Sending and Receiving IMs Using The AOL Desktop Software

How do I send/receive files through instant messages?

You can exchange files with your buddies via Instant Messages (IMs). Both you and your buddy must be online to exchange files.

IMPORTANT: Do not accept files from people you do not know, as the files could contain virus or other such harmful programs.
 

How to

Send files to your buddies

1. Send an IM to your buddy.

2. Click the Send File button on the IM window.

3. In the dialog box that appears, click Select File.

4. Navigate to the file that you want to send, and then click Select File.

5. Enter a description of the file (optional), and then click Send. Once your buddy accepts the transfer, the file will be sent.

6. Once your buddy accepts the file transfer, the file will begin to transfer. The time take to transfer the file depends on the connection speed of both your buddy and you, and the file size that is transferred.

7. Click the Close the Enhanced IM Panel button to close the Send/Receive File window.

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Receive or decline files from your buddies

1. When you receive the invitation, if you want to receive the file, click Accept, and then proceed to the next steps. If you want to decline the file, click Decline. The file will be declined, and the sender will receive a message that you have declined the file transfer.

2. In the Save In box select the location you want to save the file in, and then click Save.

3. Once the file has been transferred to your computer, click the Open File button to view it.

4. Click the Close the Enhanced IM Panel button to close the Send/Receive File window.

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How do I accept IMs when I am offline?

AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5, and AOL 9.1 allow you to accept Instant Messages (IMs) from buddies in your Buddy List even when you are offline. However, this is possible only if the sender is also using AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5, or AOL 9.1.

To accept IMs when you are offline

1. Launch the AOL software, and then sign on using your screen name and password.

2. In the Buddy List window, click the Setup button.

3. Click the IM Settings link.

Note: You can also go to AOL Keyword: IM Settings. This keyword can be accessed only within the AOL software.

4. Select the check box next to Accept IMs from Buddies on my Buddy List (R) while I am offline.

Notes:

  • This setting allows you to accept IMs even when you are in the invisible mode.
  • To turn off this feature, clear the check box next to Accept IMs from Buddies on my Buddy List (R) while I am offline.

5. Click Save.

6. Close the Buddy List Setup window.

General Buddy settings

The General Buddy tab allows you to set the options shown in the image given below. You can select or clear the check box next to the desired option and then click Save. The G eneral Buddy tab can also be accessed using AOL Keyword: Buddy List Settings.

Note: This keyword can be accessed only within the AOL software. However, the Keyword feature is not available in AOL Desktop v10.1.

  • Show me my Buddy List window at sign-on: Opens your Buddy List every time you sign on to the AOL service.
  • Make me invisible at sign on: Allows you to make your screen name invisible while you are online. Your screen name will appear offline to all users, including those who have you on their Buddy Lists. This feature is available only on AOL 9.7, AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5, and AOL 9.1.
  • 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. To learn more about this feature, please read our online help article What is rich text display on the Buddy List window?
  • Allow other members to see when I have been idle after 20 minutes: Displays a yellow notepad next to your name on the Buddy List when you have not been actively using 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 in the Buddy List when you are using a mobile device, such as a mobile phone or PDA, to receive IMs.
  • Allow other members to see what Enhanced IM features I have: Allows members to see the Enhanced IM features that you use. To learn more about this feature, please read our online help article AOL Direct IM and Enhanced IM features.
  • Allow other members to see my Buddy Updates: Allows other members to see your buddy updates. Your buddies will be notified when you update your Flickr photo stream, MySpace blog, YouTube™ video album, and more. To learn more about this feature, please read our online help article AIM buddy updates.
  • Display my Buddy QuickViews when I roll my mouse over my Buddy List window: Allows you to scroll over a screen name in your Buddy List and see a small pop-up window that displays information, such as Mail, Write, IM, Address Book entries, and Capabilities, about your buddies.
  • Use the IM Catcher™ organizer to capture IMs from unknown senders: Allows you to intercept and organize instant messages (IMs), including those sent from people who are not included in your Buddy List, using the IM Catcher message organizer. You can view information about the sender before deciding whether or not you want to view the message. To learn more about this feature, please read our online help article About IM Catcher.
  • Use the IM Catcher™ organizer to capture every incoming IM: Activates the IM Catcher every time you receive an IM.

