How to Use Facebook Chat - dummies

By Carolyn Abram

If you’ve got something to say to someone, and you’ve got to say it now, try sending her an instant message through Facebook Chat. Chat allows you to see which friends are online at the same time you are, and then enables you to send quick messages back and forth with any one of those people, or have multiple simultaneous conversations with different friends.

You’ll find Chat in the bottom-right corner of any page on Facebook. You’ll also find a preview of online friends in the left column of your Home page.

Receiving Chats is simply a matter of being online. When a friend sends you a chat, a small window pops up next to the Chat bar in the bottom right of your screen.


To send a chat message back to them, simply click into the text field at the bottom of the chat window, start typing, and press Enter when you’re done. Your message appears below your friend’s, just as it does with most IM services.

At the top of each chat window or chat box is a blue bar displaying the name of the person you’re chatting with and two or three icons. The one you might or might not have is the video icon. The two you will definitely have are the gear icon and the x icon.

The X, farthest to the right, simply allows you to close the chat window at any time. Don’t worry about losing the contents of your conversation. Everything said is saved into your Inbox.

The Gear icon, when clicked, opens up a menu of options. These options include:

  • See Full Conversation: Clicking this brings you to a view of your entire conversation history.

  • Clear Window: If you find yourself wading through too much history at a time, clicking this will give you a blank slate of a chat window. This won’t delete the contents permanently, though. Your full message history is still saved in your Inbox.

  • Add Friends to Chat: If you’re discussing something with a friend and think that you need the opinion of someone else, you can add them to the chat, and you can all talk as a group.

  • Report as Spam: If you’re getting odd messages from a friend promoting something they wouldn’t normally promote, there’s a chance their account was phished, meaning someone gained access to it that shouldn’t have. Report the spam messages to protect yourself, your friend, and other users from having the same thing happen to them.

The Group Chat window has an additional icon, which may look similar to the Group Icon. Click this icon at any point to add even more participants to your Group Chat.