How to Integrate Skype With Ubuntu Unity

If you are both a Skype and Ubuntu user, you will know that Skype does not really integrate well into the system. While Skype comes with a Linux desktop client that you can install on Ubuntu, it doesn’t integrate itself into the system theme, nor does it makes use of the system notification panel. If you like a unified look and feel for Skype on Ubuntu (unity), here is the way to do it.

Skype-wrapper is a plugin that integrates Skype with Unity. It adds the Skype icon to the messaging menu and quicklist items to the launcher. It also uses the Unity notification style to notify you of incoming calls/messages.


Open a terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:skype-wrapper/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install skype-wrapper

The above commands assume that you have already installed Skype in your system.

Running Skype-wrapper

Once you installed Skype and Skype-wrapper, you will find that there are two instances of Skype in your computer. You need to identify which is which and run only Skype-wrapper, and not Skype.

1. Open Nautilus File Manager and navigate to “usr/share/applications”. Scroll down the application list till you see two Skype icons.


2. To identify which one is which, right click on the Skype icon and select Properties. The one that shows the “skype-wrapper” in the Command field is the one that you want. Drag this icon to the Unity Launcher.


3. Click on the icon to launch Skype. A popup will appear to prompt you to grant access to the skype-wrapper app. Check “Remember this selection” and click “Yes”.


Once it is authorized, you should see the Skype entry in the messaging menu and any incoming notification will follow the Unity style.


Right clicking the Skype icon on the launcher also show the quicklist items. You can View Incoming Message and Add Contacts.


Skype-wrapper also comes with a Settings option that allows you to configure its behavior. From the dash, search for skype-wrapper and you should see the “Skype-Wrapper Settings” app. In the Settings, you can configure the events to show notification and whether the file transfer progress should appear in the launcher.


Removing Skype icon from the systray

After the unity integration, there is one thing left that you need to get rid of. If you can’t stand the green Skype icon that didn’t go well with the Unity theme, you can remove it by uninstalling the “sni-qt” package. Note that a few other application, such as Dropbox, depend on the “sni-qt” package to display icon in the systray, and removing this package will affect these apps as well. Here’s what you need to do:

sudo apt-get remove sni-qt

The next time you launch Skype-wrapper, the green Skype icon won’t be around anymore.

Uninstalling Skype-wrapper

To completely remove Skype-wrapper from your computer, first open up your Skype option and go to “Public API” (the last option in the left sidebar). Select “Skype4Py” and click Remove.


Next, uninstall skype-wrapper from your computer:

sudo apt-get autoremove skype-wrapper

That’s it.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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