How to use Skype

Here’s our guide to help you get started video chatting with your family and friends

how to use skype video calls

by Nathan Katnoria |

There’s nothing like seeing your loved ones face-to-face but if you’re unable to spend time with them in person, video calls are a great way to stay connected with your friends and family from the comfort of your own home.

There are lots of different ways of video chatting, including Skype, which has been downloaded over 1 billion times since launching in 2003. It’s particularly a great option if you are using a desktop PC or laptop, but it’s also available on a range of devices including mobile phones and tablets.

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Using a new programme for the first time can be a bit confusing so we’ve put together a guide on how to get started on Skype. You’ll be chatting away to your nearest and dearest in no time at all…

How to use Skype

In this guide, we will be discussing:

How to download Skype

Creating an account and signing in

Adding contacts

Making calls

Instant messaging

How to download Skype

If you have a PC or laptop, you can download Skype from the official website. Whether you’re using a Windows PC or Mac, the website should recognise which device you’re using and provide the relevant download link. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to download and install the programme.

If you would like to use Skype on another device, such as an Apple or Android phone or a tablet, the Skype website also have a download link for those.

Creating an account and signing in

Once Skype is installed on your laptop device, you will need to create an account or sign in. It’s possible to sign into Skype if you have an existing Microsoft or Facebook account, but you can also create a separate account just for Skype if you wish.

If you choose to connect your Facebook account, you will be able to see your News Feed and contact your friends in Skype. This does mean that you will need to give permission for Skype to access your profile, information and friends’ information though.

Once you’ve decided how you would like to sign in to Skype, enter your details in the required fields.

Adding contacts

Now that you’re logged in, you can start setting up your contacts list. Ask your friends and family for their usernames and add them to your contacts by clicking on the Contacts tab on the left side and then the Add Contact button in the top right corner.

You can also find contacts by searching for their full name, Skype name or email address in the Search Skype box in the top left corner, or, if you’ve logged in with your Microsoft account, you can import contacts from your address book.

Making calls

Make sure you have a compatible microphones and headphones or speaker set up before making your first call. Your PC or laptop already comes with in-built speakers and a microphone but you can also use headphones if you prefer. You can test if your speakers are working by clicking Test Audio in the settings menu.

If you would like to make video calls, you will also need a webcam. Many laptop computers have these built-in but you can also purchase external webcams.

You’re ready to make you first call now – to do this, click on the picture of the person you want to call and you’ll be given two options. If you click on the video button, this will start a video call so you and your loved one can see each other face-to-face. On the other hand clicking on the phone button will start a phone call, which means you won’t be able to see the other person but you can chat using the mic built in to your computer.

If you want to chat with more than one person at the same time, click on the + button on screen to add others into the conversation. Perfect for when you want to chat with the whole family!

Instant messaging

As well as video and voice calls, Skype also allows you to send instant messages to your contacts.

You can do this by clicking on the contact you would like to chat to and typing your message in the box at the bottom of the screen.

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