Using AOL Instant Messenger in the Netscape Browser

AOL Instant Messenger for Netscape Browser is a version of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) that is completely integrated into Netscape Browser and completely compatible with all other AIM versions.

To get to AIM, open My Sidebar and clicking the Buddy List tab. If the Buddy List tab is not on My Sidebar, you can add it by clicking Tabs at the top of My Sidebar and then clicking Buddy List from the drop-down list.

In this section:

Getting Started with AOL Instant Messenger

Using the Buddy List

Controlling Your Buddy Presence

Sending Instant Messages

Chat Rooms

Away Messages

Controlling Access

Warnings

Troubleshooting

 


Getting Started with AOL Instant Messenger

 

In this section:

What Is AOL Instant Messenger for the Netscape Browser?

Setting Up

Registering New Screen Names

Signing On to AOL Instant Messenger

Launching AOL Instant Messenger at System Startup

Using a Different Screen Name

Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Using the Today Button

 

What Is AOL Instant Messenger for the Netscape Browser?

AOL Instant Messenger for Netscape Browser is a version of AOL's Instant Messenger software that has been integrated for use with Netscape Browser. It is completely compatible with all other versions of AIM, and it is an easy way to communicate instantly with your friends who are online. You can:

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Setting Up a Screen Name

If you have not registered a screen name, use the following procedure:

  1. Open My Sidebar and open My Buddy List.

     

    Before you have setup your screen name within Netscape, the Buddy List pane displays the Setup button. After you have performed the setup process, this panel will display your AIM sign on options.
  2. Click Setup.
  3. Click "I don't have a screen name. I need to register a new one," and then click Next.
  4. In the Create a Screen Name screen, complete the fields as required.
  5. Once you have completed the information, click Submit.
  6. AOL checks whether your screen name is available. If it is already taken, you are offered a chance to either to try again or "let us suggest a Screen Name for you".
  7. Once your screen name is accepted, AOL displays a congratulations screen with your screen name displayed. Click Continue to complete the registration process.

Soon after the registration process has been completed, you will receive an email confirmation.

If you want to use more than one screen name, see Registering New Screen Names.

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Registering New Screen Names

Once you have registered your screen name and password, you cannot change them. If you want, however, you can register multiple screen names to use with the Instant Messenger service.

To register and select a new screen name and password:

  1. If you're connected to AIM, sign off.
  2. In My Sidebar, on the Buddy List panel, click Register new screen name.
  3. Complete the process by following the same procedure detailed in Setting Up a Screen Name, starting with step 3.

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Signing On to Instant Messenger

Before you can use Instant Messenger to send a message or to chat, you need to start the program and sign on.

To start and sign on to Instant Messenger:

  1. Open the Buddy List tab in My Sidebar.
    Once you have setup a screen name, the Buddy LIst pane displays your sign on options. If your panel is displaying a Setup button, refer to Setting Up a Screen Name for information on how to setup your screen name.

     

  2. Enter your screen name in the Screen Name field. If you have multiple screen names, type the one you want to use, or choose it from the drop-down list.
  3. Enter your password in the Password field. If you want to save your password for your next session, select "Save password."
  4. Click the Sign On button , or press Enter.

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Launching AOL Instant Messenger at System Startup

If you want Instant Messenger to start when you start Netscape Browser, check both the Save password and Sign on at launch options on the Buddy List panel. (You must be signed off and have entered a screen name to view these options):

 

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Using a Different Screen Name

If you have registered multiple screen names, you can sign on with the name of your choice. To sign on with a new screen name that you have registered:

  1. Open the Buddy List on My Sidebar.
  2. In the Screen Name drop-down list, select the desired name.

    Note: If you have the Sign On At Launch option turned on, you'll need to sign off to log on with another name.

  3. Enter the password for your new screen name in the Password field.
  4. Click the Sign On button, or press Enter.

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Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Many AIM menu commands are accessible from the keyboard. This is a useful feature both to increase performance and for users who have difficulty using the mouse. Some but not all of these shortcuts are listed in the AIM menus. For a complete list, see Instant Messenger Shortcuts.

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Using the Today Button

When you sign on to Instant Messenger, either from the Toolbar or from My Sidebar, a Today button appears at the bottom of the Buddy List panel. Clicking the Today button brings up a minibrowser; a small browser window that appears in a tab. The minibrowser contains links to numerous stories you may find of interest. Clicking a link in the minibrowser opens the main browser window and displays the story.

