Skype: Getting Started – The Software

Fundamentally, Skype is a communications software developer providing support for Skype services on PC’s. Skype phones, smartphones, TV sets and Blu-ray players. So how do you get started with the software?

The information below is specifically related to Skype for Windows. Skype for Mac has a similar process; however, the user interface will differ.

Getting Started with Skype

Download and Install Skype:

For Skype on the PC, simply go to Skype’s Website and click on Get Skype in the main navigation bar. It will detect your PC and Operating System and offer to download the correct version. It will then take you through the entire process for installing Skype.

For Skype on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad go to the Apple app store. Click here for Skype for Android and Skype for Symbian (Nokia). Carrier-specific versions of Skype are available on designated models of various smartphones for users of 3 (7 European countries, Hong Kong and Australia) and Verizon (U.S.).

Skype is embedded into firmware on PC-Free phones, Sony devices, the Grandstream 3140 IP phone and select Internet-enabled models of Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Sharp, Sony and Vizio TV sets as well as Pansonic and Sony BluRay players.

Finding Contacts: Users can search for contacts’ real name or SkypeID; users who know a friend’s, acquaintance’s or business colleague’s email address through independent sources can also search for contacts by their email address. You also have the option of having Skype search your Microsoft Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail or Facebook contacts for registered Skype users (as identified by their email address in the relevant address book).

In Skype for Windows, clicking on Add A Contact in the lower left corner of the client will bring up the Add A Contact window where you can enter any of the information you have available.

You do need to know the email address or Skype name from external sources. As you enter information Skype will provide a “check” mark if it can find the relevant contact. Note that the most unique identifiers are the email address and Skype name.  If the the contact has entered a phone number into his/her  Skype profile this will help provide another level of uniqueness.

It is also possible to Add Contacts via Skype for Mac, Skype for iPhone, Skype for iPad, Skype for Android and Skype for Windows Phone 8.

Complete Your Skype Profile: Once logged into Skype for Windows go to File | Edit Profile (version 3.8 or earlier) or Skype | Profile | Edit Profile (version 4.0 or later) and enter additional information:

  • Entering a photo or personalized avatar will help to distinguish you in your Contacts’ Skype directories.
  • Entering a minimum of your Country and your Mobile Number will assist some applications of Skype. For instance, if your mobile number is entered and you have a SkypeOut subscription, then you can elect to use your mobile number as the Caller ID (Caller Number Identification) that shows up on a called party’s phone when you make a SkypeOut call. A mobile number entry is also required to be able to receive SMS messages sent from Skype.
  • In the “About Me” entry you are free to enter any desired text; however, most users will use this to put a qualifier requesting people who want to have you become a Skype contact to explain why they wish to become a contact. (See the privacy discussion later.)
  • You may optionally add two additional email addresses that can be associated with your SkypeID in contact searches, such as a GMail address. (Once again, Skype does not reveal email addresses but they are used to assist in finding additional Skype contacts.)

Audio and Video

Audio Devices: By default, Skype will initially associate itself with the default microphone and speakers found in your Windows “Sounds and Audio Devices” settings (from your Windows Vista or Windows 7 desktop: Start | Control Panel | Hardware and Sound | Sound).

You may check this setting within the Skype client by going to Tools | Options | Audio Settings where you will find drop-down boxes if you have more than one microphone and/or speaker option on your PC. Skype 5.x for Windows also includes a “Check Settings” feature which allows you to monitor your hardware and network connection during a call.

Skype for Mac users will find this information at “Skype | Preferences … | Audio/Video”.

Webcams: Skype video calls will use any webcam that is supported by the operating system, including the iSight webcam on Macs and MacBooks as well as webcams built into many Windows 7 PC’s.

However, to obtain the best video quality on Windows PC’s it is recommended that users use a third party webcam that specifically supports either Skype’s High Quality Video or HD Video; these webcams (from FREETALKFacevsion and Logitech) may be purchased through the Skype Store.

Testing Your Skype Installation: You will find in your Skype Contacts one initial Contact – “Skype Test Call”. To complete your implementation and ensure your Skype is configured to make a voice call, make a Skype Test Call where you can record your voice and then listen to the resulting recording.

Make Your First Call

At this point you are ready to make your first call over Skype. Select a Contact in the Contact pane, click the Call button in the Conversation pane.



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