Help home > FAQ home

Using Pidgin

  1. Getting Started
    1. How do I use AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk/Jabber/XMPP, ICQ, or any …
    2. How do I register for a new account?
  2. Buddy List, Buddy Icons (Avatars), and Blocking
    1. How do I set a buddy icon or avatar?
    2. A friend of mine uses my favorite episode of The Young and the …
    3. How can I unblock someone?
    4. Why are the status icons so big?
    5. Can I make buddy list entries smaller?
    6. Can I import or export my buddy list?
    7. Why are my logs combining the logs of several of my buddies?
    8. Where did my buddy go? I just tried to change its group and it …
    9. Can I group buddies by their owner, like Trillian's or Miranda's …
    10. I grouped my buddies into contacts, can I control which one is selected?
    11. Why are protocol icons not displayed in the buddy list and …
    12. How do I remove a buddy from my buddy list?
    13. What do the icons next to my buddy mean?
  3. Statuses
    1. How does Pidgin decide which saved statuses to show in the status selector?
    2. How can I delete an auto-saved status?
    3. Why are no states listed when I go to set a state for Auto Away?
  4. Voice and Video (Microphone and Webcam) Support
    1. Does Pidgin support voice or video?
    2. When will voice and video be implemented on Windows?
    3. Does Pidgin support libjingle?
    4. How do I configure my microphone/webcam?
    5. When will voice and video be implemented on other protocols?
    6. Why can't I do a video call with the GMail client?
  5. Spell Checking
    1. How do I change the language for the Highlight Misspelled words option?
  6. Smileys (Emoticons)
    1. Does Pidgin support animated smileys?
    2. How do I use/make smiley themes?
    3. Can I save custom emoticons as animated gif?
    4. Why did my smiley theme disappear after I upgraded Pidgin?
  7. Look & Feel
    1. How do I change the look and feel?
    2. Can I "skin" Pidgin?
    3. How do I change the font Pidgin uses? The background color?
    4. Can I make Pidgin transparent/translucent?
    5. Can I make Pidgin or its instant message windows always stay on top?
  8. Chat rooms (Conferences)
    1. How do I create a chat room?
    2. How do I join an (existing) chat room?
    3. Can I still see messages in a chat if I close the window?
    4. How do I hide all those "User entered the room" and "User left the …
    5. What do the icons next to my buddy mean?
  9. Keyboard Shortcuts
    1. What are the default keyboard shortcuts (key bindings)?
    2. How do I make Enter make a newline and Ctrl+Enter send?
    3. How do I make Pidgin use emacs-like keybindings?
    4. How do I bind keystrokes to menu items?
    5. How do I make Escape close conversation windows?
  10. Sound (Windows)
  11. Sound (Linux and Unix-like platforms)
    1. How do I get sound to work correctly?
    2. How do I make Pidgin use ALSA or OSS for playing sounds?
    3. What does the "Automatic" option do?
  12. Proxy and Connection Settings and Problems (Windows)
    1. Why can't I connect? My firewall is configured to allow Pidgin access.
    2. What does "Windows socket error #10060" mean, and how do I fix it?
    3. Can Pidgin use my Windows (IE) Proxy Settings?
  13. Proxy and Connection Settings and Problems (Linux and Unix-like platforms)
  14. Running Windows Pidgin From a USB Drive (Portable Mode)
  15. Running Linux Pidgin From a USB Drive (Portable Mode)
  16. Crashes and Bugs
    1. What should I do if Pidgin crashes?
    2. Why does Pidgin crash when I start it?
    3. Pidgin <non-current-version> is buggy. Why?
    4. Pidgin from Monotone is buggy. Why?
  17. Miscellaneous (All platforms)
    1. What is a gtkrc file and where can I find it?
    2. Can I change the height of the text input area?
    3. How can I enter non-ASCII characters? (like Windows' Alt+###)
    4. What happened to my timestamps? Can I change them?
    5. What is a "Buddy Pounce"?
    6. Can I use Pidgin for e-mail, blogging, RSS feeds, social networking, …
    7. Pidgin beeps whenever I press backspace, how do I disable that?
    8. Can I turn the tray icon off?
    9. What do those colors in the conversation tab mean?
    10. I get "accept/reject certificate" prompts all the time. What do I do?
    11. I forgot my password, how do I change it?
    12. How do I recall IMs I have previously sent to the edit area (like …
  18. Miscellaneous (Windows)
    1. How does Pidgin for Windows determine which language to use?
    2. How do I change the language of Pidgin?
    3. Where are my settings and data (including logs) saved?
    4. Where is my .purple directory?
    5. How do I run multiple instances of Pidgin on Windows?
    6. Why does searching in the Buddy List stop after the first character is …
    7. Pidgin crashes when I have php installed and in my Path, why does this …
    8. How do I make Pidgin start when Windows starts?
    9. How can I change my GTK+ Theme?
  19. Miscellaneous (Linux and Unix-like platforms)
    1. Where are Pidgin's settings and logs?
    2. Why does Pidgin use the same WM_CLASS for every window?
    3. Pidgin doesn't remember which plugins I have enabled between restarts
    4. How do I setup Pidgin on the Nokia N900?

Getting Started

How do I use AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk/Jabber/XMPP, ICQ, or any other protocol?

Use the Account Editor (Accounts->Manage Accounts) to add the account of the appropriate messaging service. Use the checkbox in the account editor to enable the current account.

