9 Cool Things You Didn't Know Skype Can Do

by Greg Go on 17 April 2014 (5 comments)

Sponsored by Skype — Use Skype Credit to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.

Skype is famous for free instant messaging and online voice calls, and I love using Skype to keep in touch with my friends and family. But Skype offers so much more than messages and online calls. Here are 9 cool ways Skype can make your life easier.

1. Send and Receive Files

Skype is helpful for sending and receiving files quickly. I use Skype to send photos, spreadsheets, screenshots, PDFs, and other files to my coworkers on a daily basis.

To send a file, simply select the contact you want to send the file to, then click on the plus button and choose “Send file…”:

The best part? It is completely free and there is no file size limit.

2. Share Screens

One of the most useful features of Skype for my daily workflow is the ability to share my computer screen with coworkers. This feature lets us explain tasks and show what we’re doing with incredible clarity. It is also great for troubleshooting someone else’s computer. Again, the way to initiate a screen share is to click on the plus button while in a conversation with someone:

3. Search Permanent Group Chats

Another way I regularly use Skype is to have group chats (instant messaging with multiple people) with my coworkers. Once created, group chat rooms are permanent – you don’t have to do anything special to save them. Your entire chat history is saved by Skype without any effort on your part. You can easily search through your chat history at any time by pressing Ctrl-F in the chat box. I love being able to search through my chat with coworkers and find some important bits of info that we shared with each other months ago.

To create a group chat, click on the button that looks like there are several people in it:

You can then drag the names of contacts you want to add to the chat room. Or, you can click on the plus button to add contacts.

By the way, you can also click the plus button to create group chat rooms when you’re already chatting with someone. This feature is helpful when I’m already talking to someone, but we realize we want to add another person into the conversation. I click the plus button, add a contact, and now I have a group chat room:

 

4. Call Landlines and Mobile Phones Around the World

Skype is famous for their free online calls. But did you know you can purchase something called Skype Credit, which allows you to directly call mobiles and landlines all over the world at exceptionally low rates? My parents have been using Skype Credit for ages to keep in touch with my extended family across the globe.

You can buy Skype Credit for $10 or $25 at a time, and even set up auto-renewal for convenience. Check out this link to see how much you can save with Skype Credit.

To dial a mobile or landline number, look for the phone icon to bring up a dial pad on your Skype app:

5. Send SMS Text Messages

You can send SMS messages around the world from just a few pennies (you pay using Skype Credit). To send an SMS message, right-click on the name of the contact, then select “Send SMS Message.” You can then enter your message in the message box and click “Send” to text them.

6. Receive Calls From Anyone With a Skype Number

You can get a Skype Number that anyone can call from their phone. The Skype Number looks just like a regular number — it has a three-digit area code plus seven digits. When someone calls your Skype Number, you can pick up the call from any device with Skype installed (e.g. your cell phone, desktop computer, laptop, Xbox, tablet, etc). You can select a number from a wide variety of area codes in the United States and in several countries.

This area code selection feature can save your friends and family a bunch of money. For instance, if you moved from Los Angeles to Canada, you can get a Skype Number with a local Los Angeles area code. Give this L.A. Skype Number to your L.A. friends, and they will be able to call this number as if it were a local L.A. number instead of paying an international rate. Skype Numbers can be purchased for $5 a month using Skype Credit.

7. Use Skype for Wi-Fi Hotspots

Skype is very handy while traveling. Instead of paying up to $20 per day for random Wi-Fi hotspots, such as in hotels, you can connect to one of the over 2 million Skype Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Using Skype Credit, you’ll only pay for the minutes you use. I’ve used Skype Wi-Fi on past business trips, and it’s been both a time-saver and a money-saver.

8. Free Skype-to-Skype Video Calls to Anyone in the World                 

You might already know that you can make free Skype-to-Skype audio calls, but did you know you can make free Skype-to-Skype video calls as well? On a daily basis, I make video calls on Skype to talk to both the Wise Bread team and to other personal finance bloggers. Video calls make our team meetings much more personal, and video chats with other bloggers help Wise Bread build relationships within the industry.

On a personal level, video calls to Canada help me and my parents stay in touch with our distant relatives. I’ve used video calls on my computer, my Android smartphone, my parents’ iPhones, and on an iPad.

You can make a video call on any computer or device that has a front-facing camera. Simply select the person you want to call from your contact list and click the “Video call” button.

9. Have a Big Video Call in Your Living Room Using Xbox One and Kinect

One cool way to use Skype is to have a big family video conference. You can make Skype video calls using an Xbox One system with Kinect. Many smart TVs also come equipped with Skype, so check to see if yours does, and if not, you can buy a Logitech web cam so you can make Skype calls from the comfort of your living room. This feature is very cool when you’re having a family gathering, but someone can’t attend. The distant relative can still be a part of the celebration say, Thanksgiving dinner from thousands of miles away. By using Xbox One and Kinect, your family doesn’t have to crowd around a laptop. They can sit comfortably on the couch while chatting, or you can have the connection running, so your distant relative can watch you guys eat!

Sponsored by Skype — Use Skype Credit to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.

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Guest's picture

I love how versitile Skype is and the XBox One video connect is definitely a feature worth trying if you havn't already. I use it to stay in touch with my sister who lives on the coast.

Guest's picture

You were correct. I didn't know that Skype could do all these things. The one that could come in handiest for me is the desktop sharing. I have used WebEx and other services paid for by my company to do this, but I have not been able to share desktops with family and friends.

Thanks for the information.

Guest's picture
Guest

Can we choose a landline phone number as our Skype number? I moved to Canada and would like to have a landline number from Chile to call my family.

webmaster's picture

Skype Number is available in Chile. So you can get a Skype Number with a Chile area code. Then you give that number out to your friends and family in Chile. They can call that number (and not incur international rates) and it will ring your Skype-enabled device (mobile, laptop, tablet) in Canada. See this link for details:

http://www.skype.com/en/features/online-number/

Guest's picture

Wow, these are some really useful tips. Being far away from family, we use Skype or FaceTime regularly.