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Using the Buddy List

 

In this section:

About the Buddy List

Adding and Finding Buddies

Adding ICQ Contacts to the Buddy List

Creating Buddy Groups

Deleting Buddies and Buddy Groups

Checking the Status of Buddies

Getting Member Information

Viewing Mail From Your Buddies

Setting Buddy Alerts

 

 

About the Buddy List

When you sign on to Instant Messenger, the Buddy List panel displays two tabs:

Folders for three groups are automatically created for you in your Buddy List tabs: Buddies, Family, and Co-Workers. Add your buddies to any of these groups or create additional groups.

Online tab

In the Online tab:

List Setup tab

In the List Setup tab:

Tip: Buddy Lists are stored on a server rather than on your computer. That means you can access your Buddy Lists from anywhere, whenever you sign on to the Instant Messenger service.

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Adding and Finding Buddies

If you know a friend's screen name, you can add him or her to your Buddy List immediately.

  1. Click the List Setup tab on the Buddy List panel.
  2. Click the Add Buddy button. The Add Buddy dialog box displays:

  3. Type the screen name of the buddy you want to add. Remember to enter just the buddy's screen name, not the full email address. For example, type johndoe, rather than johndoe@aol.com.
  4. Type a display name for this buddy. The display name is the nickname you want to assign to this buddy.
  5. Type the buddy's email address, for example, johndoe@aol.com.
  6. Select the group to which you want to add this buddy.
  7. Click OK.

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Adding ICQ Contacts to the Buddy List

If you have friends who use an ICQ client that supports AIM/ICQ interoperability, you can add them to your Buddy List, either by ICQ number or by a display name that you assign. Once you've added them, you can communicate back and forth just as with any other AIM buddies. You write your messages and read their replies in the AIM window; they do the same in their ICQ client.

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Creating Buddy Groups

You can group your buddies in folders to organize your Buddy List. Your list comes with three pre-set group folders: Buddies, Family, and Co-Workers.

To create a new group:

  1. On the Buddy List panel, click the List Setup tab.
  2. Click the Add Group button. The Add Group dialog box displays:

  3. Type a name for the group and click OK.

A folder for the new group appears. To add buddies to the folder, follow the steps under Adding and Finding Buddies.

To open or close a group's folder, select the name of the group to highlight it and press Enter.

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Deleting Buddies and Buddy Groups

To remove a buddy or a group: :

  1. On the Buddy List panel, click the List Setup tab.
  2. Highlight a buddy or group name and right-click to display the context menu.
  3. Select Delete.

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Checking the Status of Buddies

To find out which of your buddies is online, click the Online tab in the Buddy List.

In the Online tab:

You can also find out which of your buddies is online from within Netscape Mail & Newsgroups. If a buddy is online, and you are signed on to the Instant Messenger service, a presence icon appears next to his or her name in the To, From, or CC fields. This icon also appears next the the names of non-buddies. Non-buddies are Instant Messenger users whom you have not added to your Buddy List. For both buddies and non-buddies, the presence icon shows only for those users who have registered and confirmed their registration.

The presence icon next to a buddy's name disappears when he or she logs off.

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Getting Member Information

If you are signed on to the AIM application you can get information on any buddy. To do so:

  1. From the Online tab, select the buddy you want information on and right-click to display the context menu.
  2. From the menu and select Get Member Info.

The Buddy Info window for that buddy opens. It shows the time the buddy has been signed on or idle, and it also shows the buddy's warning level, if any. If the buddy is away and has chosen an away message, that message is displayed. If the buddy isn't signed on, no information is available. Also, if the buddy has signed on through another version of AOL Instant Messenger, additional personal information may be displayed.

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Viewing Mail From Your Buddies

If a buddy sends you mail while you are signed on to Instant Messenger, you will see a "new mail" indicator next to the buddy's name if all of the following are true:

Double-clicking the "new mail" indicator will open Netscape Mail and display the new mail from that buddy.

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Setting Buddy Alerts

Buddy Alerts let you know when a buddy comes online, or returns from an Away or Idle state. To set Buddy Alerts:

  1. From the Online tab, select the buddy for whom you want to set an alert and right click to open the context menu.
  2. On the menu choose Alert Me When buddy name is available. The Edit Buddy Alert dialog box displays:

  3. Complete the fields as required:
  4. Notify me when buddy: You can check any or all of the options in this section.

    Notify me by: Check one of these options.

    Save this alert: Check this option to to use the same alert settings for this buddy in future Instant Messenger sessions.

  5. Click OK to activate the alert.

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Sending Instant Messages

 

In this section:

Sending an Instant Message

Adding Styles and Formats

Adding Smilies

Adding Links

Conducting Multiple Conversations

Using Time Stamps

Sending and Receiving Attachments

Ending a Conversation and Signing Off

 

Sending an Instant Message

You use the IM Compose window to write your messages:

Follow these steps to create and send an instant message:

  1. From the Online tab:
  2. Type your message in the compose area of the Instant Message window.
  3. Click the Send button, or press Enter to send the message.

