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Irssi quickstart guide

A quick guide to the basic features of irssi, a powerfull consolebased irc client.

  1. What is irssi?
  2. Installation
  3. The command shortcuts
  4. Make your own /aliases
  5. Tell users who /msg you that you are away:
  6. Window management
  7. Paste the output of programs to a channel
  8. Stats based on irssi logs
  9. Links to more information about irssi

1. What is irssi?

irssi is a very good text-based irc client. It can be used in any terminal.

2. Installation

Irssi follows the general Linux installation steps (./configure, make, make install).

Gentoo Linux: emerge irssi

3. The command shortcuts

Use the shortcuts for commonly used commands.

/j kde,gnome (/join #kde,#gnome) Join a channel
/c (/clear) Clear the window
/c -all (/clear -all) Clear all windows
/wi nickname (/whois) View information about nickname
/pa (/part) Leave a channel
/m (/msg) Send a private message
/al (/alias) View available aliases/shortcuts
/al X (/alias X) Aliases/shortcuts beginning with X

4. Make your own /aliases

You can easy make your own aliases for commonly used commands and remarks:

  /alias linuxfriends /me has a few good friends. man, info, /usr/doc, tlpd & google.

The command


will now tell the channel that

jonny has a few good friends. man, info, /usr/doc, tlpd, & google.

To make the alias use text (variables) used together with the alias, use $X:

  /alias hipeople /me waves to $0 $1 $2 **
  /hipeople jon mary jane

jonny waves to jon mary jane

To tell the channel what Gentoo Linux package contains program X:

/alias whatpackage /exec -o qpkg -f -nc ``which $0 2>/dev/null | awk '{print "$*="$$1}';``

/whatpackage epsxe


Some aliases are important

/alias help! say This will probably help you with your problem, $0:

  /help! roger

//jonny This will probably help you with your problem, roger: //

To view very good examples of useful aliases, type:

  /al uptime

UPTIME eval exec - expr date +%s - \$F | awk '{print "Irssi uptime:"int(\\\$1/3600/24)"d "int(\\\$1/3600%24)"h "int(\\\$1/60%60)"m"int(\\\$1%60)"s" }'

  /al calc

CALC exec - if which bc &>/dev/null\; then echo '$*' | bc | awk '{print "$*="$$1}'\; else echo bc was not found\; fi

Add -o to exec to tell the world about the output.

/alias cao exec -o echo '$*' | bc | awk '{print "$*="$$1}'\

Do remember to


your aliases..

Bonus : The /set variables are tab-completable

5. Tell users who /msg you that you are away:

  /set show_away_once ON

This setting makes Irssi /msg your away message set by

  /away sleeping

to people who /msg you while you are away.

-!- yournick is away: sleeping

is what users who /msg you while away get.

Do not forget to


your settings!

6. Window management

Window management is easy and done with the keyboard.

Alt+# to switch between windows (Alt+1 for Window 1, Alt+2 for Windows 2 etc). Use qwerty for window numbers higher than 10 (and 0 for 10). The modifier key may differ depending on your shell/terminal. If Alt+# does not work, try Esc+# (openbsd).

Alt+left/right move between the channels in a window. This works in KDEs konsole and aterm, but not in xterm.

Alt+up/down moves between the window tabs. This works in KDEs konsole and aterm, but not in xterm.

Use alt+a to change to the next active window (where someone has uttered a word)

To make a new window:

  /window new

Use the shortcut:

  /win new

You can move the current channel with:

  /win m u (/window move up)
  /win m d (/window move down)

You can resize a window with:

  /win gr 5 (/window grow #)
  /win shr 5 (/window shrink #)

Use /win # where # is the window number to jump directly to a window:

  /win 11 

To close a window:

  /win c (/window close)

This actually parts the channel but only closes the window if you have no other channels open in it. So usually it will the same as /part:

  /pa (/part)

To get some nice information about the current window, just type:


You can save your window settings so your windows are restored the next time you start irssi:

  /layout save

7. Paste the output of programs to a channel

To execute a command in link:irssi, just do:

  /exec program

Add -o to paste the output to the current channel:

  /exec -o ls /pub/

8. Stats based on irssi logs

irssistats is a that tool that generates IRC stats based on irssi logs.

There are also two stat programs based on irssistats available:

pisg (Perl IRC Statistics Generator) can also make nice stats based on irssi (and most other) logs.

9. Links to more information about irssi

Copyright (c) 2000-2004 Øyvind Sæther. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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