Introduction to Skype Extras

March 5, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you’re not already using the popular Skype Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) client that is available free to download for Windows, Mac and Linux, you’re missing out on one of the most popular text, voice and video chat applications in the world.

Extras and Add-ins for Skype

Most commonly used for voice chat (Skype even allows you to attach telephone numbers to your account) Skype can also be used for many other purposes, from sharing information about what you’re currently listening to in your favourite media player to integrating the client with Twitter in various ways.

Many add-ins are available from, designed to enhance the functionality of the software and raise it beyond the status of basic chat client into something far more powerful.

More Than Making Phone Calls

Of course, you don’t have to use Skype for video chat or to save time using multiple clients; you don’t have to use Skype for creating collaborative podcasts or for voice chat with your Skype contacts. You might just want to use it to make phone calls to friends, families and businesses, which you can do by purchasing Skype credit. Phone calls of this type can save you a lot of money over time, and if you are happy to make calls with a headset (or purchase a special USB Skype phone) this is easy to set up.

More than making phone calls, however, Skype is a popular tool for online collaboration, allowing project team members to work together to varying degrees. For instance you might use a clipboard or picture-viewing add-in for Skype, or even take advantage of the “WhiteBoardMeeting” Skype Extra tool.

Compatibility and Skype Extras

While you spend time looking for a suitable add-in to use with Skype (and at the same time exploring the benefits of social add-ins or collaboration) bear in mind that some Skype extras are unsuitable for use with the most up-to-date release of the chat client.

In fact for the best results, you would be well advised to follow these steps…

To begin, open Skype and check your current version – go to Help > About Skype, where version 5 or later should be listed; if your version is lower than this, use Help > Check for Updates to prompt the software to check online for updates to be downloaded.

With Skype updated, go to Tools > Extras > Get Extras to view potential add-ins that you might like to use to enhance your chat client. This will open the Extras Manager, where you will find a search tool and various tools that can be added to Skype sorted by category. Adding these new extensions to the software is easily done – just hit the green and white play button and wait for the file to download, before agreeing to the installation and clicking OK to add it.

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