How To Stop Skype Changing Your Website Design

If visitors to your website have Skype installed, it may reformat what it thinks are phone numbers on your website. This can be very annoying if you’re a web designer and you get an angry phone call from a client asking why the design is broken (and worse, you can’t see the problem because you’ve disabled Skype in your own browser)!

skype-reformat-number

The image here shows the contact page of one of my websites, WebsiteDoctor.com. Note the phone numbers at the top of the image, and the one in the middle of the text. Before I fixed this, Skype was reformatting all numbers, which severely affected the balance of the banner design (see the site to see why).

What I needed to do to prevent it is include a Skype specific meta tag in the header of my webpages to tell it not to reformat numbers by default (so it doesn’t change the top number). Then I added some more code to tell Skype that it is allowed reformat the 2nd instance of the number only (the one you see with the Irish flag in the picture). Here’s the code to do that.

First, add this META tag to the <head> section of your webpage or CMS (putting this in header.php somewhere before the </head> tag will work in most WordPress themes):

<meta name="SKYPE_TOOLBAR" content="SKYPE_TOOLBAR_PARSER_COMPATIBLE" />

At this stage, Skype will not reformat ANY numbers. If you just want to remove all Skype formatting, you’re finished now!

To tell Skype that you are allowing it to format a number you need to wrap the number with the following html comments. Note you can also specify “File As:” text for the Skype application:

<!-- sphoneid telnr="+35314404342" fileas="WebsiteDoctor Office (Dublin)" -->01 4404 342<!-- sphoneid -->

I hope this helps you out. If it does, or if you need any further help, please leave a comment below.

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25 Responses to How To Stop Skype Changing Your Website Design

  1. facundo says:

    Excellent! This Skype thing has annoyed me every now and then,personally, but I never really stopped to think about the solution to it regarding future complaints from customers. thanks for sharing!

  2. james says:

    thanks heaps.. great fix.. however my problem is in the reports (telerik).I dont know how to add meta tage there but atleast this is a good starting point

  3. ben says:

    I have tried but it does not work

  4. RedEvo says:

    It doesn’t work reliably ;(

    d

  5. Ryan H says:

    Awesome fix! love it when things are simple :D

  6. No I couldn’t get it to work either but if you paste
    _
    into the number (i.e. 0800 462 _ 1234) it works, it also works for peoples names which have started to be formatted too i.e.
    Lou _ Macdonald
    Hope this helps

  7. the copy and paste didn’t come out – the code was:
    _
    hope this shows up or these posts will look very strange

  8. amd says:

    No, it doesn’t seem to! If you hae a work around, please let me know.

    I love the superhero banner on your site by the way :)

  9. Joakim says:

    Thanks mate, Skype always ruins my damn websites layouts and I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to find a solution ><

  10. thanks a ton! Great quick and easy fix!

  11. Marcel says:

    It does work! People who are not achieving it must refresh page or clean up browser cache. Great code! Thanks.

  12. Steve says:

    There is an easier solution. When you installed skype you also installed a skype plugin on your default browser. Click on “tools” in IE, then “manage add-ons”. from Toolbars and extensions, scroll down to find “Skype click to Call”. Click the item and choose “disable”. On older browsers it may say “remove” or “uninstall”.

    hope this helps

  13. amd says:

    Steve, that only works on the client end if the visitor chooses to disable it themselves manually. The solution I included above disables Skype from changing the number formatting for all visitors regardless of their personal Skype settings.

  14. Shirit says:

    AWESOME! such a simple solution. I used to wrap each number in a tag to disable it, but this is sooo much better. thanks for sharing.

  15. David A Watson says:

    I am trying to do what is suggested to stop this annoying interference with phone numbers coming from Skype but to be honest i need simple and plain instructions to follow. can someone please spend the time to list ther actions for me to follow. Atso

  16. This Skype issue was driving me nuts and breaking my layout. Thank, Man!

  17. Sarah Cowan says:

    Thanks a mill. Skype was seriously throwing my whole header out in my testing site in ie! Looked terrible! This is the first fix I came to and it works a treat! Cheers.

  18. Dizzno says:

    excellent this works great. I have tested it on ff 13 and ie 8

    cheers

    d

  19. Mitch says:

    I can confirm it works…. good solution thanks.

  20. Gags says:

    That worked for us thanks. In our case, the ROI flag was showing up beside a NI number. Thanks

  21. thank you!

    i had this problem with Magento. I tried your solution and it worked just fine..

    thanks for sharing this…

  22. Ricardo QuirĂ³s says:

    Thank you very much. It works!

  23. Mark says:

    Oopps… ok, I mucked up there :)
    The comment box must be html because it translated the code to the first number, so I’ll simply point you to the web page that i got the numbers from. It is useful in its own right should you want to replace characters with coding.
    ascii.cl/htmlcodes.htm

  24. Remember guys in this coding solution the meta tag is case sensitive and has to be written in capitals for it to work.

    Hope this helps?

    Geoff.

  25. amd says:

    Thanks for the tip, Geoff. I haven’t revisited this one for a while, can’t remember if I was aware of the case sensitivity issue or not :)

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