What is Discord?

Discord is a multi-platform messaging and digital distribution application. Despite supporting direct two-way messaging through text and audio/video, Discord is most famous for its servers, which can host multiple people at once and allow the group to communicate and organize with all its members at once. It was initially designed to be used by casual groups of friends and communities to organize and streamlining video game sessions, but has seen a large uptick in usage over time, most recently as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why use Discord?

Discord is great for organizing large groups of people, or holding online events. It’s easy to get started and with the right tools can be extraordinarily efficient. It’s also becoming one of the most popular social platforms, which means that there is a high likelihood that people already have Discord accounts.

How to sign up for Discord?

Discord signup begins on Discord.com. Use the button on the top right hand corner to register for an account, and you’re good to go!

How to use Discord?

Discord’s main screen can be a bit intimidating for new users. Let’s take this step by step.

Pictured above is the first thing you will see upon installing Discord for the first time. Let’s break down what you’re looking at piece by piece. Right now you’re not looking at any servers, so instead of a list of channels and content, you can see your list of Direct Messages and your Friends List.

Here is your friends list. You can select the speech box to start a text conversation, or click on the dots next to it to open a dropdown menu to start a voice call with them, start a video call, or remove the person from your friends list.

How to stream on Discord?

Streaming on Discord is easily done through the app’s Screen-sharing function. Simply join an audio channel by clicking on it, and you will see two buttons appear above your profile in the bottom left corner of the screen. These buttons are marked ‘Video’ and ‘Screen’. 

Clicking ‘Screen’ allows you to stream your computer screen to the other people in the call, while clicking ‘Video’ starts a two-way video call much like Skype, WhatsApp, or Zoom.

How to use a Discord Server?

At the bottom of your list of servers, located along the left side of the window, you will see two circles, one with a plus sign and one with a compass symbol. 

Click on the Plus sign and a popup menu will appear. From here, you can either create a server from one of several pre-made templates or make one from scratch. 

Managing your Discord server.

Once you have created your server, there are many ways you can modify and customize it to your preferences and purposes. Text channels and voice channels are separated into separate categories, which can also be split into multiple categories at your choosing. Mousing over a channel will prompt the appearance of two symbols, for inviting other users into the channel (and consequently the server at large), and for editing the channel’s functions and restrictions. 

For text channels, the settings are divided into four subcategories: ‘Overview’, ‘Permissions’, ‘Invites’, and ‘Integrations’.

Overview’ contains the most basic settings for the server: you can change the name of the channel and set a short ‘topic’ description. You can set a ‘slowmode’ (which prevents individual users from posting multiple messages for a configurable amount of time), and mark the channel as “NSFW” (Not Safe For Work). Channels should be marked as NSFW if they contain or allow graphic descriptions and/or images of violence/gore, pornographic content, or pro-union rhetoric.

In ‘Permissions’, you can configure who can do what within the channel, up to and including who can even see the channel in the first place. This can be easily done by marking the channel as ‘private’ so that only select users can view and access the channel, filtering by roles, individual members, or both. More advanced options exist, and a separate article will be explaining those at a later date.

‘Invites’ and ‘Integrations’ are more esoteric channels, and likely won’t apply to the average user: ‘Invites’ simply lists all the active invite links into the server that have been sent from this channel, and allows you to rescind these invites and send new ones at your discretion. ‘Integrations‘ let you manage your ‘webhooks’ and any other channels, either from your server or another server, that you are following. Both of these concepts are more advanced than this guide is able to address, and will be covered in their own guides at a later date at time of writing.

How to delete a Discord Server

If you aren’t happy with your server, or the community that it has collected, then you can delete the server at any time. By clicking on your server’s name, found in the top-left corner of the screen but to the right of the list of your total servers, a drop-down menu will appear with several options for configuring your server.

Click on ‘Server Settings’ to open a new menu with an expanded list of options. At the bottom of this list, in red letters, are the words ‘Delete Server’. Discord will ask for confirmation for this decision, as it cannot be undone, and your server will be deleted forever.

How to bold on Discord?

When writing messages in Discord chat, there are a lot of techniques you can use to spice up your text. Below is a quick guide to these techniques, and a detailed breakdown of how to use them:

As you can see, the special text formatting uses asterisks (*), tildes (~), underscores (_), apostrophes (‘) and backslashes (\) to alter text displayed. For example: Typing **Hello World!** will result in an output of Hello World!. Typing _*Hello World*_ will output Hello World and ect.

How to log out of Discord?

In order to log out of Discord, click on the cog wheel on your username banner, next to the microphone and headphones icons.

You can find it in the bottom-left corner of your screen. Then you’ll see a list of options for your account, the app itself, and how Discord interacts with your other applications. At the bottom of this list, however, are the words ‘Log Out’, in bright red letters. Just click on it and confirm you want to log out, and you will be logged out.

You may have to scroll down a bit to see it.

And there you have it! Now you’re ready to start using Discord. With the rise of digital events sure to continue even after the pandemic, now is the time to get acquainted with the networking tools of the future. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How do you ban people from your servers?
    • If you wish to remove someone from your server, simply right click on their icon in the list of server occupants, located on the right side of your screen. A drop-down menu will appear, at the bottom of which are the buttons to kick and ban the person from your server.
  • How do you unban people from your servers?
    • You will need to remove their ‘ban’ status before you can reinvite them. Open Server Settings (Like you would when deleting your server) and right above the option to delete the server is the list of bans your server has accrued. From there, you can revoke their ban, upon which they can be reinvited at your leisure.


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