Skype Voicemail     

Skype Voicemail answers phone calls or PC-to-PC calls for you when you are away from your PC, when you are offline, or when you simply don’t want to take a call.

The caller can leave you a message, and you can listen to the message on your PC within the Skype application. You can also have the message sent to your Outlook inbox, in which case you can listen to it from within Outlook.

An additional use of Skype Voicemail is that you are able to send someone a voice message without actually calling them. You right-click your contact in Skype, choose the “Send Voicemail” option, then Skype records your message and sends it to the contact. This is useful if you don’t want to disturb the other person or if you don’t wish to start a conversation with the person at this time.

Skype Voicemail Prerequisites

To use Skype Voicemail:

  • You need a PC with broadband internet access.
  • You need Skype installed on the PC (this is a free download and you can see how to install it on our Skype page).
  • Either you or the other person need a Skype Voicemail subscription or a SkypeIn number. If you want to take messages from normal phones, get a SkypeIn number – Voicemail comes free with that. To see pricing for a SkypeIn number, and to buy if you wish, click here. To see pricing for a Skype Voicemail subscription, and to buy if you wish (not needed if you buy a SkypeIn number) click here.

Setting up Skype Voicemail

Once you have everything as described in the list above, follow these steps to start sending and receiving voicemail messages on your PC:

  • In Skype, go to Tools > Voicemail… on the main Skype menu.
  • Make sure the box Send unanswered calls to Skype Voicemail is checked.
  • Click the Advanced settings link to the right of the “Send unanswered calls to Skype Voicemail” checkbox to tell Skype when you want Voicemail answering to take calls for you.
  • Click OK in the Advanced Settings window and in the main Options window.
  • If you wish to have Skype Voicemail sent to your Outlook inbox, click here for further instructions.

Skype Voicemail features

After you have followed the steps above, this is what Skype will now allow you to do:

  • If you don’t answer a call within the number of seconds specified in the Advanced Settings dialog above, the caller will hear a recorded message and will be able to leave a message for you.
  • If a call comes in and you click the Hang Up button, the caller will hear a recorded message (same message as above) and will be able to leave a message for you
  • If your PC is switched off, or if you are not logged into Skype when a caller tries to call you, the caller will hear a recorded message (same message as above) and will be able to leave a message for you
  • If you make a call to someone else and they are unavailable, you will be able to leave a message for them (even if they haven’t purchased a Skype Voicemail subscription themselves).
  • If you want to leave someone a message, even if they are available (i.e. you don’t want to talk to them right now but you do want to send them a voice message), you can right-click their contact details in Skype and choose the Send Voicemail option.
  • If you want to record your own message (rather than use the standard Skype recorded message), you can do so via Tools > Voicemail…. (Click the Record button near the bottom of the window).

Integration with Outlook

Skylook offers you these additional features if you use Outlook. To find out more, click on the links:

Alternatives

Skylook offers an alternative that has some advantages and disadvantages in comparison to Skype Voicemail.

This alternative is an answering machine built into Outlook. Depending on what you want to achieve, you may find that the Skylook Answering Machine is a better fit for you, or you may find that you can make use of both Skype Voicemail and the Skylook Answering Machine. To help you decide, here are the advantages and disadvantages of the Skylook Answering Machine as compared to Skype Voicemail:

Advantages of Skylook Answering Machine compared to Skype Voicemail

  • You are able to listen to the incoming caller leaving their message.
  • You are able to pick up the call while the incoming caller is leaving their message.
  • You are able to take notes about the call while the incoming caller is leaving their message.
  • Once you have purchased Skylook, there are no ongoing fees associated with the Skylook Answering Machine.

Disadvantages of Skylook Answering Machine compared to Skype Voicemail

  • You need to leave Outlook running in order to receive messages.
  • Skylook Answering Machine will not take messages for you while you are on another call.

How to automatically forward Voicemail to any email address     

These steps show you how you can set up your PC to receive voicemail and automatically forward it to any email address. (These steps assume you have Outlook installed – see Skylook prerequisites for details).

