Compose and reply

Most messages in Zulip are written in the compose box.

There are two main parts to the compose box.

  • Recipient bar: The stream and topic for stream messages, or the list of users for private messages.

  • Content area: The text of the message to be sent.

Unlike many chat apps, the compose box is closed by default in Zulip. This guide explains how to open the compose box to start writing a message.

Open the compose box (mouse)

Click on any message to reply to its topic thread or PM thread.

To start a new PM thread, click New private message at the bottom of the screen.

To start a new topic in a stream, navigate to the stream, and click New topic at the bottom of the screen. You can also click New topic from any view and manually fill the stream and topic.

Open the compose box (keyboard)

Compose and reply is incredibly fast with a few keyboard shortcuts.

  • Reply: r or Enter

  • New private message: x

  • New topic: c

All replies are replying to the message under the blue box. You can move the blue box around using the arrow keys, j, or k.

Address a user when you can't type their name

Names in Zulip can be in any language. For distributed teams, this can mean someone's name can have letters that don't exist on your keyboard. Zulip provides a number of workarounds.

Type a substring

Zulip's typeaheads match any substring of a name. So if a user writes their name as मेरा नाम (my name), you can start typing रा ... or am ... in the recipient bar to match.

Start a PM with a user

Click on a user's avatar, an @-mention, or on the down chevron () to the right of their name in the right sidebar. Click Send private message.

Keyboard shortcut: >

Reply mentioning user

Click on a user's avatar, an @-mention, or on the down chevron () to the right of their name in the right sidebar. Click Reply mentioning user.

Keyboard shortcut: @

Reply to author

R starts a PM with the author of a message. This feature is currently only available via the keyboard.

Quote and reply

You can quote a previous message in your reply.

  1. Hover over a message to reveal three icons on the right.

  2. Click the down chevron ().

  3. Click Quote and reply.

Keyboard shortcut: >