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Instant Messaging - Spark Quickstart
This article explains how to get started with Spark, an instant messaging program.
Spark allows you to easily communicate with other individuals in real-time via text-based chat - more commonly known as Instant Messaging. Spark also permits you to control your availability for chat by setting your status.
Spark allows you to create lists of your contacts, create conferences (aka groupchat), exchange files, and easily look up contacts in the University's directory servers. Additionally, Spark provides better security than most IM clients and is fully compatible with our IM service.
To download Spark:
To launch Spark:
- In Windows, go to Start > Programs > Spark.
- In Mac, go to Applications > Spark.
Spark in three quick steps
- Log in using your CNetID and CNet password. The server is im.uchicago.edu.
- To add a contact, go to Contacts > Add Contact. Enter in the CNetID of the person you want added, and click "Add". (You can also enter an easy-to-remember nickname at this point.)
- To start a chat, double-click on your friend's name in your contacts list.
Other Spark Settings
Saving Password and Auto Login
On initial launch, Spark will require you to enter a Username and Password - log in using your CNetID as the Username and your CNet password for the Password. Before you hit enter or click on Login, you may wish to enable one or both of the Save Password or Auto Login options.
NOTE: The "Save Password" option should only be used on computers on which you are the only user or in situations where you are logged into the computer in a manner which prevents others from opening Spark with your saved information (i.e. logged into your properly secured Windows session) Hit Enter or click Login when done.
Setting your Status
Spark sets your availability for chat to "Online" initially and is set to automatically change your status to away if you are idle for 15 minutes. You can manually change your chat status by right-clicking on the "Spark" icon in your System Tray going to "Status" and left clicking on your desired chat status.
Adding Contacts and Creating Groups
Prior to adding contacts, you may want to first create any group(s)you wish to use to organize your contacts. To create a group, go to Contacts → Add Contact Group and enter the name for the group you wish to create, then click on "OK".
To add a contact, go to Contacts → Add Contact. Enter in the CNetID of the person you want added, and click "Add". (You can also enter an easy-to-remember nickname at this point.) While adding a contact, you also have the option to place them into one of the groups you may have created earlier. To add them to a group, click on the drop-down menu for the "Group:" option and select the desired group from the list. You can also create a new group while adding a contact by clicking on "New..." to the right of the "Group:" entry, entering the name of your new group and clicking "OK".
To start a chat, double-click on your friend's name in your contacts list. Type your side of the conversation in the lower part of the window and hit "Send" or your Enter key when done typing your message. The upper part of the window will display your friend's replies as well as maintain an ongoing transcript of the session.