Elettra.chat - realtime rich communication

Beyond email and simple chats

Email is a very powerful tool, but it has limitations too.
First, it's an asynchronous communication tool. You may need to instantly chat (like with Telegram, Whatsapp etc.) with colleagues on a project when people cannot work in the same physical space. Mixing various topics with different people may create big confusion. That's why instant chats are more and more used.

Slack pioneered the idea of integrating instant chat with a structure (different channels, assignment of people at chats, link with online tools etc.), a section for file upload, a powerful search, multi-platform support (desktop, web, mobile) and so on.

Elettra.chat is such a system, based on the open source product Rocket.chat.

Elettra.Chat is available to people working at Elettra or at CERIC-ERIC (i.e., having a contract with one of the two) and with local partners (i.e., those in the "GDR" mailing list).
Users enabled for the VUO - Virtual Lab can also access the chat during the period indicated in the TAG. This configuration is automatic for the proposal period but can be added manually by the TAG administrator.

To access Elettra.Chat just point your browser to https://chat.elettra.eu and login with your primary email address and password as in UniPass/VUO:


Conversations in Elettra.chat occur in channels. Channels are chat rooms with useful features designed to increase communication and collaboration.

There are three kinds of channels: public channels, private groups, and direct (1-on-1) messages.

Public channels

Public channels (also called channels for short) act as a base for all channel types. Use channels for conversations that are open to all Elettra and CERIC-ERIC people. An example of such a channel is the default #elettra.chat.sandbox where anybody can practice with Elettra.chat and/or send messages to the whole community. This kind of channel can be created only by an administrator (ask ICTSS via VUO tickets).

Private groups

Private groups are closed channels. They are visible only to their members. Use private groups for Elettra activities, groups, beamlines and projects.

Private groups are joined through invitation only. The administrator sets the permissions that determine who can invite others to a private group. By default, only administrators, room owners, and moderators can invite others to private rooms.

Direct Messages

Direct messages (DMs) are a private 1-on-1 conversation between members. They can be sent to any person at Elettra/CERIC-ERIC.

Listing channels

Find public and private channels that you are watching in the left sidebar under the Channels sections.

Public channels are represented by a hash symbol next to the channel name (e.g., #elettra.chat.sandbox), and private channels by a lock . Public channels appear first above private channels below them and alphabetically ordered.

Unread messages

Channels with new messages appear bolded.

When using the Unread Mode, a new section called Unread appears on the left sidebar. All channels with unread messages move to this new section until the messages have been reads.

To activate Unread Mode, go to My Account> Preferences. Change the Sidebar channel list mode setting to Unread Rooms Mode.


When someone mentions you with @username, @all or @here, a symbol or a number will appear alongside the channel name. The special mention @all refers to all the members of a chat, while @here only to those currently active in the channel. When mentioned, an @ symbol appears next to your name. If someone mentions @all or @here a number will show up notifying the number of times the mention is specific to you.
All elettra.chat usernames follow the email address, but substituting the 'at' simble (@) with a dot, i.e. name.surname@elettra.eu ⇒ @name.surname.elettra.eu
When a @ and at least another character are typed, a list of suggestions will appear to help you accelerate the writing process.

Notifications Preferences

There are several notification settings a user can customize to channels. To find notification settings for a specific channel, go to the channel and click the More symbol at the top-right of the chat view. Then, select Notification Preferences.

  • Mute/Receive alerts: Receive or mute any notifications from a channel.
  • Mute/Receive mentions: Receive or mute notifications for mentions while receiving notifications for messages in a channel.
  • Hide/Show counter: Show the number of unread messages for a channel.
  • Notification sound: Choose a sound for notifications besides the alerts default Desktop. Mobile currently supports only the alerts inside your mobile device. You can also select when to play the alert, duration of the alert, and the alert itself.


Compose messages

To compose a message in Elettra.chat go the channel or user you want to send a message. Type the message box and press Enter or the Send Button.

If you want to add new lines of text, press Shift + Enter to add a new line.

Cursor movement

While writing or editing messages, you can move the cursor using the arrow keys. Where the cursor moves depends on the wrapping of the text.

Hold Alt or Command while pressing the right or left arrow keys to move the cursor to the beginning or end of the message.

Notify other people

To get the attention of a specific person in a channel, type @ followed by their username, for example, @name.surname.elettra.eu. The mentioned user sees a red badge on the channel or is notified via email or their mobile device if they’re not online.

You can also notify everyone in a channel by typing @all. We recommend using @all sparingly. Although notifying everyone in the channel is useful for announcements, not every message requires this.

Send attachments

You can send a variety of attachments on your messages, like files, audio, links, videos, and many more.