You can change the font, color, or color theme of your screen name. However, you cannot change your screen name or alter the use of capital letters in it by clicking the Change how your Screen Name looks link.

How to check if someone Is online

The easiest way to see whether your friends are online before sending Instant Messages is by adding them to your AOL Buddy List feature. Then, if they are online, their screen name will display in your Buddy List.

See Whether Your Friend Is Online Before Sending an IM

If you have not yet added a friend to your Buddy List, you can use either of the two methods below to see who is online at the same time as you.

To check whether your friend is online using the Buddy List:
1. On the AOL toolbar, click IM.
2. In the Send To: box, type the screen name of the person you want to converse with.
3. Click the Available? button to check whether your recipient is currently online.

To see whether your friend is online using email:
1. Look at the top of the email next to the sender's screen name or email address.
2. If there is a yellow Running Man displayed to the left of their name, they are currently online.
3. If your friend is online, right-click their name, then click Send Instant Message....

Organizing Your Instant Messages

How do I group/ungroup IMs?

The Grouped IM feature groups multiple Instant Message (IM) conversation windows into a single window. The Grouped IM feature is on by default. However, you can turn off/on the feature anytime you want to.

To group/ungroup IM conversations

1. On the Buddy List window, click Setup.

2. Click the IM Settings link.

3. Click the Filtering and Viewing tab.

4. Check or uncheck the box next to Use Grouped IMs to display my IMs to group or ungroup IMs respectively.

5. Click Save.

6. Close the Buddy List Setup window.

About IM Catcher

Note: Upgrade to the latest version of the AOL Desktop software to take advantage of great new features!

IM Catcher intercepts instant messages (IMs) from Usernames that are not listed in your Buddy List and alerts you so that you can decide whether you'd like to respond to the message.

When the IM Catcher notifies you of messages, you have the following options:

  • Open IM: Opens the message. All subsequent messages from that Username will arrive as normal messages and not go through the IM Catcher tool.
  • Buddy Info: Gives you information about the person who sent you the message.
  • Block: Ignores the message and blocks all future messages from that Username. You can unblock the Username later if you so wish. To learn how to do so, please read our online help article Control who can send me an instant message (IM).
  • Ignore: Ignores the message and all subsequent messages from that Username during that online session.
  • Ignore All: Ignores all the messages currently in the IM Catcher list.

Note: Screen reader users may want to disable the IM Catcher feature as it can interfere with screen readers.

How do I save an Instant Message conversation?

 The Log Manager allows you to keep a record of your instant messages (IMs) or chat conversations as text files.

How to

Start an IM log

To start an IM log

1. Click the File menu, and then click Log Manager.

2. Under Session Log, click Open Log.

3. Navigate to the folder in which you want the log file stored. In the File name box, type the name you want to save the IM log with, and then click Save.

Note: The default name for the log file is session.log.

4. Check the box next to Log Instant Message conversations (SessionLogs ONLY).

5. Click X on the upper right to close the Logging window.

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Start a chat log

To start a chat log

1. Enter the chat room you want to log or save.

2. Click the File menu, and then click Log Manager.

3. Under Chat Log, click Open Log.

4. Navigate to the folder in which you want the log file stored. In the File name box, type the name you want to save the chat log with, and then click Save.

Note: The default name for the log file is chat room .log where < chat room> is the name of the chat room you are logging.

5. Click X on the upper right to close the Logging window.

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Close an IM or a chat log

You can close the chat log on your own or it will automatically stop when you sign off from the AOL software. You'll need to start Log Manager each time you sign on to the AOL software.

To close an IM or a chat log

1. Click the File menu, and then click Log Manager.

2. Click Close Log.

  • If you want to close the IM log, under Session Log, click Close Log.