1. Set up Skype if you don’t already have it. (This is free).

2. If you want people to be able to leave you voicemail using standard phones, get yourself a SkypeIn number. If you only need to receive voicemail from people running Skype, you can either get Skype Voicemail or use the Skylook Answering Machine (free 14 day trial).

3. If you don’t already have Skylook, download and install it from here.

4. Start Outlook. If you are running Skylook for the first time, you will see the Skylook licensing wizard and the Skylook Welcome wizard. Follow the prompts to ensure you have Skylook set up the way you want.

5. In the Skylook toolbar, choose the “Advanced Alerts” menu option:

Skylook Advanced Alerts

6. A wizard is displayed. Choose the “Voice Messages / Missed Calls” option, then click “Next”:

Voicemail to email 1

7. Click “Next” to accept the default settings on this page:

Voicemail to email 2

8. Fill out the following page as shown (using the desired email address for voicemails to be forwarded to), then click “Next”:

Voicemail to email 3

9. Fill out the options as presented by the subsequent wizard pages until the wizard is complete.

That concludes the process of setting up your PC to forward Voicemail messages. When a Skype voicemail is received, or when the Skylook Answering Machine answers a call for you, the message will be emailed as an MP3 attachment to the specified address (but only if you are away from your PC, or, optionally, if you haven’t listened to the voicemail within a few minutes of receiving it). The message will also be kept in your Outlook “Sent Items” folder, with the Sender details, so that you have a complete record of all voicemail messages forwarded and who they came from.

If you have any difficulties in setting this up, feel free to contact us for help.

How to answer phone calls automatically on your PC     

The following steps show you how you can set up your PC to take phone messages for you. The messages are stored as MP3 and attached to Outlook inbox items, so you can deal with them the same way you deal with incoming emails. (These steps assume you have Outlook installed – see Skylook prerequisites for details).

1. Follow these instructions to set up Skype if you don’t already use it.

2. If you want to answer calls from normal phones, you need to purchase a “SkypeIn” number from Skype. Otherwise, you can still answer PC-to-PC calls using these steps.

3. If you don’t already have Skylook, download and install it from here.

4. Start Outlook. If you are running Skylook for the first time, you will see the Skylook licensing wizard and the Skylook Welcome wizard. When you see the pages below, fill them out as shown:
Skylook Answering Machine Wizard 1

Skylook Answering Machine Wizard 2

Skylook Answering Machine Wizard 3

(NOTE: An alternative to the Skylook Answering Machine is Skype Voice Mail. If you have a Skype Voice Mail subscription, you can leave the Skylook Answering Machine off – Voice Mail messages will automatically be sent to your inbox.).

5. If you are not running Skylook for the first time, and you can’t remember how you configured call answering when you were prompted by the Skylook Welcome Wizard, choose “Tools | Configure Answering Machine” from the Skylook toolbar:
Configure Answering Machine

This will bring up a wizard similar to that shown above.

6. Wait for a call – or get someone to call you.
7. When the call is received, let Skylook answer the call (or let Skype answer it if you are using Skype Voice Mail).

8. After the caller has hung up, check your inbox. You should see a message like this one:
Voice Mail in Inbox

9. Click on the message. A “Play” button will appear in the toolbar:
Play Button

Click it to hear the recording.
Call Playback

10. Open the item. You will see a number of hyperlinks in the item that allow you to take various actions (for example, call the person back).
Skylook Voice Mail Hyperlinks

11. You can automatically forward messages to other email accounts if you wish, by going to “Alerts > Advanced Alerts” from the Skylook toolbar and following the pages in the wizard.

If you have any problems getting this to work, contact us for assistance.

How to manage follow-up on calls, voicemails and instant messages like you do with email     

Applications like Outlook are great for keeping in control of outstanding tasks. If you receive an email that you aren’t able to deal with right away, you can simply mark it as unread, to remind you to look at it later. You can also flag it, copy it to an “unactioned” folder, or use other Outlook features to manage follow-up.

