Irssi quickstart guide

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

What is irssi?[edit | edit source]

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

Installation[edit | edit source]

Irssi follows the general Linux installation steps (./configure, make, make install). It has been around for a very long time so it is available in all GNU/Linux distributions package management systems.

click here to install on Ubuntu. On Gentoo Linux: emerge irssi

Command shortcuts[edit | edit source]

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

Making your own /aliases[edit | edit source]

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 **

would let you write something like

/hipeople jon mary jane

and get the output

jonny waves to jon mary jane

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

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

With this alias you could do:

/whatpackage epsxe

and get


Being able to do calculations could be handy. In this case you could do

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

and get the result - but others would not see it. You need to add -o to exec to share the result with others on the channel you're in.

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

Remember to save your settings with


once you've made your aliases. They are not saved automatically.

Window management[edit | edit source]

Window management is easy and done with the keyboard.

Use 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

Pasting a programs output to a channel[edit | edit source]

To execute a command in irssi, just do:

/exec program

Links to more information about irssi[edit | edit source]