  • If you want to close the chat log, under Chat Log, click Close Log.

3. Click X on the upper right to close the Logging window.

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Append to an existing log

You don't have to create a new log file every time you want to save your IM or chat conversations. Instead, you can use the existing log file to save your IM or chat conversations without losing the old conversations that were saved.

To append or add to an existing log

1. Click the File menu, and then click Log Manager.

2. Click Append Log.

  • If you want to add your IM conversations to an existing log file, under Session Log, click Append Log.

  • If you want to add your chat conversations to an existing log file, under Chat Log, click Append Log.

Note: To append a chat log, you will first need to enter a chat room.

3. Navigate to the folder in which the log file you wish to open is stored. Click the log file you wish to open to highlight it, and then click Save or Open.

4. Click X on the upper right to close the Logging window.

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Read a log file

Since the log file is stored on your computer, you can read it while you are offline or online.

To read a log file
1. Click the File menu, and then click Open.

2. Navigate to the folder in which the log file you created is stored. Click the log file to highlight it, and then click Open.

3. Once you have read the log file, you can click X on the upper right of the log file to close it.

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AIM Settings In the AOL Desktop Software

How to enable AIM to appear automatically when signing in

If you would like your AIM window to appear automatically when signing into the AOL Desktop, it is very simple to turn it on. Follow the instructions below to enable this feature.

1. Sign in to the AOL Desktop Software.

2. Click on the Setting icon located in the task bar.

3. Under Communication & Organization, click Buddy List Settings.

4. Under the General Buddy tab, check the Show me my Buddy List window at sign-on to enable the feature.

5. Click Save and close the AOL Settings window.

Note: To prevent AIM from automatically appearing when signing in to the AOL Desktop, follow the instructions above. At step 4, uncheck Show me my Buddy List window at sign-on to disable the feature.

How do I set up an Auto Response to incoming IMs?

To use the Away Message feature:

1. Sign in to the AOL service as you normally would.

2. On the Buddy List window, click Away Message.

3. Choose one of the options listed by clicking it. The default options are: I am Away, On the Phone, At Lunch, and Be Right Back. Note: You can create a new Away Message by clicking Set up Away Messages.

When your Away Message is active, the words “Your away message is on” will appear at the top of the Buddy List window, and any instant messages that are sent to you will be automatically responded to with your personal Away Message. A running tally of the number of IM's you receive while your Away Message is on will also be displayed at the top of your Buddy List window. Your name will appear on your friend's Buddy List window with a yellow notepad icon next to it so they know you are away from your computer.

What is Rich Text in AIM?

Rich text display is a setting that helps you display the content on your Buddy List in colorful and varied text, depending on your buddies' personal settings.

Enable or disable rich text display

1. Click Setup on the bottom of your Buddy List window.

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

3. On the IM Settings window, click the General Buddy tab.

4. Select the check box next to Allow rich text display for buddies on my Buddy List window to enable rich text display.

Note: Clear the check box next to Allow rich text display for buddies on my Buddy List window to disable rich text display.

5. Click Save.

6. Click X on the upper right of the Buddy List Setup window to close the window.

Use the Enter key to send my Instant Messages (IMs)

You can opt to use the Enter key on your keyboard to send your instant messages (IMs), making this popular feature easier and more convenient.

Use the Enter key to send IMs

The instant message window default is to either click the Send button or tap the Ctrl key on the keyboard and tap the Enter key at the same time to send instant messages. You can change this feature to make it easier to use by setting the preference to allow you to tap just the Enter key on the keyboard.

To use the Enter key to send IMs:
1. On the Buddy List window, click the Setup icon.
2. Open the IM Settings or Buddy List Preferences window:

  • If using any version of the AOL 9.0 software, on the Buddy List Setup window, click the IM Settings link.
  • If you are using any version of the AOL 8.0 Plus software, on the Buddy List Setup window, click the Set Preferences link.
  • If you are using the AOL 8.0 or earlier software, on the Buddy List Setup window, click the Preferences button.

