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A Simple Guide to Skype

A Simple Guide to Skype

by Rick Winter

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Readers will hit the ground running with this concise guide to Skype. The book explains basics such as how to set up an account and how to add friends, family, and other contacts. It also discusses some of the program’s more advanced features, such as how to change views, set a particular status, and conduct video and audio-only calls. Readers learn how to


Readers will hit the ground running with this concise guide to Skype. The book explains basics such as how to set up an account and how to add friends, family, and other contacts. It also discusses some of the program’s more advanced features, such as how to change views, set a particular status, and conduct video and audio-only calls. Readers learn how to parlay the benefits of this free service to stay in touch with personal and business contacts with this easy guide.

Product Details

Luminis Books
Publication date:
Simple Guides Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.30(d)

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A Simple Guide to Skype

By Rick Winter

Luminis Books

Copyright © 2012 Luminis Books
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-941311-18-9


Setting up Skype

Skype was created by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis in 2003 and was sold to eBay for $2.6 billion dollars in 2005 and then to Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. The number of accounts is over five hundred million and growing. What's all the fuss?

Skype can act as a communication hub for you and is obviously becoming a communication platform for millions of people. You can use Skype to coordinate your phone calls, contacts, as well as add video and group calls to your communication mix. Skype allows you to collaborate on documents and projects by sharing your screen or sending files to people you are working with.

In order to use Skype you need the following:

* Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, Mobile, Mac OS, iOS, LINUX, or other operating systems.

* A computer, tablet, or one of more than 50 mobile phones.

* Built-in speakers or external speaker.

* A built-in or external microphone

* A web camera (not required, unless you want your contacts to see you).

This user guide focuses on using Skype from a Windows based computer, however you can use this guide to find out about many of the Skype features.

To Get Started

There are three things you need to do to get started with Skype:

1. Set up a Skype account.

2. Download Skype.

3. Launch Skype from your computer.

Set up Account

To set up an account with Skype:

1. Go to www.Skype.com.

2. Click the Join Skype button.

3. Fill in the requested information – include at minimum, the items marked with an asterisk (First name, Last name, Your email address twice, Country, and Language).

a. Fill in your City if you have a common name and you want to make it easier for contacts to locate you.

b. If you include your Mobile phone number, this will be visible to your contacts and they can call you from Skype if they have purchased that service.

4. Scroll to the bottom of the form and fill in your Skype Name, do not include spaces and include 6-32 characters and/or numbers.

c. If you type in a name used by someone else, Skype informs you that the name is not available.

d. Skype provides you some suggestions based on your first and last name or you can try other letter/number combinations.

5. Type a Password (6-20 characters and/or numbers) and Repeat password again for confirmation.

6. Enter security words in the box. This lets Skype know you are a real person and not a computer hacking into the program.

e. If you cannot read the words, try your best interpretation, click the Refresh button, or try the Listen button and type the words said between the sounds.

7. Read the Skype Terms of Use and Skype Privacy Statement and click the I agree – Continue button.

8. If you've entered all the required information correctly, Skype sends you to a web page thanking you for registering and giving you offers. Otherwise, Skype displays, "Please review the information that you have entered." Scroll through the form and make corrections as needed.

Install Skype Software

To install the Skype software on your computer:

1. Go to www.skype.com.

2. Click Skype for Windows or type in Download in the Search text box and press Enter.

3. Click the Download Skype button. If your browser blocks the install, click on the message at the top of the screen, "click Here for options" and choose Download File.

4. The File Download – Security Warning dialog box opens. Click Run. You may have more than one file to run, so click Run again if requested.

5. The Installing Skype window opens. Read the Skype's Terms of Use and Skype's Privacy Policy, select your language and click I agree – next.

6. The next screen asks you to install the Bing Bar. If you already have a search toolbar, you may not want an extra toolbar. If desired, keep the box checked. Otherwise, uncheck the box and click Continue.

7. You will see a progress bar for a few minutes. When Skype is done installing, the Thanks for choosing Skype window displays and the Skype software may open in another window.

To Launch Skype

To open Skype, do one of the following:

* Double-click on the Skype desktop icon.

* Double-click the Skype tray icon.

* Or click the Start button, choose All Programs, Skype, Skype.

To Launch Skype Automatically

Skype often launches messages when you are using your computer. To avoid these constant messages, you should set up Skype to launch when you start Windows. If you are low on memory, this might not be the best option.

To set up Skype to open automatically when Windows is started:

1. In the Skype window, select Tools, Options.

2. If not currently selected, click the General Settings bar on the left of the dialog box.

3. Click the Start Skype when I start Windows checkbox to add a checkmark (or remove the checkmark to use one of the steps above to launch Skype each time you want to go into the program).