The steps below show you how you can use the same methods for calls, voicemails and Skype instant messages, in addition to email. (These steps assume you have Outlook installed – see Skylook prerequisites for details).

1. Follow the instructions here to start collecting all of your communications in Outlook.

2. Follow the instructions here to receive voicemail and auto-answered messages in your Outlook inbox.

3. Make sure Skylook is configured to place missed instant messages in your inbox. To do this, click the Skylook options button:
Skylook Options button

then check that the “Put missed text chat messages in the inbox” option is checked:
Option to get missed instant messages in your Outlook inbox

…and click OK.

4. Now all voicemail messages and missed instant messages will appear in your inbox. Also, voice conversations and non-missed instant messages will appear in the “Skylook Conversations” folder. These communications can be managed like email. For instance, if you receive a voicemail, it will show initially as an unread item in your inbox:
Play Skype voice mail from inbox

5. After you play the voicemail, it be marked as “read” in Outlook (i.e. it will no longer be shown in bold font). If you decide that the voicemail needs some sort of follow-up that you can’t complete straight away, you can right-click it and mark it as unread:
Mark voice mail as unread

6. When you have time, you can come back and review all of your unread items, including the voic mail. If you are more sophisticated in the way you manage follow-up, you can use the other options in the Outlook menu shown above: Categories, Follow Up > Flag, Move to Folder.

7. You can do the same with missed instant messages, as well as voice calls and instant message conversations.

If you have any problems getting this to work, we can help – just email us at skylook@skylook.biz for assistance.

How to review all communications with a Contact, including email, phone calls, instant messages and SMS     

The steps below show you how you can store phone calls, PC-to-PC calls, instant messages and SMS together with email in Outlook, and then review all of these together for each individual contact. This in effect gives you a history of communications with each contact. (These steps assume you have Outlook installed – see Skylook prerequisites for details).

1. Follow the instructions here to start collecting all of your communications in Outlook.

2. The following steps utilize the “Activities” tab in Outlook’s contact form. This has the drawback that it will only work if the Outlook contact you are interested in has an email address set up in its Outlook contact details. This needs to be set up ahead of time, before the communications take place. Another drawback of this approach is that Outlook may take considerable time to find all of the items pertaining to the contact, particularly if you have a lot of items in your Outlook folders.

You may prefer instead to record calls etc. to the Outlook Journal – this feature is available in Skylook 2.0.3.49 and later. To see how to use this feature, click here. If you would prefer not to use the Journal, read on.

3. Whenever you select a contact or an email, call, voice mail, text chat or SMS message in Outlook, the contact that sent or received the communication is shown in the Skylook toolbar (as long as the contact exists in either the Outlook contact folders or within Skype’s contact list):
Skype contact in toolbar

Choose the menu option shown below to view all communications with the contact:
View Skype calls and text chats together with email for a contact

A window like the following is displayed, showing all communications to and from the contact:
Review mail together with Skype calls and chats

If you have any problems getting this to work, we can help – just email us at skylook@skylook.biz for assistance.

How to screen or monitor phone calls using your PC     

Most of us don’t want to be available via our phones all the time, but generally we like to be contactable if we are really needed. There are calls we would like to take and others that we know we can deal with later. Which are the calls we want to take? It depends on who the caller is and what they want to talk about.

So, we have a call coming in. Who is it from? Most phone systems can sometimes tell us who, but often the caller id is blocked, and sometimes we won’t know the person despite being able to see their name. Even if the caller shows, many phones are shared, so we may know which family for instance, but not which member of that family is calling (e.g. it could be your girlfriend, or it could be her Mum). So maybe we know who the caller is and maybe we don’t.

What is this incoming call about? Even if the caller is someone we know, it may be inconvenient to take a call at the moment unless the call is urgent. If the caller is someone we don’t know, they may be calling about something important so the call may be worth taking. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing without allowing them to tell us.

