In a technical environment it's more than common to copy/paste configuration files, URLs, code samples and such in order to inform the other chat participant about something. In that case all kinds of combination of characters may be used, even ones Skype recognises as emoticons.

Example with a URL:


The :* causes Skype to show a kissing emoticon, which obviously is completely pointless here.

How do I escape the : or * or whatever to avoid that? Note that I don't want to turn off emoticons or delete the emoticon-folder as that would only make me see the clear text, but any other chat partner still sees the emoticons. Everybody should see the plain text exactly as I intended no matter how he/she configured Skype.

  • In the typical Microsoft fashion, the only way to escape the formatting is through some proprietary methods. The standard way of escaping using backslashes \ simply would not work. As a programmer, I'm quite used to using backslash to escape special characters (including the backslash). Alas, no joy in Skype...
    – ADTC
    Apr 12, 2016 at 3:19

3 Answers 3


You can use the new* Skype feature for doing this:

!! Preformatted text: Use two exclamation marks and a whitespace (<Space> or linebreak)
as the first 3 characters of your message and paste your snippet after it.
Example: This is (not) a kissing smiley! :*

You can also use these commands to turn this on or off:

/wikimarkup off                 // Text will not be converted.
/wikimarkup on                  // Text will be converted.

Turning conversion off (e.g. with !! ) disables the following formatting features, among others:

* bold *
~ strikethrough ~
_ italic _

and it also displays URL without formatting them to clickable hyperlinks or displaying the site's thumbnail as an image.

* It's available in the latest version on Windows 8 & Windows 7 (Skype version onwards).

  • 1
    Cool. I have just updated and it only found version for my Win7. Anyway, it works there, too :)
    – sjngm
    Dec 5, 2014 at 7:14
  • 2
    The !! prefix yields a monospaced font. Jun 2, 2015 at 10:56
  • 13
    Please suggest @@ in the answer because !! results in a monospace font. We don't want our message to look like code just because we didn't want it to be auto-formatted.
    – ADTC
    Apr 12, 2016 at 2:07
  • 5
    Skype formatting seems to have changed radically in the new Skype included as part of Windows 10 (I'm on Skype 12.7.597.0), in which these methods no longer seem to work. I have asked a new question at Do not insert emoticons into sent messages in Skype version 12
    – Silverfish
    Nov 6, 2017 at 16:31
  • 3
    @Silverfish: I can confirm this no longer works in Windows 10. I've posted an answer to that question, which is to trip up Skype's parser by inserting a very narrow whitespace character (Unicode 8205). Aug 9, 2018 at 2:30

As stated here, you can use either @@  (note the space after @) at the beginning of the message to override formatting, or !!  to send message in monospace font.

By wrapping parts of your message in {code} tags you can apply !! to those parts, i.e. Here is the {code}monospaced{code} word in a proportional message!

EDIT 2020: updated the link to the official FAQ, and added {code} tag description.

  • 7
    The @@ did not work for me, but the !! did.
    – Dan
    May 27, 2015 at 12:44
  • The @@ has started to work for me somewhere between June and now. (I.e.: It hasn't worked for me in June either, but now it does.) ( @Dan ) Dec 17, 2015 at 15:09
  • 6
    @@ suppresses the interpretation of formatting (* bold *, ~ <s>strikethrough</s> ~, _ italic _), but emoticons (e.g. :)) will still be interpreted (including (!) and (*)). Dec 17, 2015 at 16:00
  • (… and including (lol).) Jan 14, 2016 at 13:21
  • 1
    May 2018: @@ did not work for me (Skype web)
    – rgoliveira
    May 7, 2018 at 20:16

Since the @@ does not always work (at least it doesn't for me in Skype Web, as of Jan. 2019), you can suppress the formatting and keep the normal proportional font by inserting the special characters as HTML escapes.

E.g. using &#x7e;test&#x7e; you will see ~test~ (and not test)

  • 5
    What did they do?! ROFLMAO OMG facepalm oh-no sighs cries
    – sjngm
    Jan 22, 2019 at 10:28
  • 1
    This isn't working in the current Skype for Windows (version The escapes show up as typed.
    – User5910
    Sep 24, 2021 at 17:10

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