Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]

pidgin logo   Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]Pidgin is a free instant-messaging client that combines all your IM accounts in one simple application. Instead of running several different IM clients that display ads and eat up memory, just use Pidgin. All your chat contacts across every network will be combined into a single buddy list, and all your conversations can be combined into a single tabbed chat window – or multiple windows, if you prefer.

Web-based chat solutions like imo.im are all the rage these days, but Pidgin integrates with your system better. Pidgin can run in your system tray without requiring a browser tab left open, flash when you receive a new message, and be quickly accessed from the taskbar.

Accounts

Pidgin supports a wide range of protocols. You’ll find the classic instant-messaging networks like MSN (Windows Live Messenger), AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo, and ICQ in addition to newer networks like Facebook and Google Talk. You’ll also find support for any XMPP server (Facebook and Google Talk are actually just XMPP, too), IRC (although Pidgin doesn’t make the best IRC client, as it lacks various features), and a number of smaller networks.

You can add as many as you want – and tweak their settings – from the Accounts window.

pidgin account setup   Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]

Buddy List

Pidgin shows all your contacts in a single buddy list window. You can drag and drop contacts into groups, irrespective of their networks. Pidgin even includes support for contact-grouping – if you have a single person with multiple different IM handles, each perhaps on a different network, you can drag and drop each screen name into a single, grouped contact to organize your buddy list.

You can also assign aliases to your buddies – for example, you could alias Amazing_Blogger_2012 to “Jon” and see the name Jon everywhere in Pidgin’s interface.

pidgin buddy list   Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]

You can quickly change your status from the drop-down box at the bottom of the window. Pidgin also includes support for creating and saving custom statuses that can be different on each account.

For example, during work hours you could be available on your work IM account and have an away message on your home account. You can easily select custom statuses from the dropdown box.

pidgin custom status   Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]

Chatting

With Pidgin’s simple conversation window interface, you can have a lot of conversations in a single small window with tabs. You can move the tabs to any other location in the window, disable the tabs entirely and use a separate window for each conversation, or drag and drop tabs to create several windows. There isn’t a lot of clutter that gets in the way of your conversations, but Pidgin has a few simple menus for formatting your messages and inserting links and images.

Many other options, including viewing chat logs and sending files, are available in the menus at the top of the window. You can also drag and drop a file onto the conversation window to initiate a file transfer.

pidgin conversation window   Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]

Options

Pidgin’s preferences window gives you a good amount of control over the way Pidgin works – everything from where new conversations are created and when sounds play to Pidgin’s network settings and chat log format — Pidgin can automatically log conversations and includes a built-in log viewer.

pidgin preferences window   Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]

Plug-Ins

Pidgin also supports plug-ins and includes a good amount of them. Plug-ins can do some interesting things – for example, the Psychic Mode plug-in notices when people are typing messages to you, even if they haven’t messaged you yet, and pops up a notification. You can say hi before they even send you their first message – I’ve done this before, and it is as amusing as it sounds.

Another cool plug-in is the Autoaccept plug-in, which can automatically accept file transfers from buddies you specify.

pidgin plug ins4   Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]

Pounces

“Buddy pounces,” another included feature, are very flexible. At its simplest, you can use a buddy pounce to pop up a notification message – or automatically send a message – when a contact comes online or returns from being away. You can do a lot more with buddy pounces, too – for example, you can automatically run a program when a specific buddy messages you.

pidgin add buddy pounce   Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux]

If there’s one problem with Pidgin, it’s that development has slowed in recent years. Important features like voice and video chatting have failed to materialize – Pidgin only supports Google Talk voice and video on Linux. Still, the reason development has slowed is that Pidgin does what it needs to do very well – you don’t get all the latest protocol features, but you don’t necessarily need them. If you just want to chat and send files, Pidgin does it well, without a lot of clutter and fuss.

We’ve covered a lot of Pidgin tips and tricks here in the past, including installing Pidgin themes, stopping IM spam with the Bot Sentry plug-in, encrypting your instant messages, and using Pidgin to tweet on Linux.

For more great software, check out our list of the best Windows software and best Linux software.

What do you think of Pidgin – is it your preferred IM client, or you do use another IM client?

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33 Comments -

David Chu

I have been a long time Pidgin user as well. I remember it was originally named gaim until AOL demanding a change of the name because it is using ‘aim’ as part of the name.

