How to Use a Camera on Skype

webcam image by R� ©gis Verger from

Skype is a video conferencing and VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) program that allows users to make free Skype-to-Skype call and video calls as well as inexpensive international calls. With a compatible webcam, Skype users can place free video calls with family, friends and colleagues all over the world. Setting up a webcam with Skype is usually handled automatically, but it can also be manually detected through Skype's video settings.

Plug the USB end of your camera's cable into an available USB port on your computer. If your webcam is built into your computer, start with Step 2. Your computer will begin to install the camera's drivers if it is a plug-and-play webcam. If it is not, your computer will attempt to connect to the Internet to find the drivers or ask you to insert the installation disc that accompanied it. Choose whichever option is more convenient or works with your particular set-up.

Open the Skype program on your computer. If this is the first time opening Skype with a camera installed, Skype will prompt you that a camera has been detected and that video is available.

Click the "Tools" link on the Skype menu if the camera was not detected and select "Options."

Click the "General" tab and select the "Video Settings" option that appears. Click the check box next to "Enable Skype Video." If the camera you installed is the default video device, you will see a preview appear in the box to the right. If it isn't, you can select the correct camera from the "Select Webcam" drop-down box.

Exit the menu by clicking "Save."

Start a video chat with another individual in your contacts by double-clicking her name and clicking the "Video Call" button in the communication window that appears. Skype will automatically start your webcam for you as it connects to the recipient of the call.

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