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Whether it’s at work or in the home, Skype has become a tool that many of us use on a daily basis. While there have certainly been some snafus along the way Should You Change Your Skype Password to Avoid a Spam Attack? Should You Change Your Skype Password to Avoid a Spam Attack? Complaints have been made to Microsoft that some Skype accounts are messaging diet pill and pornographic spam to contacts. Microsoft is now asking users to change their passwords, but what is behind this apparent breach? Read More , the service today generally offers a convenient and reliable video calling experience for the bargain price of free.

However, the development of the core functionality of Skype has led to some unpopular changes to its user interface. For one, the fact that it’s offered as a free service has necessitated advertising to be used to turn a profit. Second, the very layout of the program has been drastically changed, perhaps as part of a larger effort by Microsoft to make Windows 10 a haven for hybrids What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? What Are 2-In-1 Laptops and How to Pick the Best One? 2-in-1 laptops combine the portability of tablets with the ergonomics of a laptop, but are they any good? Is it better to get a tablet and a laptop separately? We explore. Read More .

The good news is that there are methods of customizing Skype that will make it ad-free and more space-efficient. Follow this guide, and you’ll cut down on much of the extraneous content filling up your display.

Blocking Skype Ads

Unfortunately, there’s no option to remove ads from Skype within the app itself. To reclaim that all-important screen real estate Too Much Screen Space? 6 Ways To Use Your Multiple Monitor Mac Setup Too Much Screen Space? 6 Ways To Use Your Multiple Monitor Mac Setup So you set your Mac up with a second monitor, which was really exciting – but now you've no idea what to do with all that space. Read More , we will have to prevent the software from making the necessary Internet connection to download the content. However, if executed correctly, this shouldn’t interfere with your ability to make calls using Skype.

Open up the Control Panel and navigate to Network and Internet > Internet Options. Move to the Security tab, click on Restricted Sites and open the Sites dialog with the button underneath.

block sites

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Next you’ll need to add two websites to the list of restricted addresses: apps.skype.com and g.msn.com. Once that’s done, you can save your changes by clicking Apply and close the window with OK.

Remove the Ad Placeholder

Even though you’ve prevented the Skype application from pulling ads from the Internet Which Android App Is Displaying Popup Ads? Which Android App Is Displaying Popup Ads? Do you have ads popping up on your Android device? Figure out how to get rid of them for good. Read More , you may still find a placeholder section of its interface reserved for the content. To remedy that, you’ll need to dip into the software’s configuration files.

To access the configuration files, navigate to the primary hard drive on your computer in an Explorer window and go to Users > Your Username > AppData > Roaming > Skype. You’ll then need to open the folder that’s titled with your Skype ID and find an XML file called config. Right-click that file and choose to open it with Notepad.

skype config file

Press Ctrl + F to use the Find function to search for AdvertPlaceholder. You should find a piece of code that reads <AdvertPlaceholder>1</AdvertPlaceholder> — change that 1 to a 0 and you will remove the placeholder from your Skype interface. Save the document and restart Skype for the changes to take effect.

Clear Up the Default Layout

Recent redesigns to the Skype UI, particularly the Windows version, have been widely criticized by users as a step backwards. Many would argue that the previous iteration made efficient usage of the program 10 Tips To Make You a More Efficient Skype User 10 Tips To Make You a More Efficient Skype User Skype can do more than you think. With this article, you'll learn all about its best hidden and advanced features. It's the Skype productivity manual. Read More  much easier, and unfortunately it’s not possible to revert to that version. However, there are a few layout options that you can tweak to make better use of the space available.

The first change to make is switching to a more condensed contact list by opening the View dropdown menu and selecting Compact Sidebar View. This removes much of the dead space taken up by your contacts, getting rid of their avatars and placing their names much closer together as a result. While the standard view seems to have been designed with hybrid devices in mind, the compact view makes more sense for usage with a more traditional PC.

compact view

If that doesn’t slim Skype down enough for your needs, it’s well worth trying out Split Window View. This separates the standard Skype home screen from your contacts list, treating the pair as two distinct windows. As a result, you can close the home screen and simply have a contact list window active. You can enable this option in the View menu.

contact list

As well as minimizing the contact list, other options can change the way that chat windows are presented to you. To access them, open up the Tools dropdown menu and select Options.

Open the IM & SMS section and click on IM Appearance, then tick the box that reads Compact Chat View. With this option enabled, your text chats will not display avatars, and text and other UI elements will be condensed down. As a result, you’ll be able to display more content in a smaller window, reserving more screen space for other applications running at the same time.

Ads No More

As Microsoft is embracing the Software as a Service model Windows 10 Is the Last Version of Windows. Ever. Windows 10 Is the Last Version of Windows. Ever. Microsoft is sick of you not upgrading, and has a solution: Windows 10 will be the final "version" of Windows. Ever. This could mean that you will never again have to buy Windows. Read More , they are increasingly integrating ads in their free products. Skype is no exception. Even Windows 10 has seen ad-like content How to Ban Windows 10 Ads & NSFW Content from Your Desktop How to Ban Windows 10 Ads & NSFW Content from Your Desktop Windows 10 may be crossing a line with desktop ads and NSFW content. Microsoft and third-party developers can push promotional material directly onto your desktop. We show you how you can defend yourself. Read More .

Where else have you spotted annoying ads in software? Do you have a tip or a request for making the most out of the Skype UI or the program in general? Share your advice and questions with other users in the comments section below.

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