For Google Talk, fill in the Domain field with the domain of your Google Mail e-mail address. For most users this will be gmail.com or googlemail.com, but Google Apps for Your Domain users will use their domain instead.

How do I register for a new account?

This depends on the protocol.

Buddy List, Buddy Icons (Avatars), and Blocking

How do I set a buddy icon or avatar?

We call all user pictures, avatars, etc. buddy icons. There are two ways to set one for yourself:

  • Global - This will affect all of your accounts. On the Buddy List window, beside the status selector at the bottom, there is an area that will have a generic photo icon if you have no icon set. You can click that and select an icon from there. The icon will take effect for all accounts you have configured in Pidgin.
  • Per-account - This will affect only the account you modify. Go to Accounts->your account->Edit Account. On that dialog, check the box labeled "Use this buddy icon for this account:", then click the leftmost button below that checkbox. Select your buddy icon.

Some protocols impose a maximum file size on the icon or certain dimensions or certain file types. Pidgin will try to resize and convert the icon as needed to fit within the constraints of a given protocol. Sometimes this fails and shows you an error message. If you experience problems, you may want to try resizing the icon yourself before setting it.

The following dimension guidelines are believed to be accurate as of June 2007:

ProtocolDimensionsFormatFile Size
AIM1x1 to 64x64gif, jpg, bmp, ico7168 bytes (7.0KB)
ICQ1x1 to 64x64gif, jpg, bmp, ico7168 bytes (7.0KB)
MSNup to 96x96png
XMPP (including Google Talk)32x32 to 96x96png
Yahoo96x96png, gif, jpg

Pidgin itself (for the chat window) will scale icons up or down to 32x32 for display in the buddy list and the infopane. In general, to maintain the aspect ratio, you should begin with a square icon.

A friend of mine uses my favorite episode of The Young and the Restless as her buddy icon, but I can't quite make it out in the infopane. What do I do?

The easiest thing to do is ask your friend to put it up on YouTube or some equivalent service. Alternatively, you could buy it on DVD, if available. The mouse-over tooltip on the infopane also has her full-size buddy icon, for a quick fix. Additionally, clicking the icon in the infopane should also enlarge it.

How can I unblock someone?

See the "Privacy" option under the "Tools" menu in the Buddy List.

Why are the status icons so big?

Can I make buddy list entries smaller?

We believe that, by adding a second line of text to each buddy list entry, we're able to show more information about each buddy on the buddy list. The "Big List," as we call it, shows status text and idle time concisely and attractively. Most importantly, it puts the buddy icon in the list, making it far easier to locate buddies within a large list where names are harder to pick out than images. Due to the increased usability of this interface, we have made it the default.

We are aware that some people feel more comfortable using an interface more similar to IM clients they may have used in the past. The 'Big List' can be disabled by un-checking "Show buddy details" in the Buddies menu.

Can I import or export my buddy list?

Not with Pidgin alone, but the Purple Plugin Pack provides the List Handler plugin, which adds some importing and exporting capabilities.

Why are my logs combining the logs of several of my buddies?

It's likely you have inadvertently combined some buddies into contacts when you did not intend to do so. To correct this you need to find which contact the logs are associated with. Right-click that entry in the buddy list and click Expand. Drag out the buddies that do not belong in the contact.

Where did my buddy go? I just tried to change its group and it disappeared!

You inadvertently created a contact from two buddies. Hover over each buddy in the destination group and watch the tooltips that appear. You'll see the "missing" buddy in one of them. Right-click that entry in the buddy list, click Expand, and then drag the buddy that does not belong out to the group. Watch the buddy list carefully; a bar will appear to show you where the buddy will go if you are in the right location.

Can I group buddies by their owner, like Trillian's or Miranda's Metacontacts?

Sure! Right click a buddy on your list and at the bottom of the menu click "Expand". Then just drag other screen names to the same person below it. When you're done, click on the arrow to collapse them. When the contact is collapsed, Pidgin will select a buddy to display based on the status of the buddies in the contact, and their order.

If you use the Alias function, by either highlighting a buddy and pressing F2 or right-clicking and selecting "Alias...," when two or more buddies in the same group are aliased to the same name, Pidgin will prompt you to automatically merge them together into one contact.

I grouped my buddies into contacts, can I control which one is selected?

Yes and no. Pidgin uses an algorithm to determine which buddy is selected. If you right click on a contact and select expand, you can see an ordered list of the buddies in that contact. Pidgin will pick the highest/topmost buddy that is most available. It computes which is most available as follows:

  1. It will start at the top looking for a buddy that is "present" and not idle. If it finds one, it will use that.
  2. If it did not already find one, it will then start at the top looking for a buddy that is away but not idle. If it finds one, it will use that.
  3. If it has not already found one, it will start at the top of the list looking for a buddy that is idle but not away. If it finds one, it will use that.
  4. If it has not already found one, it will start at the top of the list looking for a buddy that is both away and idle. If it finds one it will use that.
  5. Lastly, if all of the buddies are offline, it will pick the top buddy. Ideally it would search the list one more time, looking for a buddy that is offline, but on a protocol that supports offline messages. This has not, however, been implemented yet.

With this search pattern, you should be able to drag the buddies in that contact into an order that will yield reasonable results for that contact most of the time. While this will be sufficient for most people most of the time, we recognize that a small minority of users may need to control things more precisely. In the source tarball there is a plugin, contact_priority, that does not install by default. If installed and loaded, this plugin allows for some modifications to the algorithm that Pidgin uses. Specifically, you can weight certain accounts to be either more likely to be chosen or less likely to be chosen. This cannot, however, be done on a per-buddy basis with the existing plugin.

