Firstly and most importantly:

You don't need to read the whole guide

You only need to know the basics to get started. And, let's face it, like everyone else you'll probably be reading this after you've already been playing for a while anyway. If you do decide to read this first, you really only need read up to and including the Quick Start section. The other sections can be used as a reference.

About Sticker

Sticker is a desktop applet that can send and receive short text messages, also known as ticker messages, using the Elvin event notification service. Ticker messages are generally conversations between people, or news items automatically generated by news bots on the net. Sticker also makes your presence visible to other people on net via a feature called virtual presence, which allows you to virtually see and be seen by others online.

First and foremost, Sticker is designed to integrate with your desktop and be almost invisible when not in use. When a message arrives, it is displayed on a small ticker tape which appears as part of the desktop. Messages stay visible for a period of time until you delete them or they expire. The tickertape display allows you to monitor messages in the background without necessarily interrupting what you're doing. If the message is of interest, you can access it straight from the ticker, or open it in a full messages window, which displays messages in a layout which should be familiar to most email users.

Quick Start

Sticker appears as a wide area where ticker messages appear, with a green head button at the right that shows the main menu that contains all the commands for controlling Sticker. Right-clicking on the ticker area shows the ticker menu with commands for managing ticker messages. If you're running Sticker on Windows, you'll also be able to access the main menu by right clicking the yellow speech balloon icon which appears in the taskbar status area.

Tip: many windows have menus accessible by right-clicking on items inside them.

Sticker main window diagram

Important Things To Know

Sticker Cookbook

The following sections are a cookbook of tips for using Sticker, simplest first, more advanced ones last.

Ticker Messaging

  1. Click on messages to reply to them rather than creating new messages. That way others can see who you're replying to.
  2. Shift click on messages to delete them. You can rapidly delete a lot of messages by clicking very quickly, or just right-click and select Remove All.
  3. Send web links by dragging them from the browser's address bar or from the desktop onto the ticker.
  4. You can send a message directly to a person listed in the Online People window: just double-click on the person's name and a message window will open. This works in the Messages Window too.
  5. Delete distracting conversations (especially on the Chat group), by right-clicking one of the messages and selecting Remove Conversation. This will delete the messages and stop any further replies from appearing on the ticker. If you don't want to be disturbed at all for a while, select the "Do not disturb" presence status by selecting the Main Menu -> Presence Status -> Do not disturb. This will stop all messages from appearing on the ticker until you select "Online" status again (messages sent directly to you will still appear). With both of these options you can read the blocked messages in the Messages Window later on.
  6. Track conversations with multiple people by jumping into the Messages Window. Either right-click a message and choose Open Message or just middle-click. If you want to move the conversation permanently to the Messages Window, right click a message in the tree and select Remove From Ticker: new messages will now appear only in the messages window.
  7. Use the Show Unread button in the Messages Window to quickly zoom in to unread messages.
  8. Send messages to the outside world using the "World" button. Depending on your local environment, many Elvin setups only allow messages flagged this way to go outside the local network. When you reply to a "world" message, your reply is automatically marked world also.
  9. Messages from you are expired very quickly and marked as read. Messages you reply to are also treated this way, which helps keep the ticker clear of old messages.
  10. You can send messages to groups you're not subscribed to. Sticker will automatically subscribe to just the replies (if any) to your message.
  11. Various properties for a ticker group can be shown by selecting Main Menu -> Preferences -> Ticker Groups, right-clicking the group and choosing Properties.
  12. You can control how long saved messages in a particular group stay in the Messages Window. In the group properties window (see previous tip) select Group -> Message lifetime.
  13. Find out who is subscribed to a ticker group from the "Subscribers" section in its property window (see previous tip). The people subscribed to each group are also shown in the Messages Window.
  14. Control how ticker messages are handled using group actions. You can assign special actions on a per-group basis from the Actions section of a group's property window. For example, you might like to change message expiry time or move the messages to a different scroller.

    Group actions

  15. Use multiple scrollers to organise messages. For example, you might want to create a scroller for messages to a few important groups:
    • Select Main Menu -> Preferences -> Ticker Scrollers -> Create Scroller.
    • Customize the scroller and/or change its position using the arrow buttons.
    • Create group actions to put messages from your important groups on the new scroller (see previous tip). You could also use a Message Rule to do this (see next tip).
  16. Control how messages are handled using message rules. Message rules are like group actions, except they're more flexible in how they select messages. For example, to have your computer beep when a message from a given person arrives while you're listed as "Online":
    • Select Main Menu -> Preferences -> Message Rules.
    • Select Create Rule.
    • Select Match message text in the dialog that pops up and hit OK.
    • Click on the Message text contains <text> field to edit it.
    • Enter the person's name in the Match Text dialog and click OK.
    • Select Add Filter and choose Match your virtual presence status.
    • Click the Beep checkbox.

