How to Get Started with Skype - dummies

How to Get Started with Skype

By Loren Abdulezer, Susan Abdulezer, Howard Dammond, Niklas Zennstrom

Once you have installed Skype, a screen pops up to help you get started exploring Skype, finding friends, and testing your sound. From the pop-up screen, you can do all of the following.


  1. Check that your sound works.

    This option allows you to test your speakers and your microphone. If you have a Web cam, you can also check your video.

  2. See what you can do with Skype.

    This option gives you information about both free and fee-based features, as well as Skype’s security and privacy terms.

  3. Find friends and import contacts.

    This option shows you how to check whether your e-mail contacts are on Skype and how to look up people on Skype in general.

Once you have everything set up, you should test your connection. You can test your connection at any time by following these steps:

  1. Double-click your Skype icon on the desktop or choose Start→(All) Programs→Skype to launch Skype.


    If for some reason the main Skype window is obscured, repeatedly press Alt+Tab on the PC or Option+Tab on the Mac to cycle through all open applications until you navigate to the Skype application.

  2. Enter echo123 in the text entry box that contains the text “Search Contacts, Groups, and Conversation Topics.”

    Normally, this box is where you would enter the Skype Name or number of the person you want to call, but entering echo123 connects you to the Skype Call Testing Service.

  3. Click the green call icon that appears in the middle of the screen.

    The green call button has a handset on it and is the one you click to place a call. Clicking the green button connects you to the Skype Call Testing Service. When you’re connected, you hear a personable voice calmly guiding you through an audio test.


  4. Leave a short message when prompted, up to ten seconds long, and listen for your message to be repeated.

    If you don’t hear your message, something’s wrong!

If you have sound problems when making a Skype call, try the following:

  • Compare your Windows Sound settings with your Skype Sound settings. To locate your Skype Sound settings, choose Tools→Options→Audio settings. To locate your Windows Sound settings, choose Start→Control Panel→Sounds and Audio Devices. (This path may differ on some computers with different operating systems and configuration setups, but your aim is to locate the Sounds and Audio Devices control panel.) Make sure that the sound devices match.

  • If no one can hear you, you may have the wrong device selected in your Skype sound settings. If more than one device is listed, make sure that the device selected is the microphone you are using.

  • If you can’t hear anything, you may have the wrong audio out device selected in your Skype sound settings. If more than one device is listed, make sure that the device selected matches the headset or speakers you are using.