Microsoft has rolled out a few useful updates lately, the best being the ability to use Skype without an account. If you use Microsoft Edge, you can make Skype calls without logging into Microsoft or using the Skype app. No sign up needed for you or anyone joining the call. This is an Edge only feature and won’t work with Chrome, Firefox, or any other browsers.
How does Skype without an account work?
I was surprised with how uncomplicated the process is. After 3 decades of troubleshooting software that claims, “it’s so easy to use”, I’ve become cynical. It’s nice to be surprised occasionally.
To use the “no account Skype”, start by opening Edge and typing in Skype.com
If you have an account, feel free to sign in. Although this isn’t required, this step will give you access to the address book connected to your Skype account. Your choice. If you don’t have an account, and don’t want one, click on Create a free meeting, to start the call.
Creating a free meeting with Skype
The page will click over to the Host a video meeting page. Look to the right of the page to the Generate your unique link with one click. Click in the box that says Meet now. Give the meeting a unique name then click the Create a free meeting button.
A new meeting link will be generated. Click on Share Invite button to send the invitation out.
You can send the meeting invite out via Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp, Outlook, Gmail, Telegram or copy the link. If your email program doesn’t auto start, click Copy link, open your email, and create a new email. Paste the link into the body of the message and send it to whomever you want to chat with. You can invite up to 50 people to your Skype call, although, I don’t recommend that many.
One quick word of advice on using Facebook to promote your meeting. Use common sense. Don’t post it unless you want people you don’t know crashing your meeting. Nothing says professional like having a racist troll scream through your call. It could quickly get out of hand. Stick with sending links to individuals and control your communications.
One minor problem is the fact you can’t schedule a call using the Skype for Edge. Unlike Zoom or Microsoft Teams, you are restricted to creating meetings on an as needed basis. This is easily resolved by arranging the meeting time with everyone and set up the Skype meeting 5 minutes before the start time. Once the meeting is created, send out the links and begin the meeting.
Ready to talk? Click Start Call
Here comes the tricky part. Using your browser instead of the app if it’s installed. It’s important that all participants understand the next step.
If the site is trying to open Skype, click Cancel. Then Join as guest. Create an online name when prompted and click Join. Once you’ve joined, as host of the meeting, don’t forget to click Start meeting, or everyone will be sitting around waiting. Not sure how many can safely join without suffering from a permanent case of the lags. It depends on your internet connection and computer power.
Make sure everyone knows to cancel the open Skype app option if they don’t want to use it. Same goes for prompts to download the app. Once cancel is tapped, you will be directed to the Edge login page.
Basic Skype meeting features
Click Start Meeting and you’ll be taken to a full browser sized video screen. As with the app, the controls are pinned to the bottom of the screen. On the left, Record the meeting, middle shows the typical Skype icons to control mic, camera, and hang-up. The right hand shows Chat, Share Screen, Raise Hand, React and a few options to control settings.
You can record the session by clicking the little record button, bottom left side. This is handy if you are watching a tutorial or event or you want to review the meeting you just held to improve your performance.
Another nice feature is Raise Hands. This is an efficient way of conducting a tutorial or Q&A with multiple people. Instead of the usual chaos of everyone talking together or being too polite and no one talking, a click of the button flags the host with little icon “X raised their hand”.
Share screen is like other online meeting apps. Click Share Screen and choose what you want attendees to see. Close any unneeded windows or tabs, especially anything with confidential information or photos. Prepare what you wish to share ahead of time and have it open and ready to use.
Overall, Skype without an account is a suitable alternative for people who don’t want to sign up for a Microsoft account but still need the option to host a meeting with more than one person. There is no cost to use the Edge Skype site, and as pointed out, you can host up to 50 people. This is a good workaround for organisations or people who cannot afford the fees for the more popular online meeting apps.
If you use Skype for Microsoft Edge, let me know. I’d like to hear how many you managed to host before the system gummed up.