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Chat

What is chat? Chat is essentially how we communicate with other residents in Second Life. There are two major categories of chat: text chat and voice chat. This page will focus on text chat. For info about voice chat, go here: Using Voice.


There is a nicely detailed write-up of chat and IM windows, and associated Firestorm settings, here.

Types of chat

There are 4 types of chat:

  • Local chat, where everyone within chat range can see your chat.
  • Group chat, where you can talk to a group as a whole via a group chat window.
  • Instant messaging (IM), where you talk privately one on one to another individual.
  • Ad Hoc (Conference) calls, where you can talk to a group of people you select in an IM.

Chat Ranges

Local Chat
  • Normal local chat has a range of 20 meters. To use normal text chat, input your text in either the main chat bar at the bottom or in the nearby chat window.
  • Shout has a range of 100 meters. To use shout, press ctrl + enter keys after inputing your text.
  • Whisper has a range of 10 meters. To use whisper, press shift + enter keys after inputing your text.

Alternatively, you can choose to show the “send” button at the end of the nearby chat bar, with which you can select the chat type (whisper, say, or shout). It will remain in whatever chat type until you change it. To enabled this “send” button, go to PreferencesChat -> Typing → Show chat type / send chat button in chat bar.

Instant Messages, Group Chats and Conference Calls

These are grid-wide, meaning anyone anywhere on the grid can participate, without being in the same location.

Chat Translator

The viewer has the ability to translate text into a language that you choose but you need to set up an account with Bing or Google to do so. See here for more information. Previously, Google provided free translation services, but this has now ended, and you must establish your own account with Bing or Google, which may incur a cost. Please be aware that chat translation only works in nearby chat and not in IMs or group chat.

Instant Message (IM)

How to start an Instant Message

There are several ways to start an instant message:

  • To talk to a nearby avatar, right click on any part the avatar (not their attachments) or their name tag and select IM from the menu.
  • From the Friends list in the Contacts window, select on the person’s name and press the IM/call button.
  • From the Friends list in the People panel, select the person’s name and press the IM button at the bottom of that window.
  • If person is already chatting, click on the name in the chat window (this will bring up a quick profile window) and press the IM button.
  • In a person’s profile, press the Instant Message button.

How to start a group chat

Provided you are allowed to join a group chat, go to Group tab in the Contacts window and either double click on the group or select the group and press the IM/call button.

If you are in the group tab in the People panel, double clicking on the group will start chat; or you can right-click on the selected group and select chat.

How to close a group chat

To close the group chat window for the duration of the login session, press the X button at top right of that group window. If you want to close it temporarily, press the Zz button at top right to put the group in “snooze” mode. Snooze mode will close the chat for a set duration; and after that duration is up, any new chat in that group will make that group's chat window open again. Chat group duration default time is set to 900s but can be changed in Preferences > Chat > Chat tab.

How to start a conference chat

A conference is a private conversation with two or more Residents. It is similar to group chat, but more dynamic, since everyone on your friends list can be invited, as well as everyone you have a calling card from.

To start a conference chat:

  • Go to Conversations window → Contacts tab → Friends and select each friend you want to include in the conference by pressing Ctrl + left click on mouse on each friend’s name and then press the IM/Call button.
  • Go to the People Panel → Friends tab and select each friend you want to include in the conference by pressing Ctrl + left click on mouse on each friend’s name and then right-click and select IM.
  • If you already have an IM going with someone and want to add another resident, you have two ways to do this:
    • go to Inventory → Calling Card folder and drag that resident’s calling card into the IM, or
    • press the “add someone to this conversation” button at top of the IM.
    • Drag and Drop the selected avatar in the current IM. Can drag and drop from the following windows:
      • Radar
      • Nearby Avatar tab in People window
      • Friends tab in People window
      • Friends tab in Contacts tab (Conversations window)
      • People Search tab in Search window
      • Contact sets

Note: Conferences are limited to twenty participants.

Chat/IM Logs and Transcripts

The terminology has changed so please read here.

To save or not save your chat logs and transcripts (nearby, IM/Group), go to PreferencesPrivacy -> Logs & Transcripts and select the options under Save:.

The location for the saved chat logs and transcripts depends on your operating system but can be found and changed in Network & Files -> Directories → Conversation logs and transcripts location. Press the Set button to change it to a different folder.

Offline IMs

If you are offline and an IM is sent to you, the IM is backlogged and will appear as a set of notification icons in the upper right or lower left of your viewer when you log in.

The backlog can contain up to 25 IMs (cap limit), including inventory transfers, group invitations, and group notifications. If someone gives you an inventory item (generating an IM message), the message is placed in your inventory's Trash folder, and you can retrieve it when you return. If a scripted object sends the inventory, it is deleted immediately.

Second Life will keep the IMs in the backlog for 31 days. If you do not log in within the 31 days to view your IMs, they will be deleted.

To ensure you get your offline IMs and to work around the cap, they can be sent to the email address that is connected to your contact information. To enable this option, go to PreferencesChat -> Notices → check Email me IMs when I'm offline.

If you send a reply to an offline IM via email, the original sender will receive it as an IM. The email reply is limited to 1023 characters and must be sent within 5 days.

Managing Chat Windows

There are several ways to have your chat windows set up to your liking.

Docked in the conversations window:

As separate windows:

How to dock/undock the chat windows:

  • There is a “tear off” button (⇱) next to the “x” (Close). Press that to dock and undock the chat window.

How to rearrange the IMs:

  • Select and drag the IM tab to the order that you choose.

Common Questions

How do I make the group chat look like the old style chat?

How do I change the size of the font in chat?

How do I get my Contacts window back?

  • If your Contacts window is not showing, go to the top menu bar → Comm menu → Contacts (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F).
  • If Contacts window is showing but undocked and there is no tear off button showing, go to top menu barPreferencesAdvanced (Ctrl+Alt+D) → Debug Settings → Search for ContactsTornOFF and set to False.



See this page for documentation on Firestorm 4.7.1 (45325) and earlier.

archive/fs_chat_fs477.txt · Last modified: 2016/08/08 21:54 by miro.collas