This article references two versions of Skype:

Skype (for consumers):
Skype (for consumer)

  • Skype (for consumers) is a client intended for non-business use and free to anyone. 

Skype for Business:
Skype for Business

  • Skype for Business is a paid client that many universities, businesses, and large organizations use for both online communication and Voice over IP (VoIP) telephony. The University of Iowa provides Skype for Business to all university members including faculty, staff, and students.
  1. Open the client and open the Contacts tab. This tab is denoted as a silhouette of a person.
  2. On the right side of the client, below the search tool, click on the image that denotes Add Contact
    • Alternatively, you may simply type the user's name or Skype ID into the search bar and ensure the Skype Directory tab is selected.
  3. Choose Add a Contact Not in My Organization and choose Skype
  4. Type in the username or email (i.e. of the Skype user and add them to your contacts list by right-clicking their name. You can also try searching by the user's name.
  5. Once you've added the Skype (for consumer) user, a request will be sent to them. Once the contact request has been accepted, the user's presence and chat will become available.

*On the Mac client, you'll need to know the Skype (for consumer) email address that the user has associated with the account. Type this email address into the search bar and the Skype (for consumer) user should appear.


​​Currently, contacts must be initiated with the Skype for Business client. When the contact request comes from the Skype (for consumer) client, it will not successfully be sent to the Skype for Business user. The following instructions explain how to find a Skype for Business contact that you have already accepted:


  1. In the Skype client, click into the Search Bar just below your name
  2. Type the organizationally-owned email address (i.e. of the Skype for Business user that you are wanting to add
  3. Click on the user and click Add to Contacts 
    • If you just need to IM or call the user, right-click their name and choose the option you'd like

*On the Mac client, type the email address ( into the search bar. If the user doesn't immediately appear, click the Add a Contact... option on the dropdown menu. When a new window opens, click the Find button.

  • Skype (for consumer) directory search
  • Presence
  • Instant Messaging
  • 1:1 Audio
  • 1:1 Video
  • It is known that most emojis will incorrectly send or will not send at all between Skype for Business and Skype (for consumer) clients.
  • Some Sharing features in Skype for Business are not currently compatible with Skype (for consumer).
    • These Sharing features include Screen Sharing, Sending Attachments while in-call, and Presenting Desktop
  • The Meet Now feature in Skype for Business and several other meeting features are unable to cooperate or poorly cooperate with Skype (for consumer)
Article number: 
Last updated: 
September 8, 2020