Sending instant messages (Mac)

Have real time instant message (IM) conversations with anyone on Skype, for free.

Sending instant messages

It’s easy to send instant messages to your friends who are on Skype:

1 Sign in to Skype.
2

In the sidebar, click Contacts, and then to the right, click Skype or Messenger if you are signed in with a Microsoft account. You may need to click >> if you can’t see Skype or Messenger.

The Contacts tab selected in the sidebar and the Skype list selected in the contact list bar.

3

In your contact list, find the contact you want to send an instant message to and double-click their picture.

The profile picture of a contact that is to be sent an instant message.

The conversation window opens.

Recent conversations are stored in the sidebar, so you can easily pick up where you left off. Just click the conversation or contact in the sidebar to open the conversation window.  

A contact selected in the sidebar under Recent to open the conversation window.

4

In the main window, click inside the conversation box.

5

Enter your message and press the Return key on your keyboard.

A message entered in the conversation box.

If your contacts are offline The Offline status icon., your message might be delivered immediately if you're both on cloud-enabled devices. You can also send them SMS text messages or call them on their mobiles or landlines. All you need is a little Skype Credit or a subscription.

If someone IMs you

When someone IMs you, the Skype icon in the dock bounces, and the conversation appears in the sidebar with a badge next to it. To read the message, go to the sidebar and click to open it.

A badge with the number of unread messages displayed next to a conversation in the sidebar.

Changing your IM settings and notifications

You can change your IM privacy settings, hide typing indicators, change the way emoticons are displayed in your instant messages and set up notifications for individual conversations.

To change your IM privacy settings, typing indicators and the way emoticons are displayed:

1 Sign in to Skype.
2

From the menu bar, click Skype > Preferences, then select Privacy at the top.

3

In the Allow messages from drop-down list, select Anyone or Contacts.

The Contacts option selected from the Allow messages from drop-down list under Privacy settings.

4

Click Messaging at the top.

5

In the Emoticons drop-down list, select Standard, Animated or Don’t show.

The Standard option selected from the Emoticons drop-down list under Messaging settings.

6

Uncheck Show when I am typing or Show when Contacts are typing to hide the typing indicator, which appears in the top right of your screen.

To change notifications for individual conversations or contacts:

1 Sign in to Skype.
2

Open the instant message window for a contact or conversation. You can do this in the contact list or sidebar.

3

In the main menu, select Conversations > Notification Settings.

4

In the Notification Settings panel, select Notify me, Do not notify me, or Notify me only if these words are mentioned:. If you select the last option, enter keywords into the field.

The Notify me only if these words are mentioned option checked in the Notification Settings panel and the keywords entered in the field below the option.

5

To save your notification settings, click OK.

Useful things you can do in an IM

Editing, removing copying and quoting a sent instant message

When you send an instant message, you have the option to edit or remove it – but only for a few minutes after it is sent. You can also copy or quote any instant message or its part in a conversation.

To use these options: 

  1. In the conversation window, find the recent instant message you’d like to change and ctrl+click it or click the little down arrow on the right.
    If you want to quote the text, you can select either the whole instant message or just a part of it.
  2. Select the appropriate action from the menu that opens.

    The Copy, Quote Message, Quote Selection, Edit Message and Remove Message options selected from the drop-down menu.

The easiest way to edit the last IM you’ve sent is to press the up arrow key on your keyboard to bring up the edit message window. This is only available for a few minutes after sending the instant message.

Add people

Add people to the instant message to create a group IM.

The list of options that appears after selecting the plus icon.

Send files, share documents, photos and video clips of any size. Learn more about sending files.

Use emoticons

Liven up your IMs with high definition emoticons and let your friends know how you’re feeling.

The list of emoticons displayed in the instant message conversation window.

Enable the spell checker

You can use the spell checker when writing an IM. To turn this feature on, right-click in the conversation box, select Spelling and Grammar and click Check Spelling While Typing.

The options to be selected to turn the spell checker on.

To change the spell checker’s settings, select Spelling and Grammar > Show Spelling and Grammar.

Learn more about instant messaging.

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How else can we help?

You can always ask your question in our community, or if you have some feedback that could help us improve this FAQ, you can leave it below. Learn more about getting support for Skype.

Important: Do not enter any personal information (such as your Skype Name, email address, Microsoft account, password, or real name or phone number) in the field below.

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