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It can be inconvenient or even unprofessional when Skype inserts emoticons into message text, for example if "subsection 13(n)" or z = f(y) are given thumbs-down and thumbs-up symbols. Several questions about this behaviour in the Win32 Skype app (most recently version 7.x) have been asked here before, with various solutions including starting messages with {code}, !! (two exclamation marks and then a space) or markdown-type formatting. See e.g. How to disable emoticons in Skype, Send preformatted text in Skype and Escape Skype Messages to Use Special Character Combinations.

The new Skype built in to recent updates of Windows 10 (I am on version 12.7.597.0) is radically different from the previous versions, for example the structure of the chat database changed and "advanced text formatting" (e.g. *bold* and _italic_) has been removed. I can't find official confirmation from Microsoft, but it seems one of these changes is that {code}, !!, @@ and other suggested solutions no longer work.

There no longer even seems to be the workaround of asking the conversation partner to turn off the display of emoticons on their end — the only IM display setting I can see is to turn off web link previews. Old IM settings on the left, new settings on the right:

Skype messaging settings

I have found the issue somewhat less aggravating than before, since many short emoticon codes have been removed: starting lists with "(a)... and (b) ..." no longer gives angel and beer, and "401(k)" no longer kisses the person you are talking to. But (n) and (y) still catch me out sometimes, and there is now a very long list of words which, if mentioned parenthetically, produce an emoticon, so some way to avoid this would be welcome.

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    Being the guy who started the ESMtUSCC-question I'd like to say that our team switched to Slack because of the ongoing worsening of Skype. Their QoS, stability and functionality is way better. IMHO Skype has turned into something for cat-pic-people.
    – sjngm
    Nov 23, 2017 at 7:32
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    @sjngm I feel you. Sadly I need a solution that lets me communicate with clients and Skype's universality still makes it my default choice ... but many of the changes have indeed made Skype "less serious" and unsuited to professional use. For example, Ctrl+F no longer lets me search through Skype chats - perhaps not an issue for the casual user but a real pain for me!
    – Silverfish
    Nov 24, 2017 at 14:43
  • @sjngm: Sadly, some of us have Skype "forced" on us at our workplace. ;-) Aug 9, 2018 at 2:31
  • @AmosM.Carpenter I know what you are saying. For one project we are also back on Skype :( Luckily I'm just a sidekick there...
    – sjngm
    Aug 9, 2018 at 15:35

1 Answer 1

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To trip up Skype's parser in Windows 10 (tested with Skype for Business 2016, in which the old solution of using !! or @@ no longer works), you need to insert a character it can't handle, like a very narrow whitespace character (Unicode character 8205). You can insert this by using Alt-8205.

So if, for example, you're trying to insert copyright text like (c) and want to stop Skype from turning that into a coffee mug, insert the whitespace somewhere in that sequence: (

  1. Type ( (open brackets, the start of what you don't want parsed).
  2. Hold down Alt and type 8205 before releasing the Alt key again (this inserts the narrow whitespace character that interrupts the parsing).
  3. Type c) (the rest of your text you don't want parsed).

Both you and the recipient you're chatting to should see a c in brackets (the narrow whitespace will be almost invisible) instead of a coffee mug emoticon.

This is adapted from this Reddit thread (although the description there says to use the special character before and after the text you don't want parsed, which didn't work for me).

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    OMG, WTF?! This can't be true, but "it's good to know"?! (facepalm)(gun)(beer)(beer)(beer)(beer)(beer)...
    – sjngm
    Aug 9, 2018 at 15:33
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    This is not really that helpful, because it breaks code (the extra invalid character means the person you send it to can't copy/paste) Aug 21, 2018 at 20:36
  • @TheodoreMurdock: Agreed about it breaking copy-pasta'ing code, but then, Skype/Lync is pretty awful when it comes to letting you copy-pasta anyway. Ideally, of course, the app should have a built-in way for you to tell it not to parse certain text for emoticons, but since it doesn't, this is the only workaround I'm aware of. If you know a better way, please feel free to add an answer that works. Aug 22, 2018 at 0:07
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    For me Alt+8205 produces ♪ on the numeric keypad and has no effect when using the other digits.
    – Qwertie
    Dec 1, 2018 at 18:44
  • @Qwertie: Was that with Windows 10 and Skype for Business 2016? As stated, that's what I tested this with. Were you using some other combination of OS and app? Unicode character 8205 should be a "zero-width joiner" character as far as I know, in HTML it would be ‍ or ‍. Dec 2, 2018 at 15:07

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