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)!


The image here shows the contact page of one of my websites, 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):


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.

26 Responses

  1. facundo
    facundo at |

    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
    james at |

    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
    ben at |

    I have tried but it does not work

  4. RedEvo
    RedEvo at |

    It doesn’t work reliably ;(


  5. Ryan H
    Ryan H at |

    Awesome fix! love it when things are simple :D

  6. Lou Macdonald
    Lou Macdonald at |

    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. Lou Macdonald
    Lou Macdonald at |

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

  8. amd
    amd at |

    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
    Joakim at |

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

  10. at |

    thanks a ton! Great quick and easy fix!

  11. Marcel
    Marcel at |

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

  12. Steve
    Steve at |

    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
    amd at |

    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
    Shirit at |

    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
    David A Watson at |

    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. BatonRougeLiving
    BatonRougeLiving at |

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

  17. Sarah Cowan
    Sarah Cowan at |

    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
    Dizzno at |

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



  19. Mitch
    Mitch at |

    I can confirm it works…. good solution thanks.

  20. Gags
    Gags at |

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

  21. Mohamed Elgharabawy
    Mohamed Elgharabawy at |

    thank you!

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

    thanks for sharing this…

  22. Ricardo Quirós
    Ricardo Quirós at |

    Thank you very much. It works!

  23. Mark
    Mark at |

    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.

  24. Geoff Moore Web Designer
    Geoff Moore Web Designer at |

    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?


  25. amd
    amd at |

    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 :)

  26. Jenn Day
    Jenn Day at |

    Awesome, it definitly worked for my website, (from what I can tell). I would buy you pint for that if I saw you in the pub, unfortunatly as the interweb is so big your pub is likely very far away – so for now please note you have put a smile on my face in sorting this out. What a horrible change that Skype enforces onto your website – on mine it pushed all the setting out of the page into places it shouldn’t be, surely if they are going to reformat your website on your website users computers they should define it so that it does not increase the space taken up by the original text to the extent that it resets out the website causing it to look poorly laid out and spoiling the users experience.

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