5 tricks for video calls with Skype

With Skype you can make video calls and video conferences for work. Here are some tips and tricks to make the best use of the pittaform

Video conferencing programs are essential when working at home in smart working mode. Among the many services for doing business meetings from home is Skype, a program that doesn't need much introduction. One of the first to offer a video calling service, Skype has become over time the main tool for video conferencing work.

In addition to video calls, Skype allows you to send attachments, chat, make calls to mobile and landline numbers and also turns into a shared workspace for business teams. It is a free solution and very easy to use, which is why it is widespread both within companies and among ordinary users. Most only know and take advantage of the program's main functions, just as it happens with other solutions such as Zoom, Telegram or WhatsApp. In reality, Skype offers a lot of options to discover. Here are the most useful ones to try out right now.

How to hide the Skype background

How many times, before a video conference via Skype, have you looked for the most presentable corner of the house? A white wall, a bookcase, a curtain - you've wandered around the rooms with your laptop in hand looking for the perfect background. You probably didn't know about the software feature that lets you blur the background.

Do you want to activate it? Before the video call, tap on the camera icon that is present at the bottom of the screen and click on "Run background blur". If you want to activate it during a video call, hover over the "More" menu (three horizontal dots symbol) and select "Perform background blurring" as well.

Send a video message

This feature is useful when you want to talk to a person live via Skype but your schedules do not coincide. You can still send a video message so that the recipient will watch it when they connect.

To do this, sign into Skype from your desktop and click on the contact you want to send the message to. Within the chat, go to the menu and then to "message" (camera icon inside the vignette), record the video message and then press send. Make sure you have the webcam active. You can send messages of three minutes maximum.

Use Skype Translator

Do you want to talk to a foreign colleague or client? Would you like to introduce your better half to relatives living abroad? Skype allows you to translate messages in real time so that your interlocutor can understand what you are saying. The text translator is available for over 60 languages, the voice translator for 10 languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and even Italian. To enable the function, follow the path Tools > Options > General > Skype Translator.

Hidden emoticons

Emoticons have long been part of Skype dialogues: they help us express emotions and convey concepts even without using words. In short, they are the substitutes for our facial expressions.

You probably already send them frequently on Skype, but you probably don't know that there is a large number of hidden emoticons. To access the entire list of emoticons, you can click on the smiley in the chat window or use the keyboard shortcuts: a set of characters or a specific word written in square brackets. By scrolling the mouse over an emoticon in the interface, you can see the corresponding key combination.

Also, emoticons that have gray dots can be customized before sending. On the official website you can find the complete list of shortcuts to recall all the emoticons available in the program, even the hidden ones (go to "Hidden").

Sharing the screen with Skype

During a video call, an online lesson, a remote meeting with the workgroup, you may need to share the screen. Skype has this feature and activating it is very easy. During the call, you need to click on the plus symbol (+) and then on Share Screen. Before activating it, the program shows a preview, to show it to your contacts just click on Start.