Skype for desktop offers a lot of great options for you to chat or make audio and video calls with your family and friends. Furthermore, one of its great features is the ability to make group calls (both audio and video) for free. Also, you don't need to install any additional software for these group calls to work since this capability is built into the Skype for desktop app. Therefore, in this tutorial, we will try to help you understand how easy it is to make group calls in Windows with the Skype for desktop app.
NOTE: Take into consideration that, even if this tutorial is for the Windows ecosystem, you will be able to include in these group calls people that use a different computing platform. So, group audio and video calls can include people with Skype installed on their Windows Phone, Mac OS or Android powered devices. Also, with the help of Skype's call phones and landlines option, you can even include people in these group calls by calling their mobile phones or landlines.
If you need any help on finding and opening the Skype for desktop app, plus the basics about its user interface and how it works, read these tutorials:
- How to use the Skype for Windows desktop app.
- How to manage your Skype account from the Skype for Windows desktop app.
How To Make Group Audio Calls In The Skype For Windows Desktop App
Before trying to initiate an audio call, you need to check that your standalone microphone or the one incorporated in your webcam is working properly. To initiate a group call, it is necessary for you to add all the people you want to contact. This is the great thing about Skype, as you can call out to reach all the contacts that need to be in the "conference", rather than needing them to individually call you.
There are two methods that you can use to start building the list of people that will take part in the group call. For the first one you have to access the Contacts list and then select the first person you want to talk to.
The person you selected will be the first member of your group audio call. Then, you need to add more participants to the conversation. To do this, you have to click or tap the Add people button from the chat area.
The second method to start a group call involves building it from scratch without directly using the Contacts list. You have to go to the Menu bar in the main Skype window, click or tap on Contacts and then click or tap on Create New Group....
Then, in the header of the chat area, click or tap on the Empty group name to bring up the group profile.
Here, you can edit your group's name and personalize its features.
After you have finished personalizing the group profile, all you have to do is to click or tap on the Add people button.
As you can see this is the point where the two different methods meet and the next steps are similar for both of them. In the newly opened window your contacts list will be loaded. Check the box for each of the people you want to add as participants to your group audio call and then click or tap on the Add button.
The maximum number of people that can be added to a group audio call is 25.
At this point you have only created a group text chat. To transform it into a group audio call, you have to press the Call button.
Now you will call the group you want to contact. While calling, Skype will sound just like when you phone somebody and it will let you know when your chat partners have answered the call. As soon as your contacts answer, you can start your conference.
If you want to add new participants, at any given moment, all you have to do is click or tap on the +button and then on the Add people to this call... button.
How To Make Group Video Calls In The Skype For Windows Desktop App
In the Skype for desktop app, you can make free group video calls with up to 10 people. In order to have a video conference call, you have to first build a group chat by using the procedure described in the previous section.
After you have finished choosing the participants of the group video call, you have to click or tap on the Video call button.
This action will open the video call window and you will start seeing each of your call partners, as soon as they join the group.
You will be able to see your webcam live at the bottom of the opened window.
Things You Can Do During A Group Call
While a group call is in progress, either video or audio, you can control the call by using the series of buttons from the lower area of the screen.
Looking from left to right, the first of them is the Show Contacts button. It will be displayed in both audio and video calls, and it will allow you to show or hide the Contacts list or the Recent list. Then, we have the Video button which will be displayed in a call if you have a webcam connected. With it you can turn on or off the image displayed by your camera.
Next, we have the Microphone button. Its function is pretty straightforward, because it helps you mute or unmute the microphone.
If you press the + button, while participating in the group call, you will be able to access the following options:
- Send files... - This option allows you to browse the files on your device and send any of them to your call partners.
- Send Contacts... - Sends contacts from your own list to the other participants of the group call.
- Share screen... - Allows you to share your computer screen with the people in your group call. This means that you can use it to give a presentation, show photos or to directly show what's on your computer screen.
- Add people to this call... - This will allow you to add new people to the group call.
- Show dial pad... - It will bring up a Dial pad button and you can use it to enter a phone number (mobile phone or landline) that you want to call and add to the conference call.
Next is the End Call button. Pressing it will make Skype end the group call you have joined.
If there are connection problems and you cannot see or hear each other, then you can use the Call quality indicator.
If you press on the call quality icon, a separate menu will open and you will be able to check all of your settings. Look carefully to find if it is your computer that causes problems.
The very last button from the lower area of the screen is labeled Show IM. It will open the chat window on the right side of the screen, that allows you to type messages and have text conversations alongside the group audio or video call. This comes in handy when others can't hear you because of some technical reasons.
We use group calls on Skype for our team meetings here at 7 Tutorials as we cannot all be in the same physical location at all times. It is great that you can set up a group in advance from your contacts list and call all of them at the same time with only one press of a button. This Skype function offers you quality conference calls without many connection problems. Finally, the fact that you can make group video calls for free is awesome and it should be used by everybody.