Why are protocol icons not displayed in the buddy list and conversation windows any more?

See Sean's blog entry on the subject for the rationale behind this change. However, as of Pidgin 2.2.0 you can add protocol icons to the buddy list with Buddies-> Show->Protocol Icons. The convbadger plugin from the Purple Plugin Pack adds protocol icons to conversation windows.

How do I remove a buddy from my buddy list?

Right-click the buddy and click Remove.

What do the icons next to my buddy mean?

IconMeaning
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emblems/16/blocked.pngYou are blocking this user
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emotes/small/16/mobile.pngYou may send SMS text msgs to this buddy's mobile device by right clicking on the buddy and choosing 'Send to Mobile'
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emotes/small/16/music.pngThis buddy has the musictracker plugin installed or is playing music on Windows and has 'Now Playing' enabled to show to their buddies
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emblems/16/external.pngThe buddy is logged in using a web interface to chat
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emblems/16/bot.pngThis user is a bot
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emblems/16/secure.pngThe buddy's AIM client supports AIM Secure IM and they have the appropriate X.509 certificate configured (or at least, the client says they do).
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emblems/16/hiptop.pngThe buddy's AIM client claims they are using a PDA. Icon designed and named after the Hiptop device for which this was added.

Statuses

How does Pidgin decide which saved statuses to show in the status selector?

Pidgin shows six "popular" saved statuses in the status selector. These are your six most recently used statuses, offset by a weight. Pidgin sorts all your saved statuses by the timestamp when they were last used. And then, for each time you've used a status, the timestamp is increased by one day.

If you are upgrading from 1.x or lower, Pidgin is unable to determine which are the most popular states, as these older releases did not save that information. As a result, the initial contents of the menu will be somewhat random. It will settle over the first few uses of (distinct) states into the behavior described above.

How can I delete an auto-saved status?

Hover over the status and hit delete.

Why are no states listed when I go to set a state for Auto Away?

Pidgin can only use saved states for Auto Away. You need to create and save a named state first.

Voice and Video (Microphone and Webcam) Support

Does Pidgin support voice or video?

Yes, Pidgin does support voice and video, but this is limited to Unix-like platforms and the XMPP protocol (including GoogleTalk).

When will voice and video be implemented on Windows?

Libpurple depends on Farsight 2 and GStreamer to provide VV support. These libraries already work in Windows. The Pidgin build process needs to be updated appropriately to enable the functionality. Patches to make this happen are welcome.

Does Pidgin support libjingle?

Yes, both GMail and GTalk implementations should work.

How do I configure my microphone/webcam?

Currently, the command-line gstreamer-properties program is used. This is only available on GNOME-based systems. On other systems, Pidgin makes its best guess as to which device to use. A plugin is planned to support this functionality on other systems.

When will voice and video be implemented on other protocols?

We plan to implement these features, but it is a daunting task. The time available to the developers who work on these features is limited, and so any work on these features proceeds slowly.

In short, we have no idea when this will happen. It could be tomorrow, or it could be in 2099. That's really the best answer we can give right now.

Current information on the status of this progress can be found on the vv and GSoC2008/VoiceAndVideo pages.

Why can't I do a video call with the GMail client?

Interoperation with the GMail client requires you to have the H264 GStreamer codec installed. You can find these in gst-plugins-ugly and gst-ffmpeg. For debian based systems that's gstreamer0.10-plugins-multiverse and gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg.

Spell Checking

How do I change the language for the Highlight Misspelled words option?

If you have a new enough version of GtkSpell, the text input area's context menu will have a Languages submenu that will allow you to choose a language from the list of dictionaries you currently have installed.

There is also a simple plugin called switchspell that can change the spell check language on a per-buddy basis.

Smileys (Emoticons)

Does Pidgin support animated smileys?

Yes, but there is a bug which can cause animation to be lost if Pidgin has to resize the image. Also, only the most recent 20 emoticons are animated.

How do I use/make smiley themes?

See the page on smileys.

Can I save custom emoticons as animated gif?

Yes, in version 2.6.0 and later.

Why did my smiley theme disappear after I upgraded Pidgin?

Smiley themes should be installed to the user's .purple directory, not in the location Pidgin is installed to. This means that you install smiley themes only to %APPDATA%\.purple\smileys (if you're using Windows) or ~/.purple/smileys (if you're using Linux/*nix). Additions to or removals from Pidgin's installation location will be lost during an upgrade.

Look & Feel

How do I change the look and feel?

Can I "skin" Pidgin?

The UI can be customized using GTK themes and by Smiley Themes. Application-specific skins will never be supported by Pidgin. This seems to confuse a lot of users, so here's an attempt at an explanation.

Themes allow you to change font size, font face, the color of different elements of the UI, and sometimes their shape. All of this is perfectly reasonable, and encompasses the range of configuration that most users are requesting. Skins go beyond this. Skins allow you to move and possibly suppress different elements of the UI that the programmers have added for specific reasons.

In so doing, skins create a support nightmare. The developer, talking to the user, cannot be sure that the user sees the same interface. Is it a bug that the user cannot see how to change font size, or is the user's skin suppressing that widget? This is an unacceptable situation.

