Ordering the Buddy List
So you have added a few Buddies and you want them to appear in a different order.
Within certain limits this can be done from the View Menu. There are also Buddies Groups in iChat version 4
As with other items in the iChat menus, the correct window within iChat has to be the front one. Is this case you want the Buddy List as the Front window and for the Picture grab it was. You need the second section mainly although Show Groups and choosing Not to Show Off Line Buddies may also play a factor
You can see that it says "Sort By Availability" with a tick next to it. You can also apply a two pass method of selecting one of the Alphabetical options then the "Sort By Availability" to have an Alphabetical List with the Available ones at the top.
Buddies can be in one of 4, visible to you, states. Green as Available, Amber (orange) as Idle, Red as Away and greyed out as Not on Line. There is an additional selection to decide whether to display Off-Line Buddies or not at the top of the View menu items.
Notes: Idle is when a Buddies computer is on and iChat is logged in but they are not touching any input device such as the Mouse or Keyboard, and will show after 10 minutes of non input even if their computer is rendering a video clip for example.
By default iChat will be set to the Available setting although you can change this in the iChat menu > Preferences > General and Accounts Sections based on 1). Whether an Account/Screen Name should Log in in the accounts section and 2). What iChat should do at Start Up in the General Section.
Notes: You can not drag the Buddies into the order you want - you are constrained by the choices in the View Menu and in iChat 4 by the way you have the Groups displayed.
iChat version 4 does allow you to order your Buddies into Groups. It is no longer a choice of turning off some Buddies as iChat did but Buddies are displayed in Groups within the Buddy List
Group names can be Edited via the Plus symbol at the bottom of the Buddy List where you also Add Buddies. This also allows you to Add new Groups.
Changed From. I mention Editing the names as they themselves are displayed alphabetically by default but Characters like * (star) and ~ (tilde) and even . (dots) display very small and make the Groups order differently based on those characters ASCII codes. You will notice in the Picture on the right I have "Testers" at the top by virtue of a *
Changed to. However in iChat 4 the group Title bars can be dragged in to any order you want so that you do not have to rely on the ASCII codes method listed above. The Plus button and Edit Groups and dragging that list works as well
By default Buddies tend to be in only one Group and dragging them one to another moves them. However if you hold down the ALT (⌥) key before clicking and dragging a Buddy they will be copied to the second group (Providing the ALT (⌥) key is let go last).
Using the Reveal Arrow to the right of the individual Group name bar opens or Closes that Group from view. Other than placing the Buddies in different Groups the other formatting of Available, Idle or Away is set from the View Menu.
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