Chat and Messages

Using Facebook messages and Facebook chat is increasingly common in today's world. Learn how to use these features here.


Messages work just like chats, but they allow you to send private messages to friends who are offline—that is, friends who aren't currently signed in to Facebook. In this sense, messages are similar to a traditional email service.

To send a message:

  1. Locate and select the Messages icon at the top of the screen, then select New Message.
    starting a new message
  2. A message window will appear. Type the name of the person you want to message, and a list of suggested friends will appear as you type. You can click a suggestion to add a friend to the message.
    choosing a person to send the message to
  3. Type your message. When you're done, press Enter to send it.
    sending a private message

You can also send messages to your friends directly from their Timelines. Simply click the Message button on a friend's Timeline to start a new message.

screenshot of Facebook

The inbox

The inbox is where you'll read all of your private communication on Facebook, including your chat conversation history. Whenever you receive a new message or chat, it will appear in your inbox. From here, it's easy to read, manage, and delete your messages and chats.

To access your inbox, click the Messages icon, then select See All. The inbox will appear.

opening the Inbox

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using the inbox.

edit hotspotsthe facebook messages inbox

The Messenger app

If you're using a mobile device, you won't be able to send or receive messages within the Facebook app. Instead, you'll need to download and install the Facebook Messenger app. Sending and receiving messages in this app works mostly the same way as it does on the desktop: You can use it for instant messaging and for sending messages to friends who are offline.

the messenger app for android