Conversely, while themes allow some silliness, for instance setting the background to the same color as the font, the results are relatively easily foreseen and avoided by theme authors. Further, by using the existing GTK theme mechanism, we gain two advantages:

  1. We don't have to write it ourselves. Were we to write our own mechanism, we would be adding overhead in both the run time and the time necessary to debug.
  2. We have a built in way of debugging theme problems, by checking if the same bug exists with other GTK programs.

Lastly, since GTK themes only allow acceptable modifications, we do not have to worry that a user isn't seeing part of the UI because it is either showing or not showing because of our code.

Themes and information on using them can be found at http://themes.freshmeat.net, http://art.gnome.org, or by searching on your favorite search engine, such as Google.

How do I change the font Pidgin uses? The background color?

The font preference in Pidgin applies only for the formatting of outgoing messages on those protocols which support said formatting. The display fonts used by the rest of Pidgin are those specified by GTK+, the toolkit we use to create the user interface. If you're using Gnome, you can change these in System ⇒ Preferences ⇒ Appearance ⇒ Fonts; the font used for conversations is the document font, while the rest of Pidgin uses the application font.

If you're not running Gnome and want to change the fonts used, you need to edit your ~/.gtkrc-2.0 (or ~/.purple/gtkrc-2.0) file. On Windows, see this FAQ entry for the location of the gtkrc file. If that file does not exist, simply create it.

As an example, you can put this into .gtkrc-2.0 to change the font size for all GTK+ applications:

# Sets the font used by all gtk applications.
gtk-font-name = "Verdana 9"

Alternatively, you can do this to change the font size for other elements:

# This is the style section.  You need this for the examples below.
# If you are going to copy the example, copy the entire block,
# including the "{" and "}" lines.
style "imhtml-fix"
{
    font_name = "Sans 10"
}

# This will apply the font style just shown to various components.
# If you are going to copy the example, copy the line that does
# what you want.

# Conversation entry box--where you type.
widget "*pidgin_conv_entry" style "imhtml-fix"

# Conversation history pane--where you read the conversation.
widget "*pidgin_conv_imhtml" style "imhtml-fix"

# Log viewer--where you read stored logs
widget "*pidgin_log_imhtml" style "imhtml-fix"

# formatting-capable entry areas (IMHtml widgets) in request dialogs
widget "*pidgin_request_imhtml" style "imhtml-fix"

# formatting-capable notification areas in dialogs (again, IMHtml widgets)
widget "*pidgin_notify_imhtml" style "imhtml-fix"

Background colors can be changed similarly, by finding the correct widget names and setting appropriate bg elements. Other widgets in Pidgin can be controlled in a similar manner. For example, to change the background color for a group, do something similar to the following:

style "NoPidginGroupColor"
{
    bg[ACTIVE]   = "#FFFFFF"
}

widget "*pidgin_blist_treeview" style "NoPidginGroupColor"

If you want to change the background and foreground colors of your conversation windows, try something like this:

# Create a style called "inverted" where the text and base (the base color behind the widget) are the reverse of typical.
style "inverted"
{
   text[NORMAL] = "#FFFFFF"
   base[NORMAL] = "#000000"
}

# Apply "inverted" to conversation entry box--where you type.
widget "*pidgin_conv_entry" style "inverted"

# Apply "inverted" to conversation history pane--where you read the conversation.
widget "*pidgin_conv_imhtml" style "inverted"

You could also switch GTK+ themes. Themes and information on using them can be found at http://themes.freshmeat.net, http://art.gnome.org, or by searching on your favorite search engine, such as Google.

Can I make Pidgin transparent/translucent?

Windows:
You can make Pidgin translucent in most versions of Windows using the "Transparency" plugin that ships with Pidgin for Windows. A user has also recommended the freeware Windows utility, PowerMenu which can to make any window translucent.

Linux & other *nixes:
It is not yet possible to make Pidgin translucent in Linux and other platforms that use X11.
The X.org X11 server provides a COMPOSITE extension that allows applications to have true translucency, but it is X.org-specific and it requires support at the GTK+ level (if it is to be per-widget). Support for this is apparently scheduled for inclusion GDK 2.12, but we are not currently interested in implementing support for it (note that a plugin could provide this functionality). Pseudo-translucency offered by other programs (by copying a section of your background image, tinting it, and plastering it onto a window) will never be implemented in Pidgin.
Note that if you are using a compositing window manager such as Compiz, you may have global support for modifying the opacity of any window. For example, in Compiz, the default method to changing the opacity of a window is Alt+Mouse Scroll Wheel. This method does not require extra support from the applications.

Can I make Pidgin or its instant message windows always stay on top?

Windows: If you just want the buddy list to remain above other windows, you can dock it to the side of your desktop using the "Windows Pidgin Options" plugin and set the "Always On Top" option accordingly. The "Transparency" plugin is capable of making your conversation windows stay on top. Both plugins are included with Pidgin.

A user has also recommended a freeware Windows utility called PowerMenu, which can set any window to be 'Always On Top' and may provide additional flexibility.

Unix-like platforms: Please consult your window manager's documentation.

Chat rooms (Conferences)

How do I create a chat room?

IRC, XMPP/Jabber, ICQ, AIM
These protocols use named chat rooms. In order to create a chatroom, you need to use the "Join Chat Room" dialog and choose a room name that is still free. Some XMPP servers also let you create chat rooms with random room names using the buddy list's context menu.

MSN
Right-click an MSN buddy on your list and click "Initialize chat".

