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Joe Miller

Ops/Engineering. Continuous DevOping at Webscale

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The consensus at this point is that Skype 5 on Mac OSX is ugly and wastes a ton of screen space for no good reason (all of this is true, btw.) But, you don’t have to live with the ugliness.  It’s not widely known, but Skype 5 supports skins or “chatstyles”, which are constructed entirely in HTML/CSS/Javascript, so they’re easy to write and hack.

Skype’s official page for information on ChatStyles:

Here are a few of the alternate ChatStyles available on github:

  • PanamericanaMini - this is probably the first alternate ChatStyle.  It’s very similar to the default Panamericana theme, but with some whitespace removed.
  • Brief - nice theme.  Check out the screenshots.
  • My fork of Brief on github - I like the Brief chatstyle, but I made some small modifications to further reduce extra whitespace and I modified colors slightly.
  • Simples - heavily influenced by the Renkoo style for Adium.   Screenshot.
  • StyleShift - reduced whitespace, every image URL is expanded in a linked thumbnail, custom emoticons.

More ChatStyles are available in Skype’s ChatStyle Gallery.  They’re also running a competition, so you can go vote for your favorite.