Sunday, March 30, 2008

How to use the help menu?

New Skype users typically wonder about a variety of issues. What kind of headset should I get? How do I get Skype Credit? Why are my chats archived? To answer these and other questions, Skype provides a variety of online help facilities through the Help menu. Some of these answer questions; others take you to Web pages for specific tasks such as buying Skype credit.

Choosing Help➪Help opens your Web browser to the com site. On this Web page, you can find links for troubleshooting, user guides, announcements from Skype, and other kinds of helpful information. The Web page also contains a searchable a knowledge base.

Choosing Help➪FAQ takes you to a page with answers to plenty of Frequently Asked Questions.

Getting Started
This option opens a sequence of screens to give you an ultra-quick tour of Skype. The very first time you install and launch Skype on your computer, this Getting Started guide is displayed. It continues to be automatically displayed every time you launch Skype until you select the Do Not Show This Guide at Startup option.

Get Headset
This option takes you to the Skype Web store, where you can purchase Skype-certified headsets, speakerphones, webcams, and the like. Chapter 11 profiles some of these products.

Buy Skype Credit
Certain features of Skype, such as SkypeIn and some ringtones, entail a fee. For this reason, you may need to buy Skype credit.

Redeem Voucher
Many of the Skype-certified gadgets on the Skype Web store as well as some of the products described in Chapter 11 come with voucher numbers for various Skype-related features, such as free SkypeOut minutes or Voicemail. Choose Help➪Redeem Voucher to claim your free services. While we’re on the subject of vouchers, look to the end of this book for vouchers to use toward purchasing various software products for Skype. Take advantage of these offers while they last!

Check for Update
Keeping up-to-date with the latest and greatest version of Skype might be a chore if you had to remember to check for updates. Luckily, Skype makes it easy for you to automatically keep your software up-to-date because Skype does the checking for you, as follows:
  • Choosing Help➪Check for Update lets you check whether you have the latest version of Skype installed.
  • Choosing Tools➪Options➪Updates lets you configure Skype to either alert you about new updates or make them automatically.
For major releases, you have the option to have Skype automatically download the new release, alert you that a new release is available and ask you for permission to download, or ignore new releases altogether. Every so often, Skype may have a hotfix to a specific problem for a small number of Skype users. For these hotfixes, Skype gives you the option to automatically download, ask before downloading, or ignore updating for hotfixes altogether.

Report a Problem
If your Skype experience is not the way it’s supposed to be, you may want or need to report it to Skype. Problems can span a broad spectrum of issues ranging from general support issues to incorrect charges in your Skype account. When reporting a technical difficulty, you may enter a long and detailed message and click the Submit button, only to find that your message has not been submitted and you are instead presented with a laundry list of possible explanations for your problem. At the end of that list is a true Submit button. Skype wants you to be absolutely sure that your question is not responded to in its prepared list of responses. Do not be intimidated by this! Click Submit to have your issue addressed by some responsible person in Skype.

For troubleshooting purposes, it is helpful to know the version of Skype software you are running. Choosing Help➪About displays this information for you.

How to use the call menu in skype?

The Call menu enables you to manage your calls. If the Call menu appears grayed out, you are not actively engaged in any calls on Skype. While you are actually on a Skype call, or receiving an incoming call, the menu is no longer grayed out.
The following options are available from the Call menu.

You can answer an incoming call from the menu, but it is probably easier to click the green call button that is displayed with incoming calls.

This option lets you ignore an incoming call so that you won’t hear it ring and can continue your activities without interruption.

You can place a call on hold; Resume enables you to resume the call.

You can place a call on hold and answer an incoming call if you happen to already be talking to someone on Skype and receive a call from someone else.

Mute/Unmute Microphone
During a call, you can select Mute Microphone. When you do, your microphone stops sending sound to the audio-in device. While the microphone is muted, the Mute microphone option changes to Unmute microphone.

Hang Up
At any time during a call, you can click the red hang up button to end the call. All the items available from the Call menu are generally available to you by clicking various Skype buttons and toolbar icons. Unless you need to navigate the Call menu for these options, you may find clicking a visible button to be easier and more convenient.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Changing Language in Skype

Parlez-vous français? Sprechen sie Deutsch? ¿Habla español? The Skype program can be set to more than 27 different languages. You can set your language preference by choosing Tools➪Change Language and picking one of the languages listed in the submenu.
Skype lets you set your application preferences for the following features:
General options, Privacy, Sounds, Sound devices, Hotkeys, Connection, Updates, and Advanced settings; Videoconferencing ; and Call Forwarding, Voicemail, and SMS Messages

Monday, March 24, 2008

How to Open Bookmarked Chats?

