different ways to use it. You can use it like an instant messaging program, make phone calls with it, or even talk with someone face-to-face by using video chat! While we’ll be going over these features in more detail in later tutorials, for now we’ll give you a quick tour of how to use the main interface of Skype, and show you a few other screens that you’ll commonly see.

How to log into Skype

  1. Find your Skype program on your device and quickly click it twice (or tap it) to open it.

    How to launch the Skype application

  2. When prompted to log in, click the box labeled “Skype Name, Email, or Mobile” and type in the Skype Name, email address, or phone number associated with your account.  Then click Sign In.

    Entering your Skype log-in ID

  3. On the next screen, click in the box labeled “Password” and type in the password that you picked for your account.  Then, click Sign In once more.

    Entering your Skype account password

When you log into Skype for the first time, it may ask you to adjust your audio and video settings.  Don’t worry about these too much; you can always adjust them later.

Skype’s main screen

When you log into Skype with a new account, there won’t really be much to see at first.  Therefore, we’ve logged with a pre-existing account to show you some additional things that you’ll see after you’ve been using it for a while.

Profile, status, and other miscellaneous Skype functions

The top-left portion of the screen shows your name as it appears on Skype, your profile picture, and your current status.  Click your name or picture to bring up a screen where you can see and edit your profile.

You can also click the small icon beside your picture to change your online status to Online, Away, Do Not Disturb, Invisible, or Offline.  Your online status shows other people if you are (or aren’t) available to contact.  If you choose Do Not Disturb, you will not be notified when someone else tries to contact you.  If you choose Offline, nobody can use Skype can contact you, and vice-versa.

If you click in the box labelled “Search” and type in a person’s name, Skype name, or email address, Skype will look to see if they exist in your list of contacts, or in its main directory.

The icons below the search box do various things.  If you click the house icon, you will return to your main screen from almost anywhere else on Skype.  If you click the dial pad icon, a screen with a dial pad will appear that allows you to call people’s landline and mobile phones from Skype.  Note, however, that this is one of the few features of Skype that isn’t free, and requires a calling subscription or “Skype Credit” to use.  See our tutorials on the cost of Skype or Skype Premium for more information.

If you click the “+” icon, you can start a new conversation that any of your contacts can join.  You can also invite people who aren’t using Skype to join the conversation by sharing the hyperlink to the conversation. 

Finally, if you click the robot icon, you can add “bots” to your Skype contacts list. “Bots” are specialized automated programs that are designed to respond to your actions in various ways, such as giving advice, playing a game, or doing other fun or useful stuff.  Simply click on a bot and then click Add to Contacts.

Your Skype contacts menu

The middle of the left side of Skype’s main screen shows your list of contacts, along with each of their online statuses.  You can click Contacts to see a list of all of your contacts, or click Recent to see a list of your contacts that have called you or sent you messages recently (or whom you have called or sent messages to).  Click on a contact to select them, which will let you choose how to communicate with them.

Mood messages on Skype

The majority of the right side of Skype’s main screen is dominated by the “mood message” interface, which lets users broadcast what’s going on in their lives at the moment to all of their contacts at once.  Click in the box labelled “Tell Your Friends What You’re Up To” and type in something about what you’re doing or how you’re feeling, and then click the checkmark that appears to confirm your mood message.

Your mood message will appear on the main screens of your contacts, and it will also replace the generic online status indicator underneath your profile name.  If you want to change your mood message, simply repeat the process described in the paragraph above (you can also change it by editing your profile).

Below the box for entering your own mood message, you will see mood messages that you or your contacts have posted on Skype (and how long ago those messages were posted).  You can click the camcorder icon beside a mood message to call, video chat with, or send a text to the person who posted it.  You can also click the “X” that appears in the top-left corner of a mood message when you move your mouse cursor over it to hide it, or to hide all mood messages from that person.

There are two other buttons here that are of note, below the box for inputting mood messages but above the mood messages themselves.  You can click the refresh button (the looping arrow) on the left to see if any of your contacts have posted new mood messages lately.  Clicking the gear icon on the right, meanwhile, allows you to access additional settings, such as managing what conversations are visible or hidden.

