Skype Rainbow

Although I’ll be the first to admit that Skype at times feels cumbersome and poorly-implemented, it’s actually a whole lot more versatile than some people give it credit for.

See, in addition to offering pretty much all the basic features of a video chat client, Skype has a few really cool under-the-hood functions that not many users are actually aware of. Although these nifty tricks might not necessarily make up for some of the weaker aspects of the client, they definitely help. Plus, you get to act all tech savvy and (marginally) impress (one or two of) your friends. That’s always cool, right?

Okay, maybe not. Still, this is pretty convenient stuff to know.


What if I were to tell you that Skype actually does have an option for “push to talk” as well as a whole host of other convenient hotkeys? Just pop open the Options menu, and click down to “advanced.” Click on “Hotkeys” then select “Enable Keyboard Shortcuts.” From here, you’ll be able to set hotkeys of your choice for a wide array of different functions. Granted, the only one I actually use is Push To Talk, but it’s still incredibly convenient.

Screen Sharing

Admittedly, this one’s not so secret. If you’re in a call with someone (or if you simply right click one of your online contacts), you’ll probably notice that one of the options available to you is “Share Screen.” What this basically does is display a live-stream of your computer screen for your contact, at which point you can show them photos, display videos, or even run presentations. Unfortunately, this feature is only available for free if you’re in a video call between two people. Any more than that, and you’re going to need to pay.

Send Contacts

Another nifty feature of Skype is that it actually allows you to share your contacts with another user. Rather than having to tell one of your friends to search through Skype’s database when they add one of your contacts, you can actually just right-click on their name and select the “Send Contacts” option. From there, it’s a simple matter of ticking the box next to the name of the contact (or contacts) you want them to add. Naturally, this is one you should exercise caution when using: you never know which of your contacts might not want someone knowing their username.

Hidden Emoticons

Skype has a pretty extensive list of emoticons, which can be accessed by clicking the emote image next to your message box. Thing is, this doesn’t actually display all the emotes available to you. There actually exists a fairly large set of emoticons that you can input simply by knowing the correct command, such as (drunk), (finger), and (wtf). Yeah…most of them are a tad rude.

Edit Your Messages

Usually, if you say something you later regret in a chat program, you can’t really take it back. Skype isn’t like that. You can actually edit the message you just sent by pressing “up” on your keyboard with the input box selected. Not only that, you can edit any message you’ve sent in the last several minutes simply by right clicking and hitting “edit message.” Careful, though: you can only edit stuff you sent recently. Once it’s been in chat for a while, it’s stuck there for good.

Customize Your Font

Last, but certainly not least, you can customize how your font looks both to yourself and to others in the Skype Menu. Pop into Tools->Options, then click IM & SMS. From there, simply select “IM Appearance,” and tweak your font to your liking.

What other Skype tricks, tips, and secrets do you know about? Drop a line in the comments below!