How to Use Skype

Make a Skype Account

Setting up a free Skype account is quick and easy.
Setting up a free Skype account is quick and easy.
Image courtesy of Skype

Since most people still Skype using a computer, we'll focus on how to create an account using one of those. The screen may look a little different depending on which device you're using, but the setup is the same. Your first step is going to the Skype Web site and clicking on "get Skype." Choose your operating system. Here, you can select whether you want the free version or Skype Premium. You can instant message, file share, share your screen and make video calls with other Skype users for free.

After downloading Skype and opening the program, you'll be prompted to create a Skype name and password. Your Skype name essentially serves as your phone number. Then, you fill out a profile with basic information about yourself. 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. Some information is always public, such as your Skype name, age, language and location (you can just limit this to your country). If you'd like to use a profile picture, click on the silhouette icon to upload an image. You can also use your webcam to take a snapshot or create a cartoon avatar of yourself called a Weemee. If you like, you can link your Skype account with your Facebook account by choosing "Facebook" in the "view" menu and "connect to Facebook." Then you can view statuses, comment and even call friends via your news feed.

At some point during the program setup, you may have been prompted to add "echo/sound test service" to your contacts. This is a good way to test to make sure your account is set up correctly. You can also add this to your contacts by going to the "search" box on the left and searching for the name. Once you've added this as your first contact, click on it and then choose "call." This audio-only call plays a recording that allows you to record and play back your own voice. If you can hear both recordings, then you're ready to start Skyping.