3. Click the General IM tab.
4. Click the Use the Enter key to send an Instant Message box to place a check mark in it.
5. Click the Save button.

Notes:

  • To restore this feature to its normal functionality, follow steps 1-3 above, click the Use the Enter key to send an Instant Message box to clear it, then click the Save button.
  • When you have turned this preference on, you will have to tap the Shift key and the Enter key on the keyboard at the same time to insert a carriage return within the body of an IM you are typing.

How do I change my IM background (wallpaper)?

You can customize the appearance of your AOL instant messages (IMs) in many ways. One way is by choosing your own AOL Personality. This will give your IMs their own AOL Buddy icon, wallpaper, sounds, and even emoticons to suit your personality.

Set Up Your AOL Buddy Wallpaper

Buddy Wallpaper is a part of the Personality feature which allows you to choose how your IMs appear to your online friends. Buddy Wallpapers can be customized for every screen name on your AOL account.

To choose your Buddy Wallpaper:
1. Go to AOL Keyword: My Expressions.
2. Under the Buddy Wallpaper section, click the Change link.
3. Select a Category from the tabs on the left, then click on a Subcategory link in the middle to select it.
4. Click on a Buddy Wallpaper in the display window on the right to select it, then click the Save button.
5. Click the X in the upper right corner to close the My Expressions window.

Blocking IMs and Privacy Settings

How do I block a Username?

To block a Username:

1. Sign in to the AOL service as you normally would.

2. Go to AOL Keyword: Privacy Settings.

Note: This keyword can be accessed only within the AOL software. However, the Keyword feature is not available in AOL Desktop v10.1.

3. In the IM Settings window, select the Block only these users option, and then click the only these users link.

4. In the Custom Block List window, type the screen name you wish to block, and then click Add. In this way, you can add as many screen names as you wish to block.

5. Click Save to close the Custom Block List window.

6. Click Save to close the IM Settings window.

How do I block instant messages using the AOL software?

You can prevent specific users or all users from sending you instant messages (IMs) by using the Privacy and Security settings.

To prevent users from IMing you
1. Go to AOL Keyword: Privacy Settings. Please note that this keyword can be accessed only within the AOL software. However, the Keyword feature is not available in AOL Desktop v10.1.

2. Under Choose your Privacy settings, select the Block option that you prefer.

  • Block only these users: Blocks the screen names listed here from sending you IMs. Click the only these users link to list the people with whom you don't want to have IM conversations.
  • Block non-AOL users: Blocks only users of the AIM service.
  • Block ALL: Blocks all IMs.

3. Under People I've blocked in the above settings, click Cannot view me on their Buddy List, IM me, or send me AOL Instant Greetings messages to ensure that the screen names that you have blocked do not use any of these features to contact you.

Note: AOL Instant Greetings is no longer available.

4. Click Save to record the changes and close the window.

How do I unblock a Buddy on my Buddy List?

You cannot send or receive instant messages from people you have blocked on your Buddy List.

Unblock Screen Names on Your Buddy List

You can unblock a blocked member at any time.

To unblock screen names on your Buddy List:
1. On the Buddy List window, click the Setup button.
2. Click the IM Settings link.
3. Click the Privacy and Security tab.
4. Under the Block only these users option, click the only these users link.
5. Click the screen name you want to unblock to highlight it, then click the Remove button.
6. Click the Save button.
7. Click the Save button.
8. Click the X button, to close the Buddy List Setup window.

How do I report IM Spam?

Messaging spam, also called SPIM, targets instant messaging services. SPIM is similar to the infamous email spam and may contain links that when clicked would download malicious programs on your computer.

If you receive an IM that appears to be spam, report it to the AIM service. Ensure that the sender is not on your Buddy List before you report the message.

To report IM spam
1. Click the Report IM Spam link on the IM window.

