Skype is a messaging service that allows you to interact with anyone through text, voice or video around the world, completely for free! It’s just like a phone call or text, but with the ability to add video and avoid the costs of overseas calls. Here’s a handy guide on how to get the right tools and set up your Skype account in no time.
Six Steps to Using Skype
1. Getting Started
The first thing you’ll need is access to a computer, tablet or smartphone with an internet connection. If you want to use video chat, you might need to also purchase a web camera for your screen (most laptops and tablets have these already). All webcams and laptops/tablets have microphones built-in, so there’s no need to purchase any audio equipment.
2. Installing Skype
Go onto the Skype website at http://www.skype.com/en/ and download the program for your device of choice (it’s free)! If you want to use Skype on a smartphone or a tablet, scroll through until you find the button labelled ‘App Store’ or ‘Play Store’, type ‘Skype’ in the search box, click on it, hit download, and wait for it to install. You can use Skype over as many devices you like all on one account. Every time you want to use Skype, click the Skype image icon or touch it if you’re using a tablet or smartphone.
3. Setting Up Your Account
To use Skype, you can either sign in with a Facebook account, or you’ll need to create a Microsoft email account. If you already use Windows Outlook Email, OneDrive or a Windows phone, you probably already have an account! Just type this into your Skype and follow the prompts, and you’ll be set up in no time. If you don’t have either account, you can make one easily. For a Microsoft email account head to https://signup.live.com and enter in your details, and if you want to make a Facebook account go to https://www.facebook.com and follow the Sign Up prompts there.
4. Finding Friends and Family
Once you have your account details and log in, you can set your name, picture and any other details you like. Every time you want to use Skype to chat or call, you need to log in by re-entering your email address and the password you chose earlier (you can select ‘Stay Signed In’ when you start up Skype to skip this). To chat to someone you’ll need their Skype user name or email address. Type this into the search bar at the top of the screen and you should track them down in no time. Send them a chat request, or receive one yourself, and once it’s accepted you’re ready to Skype them.
5. Video and Group Calls
Skype offers several options, from simple text messaging to speaking through audio as though on a phone, to full video chat, just as if you are face to face! Click on the icon of a phone to call them, or a video camera to start a Video Call. You can even speak to multiple people together on a group chat. To make a group chat, click on ‘Contacts’ at the top of the screen and then click ‘Create New Group’, and then select the people you want to join in. From here, everyone can chat through text and see each other’s messages, or can select to start a Group Video Call, where everyone can see each other’s cameras. It’s important to note that the more people you have in a Group Video Call, the more sound and picture quality may decrease.
6. Answer Your Questions
Once you have made a Skype account and added a few contacts, you should be good to go! If you’re having trouble, the Skype website has a comprehensive Help and Support centre: https://support.skype.com/en/skype/windows-desktop/. Here you can look through to answer any questions you may want to know.