Skype, one of the latest and greatest technological advances in voiceover IP (or VoIP) gives you the opportunity to make nearly free calls all over the world without ever picking up a telephone. You can call friends, family, business clients and co-workers from the convenience of your laptop or desktop PC. First, you have to find your contacts. Joining Skype is free. Making calls to telephones and other Skype accounts in the U.S. and Canada is also free. Signing up is easy, as is searching for a friend on Skype. Here's how to do it.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Internet access
Open your Skype application. Click "Start," then select "Programs." If you're using Windows, click on "Skype." Mac users, click "Applications," then "Skype."
Log into your Skype account with your username and password.
Click "Contacts" in the text menu along the horizontal menu at the top of your Skype window.
Select "Search for Contacts" from the drop-down menu. Fill in the fields with your friend's Skype name, email address or real name in addition to the state, city, language, age, gender and country. Then click the "Search" button.
Search the results for your friend. You can sort by full name, Skype name, country, city or language by clicking the field headers.
Double-click your friend's name. Click "Add Contact."
Locate and click the "Contacts" tab in the center of the Skype application window.
Right-click the name of the contact you'd like to chat with. A pop-up window will appear.
Click "Start Chat" from the menu. There is a light blue talk bubble next to the menu option.
A new chat window will open offering a number of options.
Call your friend by clicking the round green button with the image of a white telephone receiver in the center.
Tips and warnings
- When searching, consider the adage, "less is more." Rather than filling in everything you know about a contact, consider entering just a few fields, then sorting by Skype name or real name.
- If you cannot find a friend after searching Skype, consider inviting your friend to join. Click "Tools" along the upper horizontal menu bar along the top of your Skype application. Click "Share Skype with a Friend" from the menu that appears.
- Many chat options exist on Skype. A blue circle encasing a talk bubble with a plus sign allows you to add people to the chat. This is a great opportunity to make weekend plans with friends, plan the family reunion menu or discuss an upcoming business merger with multiple participants.
- The button with a piece of paper and pencil allows you to set a chat topic. This feature is wonderful if you plan on participating in multiple chats at the same time.
- Pressing the red "X" will permanently remove you from the chat, but you'll still be logged into Skype and any other chats you are participating in.
- To call a chat participant, click the green "Telephone" button.
- Create a new chat with current participants by clicking the white talk bubble with lines in it.
- Send a file to all participants by clicking the paper with the blue arrow in it.
- Type chat messages in the text field at the bottom of your Skype chat window.
- You can see what all participants have typed, including their names and times their messages are sent, in the large field located in the center of your chat window.