2. The window that appears may offer you one or both the options given below. Use the option(s) that you prefer.

  • Notify AOL

  • Block all IMs from (Username)

3. Click OK. Based on the option you select, the Username you that report against will be temporarily blocked from sending IMs to anyone or permanently blocked (unless you opt otherwise) from sending IMs to you.

How do I control who sends me Instant Messages?

The Privacy and Security settings for Instant Messages (IMs) allow you to choose the buddies from whom you want to receive IMs. You can either allow every one who has an AOL or AIM Username to send you IMs or block everyone from sending you IMs. You also have the option to list out the screen names from whom you don't want to receive IMs.

To choose who can send you IMs
1. Go to AOL Keyword: Privacy Settings. Please note that this keyword can be accessed only within the AOL software. However, the Keyword feature is not available in AOL Desktop v10.1.

2. Under Choose your Privacy settings, select from the options given below:

  • 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 an IM or receive an IM from you.
  • Allow only these users: Allows only the screen names listed here to send you IMs or receive IMs from you. Click the only these users link to add the buddies with whom you want to have IM conversations.
  • Block only these users: Blocks the screen names listed here from sending you IMs. Click the only these users link to add the people with whom you don't want to have IM conversations.
  • Block non-AOL users: Blocks only users of the AIM service.
  • Block ALL: Blocks all IMs.

3. If you have chosen any of the Allow options, skip to the next step. If you have chosen any of the Block options, select the option that you prefer from the ones listed under People I've blocked in the above settings:

  • Cannot view me on their Buddy List window: The people whom you have blocked, will not see your screen name in their Buddy List but can still send you IMs.
  • Cannot view me on their Buddy List, IM me, or send me AOL Instant Greetings messages: Those users whom you have blocked will not be able to use any of these features to contact you.

Note: AOL Instant Greetings is no longer available.

4. Click Save to record the changes and close the window.

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Managing Your Buddy List

How do I create or delete a Buddy List Group?

Managing your buddies in your Buddy List is made easier by Buddy List Groups. You can create multiple groups and group your buddies to easily identify them on your Buddy List. For example, you can have a group for your buddies from college and another for your buddies from work.

How to

Add a new Buddy List group

1. On the Buddy List window, click Setup.

2. The Buddy List Setup window appears. Click Add Group.

3. The Add New Group window appears. Type a name for the group (for example: School Friends), and then click Save.

4. On the Buddy List Setup window, click Add Buddy.

5. On the Add New Buddy window, type the screen name that you want to add to this group in the box, and then click Save.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for all screen names that you want to add to the group.

7. Close the Buddy List Setup window.

Tips: If the screen name of your buddy that you want to add to a group is saved on your Buddy List already, you can move it to your preferred group by dragging and dropping. To do so, Click Setup on the Buddy List window. On the Buddy List Setup window that appears, click the screen name that you want to move, and then drag and drop it to the preferred group.

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Rename a Buddy List group

1. On the Buddy List window, click Setup.

2. The Buddy List Setup window appears. Select the group you want to rename, and then click Edit.

3. The Rename window appears. Modify the name for the Buddy List group in the Rename box, and then click Save.

4. Close the Buddy List Setup window.

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Delete a Buddy List group

1. On the Buddy List window, click Setup.

2. The Buddy List Setup window appears. Select the group that you want to delete, click Delete.

3. Click Yes to confirm the deletion.

4. Close the Buddy List Setup window

Note: If you delete the Recent Buddies Group, the AOL software will no longer automatically add the people that you exchange IMs and email with to the Recent Buddies group on your Buddy List.

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How do I turn off the mobile device icon showing on my Buddy List?

If you do not want the mobile device icon to display next to your name on your buddy's Buddy List, you can disable it using your personal computer. This task cannot be accomplished using your mobile phone.

You can stop the mobile device icon from displaying on the Buddy List in both the AOL software and the AIM software. Click the appropriate link from those given below to disable the mobile device icon.

