Discord is best known as a chatting platform for gamers, but you can use it to keep in touch with friends or communicate with colleagues in a more public forum. It’s a powerful software that covers text, audio, and video, and is available for free on Windows, macOS, the web, Android, and iOS/iPadOS.
We’re going to assume you already know how Discord works, but if you’re just getting started, check out our introduction to the platform.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll want to move on to some of the more advanced features and tools Discord has to offer—from making your messages stand out, to scheduling events.
1. Set up a voice channel
While your primary dealings with Discord might be the Slack-like text channels and the Zoom-like video calls, don’t neglect the option to create voice channels. You can use these to talk with other users no matter where in the world they are.
New servers on Discord have one voice channel linked to it by default, which you’ll find in the navigation pane on the left of the interface. To create a new one, click the + (plus) button next to the voice channels heading, choose Voice Channel as the channel type, and give it a name.
Before you click Create Channel, you have the option to make the channel private, which means only invited people from the server will be able to see it. You can specify the users you want to give access to on the next dialog.
2. Customize keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts can make a big difference when it comes to making your way around the Discord interface and its various functions. These key combos will, for example, help you mark everything in a channel as read or pin a message to the top of the chat window.
To see the keyboard shortcuts you can take advantage of on the web and in the desktop app, click the cog icon next to your name (bottom left), then choose Keybinds. Scroll through the list to see what’s available. If you’re on the Windows and macOS apps, you can also add custom shortcuts of your own, though this is not an option if you use Discord’s web version.
From the Keybinds screen, click Add a Keybind. You’ll then be able to choose an action—maybe toggling the screen share function—and record a custom keyboard shortcut that triggers the action inside Discord.
3. Schedule events for the future
Discord events are a great way to get everyone online at the same time to discuss whatever the hot topic of the day is, call a family meeting, or throw around some ideas with the people you work with. All the invited attendees will get a notification about a time and a (virtual) place to meet.
To create a scheduled event on your own server, you need to use the desktop apps or the web interface. Click on the server name (top left), then choose Create Event. You’ll then be able to enter details such as the event name, the date and time, and which Discord channel is hosting it.
You can also give your attendees a better idea of what to expect by uploading a cover image, if you like. When you send the invites to your events, the recipients will be able to mark themselves as interested. You still need to start the event manually yourself though, which you can do by clicking its entry under the Events heading on the navigation pane.
4. Organize channels with threads
The option to create new threads from a text channel is one of the newer features added to Discord in recent months, and it can be really helpful when conversations keep going off on tangents.
Threads are nested conversations forking out from a message posted to a channel. If you hover over a message you’ll see a Create Thread icon appear (it looks like a speech bubble), which you can click to start a thread. On mobile, press and hold on a message to find the Create Thread option.
These threads don’t show up in the main channel, which reduces clutter, but anyone who’s interested in them can click or tap to view them and add new messages. You can organize your threads by giving them names and archiving them after a certain period of inactivity.
5. Connect to other accounts
One of the many great things about Discord is the way you can link up other social media and gaming accounts. This way, anyone on the platform can see what you’re up to elsewhere.
To see the available connections, on the desktop app click the cog icon next to your avatar (bottom left) and then Connections. On mobile, tap your avatar (bottom right) and then Connections. Click the other account you want to hook up, then follow the instructions for logging in and making the link.
When you add connections sometimes you’ll get the option to use them in your Discord status. This way, you can let everyone know what you’re listening to on Spotify, for example, or which games you’re currently playing on a PlayStation or Xbox console.
6. Take control of your notifications
The more Discord servers and channels you sign up for, the busier you’ll find the app in terms of the notifications you get. This is why it’s important to make sure you’re only getting alerts for messages and events that you actually need to know about.
Click the cog icon next to your avatar in the bottom left corner (desktop) or in the bottom right corner (mobile), then choose Notifications. From here you can control which app events (like the arrival of new users or incoming messages) trigger notifications and which don’t.
Individual servers have their own notification settings, too. On the desktop, click the server name (top left), then Notification Settings. On mobile, open the server navigation pane then tap the three dots (top right) and tap Notifications. Here you can choose whether you get alerts for mentions, for example, or whether you only get notifications for the channel on the desktop app.
7. Use Markdown for formatting
Markdown is a well-established way of adding formatting through symbols. When you use this method, putting something between asterisks (**like this**) will turn the text bold. You can use Markdown in your Discord messages in both the desktop and mobile apps.
Adding some formatting can really make your messages stand out, help convey the right tone, and getting your point across. You can also use these codes to create a block quote effect and embed links into your messages.
If you’re posting sensitive information that you don’t want people to see without warning, you can apply a spoiler tag with Markdown. This way, users have to specifically click on the text to see it. For a list of the codes you can use, see the Discord support page on Markdown.