Video-calling technology has been around since the 1960s, but the first installments were too expensive for the general public to use. Recently, the widespread availability of high-speed Internet and improvements to video technology have made video chat and video calls accessible and affordable for just about everyone (source). That means that more and more people are starting to wonder how to use Skype. Although it’s not the only video-calling service available, Skype is one of the most popular options these days because the software requires minimal equipment and is easy to use. In fact, you can make your first video call within minutes of downloading Skype.
Most people have Skype now and use it for instant messaging, phone calls, video chat, group calling, and more. With Skype, you can use your laptop, computer (webcams are available if your desktop computer doesn’t include a built-in camera), mobile tablet, cell phone, or TV to easily connect with friends and family. Plus, Skyping is fun and easy. Once you learn how to use Skype, you’re free to enjoy the following benefits:
- Free, high-quality video and voice calling between Skype users
- Access to Skype on any device with an Internet connection
- Connect with family who are traveling internationally or live in another state at no extra cost
- Enjoy standard features like caller ID, voicemail, and call forwarding
- Hold group calls, send instant messages, share files, and text
How to Use Skype
To get started, you will need an Internet connection and an audio-enabled device with a built-in webcam, like your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Make sure your device’s operating system is up-to-date, and you’re good to go! Follow these steps to start learning how to use Skype today:
The screen may look a little different, depending on which device you’re using, but the setup for Skype is the same:
- Download Skype – To download the program, go to the Skype website, choose your device (computer, mobile, etc.), and click Get Skype. The website will walk you through the rest of the download process. Versions are available for any setup and the basic download is free.
- Create an Account – After downloading Skype, open the program. You will be prompted to create an account. Provide your Skype name and password in the fields provided. Your Skype name serves as your phone number. This is how your friends and family will find and connect with you on Skype.
- Set Privacy – While creating your account, you have the option of choosing whether your information will be visible to the public (searchable by anybody using Skype), private, or visible only to your friends. We recommend setting your privacy to “visible only to friends.”
- Add Contacts – To add your contacts, go to Contacts > Add Contact > Search Skype Directory. Follow the search instructions listed. Your friend or family member will have to accept your contact request before you can video chat with them. Skype will let you know when they’ve been added to your list.
Make Your First Video Call
- Set a time to Skype. Let your family and friends know when you want to Skype them. Then, check to see if they’re online by looking at the icon in front of their username. If there’s a green checkmark, they are on and available. If it’s yellow, they are away. A gray icon indicates that they are offline.
- Have a conversation – If your contact is online, click the contact’s name, then click the video-call icon in the upper right-hand corner. You’ll hear music while Skype connects you, and video will appear once your contact accepts your call. To end the call, simply click on the red, circular phone button at the bottom of your screen.
- Start experimenting – Once you know how to use Skype’s basic features, experiment! In addition to video and voice chat, you can send contacts a typewritten message (also known as an instant message), share files like images, or start a party line (where more than two users can join a call). Give it a try!
Once you get the hang of it, Skype is simple to use and an excellent way to keep in touch with loved ones around the world.
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