How to get the best out of Pidgin

Pidgin is a free instant-messaging client that supports a lot of protocols, although better known as a Linux application, Pidgin is free to download and use on Windows as well. Currently, Pidgin is the default chat client of many Linux distros like Mint, Fuduntu, Solus... And on both Linux and Windows, Pidgin can run in your system tray without requiring a browser tab left open, flash when you receive a new message, and be quickly accessed from the taskbar.

Setup accounts

You can use Pidgin to communicate on many networks like MSN (Windows Live Messenger), AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo, ICQ, Facebook and Google Talk and you can combine all these IM accounts in one simple application. So instead of running several different IM clients that display ads and eat up memory, you can just use Pidgin. All your chat contacts across all the networks will be combined into a single buddy list, and all your conversations can be combined into a single tabbed chat window – or multiple windows, if you prefer.

How to use Pidgin

To setup the accounts, just hit Ctrl + A or from the Menu, go to Accounts > Manage Accounts. On the Accounts window, you will the the Add button. Click on it to setup your IM accounts. Just scroll down the protocols section and you will find a lot of networks. You can add as many as you want – and tweak their settings.

Configure buddy list

After you add your IM accounts, all your contacts from all the networks ( except IRC) will be shown in a single buddy list.

How to get the best out of Pidgin

In this buddy list, you can create groups for each network or just a group for some certain persons. And you can just drag and drop the nicks in and out of any group whenever you want. This is very handy in case you have the same contact with the same person on multiple networks or if you have contacts, like in your company, across many networks. You can also create aliases for a contact nick by right clicking on the nick and set the Alias.

Chat

Chatting with pidgin is just quite similar to other chat clients like skype, yahoo messenger, palringo ... You can group all the chat windows into one window with tabs. Or you can just drag the windows around the desktop for easy notice. All the basic features like emoicons, font and color format, attention button ... are also available in Pidgin. The options for viewing chat logs, sending files can be found in the menu at the top of each chatting window.

Settings and Plug-ins

If you hit Ctrl + P, the settings window will open providing you a good amount of control over the way Pidgin works. You can edit a lot of things, from the theme, font and color format, how the window tabs behave, the log files .... here


And if the default setting options are not enough for you, you can use and install new plug-ins to mess around. Just hit Ctrl + U an the plug-ins window will open, from which you can select many plug-ins to use.

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