Your computer must have speakers (or headphones), a microphone and a webcam (if you wish to make video calls). Most laptops have these all built in.
You can test your microphone and speakers by calling the “Skype test call” contact and when you initially install and use Skype.
If you intend to use Skype regularly then I recommend logging in to Skype whenever you turn your computer on. N.B. You must make sure Skype is updated regularly as using an out of date version will mean you can’t access your account.
If you have a Hotmail or Outlook account then you can access Skype without setting up a new Skype account. If you have a Gmail account you can also use Google Talk which is very similar.
Setting up an account and setting up Skype on your Computer.
If you have a Hotmail or Live account and use outlook.com then you already have a Skype account and can access the facilities from outlook.com or the Skype Application. You can update your browser, by following the instructions listed below.
You will need to click on the box at the bottom of the window to install the extension and follow the instructions when it has finished downloading.
When this Window comes up you have finished and should be able to access Skype from Outlook.com. You can just close the following window.
To access Skype from Outlook.com click on the icon shown at the top of the screen.
If Skype is already installed on your PC or tablet but you don't have an account then open Skype and “Create an account”. Follow the instructions and enter username and email address etc. Please make sure you keep a note of your new Skype username and the email address used to create it.
If Skype is not installed open an Internet browser and go to Skype.com and install Skype, it will ask you to Create an account at this point.
If you wish you can link Skype and Microsoft accounts, see this link.
You add contacts by either noting your friends Skype username, email address or even name. It is easiest if you know a Skype address as this is unique to Skype. Email address may not be the one that Skype knows. Entering a name may return thousands of results and you have to try to work out which one is the one you want.
If you float your mouse over the icon it will tell you it means "Add a Contact". Type Skype name and send the invitation. Once you have sent the invitation this person will be shown on your contact list but you will not be able to call them until they have accepted your invitation. Also only people shown as online can accept calls. The icons shown for each of your contacts will vary dependent on their status. E.g. on-line or not. An invitee will be shown as off line until such time that they accept an invitation.
Person is away from Skype, you cannot call them.
Person is on-line, you can call them.
Person is off-line, you cannot call them.
Making and receiving voice and video calls.
If someone is on-line then you can click on their name and then either click Call or Video Call.
They will get a ringtone on their PC and must click the accept or reject call button.
Either party can end the call by pressing the red telephone handset button.
You can add or remove video at any time by clicking the camera icon and also mute the microphone by clicking the microphone icon.
Conference calls, setting up groups.
Go the groups button and go through your list of contacts to add to a group.
The following screen will appear. Put it side by side with your contacts screen and drag Skype contacts to the group.
You will be given the option to give it a name and it will then appear in your contacts list as a Group.
You can call from the Group screen as shown above or from the Contacts screen. Click on the Group then click call or video call. Individuals on the call can end their involvement or the originator can remove someone from the call but none of those called can remove another party from the call.
Screen sharing and file sharing.
While in a call you can share your screen with the other party in a call to show them something on your screen. Click on the + icon shown below and then click Share Screens.
In the conversation or call windows look for the + icon shown above and select the "Send file" option. Selecting a file to send is similar to any other "Browse for" process.
Receiving a file, you have to accept the file and save it. Please note they are not virus scanned but all files are encrypted.
For full details see the link below:
You can do much of what is detailed above from the Menus, please have a look to check them out.
Please check the privacy settings in the “Skype” Menu. Ensure you are happy with them.
You can buy credit in the “Skype” menu.
Please make sure you always “Sign out” in the “Skype” menu. Especially if using a Public Computer. Just closing the window is not sufficient.
When you first use Skype on your computer make sure you un-tick the Log me in when Skype starts if you don’t want to be automatically logged in. Especially on Public computers.
In Tools> Options> General Settings make sure “Start Skype when I start Windows” is un-ticked.
There is ample help on line and in the Help Menu.
Please note that the Skype App on the Windows 8 Start screen is completely different from the above. It lacks certain functionality such as Screen sharing and is generally not as easy to use. If you are using Windows 8 it is better to go the Windows Desktop and install the “Skype for Windows Desktop” application as described above and then only run Skype from the Windows Desktop. This gives you full functionality.
Linking Microsoft to Skype accounts.
For more details on linking accounts see these 2 links.