Gone are the days of expensive overseas phone calls. Thanks to Skype and other apps that have voice call features like Hangouts, Viber, WhatsApp, Line, and WeChat to name a few, they have democratised the telecommunications beyond borders. Whether you’re using a data plan or connected to a Wi-Fi network, you get free calls wherever you are, and though there are some premium rates for advanced features, they are still cheaper compared to traditional phone calls overseas. For remote workers and teams, Skype is a business saver for virtual meetings, conference calls and chats.
Would you like to improve your Skype experience? Here are the 6 hacks that you can apply as you explore the platform.
1. Access and Backup IM Chat History
When you switch to a new computer, you won’t find your previous chats with colleagues. However, if you’re using a Windows computer you can still create a backup and explore your history just in case you need it for recordkeeping or documentation.
Simply press “Windows key + R” to launch the Run box. Type the following:
%appdata%\Skype then press Enter. The File Explorer shows up; choose the folder labeled as your Skype username, and find the “main.db” file. That is the IM chat history.
On the other hand, you can create a backup using this directory which you can copy and then save to external storage like USB.
You can copy and restore them later on if needed.
2. Get a Backup of Calls Using Online Dial-in Conferencing
If the lines are unstable on the other side (e.g. to some of the team members) or others can’t access their PCs, you can set up the online dial-on conferencing accessible for everyone. While this is a premium option, at least this will keep everyone on sync with the meetings. The US dial-in is (641) 715-3580. Participants are given the conference codes, PINs, and local dial-ins in each country (e.g. In China, I have my local dial-in, +86-(0)-510-6801-0110. I also have the conference code and PIN once the machine requires me to enter them).
3. Mute the Mic During Group Calls
During conference calls, it’s better to mute your mic to hear the voice of the person speaking loudly and clearly. Just imagine if there are ten in the group call and each one has their own background (a dog barking, an ambulance passing by, the swish-swoosh of plastic or paper, etc.) Unmute it when it’s your turn to speak, and while on mute, you’re still connected to the call. So no worries.
4. Low Bandwidth for Screen Sharing? How About Join.Me?
You can share your screen during the Skype call. However, if you have low bandwidth there’s another option. Spare yourself from lagging and system crashes using Join.Me. Send the link to the person or to the chat box (during conference calls), and once they click it they can access and view your screen in a jiffy. This is also a good option when the other users in the call are non-Skype members because only registered users can enjoy the screen sharing and file sharing options.
5. No Wi-Fi? Use Skype Wi-Fi on Mobile Devices and PCs
Using a mobile device? Download the Skype Wi-Fi app and check out the map where there are Skype Hotspots you can connect to within your area. Skype boasts of having more than 2 million public hotspots worldwide.
6. Get Rid of Ads with This Simple Trick
Ditch those annoying ads on Skype using this simple trick. Go to “Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Internet Options” and lastly Internet Properties.
Under the “Security” tab click “Restricted sites.” Click the “Sites” button and type the following:
Log out and restart your Skype … better yet, your whole system, for the changes to take effect.
What else did we miss? Do you know other Skype tips to improve our readers’ experience? Feel free to drop them below.