SIP/SIMPLE
This protocol doesn't support chat rooms.

Yahoo
Yahoo has disabled user-created chat rooms, you can only use those chatrooms that have been created by the Yahoo people.

How do I join an (existing) chat room?

Option 1: ask someone to invite you
Ask someone who is in the chatroom to invite you. On MSN, this is the only way to join an existing chat room.

Option 2: join by room name
use Buddies > Join a chat room in the buddy list window

Option 3: Use the room list
In the tools menu, there is an option that shows you a list of chat rooms that you can join. Please note that this feature doesn't work with all IM networks. Most networks hide rooms from the list that their owner doesn't want to have listed. If you want to use Yahoo chatrooms, you may also want to look here: Can I get a list of Yahoo chatrooms? - What about localized lists?

Can I still see messages in a chat if I close the window?

Yes. Pidgin has a persistent chat feature, where you will remain in a chat room even if you close the window. When you open the window again, all the messages that were sent are still there as if the window had been open the whole time.

To make a chat persistent, add it to your buddy list, then right click and choose "Persistent" from the context menu.

How do I hide all those "User entered the room" and "User left the room" messages?

Load the "Join/Part Hiding" plugin from the plugins dialog. You can then configure it to hide these messages on rooms larger than a specified size, or when the user joining/parting has been idle for longer than a specified period of time.

What do the icons next to my buddy mean?

IconMeaningIRCXMPP
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emblems/16/founder.pngFounderFounder (~ or +q)Owner
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emblems/16/operator.pngOperatorOperator (@ or +o)Moderator
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emblems/16/half-operator.pngHalf-OperatorHalf-op (% or +h)-
http://hg.pidgin.im/pidgin/main/raw-file/default/pidgin/pixmaps/emblems/16/voice.pngVoicedVoice (+ or +v)Participant

Keyboard Shortcuts

What are the default keyboard shortcuts (key bindings)?

See this wiki page for a list.

How do I make Enter make a newline and Ctrl+Enter send?

Locate or create your gtkrc-2.0 file and insert:

binding "my-bindings"
{
    bind "Return" { "insert-at-cursor" ("\n") }
    bind "<ctrl>Return" { "message_send" () }
}
widget "*pidgin_conv_entry" binding "my-bindings"

How do I make Pidgin use emacs-like keybindings?

Locate or create your .gtkrc-2.0 file and insert the following:

gtk-key-theme-name = "Emacs"

You will need to restart Pidgin when you have finished. Note that this will affect other GTK+ applications as well.

How do I bind keystrokes to menu items?

Locate or create your gtkrc-2.0 file and insert:

gtk-can-change-accels = 1

After coercing Pidgin into rereading this file (for instance, by restarting it), you can hover over a menu item and hit the keystroke you want to bind to it, and your wish will be granted! (You might want to turn off gtk-can-change-accels again when you're done, since it's pretty easy to bind keys by mistake with it turned on.)

To remove a binding completely hit 'Backspace' while hovering over the menu item.

If you're using a recent enough Gnome, you can instead open the Appearance preferences applet, switch to the Interface tab and toggle Editable menu shortcut keys. In older versions of Gnome, use gconf-editor to set the /desktop/gnome/interface/can_change_accels key instead (which is what happens in newer Gnomes behind the scenes anyway). You don't need to restart Pidgin if you take the gconf path.

If you're using Xfce 4, you also need to have Editable menu accelerators checked in your User Interface Preferences.

In the event that all these methods fail, the file ~/.purple/accels may be edited directly.

How do I make Escape close conversation windows?

As of 2.4.2 this option is included by default. The option is under Tools ⇒ Preferences ⇒ Interface Tab.

Sound (Windows)

There are no known issues with sound on Windows.

Sound (Linux and Unix-like platforms)

How do I get sound to work correctly?

Pidgin uses gstreamer to play sounds. Playing sounds directly through esound or arts is no longer supported. To compile Pidgin with support for gstreamer you need libgstreamer0.10-dev and its dependencies. These packages are named differently on different platforms. If you do not wish to install these packages you can also just change your sound playing method in preferences to Command and use esdplay %s, artsplay %s, aplay %s, or play %s.

How do I make Pidgin use ALSA or OSS for playing sounds?

What does the "Automatic" option do?

The "Automatic" option lets gstreamer pick how the sounds are played. You can use the gstreamer-properties tool to control this if you use GNOME.

Proxy and Connection Settings and Problems (Windows)

Why can't I connect? My firewall is configured to allow Pidgin access.

We've had a lot of problems with various firewalls, particularly Norton Internet Security (and Symantec Client Firewall). Many firewalls will not fully stop interfering with a program's ability to connect when configured to do so.

For Norton Internet Security, a workaround that seems to work is to add the following ports to the global HTTP Ports list:

  • 443 -> MSN (ssl)
  • 1863 -> MSN
  • 5050 -> Yahoo
  • 5190 -> AIM/ICQ
  • 5222 -> XMPP (including Google Talk)
  • 6667 -> IRC

The Mozilla folks maintain a good Windows Firewall information resource here.

What does "Windows socket error #10060" mean, and how do I fix it?

This is a horribly obtuse error message which simply means that Pidgin was unable to connect to some remote host, probably the IM server you were trying to use. This is almost never a problem with Pidgin or its configuration; generally it indicates a network problem, firewall problem, or NAT/router problem. If you are running a Windows firewall product, check the appropriate FAQ question for possible solutions.