The Skype messenger screen

When you select a contact, you will usually see a screen like the one below:

The Skype text messaging interface

From this screen, you can:

  • send quick text messages to a person

  • share a photo with a person

  • send a computer file to a person

  • send information about your Skype contacts to a person

  • add another person to the conversation

Also, the buttons highlighted in the top-right corner of the screenshot allow you to start a video chat or phone call, respectively, with the person (or people) in the conversation.

The Skype call / video chat screen

When you start a phone call or video chat with someone on Skype, you’ll see a screen like this one:

The Skype voice and video call interface

In addition to talking with the person using this screen, you can do things like:

  • share your screen (so the other person sees what you see on your device’s screen)

  • take a picture of the other person (if they’re using video chat)

  • switch between a call and video chat by enabling or disabling your webcam

  • add another person to the conversation

 

That’s a quick tour of what you’ll see and do on Skype!  Next, we’ll cover one of the first things that you should do on Skype before using any of its other features: getting your Skype contacts in order!


How to Create a Skype Account

In order to use Skype, you'll have to sign up for an account.  This will give you a unique name that people on Skype can find and use to contact you, and vice-versa.  Don't worry; signing up for an account won't cost you any money.

To sign up for a Skype account

  1. Find the Skype program icon on your desktop and open it by double-clicking the left mouse button on it.

  2. When you open Skype, you'll be prompted to sign in with either your Skype Name or your Microsoft Account (e.g. if you have a Hotmail email account).  Let's assume that you have neither; in that case, click Create an Account at the bottom.

  3. You will be taken to a page on Skype's website where you can create your account.  Click in all of the fields marked with an asterisk (*) and type in, or select from the drop-down menu:

    – your first name
    – your last name
    – your email address
    – your email address again, to confirm it
    – the country or region that you live in
    – the language that you primarily use

    You can fill in any other details, such as your date of birth or gender, if you wish.

  4. Further down the page, click in the fields marked with an asterisk (*) and type in your Skype Name (Skype will let you know if it's already taken), a password for your account, and a repeat of that password to confirm it.

    Finally, click in the box that says "Type the Text above Here" and type in the letters or numbers that you see in the picture.  This is a security check to make sure that you aren't a computer program trying to mass-produce fake accounts.

    You can fill in any other details that you wish.  When you're ready to move on, click I Agree – Continue.

That's pretty much it!  Congratulations on creating your Skype account!


How to Download and Install Skype

Skype is different from most of the products that we feature on Techboomers, in that it's not a service that you use right on the website.  Instead, you use the service by downloading and installing a program on your computer.

To download Skype

  1. Go to www.skype.com in your web browser and click either Download Skype or Get Skype.

  2. Click the device that you want to download Skype for; we'll assume it's a Computer, which should already be selected.  If this is the case, simply click Get Skype for Windows Desktop.

  3. Skype's website should automatically prompt you to download a setup package for the Skype program.  Click Save File, use the file explorer to select a place to save the setup package, and then click Save.

To install Skype

  1. Find the setup package that you just downloaded, and open it by double-clicking the left mouse button on it.

  2. Click the drop-down menu to select the language that you want Skype installed in; the installer will use this language, too.  (It will probably say English to start; if that's what you want, just leave it.)

    If you don't want Skype to launch as soon as you start your computer, you can click the check box here to unmark it.

    When you're ready to move on, click I Agree – Next.

  3. The next window will ask if you want to install a feature called "Click to Call".  Basically, it allows you to call a phone number from Skype while you're browsing the Internet by clicking a phone number that has Skype's logo beside it.  If you don't want this feature installed, click the check box here to unmark it.

    (Hint: We recommend that you do not install this feature, as it has been known to not always work correctly and/or slow down the loading of web pages.)

    When you're ready to move on, click Continue.

  4. Lastly, Skype will ask if you want to make MSN (The Microsoft Network) the home page of your Internet browsers.  If you like your home page the way that it is, click the check box here to unmark it.

    Hint: We recommend that you use a search engine as your web browser's home page, such as Google Search, Yahoo Search, Bing, or DuckDuckGo.  This way, you can find where you need to go on the Internet quickly.  Of course, we'd love it if you made Techboomers your home page!)

    When you're ready to move on, click Continue.

 

When Skype is finished installing, it should start automatically.  Congratulations!  You're all set to use Skype!