Although the Recent Chats feature is useful, you may want to retain the chat to keep it live and ongoing indefinitely. Skype gives you this ability when you bookmark a chat. Choosing Tools➪Bookmarked Chats lets you open and resume your bookmarked chats.

Recent Chats in Skype

Skype supports text chats between you and your fellow skypers. Not everybody will sit by his or her computer to keep a chat session going. And you may be in the habit of shutting down your computer every night before you go to sleep. What happens to your chat? Conveniently, Skype remembers the chat content and lets you resume where you left off. To resume a chat, choose Tools➪Recent Chats and select from a list of recent chats. If the chat has not been given a title, what shows is the last line of the chat.

How to Share Skype with a Friend?

To encourage your friends or others to try Skype, you may want to send an eCard with information about Skype and its download links. Choose Tools➪Share Skype with a Friend to open a form on which you can construct an invitation to use Skype and have the form emailed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ringtone in Skype

Skype lets you set the kind of ringtone you want to hear when someone calls you. Choosing Tools➪Ringtones lets you navigate and select from items in a submenu. If you are using a wireless headset and someone calls you on Skype, it would be nice to know who’s calling without having to look at your computer screen.

How to Send SMS Message in Skype?

Skype has a Short Message Service (SMS) through which you can send brief text messages to mobile phones and devices that support the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). To use this service, follow these steps:
  1. Choose Tools➪Send SMS Message.
  2. In the Add to SMS window, select names appearing in your mobileenabled and SkypeOut contacts and click the Add button to add them to the SMS Recipients list box. Alternatively, just click and drag the name over to the SMS Recipients list box. If you want to send an SMS message to a phone number that’s not on any of your lists, space is available for entering the number. Click the Add button to add it to your list of recipients.
  3. Click the OK button in the Add to SMS window and then enter your message in an SMS window; click the Send SMS button to send it.

How to Do Call Forwarding in Skype?

One of the convenient features of Skype is the ability to automatically forward incoming calls. The call can be forwarded to a Skype Name of your choosing. Optionally, it can be forwarded to a regular telephone number, although you may have to pay a fee for SkypeOut charges. What happens if the Skype number you are forwarding to doesn’t pick up the call? Skype allows you to designate up to three call forwarding numbers, and each is tried in succession.
To use Call Forwarding, follow these steps:
  1. Choose Tools➪Call Forwarding to open a window and choose your call forwarding settings.
  2. Select the Forward Calls When I’m Not on Skype check box and enter a phone number. If you need more than one forwarding number, click the Advanced Settings link.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Voicemail in Skype

You can’t sit by your computer 24 hours a day waiting to receive incoming calls over Skype anymore than you can be near your home telephone all the time. Skype provides an optional Voicemail service that makes it easy for people to leave you messages when you are unavailable to take their call. Choosing Tools➪Voicemail opens the Call Forwarding and Voicemail panel, where you can record an audio greeting message as well as set your Voicemail preferences.

What is SkypeIn?

The flip side of SkypeOut is SkypeIn. Anyone can call you from a regular or cell phone and reach you on Skype. All that’s involved is setting up a SkypeIn phone number. Choose Tools➪SkypeIn to set up a SkypeIn number. If you want to establish an international presence for your business, or want to make it easy for your aunt who lives overseas to call you from a local number in her country, SkypeIn is definitely great news. There is a fee for setting up a phone number, but it is low

What is SkypeOut?

Voice over IP (VoIP) is about using the Internet as the transport medium to make calls from one person’s computer to another. This is fine, but Skype does it one better: A feature called SkypeOut lets you connect and make calls from your computer to a regular landline or cell phone. Pretty cool. Depending on where you are calling to (and from), SkypeOut can be totally free or there may be a small fee for its use. If you want to place a call using SkypeOut, you may need to purchase Skype credit. Choosing Tools➪ SkypeOut lets you purchase Skype credit if you need it. Incidentally, when you hold conference calls, the participants on the calls can be speaking from regular landlines.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How to Create a Conference Call in Skype?

