Hidden Skype Commands

When you are using Skype to chat with others, there are many commands you can use to manage the chat session and retrieve information. Although Skype lists these commands on their Support website, they remain hidden until you know what you are looking for. Ironically, the fastest way to find these hidden commands is to use one of them during a chat session. Typing the "/help" command in the text field gives you a list of the hidden commands, along with a link to Skype's Web page, which lists additional commands and explains how to use them.

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Woman with headphones using Skype on her laptop
credit: Yuri Arcurs/Hemera/Getty Images

Assigning Roles

There are six different roles available in a Skype chat session. The person who started the chat is the Creator, who can set roles for other participants, except that of Creator. A Master is a chat host who can also assign roles except that of Master or Creator. A Helper is someone who will not be affected by the "USERS_ARE_LISTENERS" command. A User can post messages. A Listener can only see messages. An Applicant needs to wait for acceptance from the Creator or a Master before being allowed in the chat. Once accepted, no one can be demoted to Applicant. To assign a role, use the "/setrole" command, followed by the username and then the role in uppercase letters, such as "/setrole WalterWhite MASTER" or "/setrole AmyPond HELPER."

Set Options Commands

A Creator or Master can specify many options for a chat session using the "/set options" command, followed by a "+" to activate the option or a "-" to remove it, followed by the option in uppercase letters without spaces. For example, to prevent anyone from changing the topic or changing the picture in the chat window, the Creator would type the command "/set options +TOPIC_AND_PIC_LOCKED_FOR_USERS" in the text field. Typing this again with a "-" instead of a "+" would again allow others to change the topic or picture. Other useful commands include "USERS_ARE_LISTENERS," JOINERS_BECOME_LISTENERS," "JOINERS_BECOME_APPLICANTS" and "JOINING_ENABLED."

Topics and Guidelines

You can set a topic for a chat session by typing "/topic" in the chat text field, followed by the name of the topic. For example, typing "/topic Butterflies" creates a bulletin in the chat window announcing that you have set the topic to "Butterflies." The topic is also added to the top of the chat window. Anyone can change the topic by using the "/topic" command, unless this has been locked by the chat Creator using a Set Options command. You can also set guidelines for the chat session by typing "/set guidelines" followed by the guidelines you want posted. These guidelines are displayed at the top of everyone's chat window.

Administrative Commands

Many of the hidden Skype commands are designed to help you administrate a chat session. The Creator can set a password by using the "/set password" command followed by a password. You can also post a hint for the password using the "/set password_hint" command followed by the hint. To clear a password, you can use the "/clearpassword" command. You can manage who is allowed in the chat by using the "/set bandits" or "/set allowlist" commands. To use either, include a "+" or "-" sign followed by the username. For example, "/set allowlist +BillyBishop" would allow this person in the chat session, whereas a "-" in front of his name would deny him access.

Get Commands

Many of the hidden commands used in Skype are used for getting information. If you have just joined a chat, for example, you can see the entire history by typing "/history" in the text field. If you type "/htmlhistory" in the text field, the history is displayed in your Web browser. Many of these commands are preceded by the word "get," such as "/get creator" to see the chat session Creator, or "/get role" to see assigned roles. To see the chat guidelines, type "/get guidelines" in the text field. You can also use the "/get banlist" or "/get allowlist" command to see who has been banned or allowed in the chat. If the Creator has set a password limiting access, you can use the "/get password_hint" to see the hint.