Chapter 3. Using Kopete

This chapter gives an overview of Kopete's basic features. We will look first at the contact list, where your contacts are displayed, and then at the Chat window, where you carry out a conversation.

The Contact List

The Contact List appears when you start Kopete. It's the main window where you can set your presence, start a chat, organize your contacts, configure Kopete and quit.

Layout of the Contact List window


You will usually find the menubar at the top of the contact list. If it is not there, you might have turned it off; you can re-enable it with Ctrl+M. Details on each menu item can be found in the chapter on menu structure.

Tool bar

The toolbar holds the most frequently used Kopete actions. You can customize it with SettingsConfigure Toolbars.... Notice the Show Offline Users and Show Empty Groups buttons. With these you can hide contacts and groups that are offline.

Kopete makes it even easier to set a status message to let your contacts know about your mood or why you're busy at the moment. Click on the Set Status Message button and start typing to enter a new message, or choose from one of the previous messages you have used.

The Quick Search Toolbar quickly filters the contact list, by typing a few letters from a contact's name.

Contact List

The Contact List takes up the main part of the window. All your contacts are listed here, in the groups you have chosen for them. You can open or close groups by clicking the plus symbol adjacent to the group. You can reverse the order the groups are sorted in by clicking the Contacts label above the list.

The context menu in the Contact List changes depending on the item under the mouse. Groups, Metacontacts and IM system specific contacts have their own options. In empty areas of the Contact List, the context menu allows you to add contacts or groups, or change the viewing options for the list.

Status bar

The status bar shows an icon for each IM account you have created. The icons represent the current presence of each account, which can be changed by right-clicking the account icon.

Kopete also shows your current status message in the Status Bar>. By clicking on the note icon in the corner, you can change or clear the status message as well.

Setting Your Presence

We introduced you to setting presence in the previous chapter. 'Presence' determines how visible you are on the IM network. To use the network at all, you have to connect to the network, so you can send and receive messages and see others' presence. Once you are connected, most IM systems allow you to indicate what you're doing and whether you want to chat by setting special types of presence such as Away or Free For Chat. The difference presence settings are particular to each away system; but Kopete allows you some control all your IM systems at once by setting them to Away or Available at the same time.

You set your presence for individual IM accounts by right clicking the account's icon in the status bar at the bottom of the Contact List. The context menu for each account lets you choose the possible presence settings for each IM system.

To change all your accounts' presence together, click the Status, or use the FileStatus menu.

Start A Chat From The Contact List

To start a chat from the Contact List, simply click a contact. A Chat window will appear.

You can also right click a contact and select either Send Message or Start Chat. Send Message works differently in that it just sends a single message without opening the Chat window, using a simple dialog. Use it for fire-and-forget messages.

Send A File

You can send files from the Contact List, using the context menu on the person you want to send to. If Kopete supports file transfer on their IM system, there will be a Send File... item. Alternatively, you can drag a file from anywhere else in KDE onto their name to start a file transfer.

Organizing Contacts

A Word about Metacontacts

One of the principles behind Kopete is that it offers a standardized way to use IM systems. Differences between IM systems are smoothed over, making it easier to communicate. We follow this principle in the way contacts are organized. When you use Kopete you just find contacts by name; the actual IM system used is less important. Some people have more than one IM account - Kopete puts the person using the account first.

To support this, Kopete introduced Metacontacts, which represent the person you want to chat with. One Metacontact contains all the different IM IDs they may have, making it easy to see with a glance at the Metacontact 'smiley icon' whether someone is available, regardless of which IM system they are using right now.

A Word about Grouping Contacts

Kopete lets you create groups to sort your contacts. A contact may be in more than one group. Where possible, groupings are saved on server side contact lists, so if you use other IM programs, group memberships are kept in sync. However, if you change groups in another IM program, Kopete cannot know to move a metacontact automatically; it is up to you to resolve this by hand.

To change the group a metacontact appears in, you can use its context menu to move it or copy it to a new group, or remove it from a group. You can also use drag and drop here - just drop the metacontact on a different group name.

Adding Contacts

To add a contact, either select FileAdd Contact or click the Add button on the toolbar. This brings up the Add Contact Wizard.

The Add Contact Wizard creates a new Metacontact using one or more IM systems, by leading you through the following pages.

  1. Welcome Page. Here you can choose whether you want to use the KDE Address Book for this contact. Storing IM information in the KDE Address Book will enable other KDE IM programs to share contact information with Kopete and in future KDE applications may use Kopete to send information via IM. If you prefer to keep your IM contacts separated, clear the check box here.

  2. Choose KDE Address Book entry. By choosing an entry from your KDE Address Book, you can use its name as a Display Name in Kopete. You can also create a new entry here. This page doesn't show if you chose not to use the KDE Address Book.

  3. Select Display Name and Group. Here you can enter a Display Name (the name used for this person inside Kopete), and choose the groups they are a member of.

  4. Select IM Accounts. Here you can choose which accounts you want to use to chat to the new contact. If you only have one IM account, you won't see this screen.

  5. Account-specific Add Contact Pages. For each account, you'll get one page where you can enter the UIN, buddy name or Email address, depending on the IM system in use.

  6. Finish Screen. All done. Except if the IM system requires authorization (such as ICQ™) to add a contact to your list - in which case, you'll be prompted after the wizard exits.

You can add contacts to an existing Metacontact using its context menu.

Renaming Contacts

You can rename a contact using EditRename Contact or with the same item on the metacontact context menu.

Some IM systems allow you to set a Display Name that is different to your username, such as Alice loves crypto!. If you change a contact's name manually, this will override their Display Name. To get it back, open the Properties dialog for that contact and check the Use the name given by the server checkbox.

Removing Contacts

If you no longer want a contact to be in the contact list, you can remove a Metacontact and all the contacts under it with Metacontact context menuRemove Contact.

Moving Contacts between Metacontacts

You can change the metacontact a contact belongs to. In practice, you only have to do this when you have just added multiple accounts to Kopete, and you know that HotDog76 and are both the same person.

There are two ways to do this:

Drag and Drop

The contact icon to the right of the metacontact name may be dragged from one metacontact to another.

Contact Context Menu

The context menu for contacts (Right-click the contact icon) allows you to choose the new metacontact from a dialog.

If the move would leave a Metacontact empty (with no contacts), you'll be asked if you want to delete this contact.

Removing Contacts from Metacontacts

To remove a contact from a Metacontact, choose Contact context menuDelete Contact....

Configure Kopete

You can configure Kopete using SettingsConfigure.... See the next chapter for details.

Exiting Kopete

To exit Kopete you should use FileQuit, Ctrl+Q, or the Kopete System Tray icon's context menu. If you just close the Contact List window, Kopete will continue to run in the KDE System Tray.

Keyboard shortcuts

The following keyboard shortcuts are supported in the Contact List window:

Keyboard ShortcutAction
Up ArrowSelect the previous item in the contact list.
Down ArrowSelect the next item in the contact list.
Left ArrowClose the current group.
Right ArrowOpen the current group.
EnterStart a chat with the selected contact.
Ctrl+MShow/Hide the menu bar.
Ctrl+UShow/Hide offline users.
Ctrl+GShow/Hide empty groups.