Skype has been our go-to video calling app for years. Free, simple to use, easy to set up and just does exactly what it says on the tin. What more do you need? If only that was all true. Since being bought by Microsoft, Skype has been a standalone app, a desktop app, standalone again and is now integrated into Windows 10. There is a Mac version too. Regardless of the form it takes, here’s how to use Skype like a pro.
Also see our article How to Use Skype on Chromebook / Chrome OS
Desktop or app
Using Skype as a standalone app or as part of Windows 10 is down to personal preference. As far as I can tell, there is little difference in capability, it’s just layout and usability that changes. The standalone app will be familiar to anyone who has used Skype over the past decade. The integrated Windows 10 app is similar but looks different.
I tend to use the Windows desktop version as it’s what I’m used to. Your mileage may vary of course.
Part of being a pro at anything is being ready. So let’s get everything ready so you can seamlessly call, be called and use Skype like a pro.
- Open the Skype client and select Tools.
- Navigate to Audio settings and select the correct microphone and speakers.
- Play with the levels until you are completely happy with how everything sounds.
- Click ‘Make a free test call’ in the bottom pane to test everything out. Adjust as you see fit.
- Click video settings in the left pane and do the same for your webcam if you have one.
Next, let us look at some quality of life settings.
- Click Tools if you closed the window from the previous session.
- Select General settings in the left pane and uncheck ‘When I double click on a contact start a call’. While useful, it also starts call when you don’t want one.
- Select Privacy settings and set who can contact you and uncheck the box next to ‘Allow Microsoft targeted ads…’.
- Click Notifications in the left pane and uncheck some of the notification options unless you want Skype to continuously annoy you by telling you who comes and goes online.
- Click Advanced settings in the left pane and uncheck the two boxes next to ‘Use Skype to call links on the web’. While useful, the sheer number of accidental calls you will make renders it useless.
Send files during a call
A real Skype pro can seamlessly send files without interrupting their call. Here’s how.
- During a call, hover your mouse over the icon of an image or a file in the bottom right.
- Click on either and select the file from the Explorer window that opens.
- Repeat for each file you want to send.
Organize your contacts
Our final how to use Skype like a pro tip is about managing contacts.
- Right click any contact and select ‘Add to favorites’ for frequently used contacts.
- Create groups by selecting ‘Add to list’.
- Select Contacts from the top menu in Skype and select ‘Show Outlook contacts’ to call a new contact.
- Still in the top menu, select ‘Sort contact by’ and then ‘Online status’ to see only those most active at the top of your contacts list.
Those are just a few tips on how use Skype like a pro in Windows. Got any more useful tips? Add them in the comment section below.