If you have heard of Skype, but thought to yourself "I don't need it", "It's just another social networking fad like Facebook", "It's something for the Kids, Uneducated and Unemployed" you need to think again! Besides being a social networking tool and money saver for businesses, it is also a cost-effective tool for those who have family abroad. Yes it gives FREE Phone Calls and phone calls to other countries at cheaper rates than offered by many telephone (landline) providers, but it is much more than phone calls. It is about communication via video (webcam) too.
With so many instant messengers ("chit-chat" softwares) out there coming in and out of fashion, such as Yahoo Messenger, Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts, why should you choose Skype? Well for the same reasons you choose Facebook - It has millions of users, is a social hub for businesses, friends and family, and combines all of its main features in one window. Previous instant messengers lacked the ability to keep conversations and other features in one window. These days people like their software to be very easy-to-use with minimal fuss and this is one area where Skype has succeeded.
To install Skype you first need to download it from the Skype website and register yourself a Skype Account with a unique User Name. This can be done by clicking on the GET SKYPE App in the START Menu (ALL Apps), but this just takes you to the Skype download web page; so you might as well visit that web page yourself - http://www.skype.com/en/.
Fig 1.0 - Click on the DOWNLOAD SKYPE button to continue
On the Skype website you might see an option to GET SKYPE FOR WINDOWS DESKTOP, as opposed for the MAC or ANDROID devices. You could use either button (GET SKYPE or GET SKYPE FOR WINDOWS DESKTOP) because the downloaded SkypeSetup.exe installation (setup) file will be the same. The features and functionalities are the same. The only real difference is in the way Windows sets up functionality for Touch-Screen users and Windows 10 app users, as opposed to earlier versions of the Windows operating system-
Fig 1.1 - Click on the GET SKYPE FOR WINDOWS DESKTOP button to continue
Depending on the web browser you are using (i.e. Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Google Chrome or Opera) you might have the choice to RUN, SAVE and/or SAVE AS the SkypeSetup.exe installation file. In this example I am using Internet Exploerer 11 whereby I can RUN the downloaded SkypeSetup.exe installation file. However, you may need to save it first using your web browser's SAVE or SAVE AS option/button; in which case you should find the SkypeSetup.exe installation file inside the DOWNLOADS folder. Double click on it to run (execute) it.
Fig 1.2 - Click on the RUN button (if available) or on the SAVE button to continue
Fig 1.3 - Click on the I AGREE - NEXT button to continue
The second step of the Skype installation wizard asks you if you would like to install the SKYPE CLICK TO CALL add-on (plug-in). This is a feature whereby the phone number on a web page in turned into a Skype Call button that enables you to call that company directly from your web browser (from the web page with the Skype Call button on it). You basically click on the Skype Call button and Skype calls the phone number for you. Simply untick this option if you are not interested in it or leave it ticked just in case you might want to use it in the future. Either way, click on the CONTINUE button to proceed with the installation of Skype.
Fig 1.5 - Click on the CONTINUE button to proceed
The next step of the Skype installation wizard asks you if you would like to install the Bing Search Engine (Get internet search results from Bing instead of Google, Ask or Yahoo for example) and make the MSN (Microsoft Network) website your web browser's default home page (i.e. Internet Explorer 11's starting/opening web page). This is just unnecessary advertising and installation of unwanted software as far as I am concerned, hence why I have both options unticked in this example. I am interested in Skype, not MSN. Anyway! Click on the CONTINUE button once you have decided which, if any, of those additional default options you want ticked.
Fig 1.6 - Click on the CONTINUE button to proceed
Now that all of the Skype installation questions and options have been dealt with the actual installation of Skype can begin.
Fig 1.7 - Finally! Skype is being installed.
The actual installation of Skype is quite fast. It's just a shame the above pre-steps are geared towards the introduction of the Bing services and so on. The reason I point this out is because Microsoft now own Skype, so you should expect more advertising and so on to come with Skype. Don't let this put you off though! Skype is an excellent piece of software, hence why Microsoft bought it, but at the same time you have to remember "nothing is totally free in this life"; meaning advertising will be contained within the Skype windows and some calls will cost you for example.