Other options include Digsby and Trillian.

Chris Hoffman

Yup, I remember when it was a Linux application named gaim. It’s improved a lot on Windows since then.

venkatp16

david, i’ve downloaded this tool.. is there a way to save the conversation like message archive we have in yahoo.

Chris Hoffman

In Pidgin? It should be on by default, I think — In Pidgin, go Tools -> Preferences -> Logging and ensure logging is enabled.

View logged messages by selecting Conversation->View Log in a conversation or right-clicking a user and selecting View Log.

venkatp16

Thnx… but i don’t see history of message archive. anyway i’ll check once again

AriesWarlock

I am using Raptr, and it’s pretty good.

Chris Hoffman

Huh, never heard of it — looks really cool though! Sort of like xfire, but interoperable.

AriesWarlock

I think it is from the ex-embers of the xfire staff.

Chris Hoffman

Ah! That actually makes a lot of sense. I’ll have to give it a go sometime.

sanjay

I am using trillian, it is pretty awesome

Chris Hoffman

Also a popular option. What make you prefer Trillian?

sanjay

I don’t know what the best is? but the layout and user friendly.
mostly i am addicted to it from the beggining on-wards

Chris Hoffman

Fair enough! I’m the same way with Pidgin. It’s just good enough and habit at this point.

sanjay

yes, i too will give it a try?

Tilak

well, I have been using Pidgin from a very long time and the best part is I can connect with my facebook buddies using this app.

Chris Hoffman

Yup — Facebook uses XMPP (also known as Jabber), so any IM app that supports XMPP should work with Facebook. It’s nice of Facebook to use an open protocol.

Scutterman

I’ve been through a lot of messengers. WLM, Trilian, Digsby, and some more on Windows, finally settling on Miranda IM. When I used Linux I started off with Pidgin but then I started using Miranda through WINE since it let me share history etc. across operating systems easily.

Chris Hoffman

I just use Pidgin on both Linux and Windows for that reason — interesting that you prefer a Wine app! Miranda is so lightweight that it makes sense it’s so stable, I suppose.

Jeremy Edgell

Great product! Remember using this back when I was an avid Ubuntu user (before my switch to Mac), but it’s a great product and still runs on my work Windows machine!

Chris Hoffman

Yup, it’s pretty popular on Windows, too — it’s a solid app.

Manide

Pidgin it’s the only one IM client I’m using now.
In the past, I tried Yahoo!Messenger, Skype and Trilian.
Yahoo!Messenger was a friend’s recommendation, but all those ads and plugins…Hm! Skype and Trillian aren’t so popular in my country. (Sorry for Skype, I really liked it).

P.S.: I use Yahoo!Messenger on my iPod.

Chris Hoffman

I remember switching to Pidgin (known as Gaim then) from AOL Instant Messenger. The lack of ads was one of its best features, for me. Man, those ads were distracting — I remember them playing sound advertisements in the background while I was using my computer. Terrible.

uriel_blanchard

Nice one. Will try it :)

Reý Aetar

i use nimbuzz ..though it doesnt support so many services but it has all that i need

Chris Hoffman

Too bad Nimbuzz ditched AIM support. That’s a big deal for lots of people.

Yogesh Verma

pidgin is good
but empathy is better try that

Ravi Meena

I Used empathy once and it was the best thing i ever used, but sadly there is no windows version, or is their any?

yogesh verma

not till now

Chris Hoffman

Is it actually better than Pidgin now? What makes Empathy better? I remember when Ubuntu switched the default from Pidgin to Empathy, I just reinstalled Pidgin — Empathy seemed more incomplete.

I’m genuinely curious because I haven’t tried Empathy in years — why’s it your favorite?

Ales Mole

I love pidgin because of its minimalistic design.

Chris Hoffman

Me too! Hard to use something like Trillian after using Pidgin — such a gaudy, skinned interface.

Devesh Agarwal

Hi, I have been using Empathy in ubuntu but its having some problems and not showing buddy list. So changed to Pidgin and now I am a happy user.
Thanks Khris and makeuseof

Chris Hoffman

Yup, I use Pidgin on Ubuntu too! Empathy was a bit half-baked when they replaced Pidgin with it.