Google Gtalk Shortcuts, Tips, and Tricks

Note: This post was first published on Jan 21, 2007.

I like Google Gtalk because it’s light and fast. It uses less CPU memory compared to MSN Live Messenger. Here are some shortcuts, tips, and tricks to make your Gtalk experience better and more interesting. Full list after the jump.

Line Break

Hold SHIFT and press ENTER

Bold Text

To make your text bold, put an asterisk (*) before and after the content. [Example] *this will be bold*

Italic Text

To italicize your text, put an underscore (_) before and after the content. [Example] _this will be italic_

Switch Between Chat Windows

Hold CTRL and press I to cycle through each chat window

Minimize Chat Window

ALT + ESC will minimize the chat window. (For Gmail talk, it only works when the chat window is a popup)

Restore Chat Window

WINDOWS + ESC will restore your Gtalk from minimized mode.

Open Multiple Gtalk Applications

Click Start -> Run and enter the following in the Open dialog: "C:\Program Files\Google\Google Talk\googletalk.exe" /nomutex

See more parameters like this at the end of the entry.

Misc Gtalk Information

  1. You don’t have to say YES or NO when someone adds you. Simply ignore it and the request will go away.
  2. A message can be 32,767 characters long.
  3. You can change your Gtalk chat name on the Account Page.
  4. Adding a web URL in a custom message will make it clickable.
  5. Gtalk supports the following emoticons, and they appear in blue: :-| :-O :-x :-P :-D ;-) :-( :| :O :x :P :D :) :( ;-| ;-O ;-x ;-P ;-D ;-) ;-( ;| ;O ;x ;P ;D ;) ;( B-| B-O B-x B-P B-D B-) B-( B'( BO Bx BD B) B( B)
  6. Gmail talk supports the following emoticons, and they are animated: :-| :-P :-D ;-) :-( :P :D :) :( ;-) ;) B-)

More Parameters for Gtalk Start -> Run

Here’s a complete list of what you can do with Gtalk in the run command prompt:

"C:\Program Files\Google\Google Talk\googletalk.exe" /parameter

  • /nomutex: Open more than one Gtalk instance.
  • /autostart: Check the registry settings to see if Gtalk needs to be started. If the “Start automatically with Windows” option is unchecked, it won’t start.
  • /forcestart: Similar to /autostart, but forces Gtalk to start.
  • /S upgrade: Used when upgrading Google Talk.
  • /register: Registers Google Talk in the registry, including the Gmail Compose method.
  • /checkupdate: Check for newer versions.
  • /plaintextauth: Uses plain authentication mechanism instead of Google’s GAIA mechanism. Used for testing the plain method on Google’s servers.
  • /nogaiaauth: Disables the GAIA authentication method. The same as above.
  • /factoryreset: Resets settings back to default.
  • /gaiaserver Uses a different GAIA server to connect to Google Talk. Used for debugging purposes only; there are no other known GAIA servers.
  • /mailto Send an email with Gmail.
  • /diag: Start Google Talk in diagnostic mode.
  • /log: Probably related to diagnostic logging.

If you have additional Gtalk tips and tricks, I would like to know.