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how to make skype funSkype, in terms of software design, continues to baffle me. It’s beautifully designed, and most of the time it’s also charmingly easy to use, but once in a blue moon you discover these little quirks that rain on your Skype parade.

It may be how the application masterfully ignores basic interface guidelines. Interface guidelines, in case you were wondering, are the thing that allows you to hit the ground running whenever you’re hit around the head with an application you’ve never had the pleasure of using before.

Skype, although an incredibly useful application, at times can make some very weird presumptions. On account of these, the application sometimes feels awkward, or imposing at worst. Below are some three very basic Mac tips to make your Skype experience on Mac OS X a more enjoyable one.

Change Weird Keyboard Shortcuts

Pressing cmd + w closes a window; that’s an almost universal keyboard shortcut. Apparently not so. Trying to close the Skype window will instead close your current conversation in Skype. Closing the window is instead mapped to cmd + shift + w.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve accidentally kicked myself out of a group conversation. Luckily, Mac OS X allows you to remap the keyboard shortcuts for any given application, as explained more fully in Jeffry’s article How To Master The Power of Mac Shortcut Keys How To Master The Power of Mac Shortcut Keys How To Master The Power of Mac Shortcut Keys Read More .

how to make skype fun

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To do so, open System Preferences from your Applications folder, and go to Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts. Select Application Shortcuts from the left sidebar, and click on the little plus icon to add a new application-specific shortcut. In the following dialog, you get to select the application, the menu title of the relevant menu command, and your own keyboard shortcut.

To get “normal” keyboard shortcut behaviour, add two custom application shortcuts. One, mapping “Close Window” to cmd + w, and one mapping “Close Conversation” to cmd + shift + w. Of course, you can define whichever keyboard shortcuts you want here to make Skype fit your own fancy.

Tweak or Disable Desktop Notifications

Desktop notifications — either through Growl, the new Mountain Lion notification center, or any built-in framework — are awesome. Scrap that. They can be awesome, but when you don’t want them they can be incredibly imposing. It used to be that you had to use a roundabout way to customise these notifications for Skype. Luckily, those days are long past, and you can easily tweak or completely disable these notifications in the Skype preferences.

fun skype tips

You can find these settings by going to Skype -> Preferences -> Notifications. In the Overview tab, you’ll be able to change the general notification settings, i.e. turn them off entirely, or change the way they are displayed on your system.

fun skype tips

The more interesting of the two is the Details tab, which allows you to toggle notifications on an event-specific basis. Say you want to show a desktop notification when someone starts a conversation, but not when people keep on jabbering in the background. You can enable (or leave enabled) the notification for the First Message Received event, but turn it off for Message Received.

Toggle Automatic Launch At Login

You may want to start Skype when your computer starts, similar to its Windows counterpart. Although there’s no automatic launch setting in the Skype preferences, you can configure manually this in the Mac OS X preferences.

how to make skype fun

Go to Applications -> System Preferences, and select Users & Groups -> Login Items. With your user account selected on the left hand side of the screen, add Skype by clicking the plus icon and browsing to the application. If you also want Skype to start hidden, i.e. without the application window plastered on your screen on login, tick off the checkbox next to the application name.

Do you have any other tips for the Mac on making Skype more fun? If so, please share them with us and your fellow readers in the comments below the article.

  1. Ahmed Khalil
    September 7, 2012 at 7:14 am

    i do not depend so much on the future of skybe after it became part of microsoft world

  2. jeunedr
    August 28, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Sounds great! thanks for the post.

  3. Piseth Mao
    August 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Great article, Simon. Anyway, do you know how to change Skype interface language. When I used Windows, I translated a language file of Skype and used it which was always praised by friends for how I had my Skype in my local language. However, when I use Skype for Mac, I don't seem to find out a way to change the language.

  4. Kofi Agyeman
    August 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

    tanx mate, dis was super helpful

  5. Rigoberto Garcia
    August 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    I'm using Skype for Windows for several years for both personal and work issues and I think a very useful tool. Now I've installed on my iPhone and initiate its use. Thanks for the tips for OS X Simon.

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