Skype is a software program for making calls to computers and phones that is free to use -- although some Skype add-ons incur cost -- but requires you to have an account before doing so. As is the case with many other desktop software utilities, your account gives you a sign-in name, known as a "Skype Name."
Registration and Sign In
When you register for your free Skype account, you're prompted to choose a Skype name. This name must be unique and can contain any combination of letters and numbers. After you've created your account, you always use your Skype name -- in addition to the password you selected when you registered -- to sign into the service. The Skype name is a permanent part of your Skype account -- in other words, it can't be changed.
After you sign into Skype, you can choose a display name others see when you call them. The display name doesn't have to be the same as your Skype name. For example, your Skype name might be "johndoe123," but you can select "Jane Doe" as your display name, even if your name isn't "Jane" or you aren't female. Unlike your static Skype name, your display name is always changeable, even multiple times within the same session.
Either your display name or Skype name -- but never both -- show in your contacts' lists, depending on your online status. If you're online, for example, your display name will show to other users when they look at their contact lists. When you're offline, your Skype name displays. Both your Skype name and display name show within your chat window, with your display name appearing along the top of the window and your Skype name appearing with your "information" section.
Your Skype username makes locating your on Skype extremely easy. When another user searches for you, he has several options -- Skype name, display name, first and last name, email address -- at his disposal. Out of these choices, searching via your Skype name, which is the only permanent aspect of your Skype account, produces the surest results. If you want another user to add you to his contacts list, give him your Skype name.
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