Secret Skype: Easter Eggs and tips for serious users
Some of us use Skype every day, but very few know the ins and outs of the app. Skype can do much more than just make voice and video calls.
In fact the app has plenty of easter eggs and hidden secrets that even the most seasoned of Skype pros might not know about. Read on to find out our favourites.
Enable keyword notifications
One of our favourite tweaks for Skype is its ability to notify you when someone puts certain words into a chat window. If you have a lot of contacts, all speaking at you at the same time, it is a great way to prioritise important questions and chat windows.
Say for example you need an IM notification when someone says the words "urgent", then you can tweak Skype to do just that. Go to tools, options and then the notifications/alerts menu. Enter whatever text you want into the custom IM box and Skype will alert you whenever that word is typed by a contact.
Show what you’re up to in Skype chat
If you fancy letting your fellow Skypers know exactly what it is you are up to, then there is an easy solution. Typing /me and then following it with a status message will post it indented into chat.
So for example, if you write /me is testing out Skype, then the app will post "Hunter Skipworth" is testing out Skype", or whatever your screen name is.
Get yourself emoticon savvy
Skype has a clever set of emoticons you might not have used before. If you hold a set of keys far apart from each other for example, then an emoticon will appear next to your name showing the symbol of a cat. Why? Because Skype thinks a cat is walking across your keyboard.
Another clever emoticon is the pencil break. Hold down the RTG buttons and a pair of hands snapping a pencil will appear. Another classic is the pool party emoticon - created by writing (poolparty)which shows a man dancing with a rubber ring around him. Our favourite however is (ninja). Rather predictably, it shows a ninja. Not sure why you would use it in conversation, but awesome all the same.
Quickly send a file
Forget Dropbox or any other cloud-based storage, Skype can offer up a speedy solution if you need to share something between contacts.
All you need to do is drag any file into the Skype chat window or group chat room and then it will be shared between whoever you are chatting to, provided they accept downloading it.
Delete a message you sent by accident
Here is a bit of a life saver. If you accidentally type something into the wrong chat box, say a message intended for your girlfriend, rather than your boss, then it’s possible to delete it.
All you need to do is select the guilty text and right click it. From there you simply right click it and select either delete or edit.
Create a line break
If you hit enter in a conventional Skype convo, then whatever text is in the chat window will be posted. What if you want to create paragraphs within one single post?
This can be done simply by holding down the shift key and hitting enter. This way you can type out big long strings of text that can be copied out of Skype, a quick way to share documents.
Switch off animated emoticons
If your chats tend to be a bit emoticon heavy, then clear up your chat windows by switching off animated emoticons. It is a simple one, go in to tools, then options and IM and SMS, uncheck the box that says show animated emoticons. Et voila.
Edit how a contact’s name is displayed
This is another time saver and a handy way to manage how your Skype looks, especially if you have a lot of contacts. What you need to do is select a person in the contacts view and you will then open up a separate contacts window.
From there, type in the name you want to change the contact to and click the tick. The best use for this is when you have multiple contacts all with very similar names, as this will help you to differentiate.
Lets say, for argument's sake, that you have a lot of contacts. Browsing through them all and finding the right person, even with Windows 8's clean modern UI, isn't quick.
The speediest way then, is to simply just start typing, up will pop the search bar and away you go. You can even pinch to zoom with your fingers and that should bring up an alphabetised list of every person you have on Skype.
Snap the app
Part of the core functionality in Windows 8 is in the way it handles application snapping. You can drag most modern UI apps to either side of the screen and they will snap down to a smaller version. Skype handles this particularly well.
If you drag the last used application into the Skype home, then Skype will snap to one side. From there you can explore contact views or even make chats, while using another app in full screen.
Some may have multiple Skype accounts. If this is the case, Windows 8's single sign-in approach can cause issues. If you do want to log out of your Skype account and switch to another, all you need do is bring up your profile page and hit sign out. You can then sign in with a different account.
It is important to note that this doesn't work if you have a Windows 8 account created with a Microsoft account. To fix this, create a Windows 8 account on the same computer and sign in- now when you switch between Windows 8 accounts you will switch accounts on Skype also.
Drag to chat
If you are using Skype on a Windows 8 tablet, then the app has a few clever touch-enabled functions that you might miss. While in a video call for example, if someone sends you an instant message, you will get a text bubble pop-up along with a picture of their face appearing in the app.
If you tap on that pop-up, then the chat window will appear within the app. Alternatively, you can swipe the video window away to chat.