How do I manage my Buddy List/IM settings in the AOL software?

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How do I manage my Buddy List/IM settings in the AOL software?

The AOL Buddy List/IM settings allow you to customize the display of your buddies' screen names in your Buddy List, the display of Instant Messages (IMs) on IM windows, the sounds that are played when your buddies' sign on or send IMs, and more.

To open the IM Settings window
1. On the Buddy List window, click Setup.

2. On the Buddy List Setup window, click the IM Settings.


Tip: Alternatively, you can open the IM Settings window by going to AOL Keyword: Buddy List Settings. This keyword can be accessed only within the AOL software. However, the Keyword feature is not available in AOL Desktop v10.1.

3. The IM Settings window appears. Click the links provided below to know the options that are available on each tab of the IM Settings window. Select the settings that you prefer. Once done, click Save. Close the Buddy List Setup window.

General Buddy Settings

  • Show me my Buddy List window at sign-on: Opens your Buddy List window every time you sign on to the AOL software.
  • Make me invisible at sign-on: Keeps you invisible even while you are signed on to the AOL software.
  • Allow rich text display for buddies on my Buddy List window: Shows your buddies' names in colorful and varied text, depending on their personal settings.
  • Allow other members to see when I have been idle after 20 minutes: Displays a yellow notepad beside your name on the Buddy List if you don't actively use the AOL service for 20 minutes or more.
  • Allow other members to see that I am using a mobile device: Displays a phone symbol next to your name on the Buddy List when you are signed on to the AOL service using a mobile device, such as a mobile phone or PDA.
  • Allow other members to see what Enhanced IM features I have: Allows members to see the Enhanced IM features that you use.
  • Allow other members to see my Buddy Updates: Allows other members to see your buddy updates. Please note that this feature is only available in AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5, AOL 9.1, and AOL 9.0 VR.
  • Display my Buddy QuickViews when I roll my mouse over my Buddy List window: Displays a small pop-up window with information about your buddy when you point to your buddy's screen name in your Buddy List.
  • Use the IM Catcher organizer to capture IMs from unknown senders: Activates the IM Catcher when someone, not on your Buddy List, sends you an IM.
  • Use the IM Catcher to capture every incoming IM: Activates the IM Catcher every time you receive an IM.
  • Change how your Screen Name looks: Lets you format your screen name by changing the font type and color.

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General IM settings

  • Display timestamp on instant messages: Shows the time when an IM is sent or received, according to your local time zone.
  • Display smileys as art in instant messages: Shows Emoticons as pictures instead of text in an IM.
  • Display notifications in the lower-right corner when new IMs are received: Displays a notice in the lower-right corner of the AOL software when a new IM is received.
  • Use the Enter key to send an instant message (Shift+Enter to insert a carriage return): Sends an IM when the Enter key is tapped. To insert a new line in the IM that you are sending, you will have to hold the Shift key and tap the Enter key on your keyboard.
  • Use my Address Book and Buddy List to auto-suggest screen names: Suggests screen names from your Buddy List and the AOL Address Book when you begin to type a screen name to start an IM conversation.
  • Allow members to see that I am typing an IM response: Notifies your friends that you are typing a response.
  • Allow members to see what Radio@AOL station I am listening to during an IM conversation: Allows your friends to see the AOL Radio station that you are listening to while you are having an IM conversation.
  • Allow for the volume reduction of incoming IM Sounds: Reduces the sound of an incoming IM so that you do not hear sounds at their normal volume.
  • Reduce the size of my IM form by hiding the Buddy Icons: Removes AOL Buddy Icons from view so that your IM window is smaller than the standard size

Note: This window also has a link that allows you to Forward IMs to your cell phone. Please check with your cell phone provider to determine whether you will be charged for receiving text messages. AOL does not charge for sending messages to mobile phones; however, your cell phone service provider may charge you for using the messaging service.

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Filtering and Viewing settings

Choose your Filtering Settings

  • Display the Buddy List Filters Menu: Displays a bar at the top of your Buddy List. This bar allows you to display all or part of your Buddy List.
  • Show my Buddy List in A-Z order (not in groups): Displays all the screen names in your Buddy List window in an alphabetical order and not in groups.
  • Show Friendly Names in my Buddy List window: Allows you to enter friendly names of your buddies into your Buddy List and view those instead of their screen names.
  • Show idle and away buddies in my Buddy List window: Displays screen names of buddies in your Buddy List window even when their statuses are set to idle or away.
  • Show Mobile buddies in my Buddy List window: Displays a phone icon next to your buddy's screen name when he/she is using a mobile device such as a cell phone or PDA.

Choose your Viewing settings

  • Use Grouped IMs to display my IMs: Displays all IMs in one window with tabs to the left. You can see all your current IM sessions and switch from one conversation to another.
  • Add people I send IMs to or read emails from to my Recent Buddies Group: Adds anyone whom you have sent an IM to and is currently not listed on your Buddy List to the Recent Buddies group on your Buddy List.

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Expressions settings

Note: Click the drop-down menu under the feature that you want to customize. Choose the setting that you prefer by clicking it.

Buddy Icons

  • Show me other members' AOL Buddy Icons in IMs: Displays AOL Buddy Icons beside screen names of your buddies on your Buddy List.
  • Do not show me Buddy Icons: Hides AOL Buddy Icons on your Buddy List.

IM Wallpapers

  • Show me other members' AOL wallpaper in IMs: Shows your buddies' wallpapers in the upper half of the IM window.
  • Do not show me wallpapers: Uses the standard AOL background for all IMs.

Buddy Arrival & Departure Sounds

  • Play other members' AOL sound when they appear on or leave my Buddy List: Plays the buddy sounds that your friends select to notify that they are signing on or signing off.
  • Play AOL's default sound: Plays the AOL default sound when your buddies sign on or sign off.
  • Do not play any sound: Does not play any sound when your buddies sign on or sign off.

Instant Message sounds

  • Play other members' AOL sound when they send me an IM: Plays the sounds that your friends select to notify you of their IMs.
  • Play AOL's default sound: Plays the AOL default sound when you receive an IM.
  • Do not play any sound: Does not play any sound for any IM that you receive.

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Privacy and Security settings

Note: Select the option that you prefer by clicking it.

Choose your Privacy settings

  • Allow ALL: Allows anyone using the AOL or AIM service to send you an IM.
  • Allow only People on my Buddy List: Allows only the people whom you have added to your Buddy List to send you IMs or receive IMs from you.
  • Allow only these users: Allows only the screen names listed here to send you IMs or receive IMs from you.
  • Block only these users: Blocks the screen names listed here from sending you IMs.
  • Block non-AOL users: Blocks only users of the AIM service.
  • Block ALL: Blocks all IMs.

People I've blocked in the above settings

  • Cannot view me on their Buddy List window: The users you block will not see your screen name on their Buddy Lists but will be able send you IMs.
  • Cannot view me on their Buddy List, IM me, or send me AOL Instant Greetings messages: The users you block will not be able to use any of these features to contact you.

    Note: AOL Instant Greetings is no longer available.

Choose your Security settings

  • Display a reminder before initiating a 'direct' connection for enhanced IM features: Displays a security reminder before a direct connection is established while using Enhanced IM.
  • Virus check files I receive through IM File Transfer: Automatically checks the files transferred through IM conversations for viruses.

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Related Articles:


How do I send/receive files through instant messages using the AOL software?
How do I group/ungroup IMs?

About this article:
Last updated: 08-11-2011
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