The input field
Depending on your preference settings the input field may exist in a single
floating window or be attached to each of the windows that contains channel,
queries or the profile list. The attached input fields will increase in height
to make room for long messages and will shrink back to normal size after you
send the message.
If the field contains more than 500 characters, the text will be sent in multiple
messages as IRC puts a limit on the amount of text you can send in a single
The text in the field is sent to the active channel when you press return.
Up and down arrows
The input field remembers the last 10 messages that were sent and
the up arrow key will leaf through the message history. The down
arrow is used to store the current contents of the input field and
clear it. That is done to make it easier to work with partial messages.
If you are in the middle of writing a long message when something
happens that require you to send a short message to someone, you
can press the down arrow to store the current contents and clear
the input field so that you can write the short message. Once that
is sent press the up arrow until the long message is back. Then
finish and send as if nothing had happened.
If you prefer to use the up and down arrows to move around in the channel text you
can go to the general preferences panel and select
the "Message history requires option key with up/down arrow" option.
Now you can access the message history with option-up arrow and option-down
arrow and use the up and down arrows by themselves to navigate the channel text.
The input field supports tab completion and stores a list of the last
10 people that sent private messages to you, or that you sent private messages
If you press the tab key while the input field is empty the program will step
through the private message history.
If you have text in the input field when you press tab, the program will attempt
the match the last word to the beginning of a nickname in the channel.
Shortcuts and tricks
The input field also supports the option key as a shortcut to making action
messages (the "/me smiles" type of messages). If you hold down option
when pressing return the outgoing message will be formatted as an action message.
You can separate text in the input field into separate lines that will be sent
as individual messages by holding down shift when you press return. This does
not send the text, but makes a new line in the input field.
You can drag and drop text onto the input field and it will be sent when you
Styled text and colors
The input field supports certain formatting options including bold, underline
and italics as well as color, according to the various IRC protocols. There
is no IRC protocol to specify text font so that option is not available to the
input field. You can change the channel font and the input field will match
the font, but the messages you send out will not be displayed any differently
when it is received by the other channel members.
To apply formatting to the text, select it and choose from the Outgoing Text
Color and Style menus from the Format menu. There are two different protocols
for color formatting and you can set the preferred protocol for each channel
separately in the channel settings.
The available colors differ according to whether Mac or PC color format is
chosen in the channel settings. You should set the color preference to match
what the majority of the other channel members are using, which is unfortunately
almost always going to be PC colors.