To access the attachment menu you can click on the plus (+) icon at the right end of the message input box.


You can select files using three methods:

  • By choosing the Select Files from Computer option from the attachment menu
  • By dragging and dropping the file on Elettra.chat
  • By pasting an image from the clipboard

After selecting the file, add a name and a description of the file and press Send.

URL’s to other sites automatically generate a preview of that site’s content. Copy and paste the link into the message box to create the preview.


To insert an emoji, click the smiley face icon in the message box. Browse through emoji using the icon categories or through the search box.

You can also insert emojis by inputting an emoji code.


Elettra.chat changes common emoticons, or symbols used to represent emoji, to the equivalent emoji. For example, :) converts to the :smiley: emoji.


Use the following symbols to format text as desired:

  • Bold: *Lorem ipsum dolor*
  • Italic: _Lorem ipsum dolor_
  • Strike: ~Lorem ipsum dolor~
  • Inline code: `Lorem ipsum dolor`
  • Image: ![Alt text](https://rocket.chat/favicon.ico)
  • Link: [Lorem ipsum dolor](https://chat.elettra.eu/) or <https://chat.elettra.eu/ |Lorem ipsum dolor>

Message Actions

Message actions allow you to interact with messages that you’ve already posted.

Open message actions

To open the message actions menu, place your mouse over the message and click the actions menu on the left.

Edit messages

To edit a message, click on the edit option on the message actions menu. You can also place your cursor in the message box and press the Up arrow to edit your last message.

Draft messages

Elettra.chat saves drafts of all message edits so you can return to edit later. When drafting a message, press Escape to discard the draft.

Delete messages

To delete a message, click Delete in the message actions menu.

Star messages

Star messages to make the message easier to find it later. To star a message, click Star option in the message actions menu. If you want to remove the star from an already starred message, click Remove Star.

Find starred messages by going to the channel actions menu and clicking Starred Messages.

Starred messages are per chat room and are not global; each room has its list of starred messages.

Pin messages

Pin a message to a channel to make that message easily accessible to all user’s on the channel. To pin a message, select the Pin Message option in the message actions menu. Remove already pinned messages by selecting Remove Pin.


You can react to messages with emoji.

To add a reaction to a message, go to the message, click on the smiley face icon on the right of the message and then choose an emoji.

You can see other user’s emoji reactions beneath the message. To react with the same emoji as another user, click the emoji. You can also remove your reaction by clicking on your emoji.

Permalink a message to creates a URL directly to that message in the chat.

Click on the Permalink option in the message actions menu. This copies the message into your clipboard.

Copy a message

To copy the contents of a message to your clipboard, click on the copy option on the message actions menu.

Reply to a message

Reply to a message to quote a message from another user. The reply automatically triggers a notification sent to the message’s original author.

There are two options for replies:

Use Reply in Thread to start a new thread underneath the original message. Threads create a string of messages that quote the original. Use Reply in Direct Message to quote the original message in a direct message to that user.

Quote a message

Quote a message to respond to another user’s message without notifying the user directly. Select Quote in the message actions menu.

Advanced options


To avoid dispersion of communication in a single channel it is possible to use threads, which can link together messages inside a single channel.
To start a thread hover the mouse on a message in a channel, then click on the first icon on top-right message area:

All the following messages in the thread will be displayed in a rightmost side panel.

Conversations (sub-channels)

Conversations are something in between channels and threads. They behave like threads but are displayed in the leftmost panel, just above the "Channels" section, in a dedicated "Discussions" area:

Video chat

It is possible to initiate a video chat inside any channel, using Elettra meet. Any person that wants to participate in the chat must open the top rightmost menu (three dots) and select "Video Chat" in the menu.

The first person that initiates the call must login using his/her UniPass credentials (without the domain, i.e. name.surname).
Note: do not use the button Click to join!.

Desktop/Mobile app

Instead of using a web browser to interact with Elettra.chat you can install a desktop app (Windows, MacOS, Linux) or a mobile app (Android, iOS).

Desktop Apps

The desktp apps for Windows, MacOS and Linux let you integrate more the chat system with your operating system.

Go to https://rocket.chat/install, download and install the app according to your operating system.
At first start it will ask you to enter your server URL. Fill in the textbox with https://chat.elettra.eu :

Then press "Connect". Next, you'll need to login as in the web interface.

Mobile apps

Using your smartphone or tablet (Android and iOS) is a very convenient way to keep communication in your pocket, werever you are.
Go to https://rocket.chat/install, download and install the mobile app according to your device type.
At first start it will ask you to connect to a server or join the open Rocket.chat community. Choose Connect to a server.
Then, enter https://chat.elettra.eu followed by your email address and password.


Last Updated on Thursday, 06 May 2021 16:07