Search Help

Messenger in Yahoo Mail

Your Yahoo Mail's Messenger feature makes it easy to chat with others while reading and writing emails.

Get started by watching our help video, then click a topic below to learn more.


Sending an instant message (IM) is a fast and easy way to communicate with your online contacts. 

Accessing Messenger

Click the Messenger icon Graphic of Messenger icon. in the Left Navigation column (all of the icons stay there no matter what you're doing in Yahoo Mail).

Messenger opens in a window that floats over your Yahoo Mail page.

  Important: If you don't see the Messenger icon Graphic of Messenger icon. at the top left, you're in Yahoo Basic Mail, which doesn't support Messenger. See our help article about switching to full-featured mode to fix this.

Once you've opened up Messenger, you can change your status, send and receive instant messages, and more.

Signing in and changing your availability status

To sign in, change your status from "Offline."

  1. Click the Status drop-down menu.
  2. Select an availability status:
    • Available Available - You're online and ready to chat.
    • Busy Busy - You're online, but don't want to be contacted.
    • Unavailable Invisible - Be stealthy and appear offline, even though you're not.
    • Custom Status - Use a custom message to show you're available.
    • Sign Out of Messenger - Go offline.

Sending instant messages

Once online, browse your list of online contacts or enter a new Messenger ID or email address to chat with someone.

  1. Click on a contact's name.
    - A tab appears at the bottom of Messenger.
  2. Compose your message and press Enter.
    - Your message will appear in the window.

  Did you know? You can add emoticons Messenger Insert emoticons icon or change the font styling Change font style icon of your text by clicking the appropriate icon. 

To send a message to another contact, click the Messenger icon Graphic of Messenger icon. in the bottom left corner of Messenger and repeat the steps above.

Receiving instant messages

Click the Messenger icon Graphic of Messenger icon. to open it. You'll see the number of new messages for a contact on their tab at the bottom.

  • Click the contact's tab to display the new chat message(s).
  • If the sender isn't on your contacts list, just click Add to Contacts to add them.


Customize your Messenger experience.

Messenger Settings

Make Messenger your own!

Click your status in Messenger's drop-down menu | select Messenger Settings to access the following:

  • Sign Out - Set your preference for where you're signed out of Messenger.
  • Sound Alerts - Choose if a sound plays when you get a new IM.
  • Visible Contacts - Choose where you only see Yahoo Messenger contacts.
  • Block Users - Block contacts from sending you IMs.
  • Conversation History - Decide if you want to keep a record of your IMs.
  • SMS Message Home Country - Select the country you're sending text messages within Messenger from.

  Good to know: You can also access your Messenger options from Yahoo Mail settings. Mouse over the Settings menu icon Gear Icon | select Settings. Click Messenger to access your settings.

Conversation History

Click your status in Messenger's drop-down menu | select Conversation History to view your history.

Click Refine in the top right corner of your the search results to filter your conversation history by date, sender, and more.

Moving or closing Messenger

Once opened, Messenger floats on top of your Yahoo Mail and can't be minimized. However, you can close, move, and resize Messenger's window if it's in the way.

  • Close it - Click the X in Messenger's top right corner.
  • Move it - Mouse over the space to the right of your availability status.
    - Your cursor will change to a four-sided arrow. Click your mouse and drag the window where you'd like it.
  • Resize it - Mouse over the bottom right corner of the window.
    - Your cursor becomes a two-sided arrow. Click and move your mouse to resize the window.


Stay in touch with only the people you want to.

Blocking others from sending you instant messages

Block individuals, or everyone not in your contacts list, from sending you IMs.

Preemptive blocking

  1. Click your status in Messenger's drop-down menu | select Messenger Settings.
  2. Select a blocking option:
    • Block all users not in my Contact List - Only receive IMs from your contacts.
    • Block users in the Block list below - Block specific contacts.

Block all users not in my Contact List

You won't be able to send or receive messages with anyone that's not in your Yahoo Contacts list.

Block users in the Block list below

  • Selecting this option allows you to unblock users by selecting an ID in the block list and clicking Remove.
  • Block someone from sending you IMs immediately by clicking Add below the "Block" list.
    - Enter the ID you want to block, select the ID type from the drop-down menu, and click OK.

Invisibility mode

Use the Invisible availability status to stay hidden, but see and chat with the contacts you want.

  • When you're invisible, you'll appear "Offline" to everyone.
  • You can still send and receive messages from online contacts. 


Thank you! Your feedback has successfully been submitted.

Please tell us why you didn't find this helpful.

Send Feedback