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How To Export Your Skype Chatlogs To Text

Sometime last year, after MSN became uncool and before I realized there was such a thing as Google Talk, Skype became the primary method of communication in my circle of friends. I have to say I regret this decision SO much, and it's due to one single fact: I am insane. Lol, no, but the problem is, as I've mentioned before, I have to have a log of every conversation I've had with my friends and while Skype will log your conversations for you, it makes it very difficult for you to interact with them. You have to actually use the Skype client to read your chatlogs--they aren't stored in text files and you can't just go find the files and read them. Also, Skype displays all of your conversations with a contact at the same time and you have to wait while Skype loads them all. Clearly, for an insane person like me, this isn't acceptable.

Since then, I have mainly switched to Google Talk and so have a few of my friends. Some of them still use Skype, however, and so I am forced to use the skype4pidgin Pidgin plugin to communicate with them. Sure, it requires that Skype is kept open, but it doesn't matter to me because Pidgin logs our conversations and that's all I really care about.

However, there is still one problem: all my logs from before the switch are still trapped inside of Skype. How do I get them out? I've searched around on Google quite a bit and finally found a solution: Skype has a feature in it called the Public API. With a bit of coding skill, you could use that to get information out of Skype. Perhaps even, chatlogs? :P

Anyway, the only bindings for the Skype API I could find were in Python (Skype4Py), so I quickly learned the basics of Python and set myself to work. And soon enough, I had a little script that could export all of your Skype chatlogs into HTML files, similar to how Pidgin stores your logs. I was really quite excited about this and decided that I wanted to share it as it was probably a common goal of many people.

Here it is, my little script that could: Download skypelogs2text.py.

Here's how to run this script. First off, make sure that Skype is running and that you are logged in. Next, if you run Linux:

sudo apt-get install wget python python-skype
mkdir skypelogs2text
cd skypelogs2text
wget http://other.fourisland.com/skypelogs2text.py
chmod +x skypelogs2text.py

Skype will ask you if you want to allow the script access to the Public API and you should let it. :P Anyway, if you have Windows, since you are probably less familiar with the terminal interface, let's run through this graphically:

  1. Download Python from its website and install it.
  2. Download Skype4Py from Sourceforge and install it.
  3. Download my script into an empty folder.
  4. Double click on my script.
  5. Skype will ask you if you want to allow the script access to the Public API. Click "Allow".

Either way, you will then have to wait. Depending on how many conversations you have stored in Skype, this may take quite a while. I had 371 on Linux and it took eight minutes and six seconds. Regardless, when you are done, you should have a folder called "logs" that contains a folder called "skype" that contains a folder with the same name as your Skype handle that contains all your logs. Isn't that great? The logs folder can be integrated with your normal Pidgin logs folder and then you will be able to read your logs from the Pidgin log viewer. :D

So, now that I've accomplished this, what's next on my checklist? Get my friends to stop using Skype! (And Facebook Chat, for that matter, but that's going to be taken care of :P) I would like it if more people switched Google Talk (my favorite feature of theirs is that all conversations are logged on the server so even if you cannot log from your client, they will log for you :P), but it's lack of accessible video-chat may be stopping that from happening. However, you just wait: when FourChat comes out, there will be no stopping me! laughs evilly :P

Hatkirby on August 9th, 2010 at 1:16:30pm
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