Skype Username Tips
By Laurel Storm
Once you've created a Skype account, the only way to change your username is to create a completely new account and switch to it. Nothing in your old account will be transferred to the new, meaning you will have to re-add all your contacts and you will lose everything you may have purchased on Skype, such as credits, subscriptions and other features. Rather than sign up for Skype with the first username that comes to mind, it pays to consider how you will be using the program.
Username Versus Display Name
Although you can't change your chosen username once you've signed up for Skype, the program also offers a display name feature which you can change as often as you want. Since it is part of your profile, the display name will be used to determine when your profile appears in search results. If somebody bothers to look at your profile, however, they will still be able to see your username. As a result, you should ensure that your username doesn't contain any details you don't want to share or anything a contact may find objectionable.
Skype Username Restrictions
A Skype username cannot be shorter than six characters or longer than 32. It can contain both letters and numbers, but must start with a letter; accented characters are not allowed. The only punctuation marks you can use are commas, dashes, periods and underscores.
If you plan on using Skype for professional endeavors such as meetings or interviews, you need to ensure your username is as professional as possible. The easiest way of doing this is signing up for a Skype account using your real name as a username. Depending on how common your name is, basic forms of the username, such as "firstname.lastname" or "lastname.firstname," may be already taken by somebody else. In this case, you can insert a number at the end or add your middle initial.
If you plan on using your Skype account to chat with friends and family, you may be better off using a nickname as your username. Doing this will allow you to chat with online acquaintances, such as people you've met in multi-player games, without revealing your real name unless you want to do so. Your friends and family, who already know your real name, are likely not to mind you using a nickname. However, you should still avoid choosing something vulgar or otherwise objectionable, to avoid inadvertently offending somebody.
If you plan on using Skype for both personal and professional communication, you can keep the two neatly separated by signing up for two different accounts and running two copies of Skype at the same time. Launch Skype as normal and sign in to your first account. Press the "Windows" and "R" key simultaneously to open the Run dialog box and enter the following command:
"C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe" /secondary
Press "OK." This launches a second copy of Skype, which you can use to sign in to your second account.
Laurel Storm has been writing since 2001, and helping people with technology for far longer than that. Some of her articles have been published in "Messaggero dei Ragazzi", an Italian magazine for teenagers. She holds a Master of Arts in writing for television and new media from the University of Turin.