Guide to all those Skype icon things…part 1

The good news is that hovering your mouse over just about anything in the Skype window will display a tool tip (a little one-sentence definition or status report).

However, I found that almost right away I needed a cheat sheet for the online status icons, those green or gray clouds beside each contact. If you have anything to add or change, please do.

skype online icon Online: the person can receive calls or chats. If you set your status to skype online icon, you can receive calls/chats from other Skypers. Depending on your privacy settings, you can receive calls from anyone, from people in your contact list, or from people who you’ve authorized to see your online details. To set privacy settings, go to Tools ->Options->Privacy.

skype-skypeme.jpg SkypeMe: the person is in SkypeMe mode, which means that everyone on Skype knows he/she is available and interested in talking or chatting, including contacts they don’t know. If you set your status to SkypeMe, you are allowing calls and chats with other Skypers who can find you by searching the Skype directory. To turn SkypeMe mode ON or OFF, go to File –> Change Online Status (Windows) or Account -> Change Status (Mac OS X).

skype-invisible.jpg Invisible: the person appears to you as skype-offline.jpg offline, which means you can’t call or chat with them. If you set your status to invisible, you will appear as skype-offline.jpg to everyone else. Use invisible if you want to be able to make your own calls or chats, but don’t want to receive them. You’ll also be able to see the online status of everyone else in your contact list, even though you’ll appear to them to be offline.

skype-away.jpg Away: the person temporarily can’t be reached–out to lunch, away from computer, in a meeting or whatever. If you set your status to Away, you are still notified of incoming calls or chats. Skype automatically switches your online status to Away if you have been inactive for a certain number of minutes. Go to Tools ->Options ->General to change this setting.

skype-notavailable.jpg Not available: the person can’t be reached. Sounds a bit more long term than Away. If you set your status to Not Available, you are still notified of incoming calls or chats. Skype automatically switches your online status to Not Available if you have been inactive for a certain number of minutes. Go to Tools ->Options ->General to change this setting.

skype-donotdisturb.jpg Do not disturb: the person doesn’t want to be bugged. Calls or messages are queued for you to check later. If you set your status to Do Not Disturb, you won’t be notified of incoming calls or chats (no pop-ups or ringtones).

skype-theyrenothsharing.jpg Not sharing: the person does not give you permission to see if he/she is online, offline, away, and so on. It’s probably nothing personal. When adding the contact you may have decided not to request their details, or they may have dismissed your request. To ask again if they’d like to share details, right-click the contact name and select Request Contact Details.

skype-offline.jpg Offline: the person is not available through Skype. They may have set their status to offline or invisible, or they may have logged off. If you set your status to Offline, you can’t make or receive calls/chats with other Skypers. But, if you have a voicemail account, people can leave you messages. You can also call forward your calls when offline to another number (either a regular number or Skype name), and you can still make SkypeOut calls (calls to regular numbers). 

skype-skypeoutnumber.jpg Skypeout contact: a person with a regular landline/mobile number. Not a Skype number.

16 thoughts on “Guide to all those Skype icon things…part 1

  1. Ken Camp

    I’d add one tip to this. If you change your status, Skype, because of its architecture, doesn’t update in real time. It’s sometimes *very* slow to update. I’ve documented cases of it taking 2-4 hours to reflect a change in status. One was to force a quicker update is to go offline for 30 seconds, then reset the status to what you want. This forces a reconnection to a Skype node/supernode, and gets your new status reflected quickly to people online.

  2. Pingback: VOIP Guide - How VoIP Works? » Blog Archive » VoIP Roundup - Tues Sep 26/06

  3. A

    The orange icon means that the user is offline, but has call divert enabled.
    Be warned, however, that this feature is a little glitchy, and sometimes show an orange icon even though the user doen’t really have call divert enabled.


  4. Neville Dharmawansa

    The attractive little Skype icon does not appear on my desktop. Instead the Nero photosnap icon a kind of a page with a red square in the middle is seen. Any ideas how to get the Skype icon back?



  5. Parrie

    I’m in the same boat with no Skype icon on my desktop. Have been waiting for an upgrade to bring it back, but so far, no joy, even after it updated. What’s going on? Anyone able to help?

  6. Tim Strong

    To Neville,

    I had the same problem and i got no answer online so i went out on my own and i went into the skype file in program files and into the folder named phone and took the icon from there that works. pretty weird problem but easy to solve.


  7. mike

    I’m wondering what it means when the contact icon (someone you are speaking with) changes from the green person icon to the blue watchface icon? thank you!

  8. Susan

    Can someone appear to be online but really be offline? When I log on, I see the green icon- but shortly thereafter it appears they log off. However, this person says they were never on- or, the status update that states when they were “last seen” conflicts with when they said they were actually on. Am I going crazy or is this perhaps a glitch in the system?


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