unofficial blog

Remarkable features of Skype

Formatting Skype messages

When the recent versions of Skype 7.0 for Mac and Skype 6.21 for Windows have released, it has become known that the developers have added the text formatting feature in Skype chat. Thus, now Skype users can send instant messages using bold, italic, strikeout and monospaced text. Of course, this is only a partial text formatting, but it is good that they have listened to the users.

To format the text, Skype offers a simplified markup language that consists of various symbols (asterisk, underline, tilde) and tag {code} (or more convenient way, are symbols ```). As I understand it, the developers have created their own markup language (or at least I don’t remember something like that was used anywhere), which, in my opinion, is not a good idea, as users would be more convenient to use something already familiar (e.g., bbCode, Wiki markup or, why not, HTML). Of course, I can be wrong, but time will tell, how quickly the users will get accustomed to this markup language and come to like it.

To apply desired formatting style to your text, you need to put it between the symbols/tags of the markup. In the table below you will find all supported styles and some examples for each of them:

Style Example Result
Bold text This is an *unofficial blog* of Skype This is an unofficial blog of Skype
Italic text Purely _my personal_ opinion Purely my personal opinion
Strikeout text See you ~tomorrow~ after tomorrow See you tomorrow after tomorrow
Monospaced Try this: ```SELECT COUNT(id)``` Try this: SELECT COUNT(id)

That's all about supported effects of formatting — as you can see, there's nothing complicated here. Of course, functions of changing the color and size of text are missing, but I hope that in the future they will be available (although, colored text exactly won’t be available until the developers decide how to prevent from sending "HTML-images").

Anyway, formatting Skype messages is a a handy feature, but there exists the other side of the coin, and problems can often arise, especially when we want to send such expressions:
Message Result
1 * 2 * 3 = 6 1 2 3 = 6
~/foo/ and ~/bar/ /foo/ and /bar/
__sleep() or __wakeup() sleep() or wakeup()
pow(a) * pow(b) * pow(c) pow(a) pow(b) pow(c)

To solve this problem, and/or disable the text formatting in the chat, at this moment we have a few options:
  • If you want to disable the formatting forever, you need to execute the following command:
    /wikimarkup off

  • To disable text formatting only for current messages, at the beginning of message you should to put two symbols @ and a space. Example:
    @@ _1 * 2 * 3 = 6_ — Bold text is disabled

  • Instead of @@ you can also use !! which disable not only text formatting, but also emoticons conversion. Example:
    !! pow(a) * pow(b) * pow(c) — Bold text and emoticons are disabled

  • Include the text between the {code} tag or ``` and it won’t be formatted. Example:
    {code}~/foo/ or ~/bar/{code} — Strikeout text is disabled

  • Before the symbol of the markup, we should not add a space. Example:
    1*2*3 = 6 — Text do not become bolded

  • In the new versions of Skype formatting can be disabled in the settings at Skype → Tools → Options → IM & SMS → IM appearance → Show advanced text formatting

  • Another command that disables formatting forever:
    /setupkey *Lib/Conversation/EnableWiki 0

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