      Example message rule

  17. Scan all ticker groups (eavesdrop!) using Advanced Groups. Advanced Groups let you subscribe to any message on any group that matches some given criteria. For example, to look for all messages with your name in them:
    • Create an Advanced Group by selecting Main Menu -> Preferences -> Ticker Groups -> Propeller Head
    • Choose Add Filter -> Match message text.
    • Click on the Message text contains <text> field to edit it.
    • Enter your name in the Match Text dialog and click OK.
    • If you want to see the rest of the conversation following on from matched messages, select the Subscribe to replies checkbox.
    • You can optionally give the group a name by selecting the Group section of the dialog.

    Because Advanced Groups can receive messages from any actual group, you might like to mark messages received by this group with a custom icon. In the same dialog select Actions -> Change appearance.

  18. Control how attachments are opened. This is especially useful if you're running Sticker on Unix or MacOS X, where Sticker's default attachment handling can be unreliable. You can have Sticker pass attachment URL's to a custom command by selecting Main Menu -> Ticker Messages and entering the command in the Open attachments using area. A common command to use on Unix is:

    mozilla -raise -remote "openURL(%s,new-window)":netscape -raise -remote "openURL(%s,new-window)":lynx

  19. Use advanced Elvin connection settings. You can use advanced Elvin features like scopes and HTTP tunnelling in the Main Menu -> Preferences -> Elvin Service panel. The "Elvin server" field can contain any number of Elvin URL's and scopes, separated by spaces. Sticker will try each of these scopes and URL's in order until it makes a successful connection. You can configure HTTP tunnelling by clicking the Advanced... button (you'll also need to use an Elvin URL like elvin:/http,none,xdr/elvin:80 and ensure the target Elvin service is set up to accept this sort of connection).

Virtual Presence

  1. See who else is online by selecting Main Menu -> People Online.
  2. See more information about someone in the Online People window by right-clicking on their name and selecting Properties.
  3. Let people know you're away or do not wish to be disturbed by changing your presence status. You can change your status by selecting from the options in Main Menu -> Presence Status. If you choose the "Do not disturb" status, this will also stop messages appearing on the ticker. You can also create a new status by selecting Other.... For example you could set your status to "Away until 3pm".

    Custom status window

  4. Publish extra information about yourself with custom presence properties. You can put information like your room number or web page in the list shown by selecting Main Menu -> Preferences -> Online Identity and choosing Add Field. Other people will see this information in the "Custom" tab in the properties display for you.
  5. Reduce the number of people who you see online by moving to a custom presence group. You see all people who are in one or more of your groups, so you and the people local to you may wish to move to a more restrictive group. Select Preferences -> Virtual Presence to see your groups and add/remove new ones. You can also choose to add individual people ("buddies") to the list.

Secure Messages

  1. Send messages that no one else can intercept using secure messaging. Ticker messages can have virtual "keys" attached to them such that only people holding the same key can receive them. The simplest way to send secure messages amongst a group of people is for you to create a "private" key and give it to the others via a trusted channel (eg email or on a pen drive). Everyone then attaches the key to a group which is used for secure messaging.


    • Create a new private key by selecting Main Menu -> Preferences -> Security Keys -> Create Key. Enter a descriptive name for the key, which can just be the name of the group you're going to secure (eg "Private Chat") and press OK.
    • Export the key to a file by selecting Export and entering a file name in the "File" field (or use the "..." button). For example, save the key to a file called "Private Key.key" on your desktop.
    • Send the key file via email to the people who you want to communicate with.
    • The people you sent the key to save it on their desktop and then import it from the same "Security Keys" area that you created the key in by selecting Import and choosing the key file on the desktop.

    Everyone follows the next steps:

    • Create a new ticker group called "Private Chat" using Main Menu -> Preferences -> Ticker Groups -> New Chat.
    • Attach the key to the group by right-clicking it and selecting Properties -> Security. Select the "Private Chat" key in the right list and add it to the group using the << button.

      Group Security window

    • Test the group by sending a new message with the Secure button pressed (if it's disabled, it means you haven't successfully set the key for the group). Secure messages have a padlock icon attached to them on the ticker.

Further Information

Please see the Sticker pages at or contact the author at for more information.

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