With Windows 8.1 we introduced Skype to a whole new group of users. I recently wrote up some tips on how to do the four most important things in Skype for Windows 8.1. But today I’d like to dig a little deeper into navigating around Skype by taking a step back. That sounds a bit contradictory, but instead of telling you how to perform specific actions, I’d like to talk about some general principles.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, don’t forget you can always come ask your question in the Skype Community.
The Home screen
The saying goes “Home is where the heart is”, and the Home screen is at the heart of Skype for Windows 8.1. It’s the screen you see when Skype starts and you can return to it at any time to re-orientate yourself. Simply swipe down from the top (or right click) and select home in the top left.
On the Home screen there are three main sections: recent conversations, your favorite contacts and a selection of your full contact list.
If you select the recent section heading, you’ll see all your recent conversations. You can filter this list to only show conversations with unread messages at the top of the screen.
If you select the favorites section heading, you can add contacts to your list of favorites.
You can also see your entire contact list by selecting the people section heading. Here you can filter the list to only show contacts who are currently online.
One last thing to note on the Home screen: by selecting your profile picture in the top right you can change your mood message, status and profile picture.
The Chat screen
If you select a group or contact from a section on your Home screen or anywhere else, you’ll go to the Chat screen. The chat area takes up the lion’s share of this screen but there are some other bits to be aware of.
Firstly, if you receive a message in another chat, an orange circle will appear in the top right which shows how many conversations have unread messages. Select the circle and you’ll be taken to your recent conversations.
Secondly, next to the buttons for voice and video calls there’s an icon that allows you to send files and video messages as well as add other contacts to the conversation.
Lastly, swiping down from the top or right clicking gives you a number of options on the command bar depending on whether it’s a conversation with a single contact or a group. For example, you can add the contact to your favorites or view their profile. If it’s a group conversation, you can change the group picture or rename it.
New in Windows 8.1 is the ability to search for contacts and groups within Skype. You can make use of the search feature from the Home, Recent and People screens.
To use the search feature, simply start typing on any of the pages listed above. Contacts and groups that match the text you search for will be shown, as well as a link to search the Skype Directory.
Run your favorite apps side by side with Skype
In Windows 8.1 you can resize Skype to almost any size and run it side by side with your favorite apps. Learn more about running apps side by side in Windows 8.1. All the screens and features I mentioned above will resize to fit the space you give them.
That’s all for our tips on finding your way in Skype for Windows 8.1 . To see it in action and help out another intrepid explorer, try the Skype rerouted challenge.