Skype 5.0 Beta for Mac OS X: A First Look at Group Video
VIDEO: Review of Skype 5.0 Beta for MacOS X, including Group Video

Hate all the whitespace in Skype 5.0 Beta for Mac? Re-style it!

Want to get rid of all the whitespace in the new Skype for Mac UI? With the release yesterday of Skype 5.0 Beta for Mac, many folks I know predictably trashed the new user interface and raised many issues with it. One of the annoyances I had was the sheer amount of whitespace that surrounded the chat messages. I have a LOT of chats open... and many are VERY busy, so all the whitespace resulted in a lot of extra space. It turns out that there's a relatively simple fix:

Using some very simple instructions after someone nicely created a new style we could use, here's my user experience:

Skype-12.jpg Skype-12.jpg

MUCH nicer for large chats!

As outlined in this post, "Styling Skype Beta for Mac", it turns out that chats can be styled through the typical combination of CSS, HTML and JavaScript. As Maykel Loomans writes in that post, you can right-click in your Applications folder, choose "Show Package Contents" and then go into Contents > Resources > ChatStyles. There is only one style there, "Panamericana", which is a package you can then copy, open up and restyle:


I chose not to try Maykel's "Panamargincana" style purely because someone in the comments indicated it currently breaks emoticons (and I use them) [SEE THE UPDATE BELOW], but I used instead Andy Grauland's "Panamerica Mini" style. As he writes, installing the new chat style is just a simple process of extracting the contents of the chat style from a zip file, installing them into "~/Library/Application Support/Skype/ChatStyles" (creating the folder if you need to), restarting Skype and then choosing your chat style from the Preferences:


Given the simplicity of this, I expect we'll see all sorts of people playing around with the CSS to come up with other new styles for Skype chats. Maybe we get a style that's even more compact! :-)

Kudos to Skype for making it easy to modify the Skype client in this way.

P.S. Unfortunately, per contacts at Skype this is only available with Skype 5.0 Beta for the Mac - and not with Skype 5.0 for Windows.

UPDATE #1 - Maykel Loomans subsequently came out with a "Simple Skype" chat style that I am now using and liking very much. Maykel seems to be iterating very fast on his design, so you may want to follow him on Twitter to keep up.

Phil Wolf over at Skype Journal wrote about the ability to style Skype chats and some of the larger ramifications. He also had some suggestions to improve the process of developing chat styles.

One of those was to help with prototyping - and Maykel Loomans has helpfully provided a way to do just that with a bit of jQuery goodness.

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