Chat Channel Basics

You don’t need a camera to join a voice chat channel, and if you do have one, you don’t have to use it! You can click the camera icon to turn it off and on during the chat. (The microphone and headphone icons work likewise.)

Changing Your View

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When you're in a voice or video channel, the small grid-looking icon in the top right of your channel view switches between two participant panel arrangements. One option spaces everyone equally. The other enlarges whoever is currently speaking and stacks everyone else to the side. If you want to keep your attention focused on one person, you can also click that person's panel to lock them into the enlarged spot until you switch layouts again.

Microphone Options

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Three very useful buttons.

At the bottom left of the main Discord window you’ll find your username and icon as well as the Mute, Deafen and User Settings buttons. Mute and Deafen let you temporarily turn off your microphone and speakers, respectively. These icons also show a red cross-out bar when these devices aren’t available for other reasons.

User Settings leads into this next part...

When to Send

Discord gives you two ways to control when your mic is active. You can set it to switch on and off automatically whenever it hears enough sound (“Voice Activity”) or manually, so it’s only live while you hold down a particular key (“Push to Talk”). We strongly recommend Push to Talk if you don’t have headphones, there is noise nearby or you need to type frequently during the panel.

Click the User Settings gear button to access a long panel of Discord settings, then click “Voice & Video” in the list that appears. The Voice Activity and Push to Talk options will be toward the middle of the detailed panel on the right. (You will need to scroll down some.)

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Where to change your Push to Talk key.

Both activation schemes have a couple of secondary settings.

If you’re using Push to Talk, you need to set which key activates the mic. Click the keyboard icon (which will change to a “Record Keybind” button), press the desired key, then click the button again. The slider to the right of that changes how quickly the mic cuts off when you let the key go.
NOTE: The spacebar is the easiest key to use for this, but if you need to do a lot of typing, something out of the way, like your Numpad “+” key, is better.
ALSO NOTE: If you are using Discord through a web browser, Push to Talk only works while Discord has your computer’s attention — meaning your browser is your top window and it’s showing the Discord tab.

If you’re using Voice Activation, you can (and probably should) adjust the Input Sensitivity slider to fine-tune how much sound it takes to trigger your mic. If it’s too far to the right, your mic won’t pick up all your words. If it’s too far left, you will broadcast every little cough and seat-shuffle. (Automatic sensitivity usually works well but is not always offered.) Furthermore, speak clearly. Sudden starts and trailed-off endings are tough for automatic activation to follow.

(There are many other settings on the Voice & Video panel, and they vary based on your browser program, hardware and operating system, so I won’t go into them except to say don’t be afraid to try them out to see if they improve your calls.)

Troubleshooting

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Can you hear me now?

Discord puts a green border around your personal window when you’re sending sound to the channel. If you never see that border, it could be due to any of these causes:

  • You’ve muted your microphone.
  • Discord is in Push to Talk mode but you aren’t pressing a key (or you’re pressing the wrong one).
  • Discord is in Voice Activated mode but its sensitivity is too low.
  • Your web browser isn’t giving the Discord web page permission to use your mic.
  • Your computer isn’t giving your web browser or the Discord app permission to use your mic.
  • Only specific people are allowed to speak in that channel.

The best thing to try here is clicking the icon for the non-functioning device. Either it’ll turn back on (if you accidentally shut it off) or Discord may give you a message with more info on the problem.

If you do see a green border on your user window but no one can hear you, Discord is probably configured to use the wrong microphone or has its Input Volume too low. Both of these settings are also on the Voice & Video panel, at the top.

Help! How do I un-reverse my camera?

You can’t, but don’t worry. Discord mirrors your camera feed left-to-right on your screen only, to make your side-to-side motions more intuitive to you. It sends the correct image to everyone else.