In the past we’ve mentioned Messenger Plus a few times. It’s an add-on for Windows Live Messenger (WLM) that adds all kinds of features and extras. There are millions of people who use WLM yet don’t know that Messenger Plus exists, so we thought we’d take some time today to explain the benefits of the add-on and all that it offers.
Before we dive-in, we wanted to point out that Messenger Plus! is considered Adware and that’s because when you are installing the application, it will ask you if you would like to become a part of their “Sponsor” program. By default it is NOT checked. They explain that their sponsor program is adware that helps keep Messenger Plus running. I don’t know many people who enjoy adware on their computers, so be sure you pay attention. If you do, you will have no issues.
In the past, people have asked if there are any spyware concerns with the program and there aren’t. Messenger Plus is a reputable application that has been around for a long time so there’s really nothing to worry about, other than paying attention during installation. But that’s something you should always do.
For 7 years now, Messenger Plus has been available to Windows Live Messenger users. As of mid-July, 50 million people use the add-on on a daily basis. The current version is 4.6, and it’s a free download that you can find here. Installation is quick and painless, but again, make sure you pay attention while doing it. When you launch Windows Messenger for the first time after installing Messenger Plus, you’ll be taken through the configuration process.
Now on to the benefits of using Messenger Plus!…
For those of you who enjoy a tabbed browser which seems to be the norm these days (Firefox, IE7, Opera, to name a few), you may find that you’ll enjoy a tabbed chat window. Grouping all of your chat windows will save you space in the taskbar and make it easier for you to keep track of all of your conversations. You decide where you want the tabs to be, whether it’s on the top or the side.
Skinning is another important part of Messenger Plus because you can select different skins to make the application look unique. They have a whole online database where you can browse through the options and find the one you’d like, and then import it.
To access the skins, just go the the Preferences, then the Customize tab up at the top, and then the skins tab on the side. Or you can just follow this link to the skins database. They have them divided up into different categories or you can browse by downloads, ratings, or date added.
The highest rated skin based upon downloads is Vista Ultimate. It works with Messenger 8.5 only and makes your messenger fit right in with Windows Vista as far as looks go. For Mac fans, there’s an “Apple Live Messenger” that will make your messenger look like it’s a Mac application. It too has been downloaded many times and is rated fairly high.
Quick Texts is a text replacement feature that can turn your shorthand jibberish into complete sentences:
For example, you could set it up so that anytime you typed TTYL it would automatically replace that text with “Talk to you later!.”
If you have multiple Windows Live accounts that you would like to have open at the same time in messenger, Messenger Plus will allow that to happen. It’s just a matter of going to the Preferences, then going to the “Customize!” tab. Under the “General” tab on the left, look at the “Multiple Accounts” section and check the box that says “Allow me to connect to several accounts simultaneously.”
Show Contacts on the Desktop
This is one of those features that you have to try and actually use before you appreciate it. Contacts on the Desktop allows you to select certain contacts that you would like to keep a close eye on, and then it places them on your desktop. This makes it easier for you to keep track of what they are doing – when they are online or when they are away, etc. Instead of always having to navigate to Messenger to check, you can just take a quick look at your desktop.
This is for those times when you’re on Messenger but you’re not supposed to be (e.g., work or school). With Messenger Plus, with one shortcut all of your windows instantly hide.
Scripting isn’t a feature for the inexperienced. It’s a scripting system that will allow people with programming experience to add their own features to the application. Below is the interface of what you’ll see should you decide to add your own features:
- Custom sounds
- Personalized Status
- HTML Chat logs that are searchable
- Color and formatting options
- Event viewer and logging
- Contact list clean-up (deletes duplicate contacts)
- and more…