How Do I IM Someone on Yahoo! Messenger?

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One of the main benefits of using an instant messaging service such as Yahoo! Messenger is the immediate contact it provides between you and someone on your messaging list. You simply have to establish that contact, through an instant messaging chat window, and you can be typing with someone across the world or just across the room. For Yahoo! Messenger users, instant messaging -- or "IMing" for short -- requires just logging in to your service and selecting the intended recipient of your IM.

  • Log in to your Yahoo! Messenger account by double-clicking the smiley face icon on your desktop or system tray at the bottom of your screen, or download the program for free. If you've set Messenger to autoload your ID and password, Yahoo! will automatically log you in upon double-clicking the icon. Otherwise, enter these two terms.

  • Click the "Contacts" tab if it is not already enabled.

  • Click the small arrow to the left of the contacts categories, such as "Friends," to open that category.

  • Double-click the contact name of the person to IM and a chat window opens.

  • Type the chat message and press the "Enter" key to send.

  • Search for a person to IM who is not in your contacts list by clicking the icon of an exclamation point in the Yahoo! window or click the "New Conversation" window. Type the Yahoo! ID of the person to IM -- you must know the exact user ID, not just a nickname or partial ID.

Tips & Warnings

  • To IM someone on Yahoo!, you need Yahoo! Messenger, the free downloadable instant messaging service. You do not have to have a Yahoo! email account to IM someone on Yahoo!, and you cannot IM from an email window. You do not have to be logged into your email to send a Yahoo! IM.

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