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Mac 101: Tabbed windows in iChat


New to the Mac? Welcome back to our Mac 101 series, which explores the basics of Mac OS X, provides tips and tricks, and dives into key features of Apple's bundled tools.

As a Mac user, you've got several options for chat clients -- Adium, Fire and IRC are all worthy -- but in this post we're going to focus on Apple's iChat.

Create an account

When launched for the first time, iChat will prompt you to create an account. You've got five options, namely

  • MobileMe
  • AIM
  • Jabber
  • Google's GTalk
  • Jabber

Make your selection and enter your information. If you're new to instant messaging, simply click the "Get an iChat account." Now your account is ready to go.

Among my favorite features of some of the non-Apple chat clients: tabbed windows. This allows you to collapse all of your open chats into a single window. That way, there's no need to have two or more windows open. Here's how to enable this in iChat.

From the Preferences window, check the "Messages" tab. Next, select "Collect chats into a single window." That's it! Now, iChat will list all of your open chats in a drawer along side your chat window. To move from one to the other, just click your chat partner's name.

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