Skype 6.1 for Windows Classic: The Untold Changes

skype-windows-logoLast Friday Skype released Skype 6.1 for Windows Classic, an upgrade to the Desktop Skype client that incorporated:

  • integration with Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013
  • taking “Add a Contact” down to a 2 step process
  • a new profile screen with more accessible account information, and
  • not mentioned in the Skype Big Blog post linked above: a new user interface for the Contacts Management (left) sidebar

Windows 8 users should note that this is the edition of Skype that runs in the Desktop mode of Windows 8 and continues with the full legacy Skype feature set. Of course it also applies to Windows 7 and earlier Windows versions.

I have spent some time looking through the new features; in this post I’ll discuss the last three. As the Outlook integration requires significant discussion I’ll review it in a separate post.

However, looking closely at the images in the Skype Big Blog post one would think that there had been no changes to the Contact management sidebar. However, in practice there was almost a total reorganization of the sidebar.



Legacy Contacts UI
(shown in Big Blog post)

Actual Skype 6.1 for Windows Contacts UI

The changes can be summarized as follows:

The User name in the top pane only takes you to the User Profile screen where you can update your user profile and access your Account Management via a web browser:


S4W6_1.NewUIOverview.240pxUnderneath is a new pane that leads to four actions in the right hand conversation panel:

  • Home button takes you to the previous Home screen with the most recently called Contacts. mood message change and one of (a) your Skype Contacts news feed, (b) your Facebook news feed (if you have connected to Facebook), (c) Alerts issue by Skype re your account or (d) All three. (see below)
  • The telephone icon opens the dialpad in the Conversation panel for making SkypeOut calls by entering a phone number or Contact name
  • The “group icon” opens up the Create Group window for multi-party conversations
  • The “+” icon launches the “Add a Contact” process (more below)

The subsequent pane comprises a Search bar which can be used in several ways:

  • Search within your existing contacts as has been available in the past
  • As a replacement for the previous “Add a Contact” screen where you could search for a new Contact by Name, email address, or SkypeID (see below)
  • Search for Outlook contacts (see follow up post on using Skype 6.1 with Outlook)

The Home Screen:


Add a Contact process:


Fundamentally this amounts to a new Search algorithm that invokes the legacy search capability plus “Add a Contact” plus searching for Outlook contacts.

Bottom line: in addition to the Skype for Windows Desktop changes to described on the Skype Big Blog significant changes were made to the Contacts management panel, including some new processes for bringing up the Phone Dialer, creating a Group and Adding a Contact. As a result it significantly modifies the user experience and algorithms for executing launching these processes.

A follow up post will discuss the integration with Microsoft Outlook email manager.

You can download Skype 6.1 for Windows Desktop (Classic) here.

About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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