Tip: You can right-click a name and choose to send an instant message or a chat invitation.

You see your message in the top pane of the message window. Your buddy's response will also appear in the top pane. You can continue typing and sending messages as long as you and your buddy want to converse.

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Adding Styles and Formats

Instant Messenger lets you customize your instant messages with a choice of fonts and font styles as well as background and text colours.

You can format text either from the Compose toolbar or from the Format menu. The Format menu offers all the same features as the Compose toolbar, plus additional choices.

Compose toolbar

The following table describes each of the buttons on the compose toolbar:

Change your font. Use the drop-down list to select a font. Note: More fonts are displayed in the Format menu.
Change the colour of the selected text. Click the black square to display the colour picker that lets you choose a text colour for selected text.
Click the white square to see a colour picker that lets you choose a background colour.
Reduce the font size. Click this button to make selected text smaller.
Increase the font size. Click this button to make selected text larger.
Click this button to bold the selected text.

Click this button to make the selected text italic.

Click this button to underlined the selected text.

Click the Smiley drop-down list to insert a graphic emoticon.
Click the Links button to enter a hyperlink.

Format menu

From the Format menu you can:

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Adding Smilies

To decorate a message with "smilies" (emoticons), click the Smile button on the Compose toolbar in the Instant Message composition window, and choose the image you want in your message.

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Adding Links

To add a hyperlink to a message, use either the link icon in the compose toolbar or the Insert menu to display the Links dialog box:

If you are entering a URL, enter the complete address: (for example, http://www.aol.com or johndoe@aol.com). The text automatically converts to a link when you send the message.

Note: You don't have to type mailto: on email urls. The mailto: is added automatically.

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Conducting Multiple Conversations

You can carry on as many separate conversations as you wish. A separate message window appears for each conversation.

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Using Time Stamps

Time stamps indicate the exact time each statement in an Instant Message was made. You can turn time stamps on or off for individual messages:

If you choose Hide Time Stamps, no time stamps are shown. If you click Show Time Stamps, a time stamp appears in parentheses after each statement.

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Sending and Receiving Attachments

You can send files, such as word processing documents or image files, to other AIM users, and you can also receive files from other buddies. To send attached files:

  1. Either right-click a buddy's name and click "Send File" from the context menu that appears or select the name and choose "Send File to Buddy" from the People menu.
  2. In the dialog box that appears, enter the name of the file. Click the File button if you need to browse to find the file.
  3. Enter a description of the file's contents.
  4. Click Send.

Your buddy can now choose to accept or reject the file.

To accept files sent to you:

  1. In the dialog box that opens when the file arrives, click Browse to find the directory you want to download the file into.
  2. Click OK.

If you don't want to accept the file, simply click Cancel.

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Ending a Conversation and Signing Off

A conversation ends when both parties stop sending instant messages. If the other person continues to send messages after you have closed the message window, you will continue to receive message notifications, unless you block that person from sending you messages. To close the message window, click the close box.

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Chat Rooms

The Instant Messenger Chat feature lets you exchange messages with several of your buddies in your own private chat rooms.

In this section:

Inviting Buddies to Chat

Sending a Chat Message

Sending an Instant Message from a Chat Room

Adding Styles and Formats

Adding Links

Conducting Multiple Chat Sessions

Stopping Messages from People in the Chat Room

Ending a Chat and Signing Off

 

Inviting Buddies to Chat

To invite a buddy to chat:

  1. On the Buddy List panel, click the Online tab.
  2. Select the screen names of the buddies you want to invite to the chat room. To select multiple screen names, hold down the Ctrl key as you select each name. You can also select an entire group of buddies.
  3. Click the Chat Invitation button at the top of the Online tab.
  4. The Buddy Chat Invitation window opens:

    If you want to send the invitation to additional buddies, type their screen names in the Screen Names to Invite field, separated by commas.

  5. Click Invite to send the invitation.
  6. When a buddy accepts your invitation, Instant Messenger displays a message indicating that the buddy has entered the room. You can start typing your chat messages in the text area after you receive the notification. The same message is displayed for each invitee.

You can invite a buddy to join a chat in progress. To do so, click the Invite button on the toolbar in the Chat window.

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Sending a Chat Message

To send a chat message:

  1. Type the message that you want to send in the text area box of the Chat window. You can format chat messages with Links and emoticons (smilies) or format them using different styles such as bold, italic , or underlining. Using colour or a different font can also help emphasize messages you send.
  2. Click Send.