Create a Conference CallConference calls are a great way to huddle with a small group of people and work collaboratively. Skype conferencing is extremely easy to set up. Follow these steps:
  1. Choose Tools➪Create a Conference Call or click the Conference Call button in your Skype toolbar. A window opens in which to set up your conference call.
  2. To add participants, click the Add button or drag the contact name to the list box showing your conference participants. You can also edit the conference title.
  3. Click OK when you are ready to start the conference.

How to Manage Blocked Users in Skype?

Anytime a person makes a person a nuisance of him- or herself, you have the option of banning this person from directly initiating a call or chat with you (choose Advanced➪Manage Blocked Users). A person who is blocked cannot call you or initiate a chat with you, see your online status, view your picture, or do or anything else that your regular contacts have available.

Keep in mind that if you block a user, it will not prevent someone else from including both the blocked user and you on the same chat or conference call. When you choose Advanced➪Manage Blocked Users, a window appears that shows any currently blocked users and gives you the ability to take anyone off that list.

How to back up and restore contacts in Skype?

It’s a good idea to back up your Skype contacts even though the list is maintained at Skype’s central repository. Choose Contacts➪Advanced➪ Backup Contacts to File and select a location on your hard drive or USB flash drive to store the contact info. The file gets saved as a VCF file, which is a special format for exchanging contact info. If you’re curious, you can open up the VCF file with a text editor such as Notepad.
Restoring your contacts is just as simple. Choose Contacts➪Advanced➪ Restore Contacts from File, locate your backup file on your drive, and click OK.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Send Contacts

A nice and probably underused feature of Skype is the ability to forward contacts from your Contacts list to other Skype users. You can forward contact names to any of your Skype buddies.
When you forward Skype contact names, you have to pick and choose which contacts you are sending (that is, you are not obligated to send your whole contacts base but can send only the individual contacts you select for sending). If the people listed in the contact names you are forwarding set their privacy settings so that only authorized people can call or chat with them, your Skype buddies may need to request permission to communicate with them.
If you forward a SkypeOut contact to your Skype buddies, they will be able to immediately SkypeOut to that contact, just the same as if they were placing a regular SkypeOut call.

How to Import Contacts?

Selecting the Import Contacts option launches a wizard that lets you import your contacts from Outlook and the Outlook Express Address Book. The import process does not require that you have Outlook or Outlook Express actively running.
If you’re using Windows, follow these steps to import contacts from Outlook (steps for importing on the Mac are covered next):
  1. Select whether you want to import your contacts from Outlook, or the Outlook Express Address Book, or both. When the import process is about to start, Microsoft Outlook pops up a window and tells you that another program is trying to access your email addresses stored in Outlook.
  2. Select the Allow Access check box and then set the duration of allowed access to, say, 10 minutes. While Skype is importing names from Outlook, it also searches the Skype central repository to see whether any of the people who are listed in your Outlook contacts list are already registered users on Skype. At the end of its search, it provides you a list of potential matches.
  3. Review the Skype profile of your potential matches and select the names you want included. When Skype finds Outlook contacts to be imported that have email addresses and are not already on your Contacts list, Skype asks you to select any of those contacts you would like to invite to join Skype.
  4. Click Finish to complete the import process.
You can always re-import your Outlook contacts without worrying that you will create duplicate entries in your Skype Contacts list.
Importing on the Mac works much the same as it does on Windows:
  1. On the Mac platform, choose Contacts➪Import Contacts. The Import Contacts window appears.
  2. Select the various data sources and type of information you want to import.
When you import contacts with versions of Skype for Mac earlier than 1.5, be aware of the following caveats:
  • You can import phone numbers only from the system Address Book.
  • telephone numbers appearing in the Address Book must begin with the international plus sign (+) prefix in order to be imported.
  • The only information that gets imported is phone numbers. No other general contact information gets imported.
When you import contacts with version 1.5 of Skype for Mac:
  • You can specify whether you want to import contacts from the system Address Book, Microsoft Entourage, or both.
  • You can restrict the import to phone numbers only.
  • You are not restricted to importing phone numbers starting with a plus sign (+) prefix.

Search for Skype Users

Selecting this option opens a general search page that allows you to search the Skype central repository for registered Skype users (and there are more than 100 million of them!).
Here are several reasons you may want to search for a Skype user:
  • To call or chat with a person.
  • To add that user to your Contacts list and ask for the user’s contact details.
  • To look up the user’s Skype profile to find out about that person. As a practical matter, this may be a person who is contacting you and requesting that you share your contact details. You may not recognize the person’s identity. Looking at the person’s public profile may help you figure out who is contacting you and determine his or her purpose for reaching you.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

How to Add a Contact?

