Making a phone list for SkypeOut calls
But one of the things I'd hoped to do was export my 1000+ contacts in Outlook to Skype to make SkypeOut calls easily. The problem is that Skype doesn't have an easy way to import SkypeOut contacts. You can scan Outlook for a list of people who may have Skype accounts on their PC, but Skype won't import their telephone numbers.
Completely by accident I discovered a workaround today. Someone sent an organizational telephone list to my Gmail account today. Rather than download the word document, I opened it as an HTML document in Firefox. And lo and behold, I was presented with a long list of phone numbers, each with a button next to them for quick dialing via SkypeOut.
Here's how it works. Skype 3.0 beta for Windows includes a nifty new feature that will scan web pages in Internet Explorer or Firefox, looking for phone numbers. If you're looking up a restaurant, for example, Skype will see the phone number on the page and let you click an icon in your web browser to dial and make reservations.
Well, it also happens to work if you happen to get a phone number in your email, or if you open an excel spreadsheet in an online spreadsheet program on the web. So if you want to export your contacts from Outlook to a spreadsheet and upload it to a web service like Google Documents, you'll have 1-click access to all of your contacts. In practice, this didn't work too well for me, as my exported contacts took up a huge amount of space and look unwieldy in spreadsheet form.
But you can create your own list of quick-click SkypeOut contacts just by creating an HTML document with all of your contacts and creating a bookmark in your web browser.