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Six tips to get the best out of Skype

Want to improve your Skype experience and extend its functionality? Here are a few hints and tips that I find useful when I Skype.
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By Eileen Brown, Contributor on
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If you have been using Skype for some time, you might have missed some of the new features that have been introduced in recent releases. Here are six cool things you can do with Skype to improve your experience.

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Start a call directly from the Start screen

If you are using Windows 8 you can pin a favourite contact to your Start screen and call them using Skype.

From the People tile, select the contact you would like to appear on your Start screen, right click the contact and select pin to Start.

When you want to call the contact just click the contact, select Call Skype and select yes in the start call box.

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Transfer files to contacts

You do not need to be in a call with someone to send and receive files. Just right click the contact name and select Send File. The recipient will recieve a pop up message (if notifications are enabled) or an alert against the contact name. The recipeint clicks to accept the file and select a location.

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Extend Skype to call landlines and mobiles across the world

You can call mobiles and landlines with Skype credit or with an unlimited world subscription which allows you to call the landlines and mobiles of your friends and family in over 60 countries.

You can call landlines and mobiles in Canada, China, Guam, Hong Kong SAR, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States. The world subscription is not available in Australia, Brazil, China, Taiwan, or Korea.

You can even reverse the charges to landlines in the US or Canada so the recipient pays the charges ($6 per 60 minute call).

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Call a group of contacts

Group video calling is a fairly recent feature which enables you to have group video calls with up to nine of your friends at the same time. Optimum numbers are around five users — expecially if they are not used to technology.

The participants on the call can be using mobile devices, Linux, TVs, Macs or Windows 8. They all need video cameras, microphones and speakers to have face to face video.

In Skype for Windows, select the create a group icon. Drag contacts into the Empty Group area of the window. For Mac, from the menu bar in Skype, click File > New Conversation. Click the Add button and select Add people.

 

 

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Surface 2 free calls offer

If you have a Surface 2 you can get practically unlimited free calling to landlines in 60 countries around the world and  eight countries for mobile phones.

You can also use SKype free WiFi for Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro but once you have activated your voucher (within 90 days of purchase) you can also use your subscription on any supported device.

Screen sharing is not enabled on Surface 2 devices, neither is group video calling.

 

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7 of 7 Eileen Brown/ZDNet

Check up on the house whilst you are out

This is a cheap way to check things are ok at home when you are out and about. Set up a Skype call to a device back at your home. Position the camera to show the room, set Skype to auto answer with video and call it when you are out and about.

You can even talk to your dog to stop him getting too lonely.

 Image: Imgur/nekofrog

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