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IRC Help Page

Thanks to Adrian Cable and the Help files from his Visual IRC '97 Chat Client. To often I had to look up commands and then rummage around until I found the correct one which at times was frustrating. This page is supplied to you for easy reference of IRC commands. Also if you belong to the Mindspring ISP come join us in the Cooler. You will know how to get there if you are and if not check out Anna's page for details. Check the News Groups for details of how to find where to go.

The IRC Scrapyard

Check out the IRC Scrapyard for additional help!

Standard IRC Commands

This section details the standard set of IRC commands, which appear in virtually every IRC client. More advanced commands (especially those pertaining only to ViRC '97) are detailed in a further section.

Notes: parameters that are compulsory are given like this: parameter. Optional parameters are given like this: [parameter]. Remember, don't type the [ ]'s! This is just notation!! Also note that, with some commands, an optional [channel] parameter can be supplied (see below). If channel is omitted, the command works on the channel window it's typed in. Otherwise, it is forced to work on the channel you specify, regardless of the window it's typed in.

  1. JOIN command
    Usage: /join channel
    Joins channel, creating a new channel window. If channel doesn't already exist, it will be created for you, and you will be made operator. Examples:
    /join #virc
    /join #quake
  2. PART command
    Usage: /part [channel]
    Leaves channel, closing the channel window. You must be on channel before leaving it!! Examples:
    /part #virc
  3. ME command
    Usage: /me [channel] text
    Produces an action. The following will appear in the channel window:
    * YourNick text
    If /me is used in a query window, a private action is sent to the person you are querying.
  4. DESC command Usage: /desc nick text
    Produces an action privately to nick. Same as /me, only sends the action privately rather than over a channel.
  5. QUIT command
    Usage: /quit [reason]
    Signs off IRC cleanly, giving reason as your signoff reason. If reason is not specified, a default signoff reason (Leaving) will be used. Examples:
    /quit Back in 1 hour after The X-Files!!
  6. TOPIC command
    Usage: /topic channel text
    Changes the topic on channel to text. The topic may be up to about 100 characters long. If the channel's mode is +t, you need to be a channel operator to use this command.
  7. MSG command
    Usage: /msg nick text
    Sends text as a private message to nick. No-one else will be able to see the message except nick.
  8. NOTICE command
    Usage: /notice nick|channel text
    Sends a notice to nick or channel. Notices are identical to private messages, only they may be handled differently by certain clients (e.g. displayed in a different manner). You would not normally have to use this command.
  9. CTCP command
    Usage: /ctcp nick text
    Sends text to nick by CTCP. CTCP is used to query client-specific information. For example, to find out what IRC client abc123 is using:
    /ctcp abc123 version
    To query the current time where abc123 lives:
    /ctcp abc123 time
  10. QUERY command
    Usage: /query nick
    Starts a private message (query) session with nick. Any text you enter in the window is automatically sent to nick in the form of /msg's, and any private messages received from nick will be displayed in the window. This saves typing /msg nick every time you want to send nick a private message during a conversation.
  11. AWAY command
    Usage: /away [reason]
    Sets you away/here. If reason is specified, you will be marked as away with reason, which will be displayed to any users who attempt to contact you while you are away. If reason is not given, you will be set as back.
  12. SERVER command
    Usage: /server server[:port]
    Changes your IRC server to server. You may specify port if you want to connect to a port other than the default 6667. You may specify the port either in the standard way (server:port) or in the mIRC-style way (server port).
  13. WHOIS command
    Usage: /whois nick
    Queries the server for user information on nick. nick's email address, channels, gecos (real name/URL), away status, IRCop status, and possibly idle time information are returned in a dedicated WHOIS window.
  14. WHOWAS command
    Usage: /whowas nick
    Queries user information for nick if they have just left IRC. Most IRC servers only keep WHOWAS information for a few seconds after the user leaves.
  15. UMODE command
    Usage: /umode [+|-][i][s][w]
    Changes your usermode. IRC servers support 3 usermodes which you can toggle, i , s, and w. The meanings of these usermodes are as follows:
    +i - you're invisible to WHO/WHOIS wildcard queries (use if you want privacy!!).
    +s - receive notifications of server-specific events, for example, when servers split or rejoin. You'll probably want to leave this off or your screen will fill up with useless junk.
    +w - receive messages directed at IRC operators.
  16. IGNORE command
    Usage: /ignore nick|mask [[[+|-][all]]|[+|-]ctcp [+|-]public [+|-]msg]
    This complex command allows you to selectively ignore different types of input from a user. It is usually considered preferable to use the IGNORE command to deal with an annoying user, rather than using channel operator commands or IRC operator commands to dispose of them, unless they are posing a threat to the channel or to the server.
    Basically, IGNORE takes either the nickname of the user or their mask (for example, *!*megalith@* as the first parameter. Any addition parameters tell ViRC '97 what it should ignore or unignore. Examples:
    /ignore greygoon - ignores anything received from greygoon
    /ignore greygoon all - same as above
    /ignore greygoon +all - same as above
    /ignore RayGamma msg - ignores all private messages from RayGamma
    /ignore *!*good_old_bill@* -public - stops ignoring channel messages from that mask
    /ignore *!*@* ctcp - ignores CTCPs from everybody!! Aaaiee!!
    /ignore MeGALiTH - - unignores everything from MeGALiTH

Channel Ops Commands

You may use these commands only if you are an op on the channel.

