DISCORD – Basic Operation

How To Use Discord

Once you have joined our Discord Server, you might find it to be a bit overwhelming and confusing. Fear not! Read through this document for the basics. Go ahead and try out your new knowledge on our server (you really can’t hurt it). There are plenty of YouTube videos about Discord as well. After using Discord for a short period, it should start to make sense and you’ll become an expert in no time!

For the screenshots and directions below, I am assuming that you are using Discord on your computer and I will be creating screenshots on my computer, which is a Mac. The information displayed may look slightly different on a Windows or Chrome OS computer, but you should be able to follow along. For phone or tablet users, you may see only one section or panel of the Discord server at a time. Simply slide the panels left or right (using your finger) to access the rest of the content. If you are having trouble, there are many tutorials on YouTube for how to use Discord on your mobile device. YouTube search link –> https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+use+discord+on+mobile+phone

Understanding Discord – Channels and Categories

The main part of any Discord server are the text and voice channels. This is where members interact with each other and can share information with your community. However, the contents of channels are not just text or voice. You can use text channels to share your favorite music video, share cute pet photos, recipes, or upload files and documents. Through voice channels members can share their desktop for others to view, stream or watch others stream games, and even have video conferences. A “Category” is just a group of text and/or voice channels based on a common topic.

  • Channel — The place where users interact with each other through text or voice chat. Also often used to share information with the entire server in the form of announcements or community guidelines.
  • Category — Used to organize Channels into topics that users can collapse and expand in their Discord client.

Example: The channels in the “START HERE” category (those would be the – welcome-start-here, code- of-conduct, and about-us channels) are there to welcome new folks and state the rules of conduct.

Text Channels

The text channels (designated by the # icon) are available to post messages in.  The name of the channel indicates the topic of each channel. To post a message in a text channel, select the channel by tapping or clicking on it. Once the channel has been selected, tap or click on the bar at the bottom of the screen and start typing.

You can also share pictures, videos, documents, and internet links in a text channel.  Just keep in mind that the maximum file size is 8 MB.  To upload a picture or file, tap or click on the channel to select it and drag or copy/paste the file into the content section.

Messages in a text channel can be seen by anyone who has access to that channel.  To see who has permission to access and participate in the channel, select the channel by clicking on it, and members who have access will be listed along the right-hand side.

Direct Messages

If you would like to ‘talk’ to a person in private, you can do so by using what is called a Direct Message or ‘DM’. Direct messages are messages between you and one or two other people, and can be seen by only those people. To begin a direct message, right click or tap on the user’s name in the list of members in the right panel, select ‘message’, type a message in the text box that appears there, and then send it (if the user is offline, the message will be waiting for them when they come online).  You can also select ‘call’ to start a voice call with that person over Discord.  

Once you have started a direct message with someone, you can view the message history by clicking on the top circle along the left-hand side and select that person from the presented list.

Voice Channels

Voice channels (designated by the speaker icon) are available hold a voice conversation.  The name of the channel indicates the use of each channel. To enter a voice channel, simply click on it.

Yes, you can hold a conversation in a voice channel while reading or participating in a text channel at the same time (as seen above).  However, voice channels also support screen sharing and live video streaming.  So to participate in what is being screen shared or live streamed, click on the voice channel again.  Use the buttons found in the voice channel control area to participate in screen share and/or a live video stream.

Should you find that a certain person’s volume is too loud or soft while participating as part of a group in a voice channel, you can adjust their individual volume.  Right click on their name listed in the channel and adjust the volume slider in the new pop-up as shown below.


Notifications are when you are notified of new activity in a selected channel(s) or on a server.  Currently our server notification default is set to notify you only when your name is mentioned in a text channel.  If you desire to monitor a certain channel more closely, you can set the notification level for that channel individually.  The same applies if you don’t want to be notified of activity in a certain channel or server.

To adjust the level of notification, right click on the name of the text channel, hover over ‘notification’, and click on the desired level of notification in the new pop-up.  To adjust the level of notification at the server level, right click on the server’s name (listed in the left panel) and perform the same operation. 

Some Etiquette and Shorthand for Online Text Chats

Online interactions have unspoken rules, or social norms, that may not be obvious to newcomers at first. If you have used text messaging, Facebook, or Twitter, much of the etiquette is the same in Discord, but we’ll go over a few base lines just in case.

  • Posting in all-caps is considered yelling. While many folks (myself included) believe that all-caps can be used to emphasize a word or two in a message, some may feel that it is used to indicate yelling. Posting an entire message in all-caps is definitely considered yelling and should not be used in discussions on discord. If you feel like yelling, then it’s a good time to back away from your computer or set your phone down and take a walk.
  • If you use more than one punctuation mark, it may indicate frustration or exasperation. Ending your sentences with ‘!!!!’ or ‘????’ is another way to indicate emotion.
    • For example: “What are you doing?” phrased this way, with a single question mark, is a polite question about what the other person happens to be doing right now.
      “What are you doing??” phrased this way, with the multiple question marks, you are indicating frustration, in the same way a parent might ask a child who was found in the middle of a room, covered in an entire bag of flour.
  • Adding a reaction to a message is just as acceptable as replying. Reactions in Discord are the same as the ‘like’ button on Facebook. Many messages don’t require a written response, and instead can just be answered with a reaction. To add a reaction to a message, hover over the message with your mouse, and then click the face with the plus sign over it to open the reaction menu. You can then scroll through the selection of reactions to choose from as show below.

There are many acronyms and shorthand phrases that are regularly used in online chat as well. Here’s a short list of ones you are likely to encounter in our Discord server, and their definitions.

  • lol – short for laugh out loud, and is typically meant to indicate something is funny or amusing
  • rofl – short for rolling on floor laughing, and is typically meant to indicate something is hilarious, to the point of belly laughing
  • kk – another way to say okay, use to indicate a polite acknowledgment of what was said.
  • iirc – short for if I recall correctly
  • idk – short for I don’t know

Additional Help?

If you need additional help, please go to the #help-desk channel listed under the SUPPORT category, and review the information found there.  Should the information not answer your question, Google it, or enter your question in the #help-desk channel.  Please allow time for a reply as the help desk is not staffed 24/7. If all else fails, email or call me.

Thank you!