4. Click the Save button.

Buy Skype Credit

[$] Like many Internet companies, Skype is attempting to monetize their site. Their strategy includes having a mix of free and paid services. You need to buy Skype credit or get a subscription for many of the services, such as SMS messaging and video conferencing with multiple people. If you're travelling and don't have cheaper options, you might want to buy Skype credit so you can at least attach to a Skype Wi-Fi to get on to your computer. When you see this icon [$] displayed this indicates the Skype service is not free. Of course, Skype may change what may no longer be free at any time. Make sure you review your Skype credit often to see what Skype is doing with your credit.

To buy Skype Credit:

1. Select Skype, Buy Skype Credit. After a few moments, the Skype Buy credit dialog box appears.

2. If you do not want to automatically have Skype recharge you, uncheck the Recharge my account check box.

3. If you want to change the payment method from the last time you paid or signed up, click the Paying with Change button.

4. If you want to change your billing address, click the Billing Address Change button.

5. When you are ready to make the purchase, click the Buy Now button. The Buy credit dialog box changes to say that Skype is processing your order.

6. Click the Close button to exit the dialog box.

See Your Profile

When you are using Skype, you may want to customize your on screen appearance. You can add a picture to display when people search for you or see an incoming call from you. You can also add your phone numbers and emails, and add a short description about yourself.

To see what your profile looks like to other people:

1. Select View, Profile. Your profile displays with all of your current settings.

2. To see what your profile looks like to non-contacts, click the Public profile button.

3. To see what your profile looks like to contacts, click the Contacts only button.

Change Profile

To change your profile settings:

1. Select View, Profile Your profile displays with all of your current settings.

2. To change your profile settings, click the Edit button.

3. Click on the item you want to change. If there is an existing entry, you are taken to a text box. If there is no entry, you can click on the link such as Add number. The right part of the screen shows if the information is available to the Public or to your Contacts only.

4. If desired, you can display some information between your contacts or to no one, but only if there is an arrow. Click on the arrow and choose between Contacts only or Private.

Change Profile Picture

To change your profile picture:

1. Select View, Profile. Your profile displays with all of your current settings.

2. Click the Change picture link.

The Set your picture profile window opens and gives you two options:

a. Click Take a picture if your web cam is on. You can use the scroll bar to zoom to choose a close up. Click Use this picture if you like the one shown better than your existing profile picture.

b. Use the scroll bar to zoom and Use this picture to select the picture shown.

c. Click Browse, navigate to the location of a stored picture, and click Open.

Watch your Skype Credit

Skype has added some nice features when you are using Skype credit so you can watch your balance and know how much you are spending.

To manage your Skype credit, do any of the following:

* To view your balance, open your Skype window. Your current balance appears on the Call phones bar.

* If you've recently completed an order, click on the Skype Home tab and then click on the More info link for your order.

* To see more current details on your account, click the Call phones bar with your balance and click the View account button. The Account window opens.

Get an Online Number

[$] You can pay to obtain an online phone number. When people call you from a phone or a computer, Skype directs the call to any computer you are signed on to with Skype, no matter where you are in the world. There is an additional charge for the online number. Your contacts pay the local fee amount for the phone number.

1. In the Skype window, select Skype, Account.

2. Click the Online Number icon. The orange asterisk indicates there is an additional charge. If you have another Skype subscription, you may be eligible for a discount. The screen should indicate if you are eligible.

3. Click the Get an Online Number button. Your browser launches and list the countries that are available for an online number.

4. Click the flag or your country name.

5. Follow the prompts relevant to your country. For example, in the US Skype asks you to select your state and then prompts you for an area code. Skype will suggest phone numbers. You can type a phone number in or use a pattern to see if any phone number is available. For example 777* checks for all phone numbers in the area code to see if there are any with three sevens in a row.

6. Click on the phone number to select it.

7. Click the Continue button.

8. If you have already entered a credit card or another form of payment, Skype asks you to click the Buy now button to complete the process.

Set up Call Forwarding

[$] Skype can forward your online phone calls to a cell or a landline phone. There is an additional charge for this service. However, if you already have a subscription, there may not be an additional charge.

1. In the Skype window, select Skype, Account.

2. Click the Call Forwarding icon. The orange asterisk indicates there is an additional charge.

3. Select the country from the drop down list and enter the phone number to forward calls to.

4. Click the Save button.

Change Call Forwarding Settings

To Disable Call Forwarding or change the settings:

1. In the Skype window, select Skype, Account.

2. Click the Call Forwarding icon.

3. If you want to change the phone number, click the Edit button and type in a new phone number.

4. If you want to add a second phone, click Add another phone number, select the country and type in the phone number and click Save.