  1. MODE command
    Usage: /mode [channel] [+|-]mode [[+|-]mode ...]
    Changes the mode on channel to mode. The following modes are supported:
    +o nick - ops nick
    +v nick - gives nick voice (allow nick to speak on a moderated channel)
    +b mask - bans mask from joining the channel
    +s - makes channel secret (it will not show up in channel listings, nor will it show up in people's WHOIS listings).
    +m - makes channel moderated (only ops and users with +v may speak)
    +n - disallow channel messages from people not in channel
    +i - invite-only - people may only join channel on invitation.
    +l number - channel limit - only a maximum of number people may be present in the channel at any one time.
    +k password - sets the channel key to password. People can only join the channel if they know password.
    +t - only ops may set the channel topic.
    Replacing + with - unsets the respective mode.
    Don't use this command unless you know what you're doing! Misuse of MODE man lead to making the channel unjoinable.
  2. KICK command
    Usage: /kick [channel] nick [reason]
    Kicks (forcibly removes) nick from channel with reason. You may use the reason parameter when kicking someone to give them an idea as to why they are being kicked.
  3. BAN command
    Usage: /ban [channel] nick
    Bans nick from joining channel. A ban mask is generated in the form *!*user@*host for nick and is then set.
  4. BK command
    Usage: /bk [channel] nick [reason]
    Kickbans nick from channel with reason. Equivalent to a BAN followed by a KICK.
  5. FK command
    Usage: /fk [channel] mask [reason]
    Filterkicks mask from channel with reason. Anyone on the channel whose mask matches mask will be kicked. For example, to kick everyone off #quake who comes from the UK, you could use:
    /fk #quake *!*@*uk FBK command
    Usage: /fbk [channel] mask [reason]
    Filterbankicks mask from channel with reason. mask is banned, and every user whose mask matches mask is then kicked. Equivalent to a BAN followed by an FK.

  6. WALL command
    Usage: /wall [channel] text
    Sends text to all channel operators on channel in the form of a NOTICE. Note that you do not have to be a channel operator yourself to use this command (although walling from non-ops is always frowned upon), although you do need to be an op to see other people's walls.

DCC Commands

The DCC (direct client connection) protocol allows you to initiate a private, lag-free chat or file transfer with someone, without going through IRC (hence the word direct ).

Current supported DCC types are chat, send, and whiteboard. Current supported TDCC types, specific to V97, are send, voice, and video.

  1. DCC CHAT command
    Usage: /dcc chat nick
    Initiates a direct, secure chat session with nick. 0.63 and above feature a lag-indication feature in DCC Chats. Simply type . (a period) on a line of its own in the chat window, and, as soon as the remote end receives it, PONG!! will be sent back. That way, you can see whether your DCC Chat connections are lagged or not.
  2. DCC SEND command
    Usage: /dcc send nick [file]
    Sends file to nick. If file is omitted, you will be prompted to select one or more files to send. If file already exists on the remote end's machine, you will be asked if you wish to resume an interrupted transfer. This will only work if the remote end's IRC client supports the resume protocol (currently, ViRC '96/'97, 16-bit ViRC, IaIRC, mIRC, and PIRCH support the resume protocol, but not many versions of ircII for UNIX). The DCC transfer window is now composed of a number of toolbars, which may be pulled out or rearranged to change the format of the window to whatever you want. You can turn toolbars on and off, and save the toolbar configuration, by clicking on the DCC transfer window's system menu (that's the icon in the top-left hand corner of the window). In addition, you can turn on and off the great DCC performance graph from here.
  3. DCC WHITEBOARD command
    Usage: /dcc whiteboard nick
    Initiates a DCC Chat with Whiteboard connection with nick. When connected, both you and the other user can draw pictures and text on a single, shared drawing surface, and can also converse in a regular DCC Chat window. The DCC Whiteboard looks and functions like the Microsoft Paint application that's included with Windows 95 and NT, and you should be immediately familiar with what you can do. Currently, only ViRC '97, 16-bit ViRC, and IaIRC support whiteboard connections.
  4. TDCC SEND command
    Usage: /tdcc send nick [file]
    Sends file to nick, using the TDCC protocol. TDCC file transfers may be up to 3 times faster than DCC, however, nick must be using either ViRC, IaIRC, or a new version of PIRCH to receive files by TDCC. If file is omitted, you will be prompted to select one or more files to send. If file already exists on the remote end's machine, you will be asked if you wish to resume an interrupted transfer. This will only work if the remote end's IRC client supports the TDCC resume protocol (currently, ViRC '97, 16-bit ViRC, and new versions of PIRCH support the TDCC resume protocol, but no versions of ircII for UNIX currently do).
  5. TDCC VOICE command
    Usage: /tdcc voice nick
    Initiates a real-time voice conversation with nick using the TDCC protocol. Once the voice window has opened and connected, you may hold down the Push to talk button to speak to the other user. Release the button when you have finished talking. Alternatively, if you wish to speak for an extended period of time, you may click the Lock button to start talking, and you may click it again to finish talking. Currently, only ViRC '96/'97 support TDCC Voice connections.
    If you have a half-duplex sound card and driver, you cannot speak and receive audio at the same time - audio reception will cut out when you are speaking. If, however, you have a full-duplex sound card and driver, both of you may speak and listen to the other user at the same time.
  6. TDCC VIDEO command
    Usage: /tdcc video nick
    Initiates a video conferencing session with nick using the TDCC protocol. Once nick has accepted the connection, you will be able to video conference in a window. If you do not have a video capture card and camera, but nick does, your Local pane, and nick's Remote pane, will remain blank, and vice versa. At the moment, video conferencing only works in black-and-white. If you, or the other user, have a colour camera, their video will appear in black-and-white only. This will be changed in a future release. Currently, only ViRC '96/'97 support TDCC Video connections.

