Using Yahoo Messenger

Using Yahoo Messenger to send or receive messages is easy to learn. Yahoo offers a straightforward process and even has online help to provide tips on message formatting, sending files and other parts of the IM process. Let's go through the basics related to messages themselves.

Sending an instant message

To send a message to someone on your messenger list, start by clicking on their name in the list or typing a few letters of their ID in "Find Contacts." Click their name from the list that appears, type your message in the space below the conversation window and click on "Send" or hit the Enter key.

For someone not on your list, type the ID in the "Find Contacts" box, press "Enter" and type your message the same as before. However, you won't be able to exchange messages if the person doesn't have Yahoo or Windows Live.

To send the same message to more than one person, hold down the Control key while clicking on names in your messenger list that you want to receive the message. Then click on the Actions menu, select "Send an Instant Message" and type and send your message as usual.

If you send an IM to someone who is offline, the message will pop up as soon as they sign back in.

Formatting a message

Why just send straight text when you can be more creative? Yahoo Messenger offers you options like sending messages in different fonts and colors. Pull-down menus below the conversation window let you format the text and message for the look you want.

You also can add emoticons for emphasis in the text. These are faces made of type that can express emotions ranging from happy to sad to puzzled. Just place the cursor where you want the emoticon in the text and then click on any of the 25 options from the pull-down menu.

Receiving a message and responding

You'll hear an alert sound when someone sends a message. Type your response as before and click on "Send" or hit "Enter." You can mute the alert by clicking on the speaker icon above the conversation window.

Sending a file or photo

To send a document or a photo, just drop and drag the document into the conversation window. This works even if the person is offline. The person receiving the file will be asked to save or decline it. Another option during a conversation is to click the Actions menu and then choose "Send a File." You can send a file as big as 1GB (or 2GB with Yahoo Messenger 9.0).

For up to 300 photos, you can use photo sharing. Yahoo Messenger will ask if you want to start a session and invite the other person to join in. If the other person accepts the files, the images will appear in a side panel for both of you to see.

Message archiving

Yahoo Messenger allows you to save, store and search your instant messages. The encrypted archives you create can only be viewed with your Yahoo ID on your computer. To set up a message archive:

  • Click on the Messenger menu, select "Preferences" and click on "Archive."
  • Choose one of the options for archiving messages.
  • Click the "OK" button.

To view the messages later, choose the "Contacts" menu and select "Message Archive." Once the message archive for your ID appears, pick the folder you want to view.

To learn about more features of Yahoo Messenger, go to the next page.