Can Pidgin use my Windows (IE) Proxy Settings?

Yes, if you set the proxy preference to "Use Environmental Settings", Pidgin will parse the HTTP Proxy setting from Windows as long as you have a specific server set; auto-detection and configuration via .pac URL do not work, nor do proxy bypass settings.

Proxy and Connection Settings and Problems (Linux and Unix-like platforms)

There are no known *nix-specific network issues.

Running Windows Pidgin From a USB Drive (Portable Mode)

N.B.: Instead of performing the following steps, you can also download a portable version of Pidgin from http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/pidgin_portable or from http://portable-pidgin.de/ which are neither maintained nor supported by the Pidgin project, but don't require the setup described herein.

It is relatively easy to set up Pidgin to run from a USB drive. Most of Pidgin is very good about not assuming that it is installed; a slightly customized launcher makes it all come together nicely.

N.B.: With the setup described in this guide, other GTK+ applications can use the same GTK+ runtime.

Preparation

  • create a temporary folder structure (e.g. in C:\tmp):
    • extracted
    • extracted\GTK
    • extracted\Pidgin
    • portable
    • portable\GTK
    • portable\Pidgin
  • download the zipped binaries of Pidgin (pidgin-<version>-win32-bin.zip) and GTK+ (gtk-runtime-<version>.zip)
  • extract these archives to extracted\GTK and extracted\Pidgin, respectively

Pidgin

  • copy (or move) everything except the following folders from extracted\Pidgin to portable\Pidgin:
    • plugins\perl (former perlmod)
    • spellcheck
  • delete (or rename) perl.dll and tcl.dll in portable\Pidgin\plugins
  • language
    • if you do not want to use a language other than American English (en_US), delete the entire portable\Pidgin\locale folder
    • otherwise, delete all except the desired languages' folders (e.g. en_GB or fr) from portable\Pidgin\locale
  • spell-checking
    • if you do not want to use spell-checking, delete libgtkspell.dll from portable\Pidgin
    • otherwise, copy the spellcheck directory that was skipped earlier and follow these instructions to install one or more dictionaries.
  • rename portable\Pidgin\pidgin.exe to portable\Pidgin\pidgin-portable.exe - this will cause Pidgin to run in "portable mode"

GTK+

  • copy (or move) everything except the following files and folders to portable\GTK:
    • extracted\GTK\share
    • extracted\GTK\manifest
  • language
    • if you want to use a language other than American English (en_US), copy the appropriate extracted\GTK\share\locale\<language> folders to portable\GTK\share\locale.
  • theme
    • choose any GTK+ theme from share\themes (usually MS-Windows)
    • copy the theme's gtkrc file from extracted\GTK\share\themes\<theme>\gtk-2.0 to portable\GTK\etc\gtk-2.0, replacing the existing file

Now you can move the entire portable onto your USB drive (e.g. U:\). Running U:\portable\Pidgin\pidgin-portable.exe will cause Pidgin to run off the USB drive, saving all settings, logs etc. to U:\portable\.purple.

Upgrading Pidgin Portable

In order to upgrade Pidgin portable to a new version, simply download the latest zipped binaries and follow the steps described in the Pidgin section above.

Semi-Automatic Upgrade

The following batch script takes care of removing unneeded Pidgin files as described above.

Do not use this unless you understand what it is doing!

: preparation: download http://sourceforge.net/project/downloading.php?group_id=235&filename=pidgin-<version>-win32-bin.zip

set TMPDIR=tmp_%RANDOM%_%RANDOM%
cd pidgin-*-win32bin && ^
echo remove unused modules && ^
rmdir /S /Q plugins\perl && ^
del plugins\perl.dll plugins\tcl.dll && ^
echo keep only relevant locale (here: DE) && ^
set TMPDIR=tmp_%RANDOM%_%RANDOM% && ^
mkdir %TMPDIR% && ^
move locale\de %TMPDIR% && ^
rmdir /S /Q locale && ^
mkdir locale && ^
move %TMPDIR%\de locale && ^
rmdir /S /Q %TMPDIR% && ^
echo disable spell-checking && ^
rmdir /S /Q spellcheck && ^
del libgtkspell.dll && ^
echo activate portable mode && ^
move pidgin.exe pidgin-portable.exe && ^
echo SUCCESS || ^
echo ERROR

PAUSE

Another shorter script that has similar results

::Download the latest GTK and Pigin win32 zip files and extract into the same folder.
:: This script will do the rest
::As seen @ http://pastebin.com/ggmKQWKt
MOVE pidgin* pidgin
REN pidgin\pidgin.exe pidgin\pidgin-portable.exe
RMDIR /s /q pidgin\plugins\perl pidgin\plugins\locale\
DEL pidgin\plugins\perl.dll pidgin\plugins\tcl.dll
RD /s /q gtk\share\ gtk\manifest gtk\share\locale

Running Linux Pidgin From a USB Drive (Portable Mode)

This should be possible somehow, but it's not tested and not documented.

Crashes and Bugs

What should I do if Pidgin crashes?

Follow the instructions here to submit a bug report.

Why does Pidgin crash when I start it?