Advanced Controls

Listed here are some more advanced commands, many (but not all) of which are duplicates of functions already available on the toolbars and menus. However, they may be useful if you're writing a script that needs to make use of these functions.

  1. MCI command
    Usage: /mci command
    Executes the MCI command command. MCI commands are used for playing or recording audio. For example, to play a sound file, you could use:
    /mci play \windows\tada.wav
    To record a sound, you could use:
    /mci record test1.wav
    And to stop recording (or playing) test1.wav:
    /mci stop test1.wav
    In reality, you'll find that you only use /mci play to any great degree.
  2. DNS command
    Usage: /dns hostname Performs a DNS lookup on hostname and displays the IP address it resolves to in the server notices window.
  3. EXEC command
    Usage: /exec command
    Executes command. command can be a Windows or DOS program. You may also specify parameters to pass to the program if you wish. After the program has been started, it will be given the focus. V97 will not wait until program execution is complete before returning control - control will be returned immediately after starting the application.
  4. USERADD command
    Usage: /useradd mask userlevel banlevel protlevel
    Adds mask to your userlist with the specified userlevel, banlevel and protlevel. ViRC '97's default events library attaches the following meaning to the levels:
    A userlevel of 1 or higher auto-ops the user when he/she joins a channel.
    A banlevel of 1 or higher auto-bankicks the user when he/she joins a channel.
    A protlevel of 1 or higher protects the user from being banned by someone else.
    Your scripts may attach their own meaning to any higher levels. Specifying a userlevel, banlevel or protlevel of -1 will keep the level at its current value. For example, to give everyone a protlevel of 1, but keeping the other levels the same, you could use the following command line:
    /useradd *!*@* -1 -1 1
  5. CLEAR command
    Usage: /clear
    Clears the output buffer of the window it's entered in. You may find this useful if you wish to remove all the text from a server or channel window.
  6. RLM, RLN and RLP commands
    Usage: /rlm
    Redirects the last private message you have received to the channel.
    Usage: /rln
    Redirects the last notice you have received to the channel.
    Usage: /rlp
    Redirects the last CTCP you have received to the channel.
  7. WLM, WLN and WLP commands
    Usage: /wlm
    WALLs the last private message you have received to the channel.
    Usage: /wln
    WALLs the last notice you have received to the channel.
    Usage: /wlp
    WALLs the last CTCP you have received to the channel.
  8. KLM, KLN and KLP commands
    Usage: /klm
    Kicks user with the last private message you have received as the kick reason.
    Usage: /kln
    Kicks user with the last notice you have received as the kick reason.
    Usage: /wlp
    Kicks user with the last CTCP you have received as the kick reason.
  9. SOUND command
    Usage: /sound nick|channel soundfile
    This ridiculous command has been in mIRC for ages, and I've put a compatible version in V97 due to demand ... but I have no idea what use it is anyway. =] Anyway, /sound sends text along with soundfile's name to nick or channel. soundfile must exist on both the local and the remote machines for this to work. If V97 receives a SOUND request, V97 will look for soundfile in its own directory only.
  10. SPEAK command
    Usage: /speak text
    Speaks text through the Monologue speech synthesizer. Monologue is included with most Soundblaster cards and many compatibles. Monologue must be loaded for this to work (although this will change in a future version which will have built-in Monologue speech synthesis - more on this soon).
  11. TITLE command
    Usage: /title text
    Adds text to the title bar. In fact, /title merely sets the value of the $customtext variable and then reprocesses the title bar's format string, as defined in the Default tab of Client Setup.
  12. BACKGROUND command
    Usage: /background |filename
    Changes the bitmap that's tiled over the main window's background to filename (which must be a BMP file). If is specified as a parameter, the window's background image is removed (replaced with the standard grey background).
  13. EXIT command
    Usage: /exit
    Immediately quits Visiual 97.
    Usage: /newserverwindow
    Creates, and sets focus to, a new server window. Equivalent to pressing the server window button on the main toolbar.

Contact Information

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Copyright 1996-98 Richard Mask
This page was last updated on 11/26/00.