When you add a contact, you can do so by one of two methods:
  • Find someone already in the Skype central database of Skype users.
  • Add a SkypeOut phone number of someone who is not in any database: For example, if you want to add your favorite cousin Jack to your list of contacts but Jack is not yet using Skype, you can list Jack’s telephone number as a SkypeOut phone number. This way, you can quickly call Jack from your Skype contacts.

Understanding Show Menu

  • Show Live Tab, Those of you who are using the latest version of Skype may have the option to view ongoing Skypecasts directly from your SkypeLive panel. Selecting the Show Live Tab menu item makes the SkypeLive tab and panel visible.
  • Show Text on Toolbar, The icons in your Skype toolbar for adding contacts, searching, calling phones, conference calling, chats, sending SMS, files, and looking up a skyper’s profile are pretty easy to figure out. Although you can forego text captions underneath each of the icons, you lose nothing by keeping the text captions.
  • Show Text on Tabs, Each of the tabs (including Contacts, Dial, and History) in the Skype menu has an icon as well as a brief text description. If you want, you can eliminate the text description appearing next to the icon on the tabs.
  • Show Contact Groups, As your list of contacts starts to grow, you may find organizing them into specific groups helpful. For example, perhaps you hold conference calls with members of a committee you chair in a company of organization. Try selecting all of them if your Contacts list grows from multiples of tens into the hundreds, or possibly thousands! In this case, you can definitely benefit from defining groups and use them to organize your contacts.
  • Show Outlook Contacts, One of the nice features of Skype is how you can easily tap into your list of contacts that reside in Microsoft Outlook. To make use of this capability, simply run Outlook at the same time that you have Skype running. Skype can read the list of Outlook contacts and phone numbers. When you look at your Contacts list within Skype, you see your Outlook contacts as well. The steps involved are as follows:
    • Start Skype and then start Microsoft Outlook.
    • In your Skype application, if no check mark appears next to Show Outlook Contacts in the View menu, choose View➪Show Outlook Contacts.
When you view your contacts, your Outlook contacts and their phone numbers are listed along with the Skype contacts. You can call anyone from your Outlook contacts directly from Skype.

Understanding View Menu

The View menu displays which components of Skype’s interface are visible on your screen. Those that are visible appear with a check mark next to them. You can change the setting by selecting the item from the menu. Selecting a checked item in the menu makes the check mark disappear and causes the respective item in Skype to disappear. If you select an unchecked item in the menu, a check mark appears — and the corresponding item appears.

Wisely, the Skype installation defaults make the toolbar, addressbar, and statusbar all visible (checked). You can remove these elements from view if you want, but why make life more confusing?
  • View Toolbar The toolbar makes it easy to add and search for contacts, conveniently call ordinary phones and set up conference calls, start a text chat or send a short SMS message, send files from your computer to fellow skypers, and look up the profile of one of your contacts or people you are about to call.
  • View Addressbar The addressbar is the location where you can type in a Skype contact name, a regular phone number, or even an Outlook contact name if you have Outlook running. You can find out more about your Outlook contacts later in this section. If you have History Quickfiltering turned on, you need enter only a portion of the name or phone number. Those contacts or phone numbers with portions of text that match your entry are filtered and displayed. This handy feature enables you to locate your contacts easily and quickly.
  • View Status bar The left side of your statusbar shows your current online status. When you click the status icon, a context menu pops up and allows you to change the status from the available options. These options are spelled out a little later. While you’re on a call, the statusbar displays the name of whom you are speaking to. If you’re on a conference call, the statusbar displays that fact. The right side of the statusbar displays how many skypers are online.
  • View Dial Use the Skype Dial tab to assist you in making calls to ordinary phones. This facility is especially useful in placing international calls. Three quick steps are involved:
    • Click the flag symbol or country name to which you are placing a call. This action sets the appropriate country or region code.
    • Enter the local number along with area code.
    • Click the green call button to place the call. There is also a link for calling rates. If you are calling a place of business, you may be prompted to click certain keys such as the pound (#) or star (*) key, or an extension number. Click the dial pad keys as appropriate.