Reading strategies

In Zulip, streams determine who gets a message. Topics tell you what the message is about. If you are not yet familiar with Zulip's topics, we recommend first reading about streams and topics.

This article details a few ways to efficiently read through messages in Zulip.

Topic by topic

Like your email inbox, for most users, Zulip works best if you read it topic-by-topic.

Finding a topic to read

From Recent topics

Use the Recent topics view to get an overview of all the ongoing conversations. This view is particularly useful for catching up on messages sent while you were away.

  1. Open Recent topics from the left sidebar or by pressing the Esc key.

  2. The filters at the top help you quickly find relevant conversations. For example, select Participated to narrow to the topics you have sent messages to.

From the list of streams

In the left sidebar, you can see the streams you are subscribed to, along with unread message counts for each stream.

  1. Click on the name of a stream in the left sidebar. You will see a list of the most recent unread topics in that stream.
  2. The initially shown list of topics usually has what you need, but you can click on "more topics" underneath to see additional topics.

Older topics disappear from the left sidebar, but you can always find them by clicking “more topics” or by using search.

Reading topics

  1. Open Recent topics from the left sidebar or by pressing the Esc key.
  2. Click on the name of a topic in the Topic column.
  3. Read the topic, scrolling down with the mouse or by pressing Fn + .
  4. If the topic is not of interest, you can mark all messages as read or do so by jumping to the end using the End key.
  5. You can then click on another topic in the left sidebar, use the n key to go to the next unread topic, or go back to the Recent topics view.

  1. Click on the name of a stream in the left sidebar. You will see a list of the most recent unread topics in that stream.
  2. Click on a topic in the left sidebar.
  3. Read the topic, scrolling down with the mouse or by pressing Fn + .
  4. If the topic is not of interest, you can mark all messages as read or do so by jumping to the end using the End key.
  5. Click on the next topic in the left sidebar, or use the n key to go to the next unread topic.
  6. To go to older unread topics, use the n key or click "more topics" to view.

Stream view

Sometimes it's useful to scroll through all the messages in a stream, especially in situations where you just want a general idea of what's going on.

  • Click on a stream name in the left sidebar, and scroll using your mouse, the arrow keys, End, or page up/down.

  • Click on a topic to narrow to messages from that topic.

You can also get to a stream with q (stream search), by clicking on the magnifying glass next to STREAMS, or by using the autocomplete in search.

All messages

If you're all caught up, it can be useful to have a single place to keep track of all messages coming in.

  • Click on All messages in the upper left, or hit a.

  • You can use s (narrow to stream) or S (narrow to topic) to zoom in, and a to get back to All messages.

Starring messages for later

You can star messages that you've seen and would like to reply to later.