Skype can be used to host a simple video conference with up to fifty people for free on any device. Here you’ll learn the detailed steps to set up video conferencing on Skype on your laptop, phone, or tablet.
Note: for advanced video-conferencing activities such as online whiteboard, you need to create a separate account with Microsoft Teams, since Skype for Business has now been discontinued.
Skype Video Conferencing for Desktop
To set up Skype on your laptop or desktop PC, download the relevant Skype version from the official site. Currently, it supports Windows 10, Mac, and a few Linux packages as shown here.
Windows 10 users can also download Skype from the Microsoft Store, and it will be shown built-in as an integrated app. All laptop and PC users should find an option called “New Chat” next to the “Chat” tab. From here, you have to select “New Group Chat.”
Give your new group chat a name such as “My Group” or anything which reflects your team’s motto.
To begin, add a few members from your Skype contacts in the group chat menu. Do not worry if some of your meeting attendees are not on your Skype contact list – as shown in the next few steps, they can be added separately.
Once the group members have been added, you can invite them to a video call from a visible option on the top right.
Before sending videoconferencing requests, ensure that your “audio and video settings” have been properly enabled. You should be able to hear your own voice in the microphone and hear the speakers correctly. If in doubt, practice your call with Skype bots.
Once the call starts, you will be able to see the attendees the moment they accept the call. It will lead to an immersive, full-screen video that comes with “group screen sharing.” This means all the attendees are visible in a horizontal bar on the top right.
Skype allows you to drag and drop files up to 300 MB into your conversation window so that everyone on the call has equal access. For this, click the “+More” options button. Skype also has a recording feature to capture your meeting minutes.
You can invite any new attendees through a “ringing” option, which should be visible. You don’t need to have all of them as your Skype contacts. Provided you have sufficient Skype balance, you can manually dial the phone numbers of anyone else, thus inviting them to join your meeting.
The final recording will be available in the Skype chat, which can be downloaded as an MP4 file within a 30-day timeframe after the call.
Skype Video Conferencing for Mobile/Tablet
If you want to use Skype’s videoconferencing features on a smartphone, the options are the same as a desktop but with slightly different placement of menu items. Make sure you have downloaded Skype for Android or iPhone.
Tablet users should download “Skype for Tablet” from the official site, which has been optimized for Android tablets, iPad, Kindle Fire, and Windows 10 tablets.
On any mobile device you should be able to find an option for “new group chat.” This looks very different from what you see on a laptop or PC.
Add the Skype users to your group similar to what was described above for desktops. Once the users have been added, you should be able to see an option for a group video call.
Unlike the desktop option, you can “Delete” groups on a mobile/tablet, and it is easier to add people by sending them an online link.
This article showed you how to use Skype for an easy video-conferencing session. This is very useful feature in the era of remote networking. If you are not satisfied with Skype, there are still several other video conferencing software options you should check out.