When you are finished with your chat conversation, you can click Save in the Chat window toolbar to save the conversation to a file.

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Sending an Instant Message from a Chat Room

You can send someone participating in a chat conversation an Instant Message directly from the Chat Room window. Follow these steps:

  1. In the Chat Room window, select the name of the person to whom you want to send an instant message.
  2. Click the Send IM button .
  3. Type your message in the Instant Message window that appears.
  4. Click the Send IM button again.

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Adding Styles and Formats

Instant Messenger lets you customize your chat messages with special fonts, colours, styles, and smilies (emoticons). For a complete description of each of the icons on the toolbar refer to Compose toolbar.

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Adding Links

To add a hyperlink to a chat message, use either the link icon in the compose toolbar or the Insert menu to display the Links dialog box. Refer to Adding Links to Messages for more information.

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Conducting Multiple Chat Sessions

You can carry on as many as three separate chat sessions at the same time. A separate chat window appears for each conversation.

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Stopping Messages from People in the Chat Room

To stop receiving messages from one or more people in the chat room:

  1. Select the person’s screen name in the field that lists participants in the chat room.
  2. In the People menu, select Ignore. A red circle with a slash through it appears next to the selected screen name. Click Ignore again to turn the Ignore feature off.

Once you've clicked Ignore, you won't see any messages from those people whose screen names you selected. However, others in the chat room will continue to see messages from those people.

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Ending a Chat and Signing Off

A chat ends when all parties stop sending instant messages. To close the Chat window, click the close box.

To sign off from Instant Messenger, click the Sign Off button on the Buddy LIst panel.

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Away Messages

If you need to step away from your computer but do not want to sign off, you can use an away message to let others know that you are temporarily unavailable.

For planned absences, you can turn on your away message to let others know when you will be back. Instant Messenger displays this message when anyone requests information about you and automatically replies with your away message to anyone who sends you a message while you are away.

In this section:

Creating a New Away Message

Turning an Away Message On and Off

 

Creating a New Away Message

To create a new away message:

  1. Click the Away button at the bottom of the Buddy list panel. The Away context menu displays.
  2. To create a new message, click New Message. The Edit Away Message dialog box displays:

  3. Complete the fields as required:

    Label: Enter a label for the new away message.

    Message to send when you receive a message: Enter your message.When you activate your away message, users who send you an instant message will see the text that you enter here.

    Save for later use: Check this option if you want to save this away message. Instant Messenger adds your new message to your list of away messages.

  4. Click I'm Away to use the message immediately and close the dialog box.

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Turning an Away Message On and Off

You must be signed on to Instant Messenger to activate this option. To turn on (activate) your away message:

  1. On the Buddy List panel, click the Away Message button at the bottom of the panel.
  2. Select the message you want to use from the pop-up menu that appears, or create your own message by selecting the "New Message" option.

To turn off your away message, click "I'm Back", on the Buddy List panel.

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Controlling Access

If someone else using Instant Messenger sends you annoying or offensive messages, you can block the person from sending messages to you.

 

In this section:

Blocking a User

Blocking a User

You block a user directly from the Instant Message window:

  1. In the Instant Message window, click the Block button.
  2. Click OK to confirm that you want to block the specific user.

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Warnings

If someone else using the Instant Messenger service sends you annoying or offensive messages, you have two ways to respond. You can issue a warning to the person or you can block the person.

In this section:

Warning a User

Viewing Someone's Warning Level

 

Warning a User

To warn a user who has sent you an offensive message, click Warn in the Instant Message window in which you received the message.

Warn imposes a warning on the sender, hampering that person's ability to send and receive messages. With frequent warnings, the user will not be able to exchange any messages with anyone. Only after a “cooling off” period can that user send and receive messages again.

When you click Warn, you can choose to impose the warning anonymously. Anonymous warnings are less severe and the user you are warning won't know who issued the warning.

Regarding warnings you send and receive:

 

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Viewing Someone's Warning Level

You can see someone’s warning level next to the person's screen name in your Buddy List panel.

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Troubleshooting

In this section:

If You Can't Sign On

If You Can't See Anyone in your Buddy List panel

If You Can't Send Instant Messages

 

If You Can't Sign On

Check for one of the following instances:

You might not be able to sign on if:

If none of the above conditions is true, there is probably a temporary problem somewhere in the network that is preventing the connection from completing. You simply need to wait and try again later.

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If You Can't See Anyone in your Buddy List panel

Check the following:

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If You Can't Send Instant Messages

Check the following:

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April, 2005


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