Here are some things to try:

  • Make sure you are running the most recent version of Pidgin.
  • Make sure only one version of Pidgin is installed. On UNIX-like systems, whereis pidgin can be helpful for this.
  • Make sure Pidgin is not already running. In recent versions, if an instance of Pidgin is already running then a new instance will not start without specifically forcing it. You can check the process list on your operating system or look for the "System Tray" or "Notification Area" icon.
  • If you are running a UNIX-like system, try "export GDK_USE_XFT=0" in a terminal, then run Pidgin from the same terminal.
  • Disable or remove any third-party plugins, especially those related to encryption.
  • If disabling third-party plugins doesn't help, disable all plugins.
  • If you are on Windows, deleting tcl.dll from the Pidgin install directory may prove helpful.
  • If none of these help, read TipsForBugReports.

Pidgin <non-current-version> is buggy. Why?

Pidgin from Monotone is buggy. Why?

Non-current versions have old bugs which may be fixed in the current version--that's why we make new releases. Monotone is frequently unusable because of changes in the code. Bugs are introduced during the development process and are hopefully fixed before a release is made.

Miscellaneous (All platforms)

What is a gtkrc file and where can I find it?

The windowing toolkit that Pidgin uses, GTK+, is configurable via a text file.

  • There is a global file:
    • On Windows, it is found in the etc\gtk-2.0 directory your GTK+ Runtime install directory (<Pidgin Installation Directory>\Gtk, by default).
    • On Linux and other *nixes, it is found in /etc/gtk/.
  • There is also a per-user file (named .gtkrc-2.0) in your user's home directory, the location of this varies according to the OS you're using and the configuration.
    • For Windows, entering %USERPROFILE% in your Windows Explorer address bar will take you to the right directory (probably something like C:\Documents and Settings\username).
    • For Unix-like platforms, it is /home/username.
    • If you have the HOME environment variable set, it will override the default per-user file location on all platforms.

Note that Windows Explorer will not allow you create a file that starts with a period; you'll need to use a text editor or rename the file in a cmd shell.

  • There is also a pidgin-specific file that is located in the configuration directory.
    • %APPDATA%\.purple\gtkrc-2.0 on Windows
    • ~/.purple/gtkrc-2.0 on Unix-like platforms

It is recommended that you edit your per-user file or the pidgin-specific file instead of the global file as the global file will be replaced when GTK+ is upgraded.

Can I change the height of the text input area?

You can't manually resize the text input area, nor disable auto-resizing. The area auto-resizes up to a height of half the window height before the scrollbar appears.

How can I enter non-ASCII characters? (like Windows' Alt+###)

Entering character codes works differently in GTK+; press Ctrl+Shift+u and then type the Unicode number (in hexadecimal) with Ctrl and Shift held down. GTK+ 2.10.0 and later versions do not require Ctrl and Shift to be held down while typing the number. For example, Alt-164 would become Ctrl+Shift+u, f1.

What happened to my timestamps? Can I change them?

As of 2.0.0, timestamps follow the system locale. This is a significant difference from previous versions of Pidgin, and though it was requested more than once, we know it will prove to be a controversial decision. Fortunately for all of you out there, we also provide plugins to change it.

The two plugins we provide are the Timestamp plugin and the Message Timestamp Formats plugin. Timestamp allows you to have iChat style timestamps, but it is implemented to behave slightly differently. The Message Timestamp Formats plugin allows you to manipulate the timestamps in a couple different ways, such as restoring 24-hour timestamps and/or causing all timestamps to have dates in them.

What is a "Buddy Pounce"?

Pidgin introduced buddy pounces a few releases before AOL came out with "Buddy Alerts." Despite this, you could think of a buddy pounce as an alert and get an idea of the most minimal use of a buddy pounce. In reality, a buddy pounce is much like a macro, or a recorded action. When you set a pounce on someone, you can choose from a number of events, such as sign on or status change, and then you choose from a number of actions. These actions include everything from playing a sound (like an alert would do) to sending a message to the person, to executing a command. This action will occur the next time pidgin detects the event, i.e. the next time the person in your buddy list who you have pounced signs on.

No, you can't. We get requests for this often, but Pidgin is indeed a messaging client. Aside from the capabilities each protocol may support, the Pidgin developers have no intention to turn Pidgin into a multi-feature Internet client capable of doing everything under the sun. We also won't be helping to develop plugins to turn it into that. There are many Internet applications available for Linux, Windows, or whatever operating system you use that would undoubtedly do a better job.

Note that LiveJournal provides an XMPP messaging service which makes it possible to make entries to your blog via IM, no matter what XMPP-supporting IM client you use.

Pidgin beeps whenever I press backspace, how do I disable that?

This is a GTK+ setting and can be disabled by setting

gtk-error-bell = 0

in your gtkrc file.

See Bug #3683 for further information.

Can I turn the tray icon off?

Yes. By default the tray icon will load if you have a Notification Area or a System Tray in your desktop environment. Look at the Interface tab in Tools->Preferences. Change the 'System Tray Icon' setting to 'Always', 'Never', or 'On unread messages' as you prefer.

What do those colors in the conversation tab mean?

  • Red - A message is waiting for you in a chat that does not contain your name
  • Blue - Someone (in one-on-one IM) sent you a message or (in chats) said your name/nickname
  • Green - The buddy is typing
  • Yellow - The buddy began typing, and then stopped
  • Gray - There has been a join or a part in that chat, or the buddy has signed off

I get "accept/reject certificate" prompts all the time. What do I do?

This may mean that the Pidgin root certificate set is incomplete. If so, we'd like to hear about it. Do the following:

  1. Accept the Certificate
  2. Go to Tools->Certificates
  3. Select the relevant server and export the certificate to a file.
  4. File a ticket. Attach the exported certificate, and specify which protocol you are connecting to, as well as the server the certificate is for.

