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The internet was built for communication. It all started with eMails. Back in the day, when the internet was brand new to the general public, Yahoo understood one thing very well: people love to chat and exchange information. Yahoo webmail, chatrooms, and the Instant Messaging client were hot.

Since then, the internet has grown. But one thing hasn’t changed: people still love to chat. Which client do you use? If you would like to change its look, read on. In this article, I explain how to install free skins for various instant messenger programs.

Yahoo Messenger

You can change your Yahoo Messenger skin under > Messenger > Preferences > Appearance tab. This is where you can also manage font and color for message windows and a few other optical characteristics.

free messenger skins

More Yahoo Messenger skins can be found on several sites, however, be sure to download and install skins compatible with your version of Yahoo Messenger!


To install, unpack the skin folder to > C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\skins.


Skype doesn’t support skins. However, you can play with the colors or use a wallpaper. Go to > File > Personalise > Change Wallpaper… Go ahead and > use wallpaper, > pick a preset color, or > drag the slider to a color you like. You can also > Browse… for your own custom background images.

free messenger skins

To undo changes click the > Clear background button in the bottom left.

For more information about Skype, have a look at the following MakeUseOf articles:

Google Talk

Google Talk supports chat themes, but not skins. All you can do is change the chat theme. Go to > Settings > Appearance tab and play around with the available themes.

free messenger skins

Here are some sites that provide themes for Google Talk:

To install a new theme, unzip the download, be sure you have it in a folder with the theme’s name, then drag and drop that folder into > C:/Documents and Settings/(Windows account name)/Local Settings/Application Data/Google/Google Talk/Themes/user/chat/

The > /chat folder probably doesn’t exist, unless you previously installed themes. So if it’s not there yet, create it.

Love Google Talk? Check out these MakeUseOf articles:


You can change Digsby’s look under > Tools > Preferences… > Skins tab.

There are skins for the application and themes for the conversations. For each skin or theme there may be several color variants available.

Digsby skins

You can get more Digsby skins,conversation themes, emoticons, and sound sets from They also provide clear instructions on how to install new themes here.

We have more information about Digsby available:

Windows Live Messenger

(formerly MSN)

Windows Live Messenger has difference scenes that you can change under > Tools > Change your scene… In the respective window you can also select a color scheme and > Browse… for other scenes.

windows live messenger scene

You can customize your Windows Live Messenger with personal scenes. You can pick any of your .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, or .png images and use them as background images.

Furthermore, you can change your display image under > Tools > Change display picture… and edit the layout under > Tools > Options… > Layout tab.

Want to know more about Windows Live Messenger? Read these posts on MakeUseOf:


Themes can be selected under > Tools > Preferences > Themes tab.

New themes are installed by dragging them onto the respective theme list.

There are four different theme sections: Buddy List, Status Icon, Sound, and Smiley.

pidgin skins

You can skin Pidgin with GTK themes and Smiley themes. If this sounds confusing, please refer to this explanation on the Pidgin wiki.

You can find skins for Pidgin here:

Want to find out more about Pidgin? We have it covered in these articles:

If you can’t get enough of your instant messenger, you should also have a look at the following articles:

So which client are you using and what’s your favorite theme or skin?

Image credit: guitargoa

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