To turn off the mobile device icon using any version of AOL 9.0 and higher or AOL 8.0 Plus
1. At the bottom right of the Buddy List window, click Setup.
2. Open the IM Settings or Buddy List Preferences window:

  • If you are using any version of AOL 9.0, at the bottom of the Buddy List Setup window, click the IM Settings link.
  • If you are using AOL 8.0 Plus, on the Buddy List Setup window, click the Set Preferences link.

3. Click the General Buddy tab.
4. Click the box next to Allow other members to see that I am using a mobile device to clear it.
5. Click Save.
6. On the upper right of the Buddy List Setup window, click X to close it.

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To turn off the mobile device icon using AIM 7.0
1. Click Menu, and then click Settings.
2. Towards the bottom of the page, click the Privacy tab.
3. Under the Allow others to see section, click the box next to When I am using a mobile device (does not apply to IM Forwarding) to clear it.
4. Click Save.

To turn off the mobile device icon using any version of AIM 6.0
1. Click the Edit menu, and then click Settings.
2. Click the Privacy tab.
3. Under the Allow others to see section, click the box next to I am using a mobile device (does not apply to IM Forwarding) to clear it.
4. Click Save.

To turn off the mobile device icon using AIM version 5.9.x
1. Click the My AIM menu, select Edit Options, and then click Edit Preferences.
2. In the Category list, click Privacy.
3. In the Allow users to see section, click the box next to that I am using a mobile device (does not apply to IM forwarding) to clear it.
4. Click OK.

How do I add Recent Buddies to my Buddy List?

 

The Recent Buddies group is a temporary group of people on your Buddy List window with whom you have recently exchanged instant messages or email.

Because screen names in your Recent Buddies group are stored only temporarily, you may wish to add recent buddies permanently to your Buddy List window.

Add a Screen Name from Recent Buddies to Your Permanent Buddy List

You can move a screen name from the Recent Buddies group on your Buddy List window by dragging and dropping it.

To drag and drop a screen name from the Recent Buddies:
1. On your Buddy List window, click the Setup button.
2. Scroll down to the Recent Buddies group.
3. Click and hold the mouse on the screen name you want to move, then drag and drop that name to the permanent group in which you wish it to appear.
4. Click the X button to close.

How do I group/ungroup IMs?

Would you like to IM your friend's mobile phone? You can add your friend's number to your Buddy List. After adding the number to your Buddy List, you can send an IM to your friend's phone as a text message. The only requirement is that your friend accepts text messages.

Here's how to add a mobile number to your Buddy List with AIM:

1. Sign in to AIM.

2. On your buddy list window, click Options or Menu.

3. Click Add to Buddy List, and then click Add Buddy.

3. Select the Mobile phone in the first menu.

4. Add the mobile number to the second box.

5. Select the group you would like to add this buddy to.

6. Click Save.

Here's how to add a mobile number to your Buddy List with AOL Software:

If your buddy has the AIM service installed on their cell phone, you can exchange instant messages with them.

To add a cell phone number to your Buddy List with the AOL service using any version of AOL 9.0:

1. Sign in to the AOL software.

2. On the Buddy List window, click the Setup button.

3. In the Buddy List Setup window, click the Add Buddy button.

4. In the Add New Buddy window, choose the Cell Phone Number option by clicking it, enter the complete mobile phone number in the boxes provided, then click the Save button.

5. Click the X in the upper-right corner to close the Buddy List Setup window.

To add a cell phone number to your Buddy List with the AOL service using AOL 8.0 Plus:

1. Sign in to the AOL software.

2. On the Buddy List window, click the Setup button.

3. Click the Add Cell Phone Buddy link.

4. Type the cell phone number in the boxes provided, then click the Save button.

5. Click the X in the upper-right corner to close the Buddy List Setup window.

Notes:

  • Since messages are delivered via your recipient's wireless network, AOL cannot guarantee that messages you send to a mobile phone will be received.
  • Unless your IM recipient is using a mobile phone capable of two-way text messaging from a carrier that allows two-way IM service, he or she will be unable to respond to your message.
  • Mobile phone numbers always appear in your Buddy List because a mobile phone is always available to receive text messages.