5. If you want to remove call forwarding, click the Disable button.

Check for Updates

If it has been awhile since you installed Skype, you should check if there is a newer version to make sure you have all the latest features.

To update Skype:

1. Select Help, Check for Updates.

2. If there are updates available, you will see a dialog box letting you know.

3. Click the Download button. The dialog box lets you know how much time is remaining. You can Cancel the download if you don't have time or Hide the dialog box if you want to work on something else.

4. Once the download is ready to install, the dialog box gives you the opportunity to Upgrade or choose Not now to do the upgrade later. Click Upgrade to make your software current.

5. Skype software may close and you will get a wait screen informing you that Skype is being updated. After Skype is finished, you are returned to the Skype program.

Premium Subscription

[$] A premium subscription allows you, for a monthly fee, to do things you would not be able to do with the free version of Skype. This includes:

* Click to Call (web pages convert phone numbers to buttons you can use to call).

* Get voice messaging (you can also pay per call for this with Skype credit).

* Call land lines or mobile phones (you can also pay per call for this with Skype credit).

* Set up call forwarding.

* Get an online phone number.

Set up Premium Subscription

There are multiple ways to set up a premium subscription. In this case we'll assume you are in your Skype window. You could also go to the www.skype.com website.

1. Click on Skype, Account. The Account window opens.

2. Click See subscriptions. Skype gives you options from for US, Europe, or other plans. Follow the screens to set up your subscription and payment options

3. If you want to change the country, click the Change country bar and select a different country.

4. Scroll to the option you wish and click Buy now. Complete the screens with the options on how often you want to pay, contact information, and your payment information.

Click to Call

If you have a Premium Subscription, you can click on a phone number on a web page to make a phone call.


Setting up Contacts

Skype allows you to manage your contacts either through the program itself, through Facebook, or through Outlook. You can add individual contacts or import your email list into the program.

Add a Contact

To add a contact:

1. In the Skype window, click on the Add a contact button at the bottom of the left pane.

2. The new contact window opens. Type in as much information you know about the contact as possible.

3. If Skype finds the contact, a picture may appear.

4. Click the Add button. One of four things will happen:

a. The contact appears in your Contacts pane on the left.

b. Or, if Skype does not find the contact and you have typed an email address, Skype prompts you with an email to invite the person on Skype. You can leave the default email with instructions on how to download Skype and your username or you can type in a different email. Click the Send email button when finished

c. If there are a number of potential matches, Skype gives you an option to choose the contact. Click the Add contact button next to the person you want to invite.

d. If Skype finds the person's account, you are given the opportunity to ask the person to add you to Skype (Send request) Or just save the phone number instead.

5. After you add this person, you can click the Add another contact button at the bottom of the window or click the Close button to return to the Skype window.

Add a Phone Number to a Contact

After you add a contact there are a number of ways you can edit the contact.

To add a phone number to a contact, do the following:

1. Click on the contact name in the left pane.

2. Click the down arrow next to Call Phone. A small box opens.

3. Click in the blue Add phone number area.

4. If desired, click the first drop-down arrow and choose Mobile, Home, Office, or Other.

5. If necessary, click the arrow next to the flag and choose the country.

6. Type the new phone number

7. Click on the Check button.

Remove a Contact

You can remove of a contact permanently from your contact list.

To remove of a contact:

1. Right click on the contact name in the left pane.

2. Select Remove from Contacts. If you have this set up, a confirmation window appears.

3. Click Remove.

Block a Contact

If you want to make sure a person doesn't contact you, you can choose to block them.

To block a person:

1. Right click on the contact name in the left pane.

2. Select Block This Person. A dialog box appears.

3. If you want to just remove the person from your list and not allow them to call you, check Remove from your Contact list.

4. If you also want to report inappropriate behavior such as unwanted advances or profane language, check the Report abuse box.

5. Click Block.

Unblock a Contact

If you made a mistake with blocking a person or later choose to unblock the contact, go to your options window.

To unblock a contact:

1. Select Tools, Options. The Options dialog box opens.

2. Click the Privacy button on the left.

3. Click the Blocked contacts button.

4. In the Blocked people box, click on the person's name and click Unblock this person.

5. If you want to block someone in your contact list, select them from the You can prevent a person from contacting you by selecting their name from the list below down arrow and click Block this person.

6. When finished with the dialog box, click the Save button.

See Your Facebook Contacts

Skype allows you to see your Facebook contacts, send messages or emails, and make calls if they have set up email and phone numbers in their Facebook accounts.


Excerpted from A Simple Guide to Skype by Rick Winter. Copyright © 2012 Luminis Books. Excerpted by permission of Luminis Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Rick Winter is a software trainer who has worked with more than 3,000 people. He has published more than 50 computer and children’s books and articles. He lives in Colorado.

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