Eleven must have free add-ons for Skype

Skype is transforming the world on a daily basis. It is one of those programs that is as likely to be used in the middle of nowhere in a developing country as it is in a fortune 500 company.

This article will present eleven must have free add-ons for Skype that extend what it can do and enhance it’s user experience.

The add-ons: Clownfish for Skype (multiple functions), Idroo (whiteboard), Multiple Skype Launcher (launcher), Vodburner (video recorder), MP3 Skype Recorder (audio recorder), MAXA Notifier for Skype (notifier), SkyHistory (history log), Skype Translate (translation), Ursa Spell Checker (spellcheck), and SkyRemote (remote desktop access).

Skype Eclipse 4

The list

  1. Clownfish for Skype: adds a wide range of text and voice functions to Skype
  2. Idroo: a shared whiteboard for your thoughts and ideas, within Skype
  3. Multi Skype Launcher:store and launch multiple Skype accounts quickly and easily
  4. SkypeAutoAnswer: answer incoming calls automatically
  5. Vodburner: video record and edit your Skype video calls
  6. MP3 Skype Recorder: record voice calls to MP3
  7. MAXA Notifier for Skype: get notified when there’s a change in the status of specific contacts
  8. SkyHistory: log your instant message chat history
  9. Skype Translate: real-time translation of incoming and outgoing text messages
  10. Ursa Spell Checker: real time spellcheck for Skype text chats
  11. SkyRemote: share your desktop or remote control someone else’s, right from Skype

1. Clownfish for Skype: adds a wide range of text and voice functions to Skype

Clownfish for Skype ScreenshotClownfish offers tons of added functionality to Skype. For instant (text) messaging it offers built in spell checking, text-to-speech for incoming messages, message encryption, online translation for both incoming and outgoing text messages in over 50 languages (for those times, if any, where you are instant messaging with someone who speaks a different language), and various other functions.

For voice Clownfish offers the following noteworthy functions: a voice call recorder, voice changer, and even even an AI talking robot (that can replace you if you like).

This add-on is simply remarkable (and free). Get it!


2. Idroo: a shared whiteboard for your thoughts and ideas, within Skype

idroo screenshotidroo math equations
In the ‘real’ world, collaborators and educators will sketch out ideas and illustrations on a piece of paper. With Idroo, that can now be done inside of Skype.

An unlimited number of participants can access and sketch on the same page; you will see their cursor(s) and they will see yours, in real time, just like the ‘real’ world. Also noteworthy is Idroo’s support for math equations and functions, which make it perfect for math tutoring (see screenshot to the right).

Note, however, that Idroo is free for personal, non-commercial use. For business use you need to purchase a license.


3. Multi Skype Launcher: store and launch multiple Skype accounts quickly and easily

Multi Skype ScreenshotDoes more than one person use Skype on a single computer? Do you ever find yourself searching for your Skype password after finding that someone else had logged into Skype?

If so, this add-on is a must. It will let you store user profiles and launch any particular Skype account that you need in a single click. Strangely, it will even let you launch multiple instances of Skype, each logged into a different account, on the same computer (presumably, to make sure that user x is online and receptive to incoming calls while user y is actively using Skype).


4. SkypeAutoAnswer: answer incoming calls automatically

Skype Autoanswer Screenshot
Skype auto answer allows you to add the names to a list of contacts whose incoming calls will be automatically answered, presumably for users who are waiting for that all important call, or wanting to ensure they do not miss that Skype call from that special someone while they may be otherwise engaged with non computer activity (and why not).


5. Vodburner: video record and edit your Skype video calls

VodBurner Screenshot2
VodBurner Screenshot1
Some Skype sessions such as presentations, online tutorials, or even business communications, etc. are worth video recording. If that is what you are after then Vodburner is for you. This program tries to add value beyond the typical screen recording program by offering options to quickly edit your video, allowing you to switch back and forth between the two sides of the conversation (or displaying both simultaneously), tweaking the aspect ratio, tweaking the volume, and exporting at high video quality (with the option to upload straight to YouTube). It can also send an automatic notification to the other side that the session is being video recorded. Or not. It’s up to you.

The trial version reverts to the freeware version after 14 days, after-which you are limited to exporting in WMV, and are unable to record unless the other side also has Vodburner installed on their Skype. This may not be a problem, but certainly can be.  I must confess to being somewhat puzzled by this restriction, since you could easily use a free screen recording program (such as this one, this one, or this one) to achieve more or less the same thing. Still, if both you and your interlocutor have Vodburner installed simultaneously, it is worth having.


6. MP3 Skype Recorder: record voice calls to MP3

MP3 Skype Recorder ScreenshotThis program will record any Skype voice call to MP3 (Skype to Skype, Skype to regular phone number, SkypeOut). It will do so automatically or manually, and can even record and save simultaneous conversations separately.

Although other software mentioned in this article can record voice calls and more (see Clownfish above), this software is excellent if you just want recording to MP3 without adding a ton of other functions which you do not need.