I forgot my password, how do I change it?

Pidgin is an IM client, not an IM service. You need to change your password with the IM service (e.g., ICQ, MSN, Yahoo!), probably on their web site. We cannot help you with this.

If you have a working Pidgin install set to log on automatically on another computer, you may be able to find your account password in accounts.xml in your Pidgin configuration directory. The location of this directory is discussed elsewhere in this portion of the FAQ, in the Miscellaneous group for your specific platform.

How do I recall IMs I have previously sent to the edit area (like command history)?

Press ctrl+up.

Miscellaneous (Windows)

How does Pidgin for Windows determine which language to use?

For the user who installed Pidgin, the language selected during installation will be the default. This can be overridden by setting the PIDGINLANG environment variable (for example, PIDGINLANG=de). If neither of these are specified, it will fall back to the default Windows user locale setting.

Note that if the translation for the specified language isn't present, Pidgin will fall back to the English default. See below for how to install additional translations.

How do I change the language of Pidgin?

  1. Install the translation using the installer if it is not already installed. To do this, select the appropriate 'Localization' component from the 'Components selection' screen. You will have to select the ISO-code (the "Alpha-2 code" from this table) of the desired language. Once this is done, you should see the installed translations in the locale subdirectory of the directory where you installed Pidgin(%ProgramFiles%\Pidgin by default) - there will be one folder per language.
  2. Select the language of your preference setting the PIDGINLANG environment variable (add it if it isn't already there) to the ISO-code of the desired language. (Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Environment Variables)
  3. Restart Pidgin

Where are my settings and data (including logs) saved?

Where is my .purple directory?

Data is stored in your user's "Application Data" directory in a .purple subdirectory. The location of this will vary according to your setup and version of Windows.

  • For Windows, entering %APPDATA% in your Windows Explorer address bar will take you to the right directory
    • It will be something like C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\.

This can be overridden by setting the PURPLEHOME environment variable.

You can add/set the PURPLEHOME environment variable for your system in Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Environment Variables.

Logs are stored in a subdirectory called logs.

How do I run multiple instances of Pidgin on Windows?

Pidgin will, by default, prevent multiple instances from running simultaneously. You can override this restriction by defining the PIDGIN_MULTI_INST environment variable or by specifying the -m command line parameter. If you do this, you may find the -c parameter useful to specify unique configuration directories for each instance (e.g. -c c:\home\.pidgin-alt).

Why does searching in the Buddy List stop after the first character is typed?

Some GTK+ versions prior to 2.12.12 (shipped with Pidgin 2.5.2) have a bug that causes this behavior.
See Bug #4966 for information about this issue.

Pidgin crashes when I have php installed and in my Path, why does this happen?

See these tickets: #7750, #7875, #7853

How do I make Pidgin start when Windows starts?

Enable the Windows Pidgin Options plugin and check the Start Pidgin on Windows startup checkbox.

How can I change my GTK+ Theme?

As of version 2.7.0, Pidgin ships with a private GTK+ runtime and doesn't include extra themes or a GUI theme switching application.

There is an easy way to use the GTK+ theme binaries and theme switcher that Alexander Shaduri maintains. Note that we don't recommend you use the GTK+ installer he distributes unless you know what you're doing and have a good reason for doing so.

Download the GTK+ Themes and GTK+ Theme Switcher zip files and extract them to a temporary directory.

Copy the lib and share directories from the GTK+ Themes zip file into your <Pidgin Installation Directory>\Gtk directory (you want to merge those with the existing lib and share directories). Copy the gtk2_prefs.exe from the GTK Theme Switcher zip file into your <Pidgin Installation Directory>\Gtk\bin directory.

You can now run the gtk2_prefs.exe applications to choose a theme. You probably will want to use the "Apply for all users" checkbox so that the changes are made to Pidgin's private GTK+ runtime.

Note: If you had previously set up a user-specific GTK+ theme with the global GTK+ Runtime, you will need to delete or rename the %USERPROFILE%/.gtkrc-2.0 file in order to have your changes take effect.

Miscellaneous (Linux and Unix-like platforms)

Where are Pidgin's settings and logs?

Because Pidgin is a libpurple client, it stores its settings and logs in ~/.purple.

Why does Pidgin use the same WM_CLASS for every window?

Both strings in the WM_CLASS property are supposed to be the same for all windows in the same instance of an application. ICCCM states that one is meant to be the same for all instances of the application and the other is meant to be unique to that instance of the application. ICCCM also states, "If a client has multiple windows with identical WM_CLASS and WM_NAME properties, then it should provide a WM_WINDOW_ROLE property."

GTK+ sets these WM_CLASS values for us so that they are unique for Pidgin instances, and the documentation for the gtk_window_set_wmclass function says explicitly not to use it for anything else. Pidgin uses the WM_WINDOW_ROLE hint to differentiate windows. If your window manager is having problems differentiating between Pidgin windows, please ensure it uses the WM_WINDOW_ROLE hint per the ICCCM.

Pidgin doesn't remember which plugins I have enabled between restarts

Ubuntu Gutsy shipped a broken /etc/purple/prefs.xml for a while which caused this problem. See this bug report for information on the problem and how to fix it.

How do I setup Pidgin on the Nokia N900?

View simple how-to.

Last modified 13 months ago Last modified on 06/01/15 08:39:17
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