What is Skype?
Skype is a computer program that offers a VoIP (‘Voice over Internet Protocol’) service. This lets you make calls to people all over the world via your computers or telephone and have text chats. Calls between computers are usually free, and other Skype calls are generally inexpensive. With more than 650 million registered users, Skype is by far the most popular VoIP service, and ‘skyping’ is now almost as familiar a term as ‘googling’.
How to Download Skype
- a computer with a broadband internet connection (a dial-up connection is too slow for Skype).
- speakers and a microphone. Many computers will have these built in (especially laptops), and many webcams (see below) also have microphones built in. You can also use a headphones-and-microphone headset that can be bought quite cheaply.
- a webcam. This is a small camera that connects to your computer through a USB port, if it isn’t already built into your screen. Lots of laptops and desktops come with installed webcams these days. A webcam isn’t compulsory, but video calls are a key function of Skype, and you can’t make them without one.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to download Skype now
Step 2: Click on Download Skype on the page.
Step 3: A page will appear where you can either sign in (if you’ve registered already) or input your information to create an account.
- To begin, fill in your first name and last name and your email address (and repeat it). These are all required. No one will be able to see your email address.
- Profile information. All this will be available for anyone to see on Skype, except for your mobile number, which will be restricted to your own contacts. However, you do not have to fill in all the boxes with personal information, only those with a star next to them.
- ‘Skype Name’ – Enter the name that you want your Skype friends to see and which you’ll use to log in to Skype. Whether you use your real name is up to you. None of the 650 million users of Skype can have the same Skype name, so if your own name is a common one, you might want to change it a little – for instance, by adding your year of birth. The system will automatically check to see if your name has been claimed by anyone else and, if it has, will suggest alternatives. Don’t worry if your name isn’t available – you can easily modify it until you come up with a unique moniker.
- ‘Password’ – Enter (and repeat) the password you’d like to use. It must consist of six to 20 characters and contain both letters and numbers.
- If you don’t want promotional emails from Skype, untick the two boxes towards the bottom.
- The ‘captcha’ box: This is designed to make sure that you are you and not a naughty computer. Look at the text in the first box and then type it into the box below – in this case, ‘deouotThere’. If you can’t read the text, click the Refresh button and you’ll be given another bit of text to copy.
- Finally click on I agree – Continue.
Find Friends and Family on Skype
Step 1: After starting up Skype and logging in, find the menu bar at the top of the window and click Contacts. A drop-down menu will appear. Choose Add a Contact. You will then have a choice of searching for a contact name in the Skype directory or to add a phone number that you already know.
Step 2: In the next window that will open, type part of the name or the name of the Skype contact you wish to add. As you type, a number of Skype names will appear underneath. Double click on the name you wish to add.
Step 3: Another box will pop up with the details of the Skype contact you are going to add. Click on Add to Contacts.
Step 4: Another box will pop up next to the click on Add to contacts button where you can type your own message or continue with the default message. Click Send.
Step 5: The contact will be added to your list, but will have a question mark next to their name to show that the contact has yet to confirm they want to connect with you.
Step 6: You’ll have to wait for your friend to receive the request and agree to it.
Step 7: If you want to add someone’s phone number to your Skype, follow step 1, but this time choose Add a phone number from the Add a contact menu.
Step 8: Complete the boxes with the name and telephone number and click on Add Number.
Making a Skype Call
Step 1: Make sure you’re logged into Skype and that the main window is open.
Step 2: Click Contacts on the left hand side and then double click the name of the friend you want to call.
Your friend’s profile now appears in a new window.Next to their picture (if your friend has included one) is a series of buttons. Here’s what they do:
Video call – Start talking to your friend face to face through your webcam.
Call phone – If you want to call your friend, press this button to make what amounts to a normal phone call to your friend to a phone number you’ve attached to your Skype account. Or if you just want to call someone without using video, click on the arrow next to Call Phone and choose Call Skype.
(Plus sign) Add participants, send files, and more.
Call Quality Information – This allows you to make sure that every component required to use Skype is working well enough for good-quality calls.
Step 3: Click the Video call button.
Step 4: You’ll hear a ringing sound (like a telephone) while Skype attempts to get in touch with your friend’s computer. The window now shows your friend’s profile picture.
Below this, in a smaller box, is the view from your own webcam. While you wait for your call to be connected, you can use this box as a ‘mirror’ to make yourself look presentable. You can also move it to anywhere in the window by clicking and dragging it. Or you can click the small down arrow on the picture to get rid of it completely, but remember that your friend will still be able to see it – and you!
Step 5: Assuming that your friend picks up, they should now appear on your computer screen as a ‘video stream’. Feel free to natter away to your heart’s content. Your own video showing what the other person will see will appear as a small square in the bottom right corner.
Step 6: Once you’re finished talking to your friend, you can hang up by clicking on the red handset icon (End call). The fact that you’ve ended your call will be recorded in your contacts bar.
Happy Skyping, folks!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ronan is the Director and brains behind Bridge PC Repair. With over ten years experience in the technology industry, sure he knows it all.
Contact Ronan: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tele: 051 560767