What Do The “Colors” Mean On Skype?

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What Do The “Colors” Mean On Skype?

Skype is a fabulous tool that allows for instant free text-messaging between PCs, free voice calls between PCs, free Video calls between PCs, and major discounts on voice calls from PC (or Skype enabled handset) to landline/mobile phones. Even my new mobile phone has Skype available!

If we haven’t already connected there, my Skype ID is kimberly.castleberry … however, I should mention that I usually keep Skype in “invisible mode”.

What does that mean?

When you are signed into Skype, there are five possible statuses you can display.

They are:

Green: Online and Visible (also known as Available)

Yellow: Away (also known as AFK or away-from-keyboard)

Red: Do Not Disturb (also known as No Notifications)

White: Offline -OR- Invisible (Hidden)

You can see lots of people with “Green” (Online). These are indicating that they are available to talk/text.

One has “Red” (DND: Do Not Disturb) status. This person may truly wish left alone. However, it’s more likely that they’re using this as a way to block Skype from generating any pop ups or sounds. Useful for webinars!

The “Yellow” (Away) is telling you they are around but have gone away. Some use this similar to a “leave a message” status.

Here you see a lot of names that have White/Gray (Offline) Skype icons next to their names. These people are either offline or pretending to be offline using “Invisible”.

You also see one more here. A “White with Green Outline”. This person is offline/invisible, but has either call forwarding (to another phone) or voicemail configured. This green outline essentially tells you that calling may either reach them or allow you to leave a voice message.

Now you know what the colors mean and how to set yours to make the use best use of the settings!

If you found this post helpful I hope you’ll share it with others! What other questions do you have about Skype? How has Skype helped you with your business? Do you use any of Skype’s additional services? I look forward to your comments below!


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  1. says

    Hi Kimberly,

    Great breakdown of skype statuses – if that’s the right word :)

    I’m new to skype. I don’t use it much right now but can certainly see its benefits.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.

    Ryan Biddulph

    • says

      Hey Ryan! It was great to connect with you on skype today. While I use skype primarily as a text-chat client (instant messenger), it also has powerful built one-to-one video chat as well. Group text and voice chat too! One of my favorite features as a computer tech is the “share screen” that allows someone to let me see (but not interact with) their screen, and see what problem they’re facing. Being able to see their desktop makes support work a LOT faster than then trying to explain something they don’t know the vocabulary for! All of that, as long as its skype-to-skype is FREE. Then I also have some of their paid services such as dial in/out numbers and call forwarding for the obvious business reasons. Look forward to getting to know you!

    • says

      The correct plural of “status,” taken from a Latin standpoint, would be “stati,” with a long “i.” Long “i” noun endings for this noun’s Latin declension indicate the Nominative Plural (or one of several other options, but for creating plurals based on Latin rules, it would be long “i” here).

    • says

      Had to check it again! Someday all this information you leave for me will stick in my brain! Skype really isn’t difficult, I should remember without having to file this link! :)

  2. says

    Dear Kim,

    I always enjoy learning the online success nuggets you share
    and I know I always find them when I visit with you.
    Thank you for serving the important bits in an easy to do bite-size portions for us to enjoy an online success.

    Venus :)

  3. says

    Hey Kimberly

    I use skype extensively.

    I have an unlimited North America plan for around 3 bucks. When I travel I carry a netbook with me which means no matter where I am in the world, as long as I am calling NA it is covered by my plan. This plan is for when I call land lines, of course it is is free if I call another skype member.

    I even have a UK based skype number.

    As for the colours I have never paid much attention to them, but now I know.

    I really should set my colour to yellow because many times I am logged in but away from the computer.

    Thanks Kimberly.

  4. says

    Hi Kimberly! I just found your blog through comluv and I just had to tell you how much I’m enjoying your articles. I just started using Skype and I’m surprised by how useful it it. I didn’t know about the forwarding/voicemail option, much less how to tell if someone has it set up, so thank you!

  5. Joe says

    Hey, great explanation, thanks. When I started using Skype I had already been using MSN Messenger for some time and they have a few similar symbols and colors you can change depending on your status. I typically leave my status as “busy” so that I don’t get too interrupted during the day…

  6. says

    Is there a difference between the older version and the newer one? I recently got an updated PC, and I used to have a MacBook from 04. It has the old version of Skype, which I can navigate fine- but am wondering if I am going to have to learn an entirely new program! At least now I’ll know my colors.

    • says

      Hey SWH, be sure you use your name with your keywords, Keywordluv is enabled to be sure you get the right anchor text you want and I can still talk to a real person :)

      There’s a really big difference not only between older and newer versions but a HUGE difference between the mac and PC client. I’m afraid you’ve got a learning curve ahead of you. Something I stumbled into when I got borrowed a mac laptop recently. Very strange for a piece of software to be so different between mac and pc. Especially if your coming off an older version you’re really going to notice the changes. (Although I doubt you’ll be noticing them today with Skype’s servers down all day!)

    • says

      Hey Stevie, just right-click on the person’s name in your skype contact list.. and select “remove from contacts”. Remove will not prevent them from re-requesting a connection though so alternatively you can also use the “block” option which will remove them and block them.

  7. Sandy says

    I have noticed that my contact names sometimes are yellow with a number beside it not just the away dot. Could anyone tell me what this means?

    • says

      Sure Sandy, the little yellow/orange circle tells you that there is an unseen message from that individual waiting for you. The number tells you how many messages there are from them waiting on you. Double click on the individual’s name, and scroll all the way to the bottom, and you’ll see the new messages. And once you do, the little “pending” circles generally go away. Sometimes though, they are a bit weird and don’t go away immediately. Hope that helps! :)


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