2.1 rcirc commands

This is a list of commands that you may use in rcirc. It is not complete. For a complete listing, press C-h m in an rcirc buffer.

In addition to using regular Emacs key bindings, you can call them by typing them into an rcirc buffer.

For instance, instead of using the command C-c C-j to join a new channel, you may type this in an rcirc buffer, and press RET:

/join #emacs

This is why you cannot start a message with a slash. You will have to precede the command with a space, or rewrite your message in order to send it to a channel.

Many commands take parameters. IRC commands usually ignore string delimiters. Neither apostrophe nor double-quote have special meanings in IRC.

/nick "alex schroeder"

This will try to change your nick to "alex. Usually this will fail because the double quote character is not a valid character for nicks.

These commands are case insensitive.

If a command isn’t known by rcirc, it will simply be sent along to the server. There is a list of some useful commands like that in the next section.

C-c C-j

This joins a channel such as #rcirc or #emacs. On most networks, anybody can create new channels. If you want to talk with some friends, for example, all you have to do is agree on a valid channel name and join that channel. (Also /join #emacs.)

C-c C-p

This leaves the current channel. You can optionally provide a different channel name and reason for parting. When you kill a channel buffer, you automatically part the corresponding channel. (Also /part #emacs you are too weird!.)

C-c C-r

This changes your nick to some other name. Your nick must be unique across the network. Most networks don’t allow too many nick changes in quick succession, and have restrictions on the valid characters in nick names. (Also /nick alex-test)

C-c C-w

Gives you some basic information about a nick. This often includes what other channels people are on. (Also /whois fsbot.)

C-c C-q

Starts a one-to-one conversation with another person on the same network. A new buffer will be created for this conversation. It works like a channel with only two members. (Also /query fsbot.)


This sends a single message to a nick. Like with C-c C-q, a new buffer is created, where the response from the other party will show up. (Also /msg nickserv identify secret.)

C-c C-x

This disconnects from the server and parts all channels. You can optionally provide a reason for quitting. When you kill the server buffer, you automatically quit the server and part all channels. (Also /quit ZZZzzz....)


This reconnects after you have lost the connection.

If you’re chatting from a laptop, then you might be familiar with this problem: When your laptop falls asleep and wakes up later, your IRC client doesn’t realize that it has been disconnected. It takes several minutes until the client decides that the connection has in fact been lost. The simple solution is to use M-x rcirc. The problem is that this opens an additional connection, so you’ll have two copies of every channel buffer, one dead and one live.

One option therefore, is the /reconnect command.

An other approach is to set rcirc-reconnect-delay to a value greater than 0, and allow rcirc to reconnect when it detects that the connection has been closed. By default it will try to do this three times (as specified by rcirc-reconnect-attempts), before giving up.