One of the tools we use often at Buffer is HipChat.

HipChat is a great chat room service with web, native and mobile interfaces, it has a very clean and easy to understand layout but hidden beneath this clean exterior is some pretty cool functionality.

Through reading, seeing how others at Buffer are using HipChat and guesswork I have unearthed some of these cool little features and I wanted to share them somewhere!

Colours

HipChat will automatically convert hex code colours into a little square of colour, so for example #bada55 would print out;

Screenshot 2013-12-13 23.58.18

Emoticons

There are two types of emoticon that you can use within HipChat, there are the standard smiley faces that you can use like :-) or :-P which will get changed into the relevant smiley but there are also a great collection of emoticons that you can access by typing a word in round brackets, some of my personal favourites are; (boom), (tableflip) and (orly), you can access a great list of them at the HipChat Emoticons page.

Here the the ones I mentioned in the above paragraph in the order I mentioned them! (not shown is the animation for the (boom)!

Screenshot 2013-12-13 23.59.54

Third Person

Toby Osbourn likes to speak in third person, and you should to!

This is something that harks back from IRC (I believe) and is a good way to perform an action. You do this by starting your text with /me

So if I wrote "/me is writing a blog post", it would say;

Screenshot 2013-12-14 00.02.06

Spelling Correction

This is a crazy useful one! So say you make a typo and you want to quickly fix it, you could type;

s/meating/meeting/g

This will find the word "meating" and replace it with "meeting"

Moving Between Rooms

Who has time to use their mouse in this day and age? Normally if you want to move between rooms you need to move the cursor all those pixels away and click on the room name like some sort of savage!

By hitting Ctrl (or Command) and t when inside a room you get given a popup box that you can either type another room into or someones name to start a private conversation with them, neato huh?

Screenshot 2013-12-14 00.10.21

Setting Your Status

Sometimes you want to say you are away from your desk, or that you are about but you don't really want to be disturbed, and of course when you are set to one of those things you want to let people know you are available again!

/dnd I am writing all the code please do not disturb
/away Getting some lunch, playing some League of Legends
/back Come and chat to me!
You don't need to add a message, but it seems like a nice thing to do!

Referencing People in a Room

There are three cool things you can do to reference people in a room;

@theirName - will alert the person you have mentioned that they are being spoken to.
@all - will alert everyone signed up that they have been asked a global question or given some global alert.
@here - will alert everyone signed in to that room at that moment in time that they have been mentioned - this is super handy in times when you need an answer from somebody at that moment in time but don't want to bother someone with it who is offline and might not see the question for an hour or two.

That is all I got!

If you have any HipChat tips or tricks you would like to share, please leave them in the comments!

Why not read some more of our Productivity posts?