Voice mail is a partial solution, but has the drawback of being “all or nothing”. Most voice mail systems, while more reliable than traditional answering machines, are less useful in that they don’t allow you to pick up the call if the caller’s message needs immediate attention or if you simply do not answer the phone in time.

An answering machine is better, but mechanical answering machines can be fiddly and unreliable. They also offer no way of getting messages to you if you are away from your phone, they cannot be used with PC-based (VoIP) phone systems and are not suited to business environments.

The steps below show you how to set up call screening and monitoring on your PC, so that you can see who the call is from, optionally divert them to a software-based answering machine, then listen to their message and pick up the call if desired. If you are away from your PC, a message is taken and forwarded to your mobile phone. You have the option to call the person back from your phone after hearing the message. (These steps assume you have Outlook installed – see Skylook prerequisites for details).

1. If you don’t already use Skype, download and install it from here. If you don’t already have a headset or a Skype Phone you will need to purchase one from your local distributor, or you can order one in our store.

2. If you want to receive calls from normal phones, you need to purchase a “SkypeIn” number from Skype. Otherwise, you can still screen PC-to-PC calls using these steps.

3. If you don’t already have Skylook, download and install it from here.

4. Start Outlook. If you are running Skylook for the first time, you will see the Skylook licensing wizard and the Skylook Welcome wizard. Some of the pages in the Skylook Welcome wizard prompt you to set up the “Skylook Answering Machine”. Just accept the default settings as shown below:
Skype Answering machine configuration

Skype Answering Machine Configuration 2

Skype Answering Machine configuration 3

4. After the wizard pages above, you will see the “Alerts” page. Fill this in as shown (using your mobile phone number instead of the one shown):
Forward Voice Mail to Phone

5. Complete the rest of the startup wizard.

6. If you are not running Skylook for the first time, the startup wizard won’t appear. Check that the Skylook Answering Machine is configured correctly by clicking “Tools | Configure Answering Machine…” from the Skylook toolbar:
Configure Skype Answering Machine

Also, click this button:
Alerts

and check that the options are set as follows (using your mobile phone number instead of the one shown):
Call Screening Option

7. When a call comes in (from a standard phone using SkypeIn, or from another PC using Skype-to-Skype), the Skylook toolbar tells you the name or number of the caller and presents you with options for how the call is to be handled:
Answer Call Button

Divert to Answering Machine

Hang Up Call Button

8. Click the second button above to have the answering machine answer the incoming call, or wait for the answering machine to answer it automatically. As the greeting is being played the following options are available:
Answering Machine Greeting

Once the greeting has finished playing, the following options are available:
Answering Machine Recording Message

If the caller leaves a message, you will be able to hear it through your headset or Skype phone. You can choose to pick up the call at any point.

9. When you are away from your PC, messages such as the one above will be forwarded to your mobile phone via Skype.

Note: Skype is free for PC to PC calls, but to call traditional phones there is a fee. It’s cheap, but not free! You will need to purchase some Skype Credit in order to have voice messages forwarded to your phone. You can

buy Skype Credit here. If you’re doing this for the first time, just buy the minimum amount so you can give it a try without too much of an outlay. (Please note that there are exceptions – sometimes Skype runs promotional offers that allow you to call phones for free).

To try message forwarding, first set your Skype status to “Away” by clicking the bottom left hand corner of the Skype application as shown below, so that Skylook thinks you are away from your PC:
Switch to Away Status

10. When a call comes in, let the answering machine answer the call and take a message. After a few seconds, you should receive a call on the phone number you entered above. The message will be played to you, and you will be given the option to call back by pressing “1″ on your phone.

11. Once you’ve finished trying this, don’t forget to set your Skype status back to “Online”. By default, Skype switches your status to “Away” automatically if your computer is left idle for more than five minutes. (Note: You may wonder what happens with calls that come in during the five minute gap – don’t worry, Skylook forwards these calls also, as soon as Skype switches your status to “Away”).
If you need additional help, contact us for assistance.

