Yahoo! Messenger for Windows has many more features than most of us use in a given day. Our preferences menu is chock full of useful settings that can help you customize your Yahoo! Messenger or make you a more efficient user.
One preference I always set when I upgrade to a new version is “Always use my fonts and colors” (Messenger > Preferences > Appearance). That means that no matter what quirky font, color or size my friends use when they message me, it will always show up in the style I prefer (Arial, 12 for anyone who’s keeping track). I think I discovered this after my college roommate kept insisting on IMs with fluorescent green Tahoma letters in size 16.
While I like to think of myself as young, my aging eyes do betray me. I got tired of squinting at my list to find a friend so a few years ago, I changed my preferences to increase the font size of my contact list (you can also change the font). You can even have online friends show up in bold so they’re more noticeable. You’ll find this ageist setting in Preferences > Appearance, under the Messenger List section.
We’ve all dealt with random people IM’ing us. Sometimes we know them, sometimes they are spammers. To help me quickly separate the riff raff from my real friends, I changed my preference to “When I receive messages from people not on my Messenger list, show the messages in a single list” (Messenger > Preferences > Messages). That way, the messages are all listed in one window and I can quickly reply or ignore them (or mark them as spam). They appear in a window that looks similar to the one used for offline messages.
On the efficiency tip are a couple of shortcuts that may come in handy. If you’re like me and leave your Messenger window open all day long, you can save a step when it comes time to shut down at the end of the day. Under Preferences > General you’ll find a setting for “Sign out of Messenger when I close the main window”. Select that and save yourself the extra step of signing out and then closing down Messenger.
And last but not least is a shortcut you can use to update your status message more quickly. You may already know about the Windows + y shortcut, but do you know the Windows + Shift + y shortcut? That one takes you right to the waiting status message menu where you can start typing your deep thoughts and important updates. For this to work, you first have to enable it under Preferences > General; look for the checkbox that says “Enable system-wide shortcut keys to activate Messenger”.
What are some of your favorite settings, shortcuts, tips or tricks in Yahoo! Messenger? Leave a comment to let us know.
To get started, install the FoxyTunes plug-in, available for users on Yahoo! Messenger 8.1, 9.0 or 10. Once it’s loaded, click the “Select Player” menu and choose from a long list of players that are supported by the plug-in. All the biggies are there – Windows Media Player, iTunes, RealPlayer, Winamp, Musicmatch – plus many more.
When you select a player, it will launch it on your desktop (if it’s not already open). Then use the controls in the FoxyTunes plug-in to begin playing the song, skip to the next song, pause, adjust volume or move ahead in the song by clicking the progress bar.
To share what you’re listening to with your Yahoo! Messenger friends, click the “Share your music” icon (the one with two arrows on it). Be sure the box for “Display current song as your status message” is checked, and then click your status message menu at the top to select the currently playing song from the list. When the next song comes on, your status will automatically update.
Another handy feature in the plug-in is the ability to open and play an audio file from your desktop. Just click the “Play File” icon and choose the song you want to play.
The plug-in also includes quick access to the accompanying music website, FoxyTunes Planet. Click the FoxyTunes Planet button while listening to a track and you’ll go to a page for that artist which includes the latest news, lyrics for the song you’re currently playing, more tracks you can listen to right on the page, plus videos.
When you’re sharing your music via your status message, friends will also be able to click on your status message and be taken to the artist page on FoxyTunes Planet.
To add the FoxyTunes plug-in to your Yahoo! Messenger, visit the plug-in page on the website or click the “Add Plug-ins” button in your main Messenger window and select it from the list.
In support of of our global brand “It’s You!” campaign, we’ve added some Yahoo! audibles and Avatars to Yahoo! Messenger.
As you may recall, we jump started the campaign with events around our infamous Yahoo! yodel, which we’ve updated and riffed on in new ways with the Yodel Studio. Now we’ve launched some audibles to go with it that let you yodel as much as you want with twists of reggae, bluegrass, hip-hop, a capella, and R&B.
To access the audibles, click on the Audibles icon in the IM window, click “More Audibles”, go to “See All Audibles”, then find “Yahoo! Yodels” in the list. Audibles are available for Yahoo! Messenger 8.1, 9.0 and 10 only.
You can also dress up your Avatar in some of the latest Yahoo! gear, including t-shirts with the slogans from the campaign: “It’s my Web, you just live in it” and “Master of the Digital Universe”. To get changed, head over to Yahoo! Avatars, click on the “Branded” tab, then click on the “Yahoo!” link.
And if you want more than virtual reality, head over to the Yahoo! Company Store to order a real live t-shirt or other Y! gear.
Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights”, is a very significant Indian festival that symbolizes the victory of good over evil. This year it falls on October 17th.
Many Indians living outside of their home country will be calling home to wish their friends and family a happy Diwali. If you’re one of them, Yahoo! Messenger is a great way to stay connected not only during Diwali, but any time.
If your family and friends are already using Yahoo! Messenger, you can make high-quality PC-to-PC calls for free. And with the new video calling feature in Yahoo! Messenger 10, you’ll feel like you’re right there with them. Get great quality video, synched audio, even a full-screen mode.
If your friends and family aren’t using Yahoo! Messenger, you can still call them using Messenger, and enjoy great savings. Sign up for a Yahoo! Messenger Phone Out account and you can make calls to any landline or mobile phone in India for just 7.9¢ a minute – right from your desktop.
You can also send free SMS text messages from Messenger to your friends and family in India if they are on the following carriers: Vodaphone Essar, Airtel, Spice, Escotel, Reliance. Their replies come right back to you in Yahoo! Messenger. Find out how to SMS from Messenger.
Even if you just plan to IM friends this weekend to celebrate the festival, you can dress up for it. Head over to Yahoo! Avatars and search on “india” to find Indian-themed clothing and backgrounds. Or add a little Diwali with a custom display image. Click on one of the designs below to make it your display image (you need to be signed into Messenger before you click):
From the looks of Diwali pictures I found on Flickr (see slideshow below), the festival is bright, warm and colorful. Lamps (called “diyas”) are lit in homes, fireworks are set off, sparklers color the night air, gifts are exchanged and people eat all kinds of delicious Indian sweets and snacks made specifically for the festival. To learn more about Diwali, head over to diwalifestival.org.