Conversations in Rocket.Chat occur in channels. Channels are chat rooms with useful features designed to increase communication and collaboration.
Public channels (also called channels for short) act as a base for all channel types. Use channels for conversations that are open to your entire team. Anyone on your team can join a channel.
Channels make it easy to find what’s going on with your team. New team members can join a channel and read all the information previously shared by other users.
When in doubt, create a channel. Public conversations help you build a knowledge base of your organization with minimal effort. For example, create a channel for a company department or to discuss a specific programming language.
Private groups are closed channels. They are visible only to their members. Use private groups for subjects that are sensitive, confidential, or limited to a small group of team members.
Private groups are joined through invitation only. The administrator sets the permissions that determine who can invite others to a private group. By default, only administrators, room owners, and moderators can invite others to private rooms.
Direct messages (DMs) are a private 1-on-1 conversation between team members. They can be sent to any user on your server.
Find public and private channels that you are watching in the left sidebar under the Channels sections.
Public channels are represented by a hash symbol next to the channel name, and private channels by a lock. Public channels appear first above private channels below them and alphabetically ordered.
Channels with new messages appear bolded.
When using the Unread Mode, a new section called Unread appears on the left sidebar. All channels with unread messages move to this new section until the messages have been reads.
To activate Unread Mode, go to My Account> Preferences. Change the Sidebar channel list mode setting to Unread Rooms Mode.
When someone mentions you with
@here, a symbol or a number will appear alongside the channel name. When mentioned, an
@ symbol appears next to your name. If someone mentions
@here a number will show up showing the number of times the mention is specific to you.
There are several notification settings a user can customize to channels. To find notification settings for a specific channel, go to the channel and click the More symbol at the top-right of the chat view. Then, select Notification Preferences.
- Mute/Receive alerts: Receive or mute any notifications from a channel.
- Mute/Receive mentions: Receive or mute notifications for mentions while receiving notifications for messages in a channel.
- Hide/Show counter: Show the number of unread messages for a channel.
- Notification sound: Choose a sound for notifications besides the alerts default Desktop. Mobile currently supports only the alerts inside your mobile device. You can also select when to play the alert, duration of the alert, and the alert itself.
There are some default choices for audio provided by Rocket chat. However, you also get to choose custom audio files for the same. Get further information about Custom Sounds.
Joining new channels and starting direct messages
There are three ways of joining a public channel; through search, invites, or mentions.
For starting a direct message, you can either search the user you want to talk or click on that user’s avatar and click on the Conversation Button.
To search for channels and users, use the search bar under your account box. Alternatively you can press Ctrl/Cmd + k to access the search bar quickly.
A search will find channels (including the ones you are part of) and users. You can not search inside private channels.
When you click on a search result, the following can happen:
- If the result is a channel, and you already aren’t part of it, you will join that channel;
- If the result is a user, you will start a direct message with that user;
There are two options for leaving a channel:
- Hide: Remain a member of the channel but remove it from your list of channels on the left-hand pane.
- Leave: Remove the channel your list of channels and abdicate membership.
Every channel has an owner, and the owner of a channel cannot leave a channel until setting someone else as the owner of that channel.
To leave a channel, enter the command
/leave in the message window. Alternatively, hover your mouse over the channel in the list of channels on the left-hand side and click on the leave channel button.
To hide a channel, hover your mouse over the channel in the list of channels on the left-hand side and click on the hide channel button.
To create a channel, you need to click on the plus
+ button that is alongside the channel search bar.
A pop-up opens. You can set the name of that channel, choose if the channel is public or private, set the channel to read-only, broadcast the channel, and invite users.
In read-only channels, messages can only be sent by users with write permissions. All users can react to messages in this channel. Read-only channels are most suitable for announcements and voting.
Encrypted channels, messages will be end to end encrypted. See: End to End Encryption for details.
Broadcasted channels behave like read-only channels, with only users with the right permission being able to post there. The differences to a read-only channel are:
- Users without permission (the same one to post on read-only channels) inside this channel won’t be able to see each other in the user list.
- Users without permission won’t be able to react to messages.
- Every message contains a reply button that redirects the user to a direct message with the user that posted the message.
- This channel cannot be converted to a read-only or open channel again.