How to file away all communications, not just email     

Many people, particularly at work, file away all of their email in case they need it for future reference. Others don’t keep everything but of these, many keep the important emails, and perhaps categorize them into Outlook folders.

PC-based voice communications and instant messages are just as important as email, and are as worthy of filing away for future reference. However, these are generally lost – i.e. people don’t store them away and archive them as they do with email. This is partly because there are no facilities to allow them to easily do this, or the facilities exist but users are not familiar with them and don’t use them.

The steps below show you how to set up Microsoft Outlook so that voice communications, SMS and instant messages are filed away in exactly the same way as email. Once you have set Outlook up to do this, you can use all of Outlook’s facilities to manage, archive, sort, categorize, flag and backup voice communications and instant messages along with your email.

1. If you don’t already use Skype, download and install it from here. If you don’t already have a headset or a Skype Phone, check-out our store.

2. If you don’t already have Skylook, download and install it from here.

3. Start Outlook. If you are running Skylook for the first time, you will see the Skylook licensing wizard and the Skylook Welcome wizard. Follow the prompts to ensure you have Skylook set up the way you want.

4. Start a phone call or PC-to-PC call, either from Outlook or directly from the Skype application. (This procedure still works for calls that you do not start from within Outlook).

5. Complete the call.

6. Go to the “Skylook Conversations” folder in Outlook – there will be an item for your call, containing an attached recording of the call.
Call item in Skylook Conversations folder

7. This item can now be treated just like an email. You can copy it to a folder to categorize it, you can flag it, you can archive it or use any of the other Outlook item management capabilities.

8. Now send a Skype text message to someone. (Again, you can initiate this directly from Skype, or from within Skylook – all text messages are captured regardless of how they are sent).

9. Go to the “Skylook Conversations” folder again. There will be another item, this time containing the text chat:
Archived Instant Message

(Note: You won’t get a separate item for each instant message. Any replies that occur within 5 minutes will be appended to the existing item, so that a single text chat thread generally appears within a single Outlook item).

If you have any problems getting this to work, contact us for assistance.

How to receive Voicemail messages in your Outlook inbox     

It’s easier to stay organized and in control if you only need to check one place for incoming messages and for outstanding action items. If like most people, you already keep a close eye on your email inbox, it makes sense to get other messages, such as voice messages, via your inbox also – this way you only really need to pay attention to a single stream of incoming information.

If you would like to do this, and you use Outlook as your email client, the instructions below show you a simple way to do it. (The steps shown allow you to try it for free to see how it operates).

1. Follow these instructions to set up Skype if you don’t already use it.

2. If you don’t already have Skylook, download and install it from here.

3. Start Outlook. If you are running Skylook for the first time, you will see the Skylook licensing wizard and the Skylook Welcome wizard. Follow the prompts through the pages and when you see the pages below, fill them out as shown:
Skylook Answering Machine Wizard 1

Skylook Answering Machine Wizard 2

Skylook Answering Machine Wizard 3

(NOTE: An alternative to the Skylook Answering Machine is Skype Voicemail. If you have a Skype Voicemail subscription, you can leave the Skylook Answering Machine off – Voicemail messages will automatically be sent to your inbox. You can purchase Skype Voicemail here).


4. If you are not running Skylook for the first time, and you can’t remember how you configured call answering when you were prompted by the Skylook Welcome Wizard, choose “Tools | Configure Answering Machine” from the Skylook toolbar:
Configure Answering Machine

This will bring up a wizard similar to that shown above.

5. Get someone to call you on Skype.

6. When the call is received, let Skylook answer the call (or let Skype answer it if you are using Skype Voicemail).

7. After the caller has hung up, check your inbox. You should see a message like this one:
Voicemail in Inbox

8. Click on the message. A “Play” button will appear in the toolbar:
Play Button

Click it to hear the recording.
Call Playback

9. Open the item. You will see a number of hyperlinks in the item that allow you to take various actions (for example, call the person back).
Skylook Voicemail Hyperlinks

If you need help with any of the above, please contact us for assistance.