In this tutorial I will show you 3 solutions, from a developer´s point of view, how to prevent Skype from automatically highlighting phone numbers displayed in your Website. Also I will show you, from a user´s point of view, how to disable Skype phone highlighting in Internet Explorer.
If you have Skype installed on your computer and you use Internet Explorer as your Web browser, then there is a good chance that Skype highlights phone numbers on Web pages as shown in the image below. I find this Skype “feature” intrusive. This Skype modification is not aesthetically appealing, is obtrusive, does not flow nicely with the page design, and sometimes breaks the layout on the page.
The XHTML markup associated with the image above is the following:
The Skype phone number highlighting seems to affect only IE browser. The other browsers are not affected. However; I will not be surprised if other browsers are (or will be) affected depending if skype add-ons exist (or will exist) for them.
The Solutions: From a Developer´s Point of View
For a Web developer, I am going to list 3 solutions. Choose the method that best fits your needs. All 3 solutions passed XHTML 1.0 Transitional and Strict validation. After you implement any of the 3 solutions, you should expect that Skype is prevented from highlighting phone numbers, as shown in the image below:
Solution1: Use HTML Soft Hyphen
Put the soft hyphenation somewhere inside the phone number in order to prevent Skype from recognizing it as a phone number. Make sure that the phone number does not split across two lines. This is an easy solution that passes validation.
Solution2: Use CSS Trick
This is another method to prevent Skype from highlighting phone numbers of Web pages by injecting code that splits the phone number and thus preventing skype from recognizing it as a phone number. Also, from an SEO perspective, this method is harmless since between the <span> tag (with the display: none property), there are no hidden links, no hidden images, no stuffed keywords to improve search ranking, no stuffed text, and no hidden malicious code.
Solution3: Use Meta Tag
This solution is discussed in the Skype community Forum referenced below. Add a vendor-specific meta tag. This solution is especially useful for Web pages that display a lot of data (phone numbers or otherwise) that are highlighted (mistakenly or not) by Skype. In this case it will be much easier to add one meta tag at the head of the HTML document instead of modifying every single number on the page. This method, like the previous two, validates for XHTML 1.0 Transitional and Strict.
At the head section of your HTML document, insert the following Meta tag.
The Solution: From a User´s Point of View
If you are an Internet Explorer Web user, and you are annoyed by this Skype feature, then follow the steps below. This solution is tested for IE8. I am not sure about other versions of Internet Explorer.
- From your IE browser, go to: Tools -> Skype add-on for Internet Explorer
- From the dialog box, you have 2 choices:
- Either uncheck the box that says "Turn number highlighting on"
- Or click "Uninstall" to completely remove this Skype add-on.
- Click "Ok" and Skype will no longer automatically highlights phone numbers in Web pages.
Note: If the Video below does not run in your browser, either use a different browser or save it on your computer.
Did you know!
By following any of the 2 choices above, you also prevent Skype from automatically highlighting your phone number in your Email´s signature.
This tutorial lists 3 solutions for Web developers that prevent Skype from intrusively highlighting phone numbers in your Website. Also it shows Web users how to disable automatic Skype phone highlighting in Internet Explorer. This issue had been reported to Skype almost four years ago. It seems that Skype views this as a feature and not an issue.
Do you have anything to say? If so, please share it in the comments section.