When Skype has been installed (below) you will be asked to sign in with either your Microsoft E-mail Account, Skype Account or create a new Skype Account. Ideally, you should of already created a Microsoft E-mail Account and/or a Skype Account before installing Skype, both of which are just a case of filling out an online application form. If you haven't though, you can always click on the CREATE AN ACCOUNT link or SIGN IN WITH FACEBOOK link. In this example I already have a Skype Account I can sign in with, so I will click on the SKYPE NAME button to continue.
Fig 2.0 - Click on the SKYPE NAME button to sign into your existing Skype Account
After clicking on the SKYPE NAME button you are asked to enter your UNIQUE User Name & Password. Skype calls a User Name a SKYPE NAME. Enter those details and then click on the SIGN IN button. The option (link) called SIGN ME IN WHEN SKYPE STARTS is best left ticked unless you want to sign in every time Skype launches (opens).
Fig 2.1 - Sign In with your UNIQUE Skype account User Name & Password
Now that you are signed into your Skype account, and more precisely the Skype messenger, on initial installation you have to set up your Microphone and WebCam (Audio/Video) equipment, as well as your profile picture. So click on the CONTINUE button to proceed.
Fig 2.2 - Click on the CONTINUE button to set up your profile photograph
Clicking on the CONTINUE button (above) should open up your webcam (below), hopefully with a preview of you in front of it, as well as list your webcam and headset in the respective drop-down menus to the left of the window. If so, click on the CONTINUE button to proceed. You might want to test your microphone before clicking on CONTINUE by talking into it - The green gauge will reflect how loudly you are talking.
Fig 2.3 - Click on the CONTINUE button regardless if your audio/video equipment is working or not
If your audio/video equipment is not listed it could be because there is a problem with it, hardware-wise and/or software-wise, or it could just be that you forgot to plug it in correctly. Either way, make sure it is all plugged in correctly and that its software (drivers) is up-to-date and compatible with the version of Windows you are using. Don't worry too much if you cannot get everything working at this time as you can always set up your audio/video later via the Skype menus. In the above example both my internal microphone and speakers are listed together with my USB UVC (VGA) WebCam previewing a picture of me. I also have a 'Prestigio Full HD PWC520FH' WebCam connected, which is accessible through the VIDEO drop-down menu.
After setting up your audio/video equipment (above) you are then asked to take a picture of yourself using your webcam (below). You can also BROWSE for a picture (photograph) file, on your computer or flash drive for example, which I highly recommend! It is what I have done in this example.....cheated!
Fig 2.4 - Click on the CONTINUE button to take a picture now or just click on the ADD LATER button to do it later
Fig 2.5 - Either click on the TAKE A PICTURE button or click on the BROWSE button
In the above example I have clicked on the BROWSE button, as opposed to taking a picture of myself, simply because a WebCam is not the best device at taking a picture; as the above shows! If you do click on the BROWSE button you will need to navigate the file requester that appears to a picture file, select it and then click on the OPEN button.
Fig 2.6 - Click on the OPEN button once you have found and selected a picture file to use
Fig 2.7 - You can reposition the picture by dragging it - Click on the USE THIS PICTURE button when you are happy
When the picture file has been opened, a preview of it will be inserted into the Picture Preview window whereby you can then drag the picture around the window in order to reposition it. You can also enlarge it with the ZOOM slider button underneath the Picture Preview window. Once you are happy with the picture click on the USE THIS PICTURE to use it as your Skype account profile picture. Vou can then start using Skype - Click on the START USING SKYPE button to continue.
Fig 2.8 - Click on the START USING SKYPE button to open the main Skype Messenger window
In the next section I will show you how to use Skype - How to remove and add a contact, how to make a video (phone and webcam) call, how to make a phone call only and much more.