7. MAXA Notifier for Skype: get notified when there’s a change in the status of specific contacts

MAXA Notifier ScreenshotThis free Skype Add-on will let you add contacts to a list and to request audible notifications when it detects a specific change in their status, such as being online, available, offline, etc.

The software can play an audio file or can ‘say’ something specific via the text to speech engine, such that you only have to be within hearing distance from your computer to know what is going on.

If you are the kind of frequent user of Skype that keeps it on at all times, this add-on is for you.


8. SkyHistory: log your instant message chat history

SkyHistory Screenshot
This free Skype add-on will keep a log of all your Skype chat history and supports an advanced search function that can filter by a certain group of users or a certain period of time. Chat logs are easily exportable to other locations (e.g. your work vs. your home computer, etc.)


9. Skype Translate: real-time translation of incoming and outgoing text messages

Skype Translate Screenshot
Skype Translate translates in real time during Skype text chat, and can be easily switched on and off via it’s icon in the system tray. It can even auto detect the language of your interlocutor based on their profile settings.


10. Ursa Spell Checker: real time spellcheck for Skype text chats

Ursa Spell Checker Screenshot2
This program works invisibly in the background, providing real time spell checks for your Skype text chats in almost any language (for those of you who are multilingual, Ursa Spell Checker will let you enable spell-checking for multiple languages simultaneously).  Ursa Spell Checker is easily enabled/disabled via a hotkey combination.


11. SkyRemote: share your desktop or remote control someone else’s, right from Skype

SkyRemote Screenshot2
Ask yourself if there are times when it would be useful if you could see the desktop of the person you are Skyping with, or show them your own desktop, and/or be able to access their desktop and perform a fix or a task, or demonstrate to them how to use a program or feature on your or their computers.

If the answer to the above is yes, SkyRemote is what you need. This Skype add-on provides full fledged remote desktop capabilities right from within Skype. All you have to do is install SkyRemote on both machines (you and your Skyping partner), and make a call; once the call is underway you can access the SkyRemote icon in the system tray to either request access to the other person’s desktop or give access to your own.

SkyRemote is very easy to use, although I did find it a little unresponsive at times. Although the program recommends the installation of a VGA driver that is bundled with the installer to improve performance, it didn’t seem to install properly on my Win 7 64 bit machine despite repeated tries; however, I am sure this minor glitch will be fixed in future releases.


How to manage Skype add-ins

  • Go to  Tools > Options > Advanced > Manage other program access to Skype (see screenshot below)

Skype™ - Options_2011-12-22_13-48-30hint2hint1

  • You can then choose the add-on and click ‘change’ (or ‘remove’)
  • You can choose to allow the program to use Skype, or you disallow it; at the end press ok

[Thanks go to Alla K for doing most of the research and screenshots for this post].

Do you know of any must-have Skype add-ins that we missed? Let us know in the comments section!


 
 
 
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  • http://www.alusooleng.com Ra’ed

    This add on sound interesting for our company as a business company using Skype everyday , that will support us so good so far , thanks in advanced for such like this fruitful efforts.

  • seba1976

    The phrase “third world countries” is not used anymore, and is considered insulting or demeaning. I enjoy your site and all, but I couldn’t help notice that.

    • Samer

      @ Seba1976: I did not know that, thanks for pointing it out.

      Changed it to “developing countries”.

    • Graham

      The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World), or communism and the Soviet Union (which along with its allies represented the Second World).
      Who considers it insulting?

  • F-15E

    Although not really Add-In for Skype, SKAIFO is Skype Add-In For Outlook having Skype VoIP functionality inside Outlook with quite significant UI real estate… and includes contacts geo-mapping, scheduled call forwarding, call stats, etc.

  • http://best-lyrics.net/ Anand

    Thanks for sharing these cool add-on’s…some i never knew but they are good to use.

  • Eugene

    I’m using MX Skype Recorder and you may also want to try it
    http://skyperec.com
    as it shows itself as a stable and reliable app what is crucial for important business conversations.
    I recommend!

  • jully

    as for me, i’d recommedn to record skype calls usng this tool http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture_for_Skype/, it’s easy-to-use and works great!) but thanx)

  • Zimos

    Could you please add an Autotune App for this? Could be really cool… :)

  • Zephlon Arphanosh

    Ursa Spell Checker should not be on this list because it is NOT free.

  • Andre Duran

    Samer,

    I’ve come to meet your great website now, as I suddenly saw myself forced to migrate from MSN to Skype. Don’t get me wrong, I like Skype and even used it heavily for several years for it is the best software of it’s kind. But then, MSN was also the best among their peers and IMHO MSN and Skype were never meant to be the same, even when Microsoft pushed video and audio into it, back there in the mid 2000′s.
    Now I’m trying to customize my Skype to make it the more MSNish I can ! So I’d like to ask, are there any tool to batch exibit pictures in Skype ?
    I considered Idroo, but honestly I’m not too fond of sharing desktops. In an ideal world it would be fine, but when are lots and lots of hackers out there I think I better get cautious. I mean, even with all doors closed a competent hacker can get in, so why facilitate leaving a huge gate spread open ?

    Thanks, your site is amazing !