How Do I Use Skype?

In this tutorial, you will learn:

  • important settings in Skype
  • how to use the various tools in Skype
  • what you can do with Skype
  • how to change privacy settings

Introduction

Skype is a web-based communication tool that allows two users in separate locations to communicate with one another via:

  • text-based messaging (similar, if not identical to, text messaging or instant messaging),
  • voice chat (basically a web-based telephone call), and probably its most prominent tool,
  • video calling

To use Skype you must have:

  • a mobile device with a webcam and microphone (most smartphones and tablets will already have these)
  • a Skype account

The person you are trying to contact through Skype must also have these things.

When both users have the proper equipment, they may instantly be connected in a real-time, visually aided conversation.

Getting Started

To create a Skype account, it is best to access www.skype.com with a computer to register for an account.  Following account registration, you will need to download the Skype app from the app store.  For help with downloading an app, follow this tutorial.

After downloading the app onto your mobile device, access it from your app folder.  The app looks like a blue “S” (Circled in Image 1)

Contacting People through Skype

Upon logging in, you are greeted with a list of people who you recently contacted with your account.  The simplest way to enact a message to someone already in your address book is by clicking the “People” tab and selecting the person you wish to communicate with (Circled in Image 2).

skype-image-1-and-2
Image 1 and Image 2

 

 

Once you reach the contact’s page, you have the opportunity to directly communicate with them (Image 3).

skype-image-3-and-4
Image 3 and Image 4

 

By typing in a message, you enact a text-based instant messaging conversation.  By pressing the phone in the bottom-right corner of the screen, you enact an audio-only conversation with that person through Skype.  Lastly, by pressing the camera in the bottom-left corner, you begin a video-call with the contact.

Changing Settings

App settings may be accessed via the menu key (bottom left sensor on phone hardware) when at the Skype home screen (Image 4).

These are all the options within the ‘Settings’ tab (Image 5):

skype-image-5-and-image-6-and-image-7
Image 5 and Image 6 and Image 7

 

Checking the box next to “Sign in automatically” allows your Skype app to remember your username and password so that it may immediately login to the app when you access it.  If the box is not checked and the app is completely closed, you will need to re-enter your login information (Image 6).

The “Notifications” tab takes you to another menu which allows you to choose whether or not your phone will vibrate and/or make noise when someone tries to talk to you through Skype (Image 7).  This will only occur when you are logged into Skype.

Under the “Contacts” heading, there are two selections.  The first, “Automatically add friends,” gives the Skype app permission to look through the contacts saved to your phone.  If any phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook accounts, or other ways to identify people you know with their Skype accounts are present, Skype will automatically add their Skype accounts to your Skype address book.   This may be turned on or off.

The second option allows you to export your Skype contacts into your phone’s contacts.

The next heading involves “Privacy.”  The first selection limits who may Instant Message you through Skype.  You may limit this to only people in your contacts, or you may allow anyone who can find your username to talk to you.

The same option is allowed to limit who can contact you via calls, either voice or video.

The last important heading is the “Voice and Video Calls” heading, you may choose whether or not Skype will answer your Skype calls (both voice and video) automatically.  The other important option under this heading determines the video quality.  You may choose either high or low. Things to keep in mind are that a high quality will use more data (not important for when your mobile device is connected to Wi-Fi) and may lag if your device does not have a good connection to the Internet.

Download this PDF file if you would like a printed version of this tutorial.