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Rocket chat - communicate with other RE users

Rocket Chat is a chat facility that is available within the Research Environment to help you collaborate and communicate with other users and members of the Genomics England team. You can use it to join public channels, create private groups and to send direct messages. The Genomics England Rocket chat instance is only accessible within the Research Environment, allowing you to freely share and discuss data, with no possibility of export from the Research Environment.

Logging in to Rocket Chat

To log in to Rocket Chat:

  • Login to the Research Environment.
  • Double click the Rocket Chat icon on your desktop.
  • You will then be presented with the login page:
  • Login with the same username and password you use to log in to the Research Environment.


Conversations in Rocket Chat are organised into channels. Channels are chat rooms with many useful features.

There are three types of channel:

  1. Public channels (also called channels for short) are visible to everyone and anyone can join. Use channels for conversations that are open to all users of the Research Environment, eg for problem solving/help using the Research Environment.

    You can join a channel and read all the information previously shared by other users.

  2. Private groups are closed channels. They are visible only to their members. Use private groups for private discussions with a small group of team members.

    Private groups can be joined by invitation only. Only room owners and moderators can invite others to private rooms.

  3. Direct messages are private, 1-on-1 conversations between users. You can think of a direct message as a private group with only two members.

Creating channels

To create a channel, click on the create button next to the channel search bar at the top left of the home screen:

This opens a pop up, where you set the name of that channel, make it public or private, set it to read-only or read and write as required, create it and invite users.

Starting a conversation/finding channels

You can search for the user you want to talk to by clicking the search icon in the top left corner

Alternatively you can press ‘Ctrl + k’ to access the search bar quickly.

In order for the system to show your search results, you will need to delete the last letter from your search criteria. This is a known issue and has been reported to Rocket Chat.

A search will find channels (including the ones you are part of) and users. Private channels can’t be searched unless you are a member.

When you click in a search result, the following can happen:

  • if the result is a channel, and you aren’t already part of it, you will join that channel
  • if the result is a user, you will start a direct message with that user

You can also find a list of all channels and users by clicking the directory icon:

The public and private channels you are watching are listed in the left sidebar under the “Channels” sections.

Public channels are indicated by a hash symbol next to the channel name, and private channels by a lock. Public channels appear first, private channels below them and each group is ordered alphabetically. The first time you enter a public channel it will be added to your watch list:

Joining a new channel

There are three ways of joining a public channel:

  1. Search for the channel and click on its name.
  2. Be invited to the channel by the admin or group member.
  3. Be mentioned in the channel using the @username function.

Leaving or hiding channels

  1. To hide a channel is to remain a member of the channel but to remove it from your list of channels on the left-hand pane.
  2. To leave a channel is to remove it from your list of channels and to leave the channel (i.e. no longer be a member of the channel).

Every channel has an owner, and the owner of a channel cannot leave a channel until setting someone else as the owner of that channel.

To leave a channel, enter the command /part or /leave in the message window; hover your mouse over the channel in the list of channels on the left-hand side and click on the three dots to select leave room button; or click the information icon in the top right corner of the channel and click ‘leave’ in the pop up.

To hide a channel, hover your mouse over the channel in the list of channels on the left-hand side and click on the three dots to select click on the hide room button.

Channel actions

You can do more than merely post messages and upload files in a channel, you can interact in various ways through the channel actions menu. Channel actions are located to the right of the channel title. Some of the menus are accessible by clicking on the three dots at the end of the channel header.


To help organise and prioritise your communications, you can star channels, private groups, and direct messages.

To star a channel, click on the star icon to the left of the channel header (next to the room name).

Staring a channel moves it to a “Favorites” section on the channels list, making it easier to access and find.

Search messages

You can use these commands before or after entering search terms:

  • from:me to search for messages only created by the current user
  • to search for messages created by a specific user. The username entered must be the format without spaces (i.e. “john.doe” and not “John Doe”. To search for any time a user was mentioned, just search for their username
  • has:star returns messages that are starred by the current user
  • is:pinned or has:pin returns messages that are pinned in the current channel
  • has:url or has:link returns messages that contain a link
  • has:location or has:map returns messages that have a location attached
  • before:dd/mm/yyyy, after:dd/mm/yyyy and on:dd/mm/yyyy return message that were created before, after, or on the provided date. Dashes dd-mm-yyyy or dots can be used instead of slashes

You can also jump to where a message is located by hovering the mouse over the search result and selecting jump to message.

Members list

Here you can see all the users on channel and see more information about them. If you have the proper permission, you can manage them on your channel.

At first, only the current active users are shown. To see all users, click the show all link.

To see more information on a user, click their name on the list.

The user preview screen shows their username, any role tags they might have. From there you can also:

  • start a direct conversation with the user by clicking the conversation option
  • set the user as channel owner or leader
  • set the user as channel moderator
  • mute the user
  • remove the user from the channel.

Files list

A list of all the files uploaded to the current channel.

Other channel actions

For other channel actions, click the three dotted lines at top-right corner of the channel.

  • Mentions - All messages which mentioned you in the current channel.

  • Starred Messages - All messages which you have starred in the current channel.

  • Pinned Messages - All messages that were pinned on the current channel.
  • Notification Preferences - To set your notification preference for the current channel


Composing messages

Type a message in the message box and press Enter or click the Send Button.

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

Unread messages

When a channel has new messages, its name is highlighted on the channel list:


To get someone’s attention in a channel, type ‘@’ followed by their username, for example ‘@admin’. You can also notify everyone in a channel by typing @all or @here.

Using @all or @here all users in a channel/group. When someone uses either or these, a symbol or a number will appear alongside the channel name.

You can mention a specific person using @username. If someone mentions you specifically using this, an ‘@’ will show alongside the number beside the channel name.

Sending attachments

You can send files and links as attachments in your messages.

You can share files using three methods:

  1. Select the Computer option from (+) icon in the message box.
  2. Drag and drop the file into message box.
  3. Paste an image from the clipboard.

After selecting the file, you are prompted to add a name and a description to it. Remember to press send.

Be aware that the server administrator can block certain file types from being uploaded. Therefore contact the administrator if you cannot upload certain type of files.

Starring messages

Starring a message makes it easy to find it later. To star a message, select the star-message option on the message actions menu. To un-star it, just select the unstar option on the message actions menu.

You can find your starred messages on the starred messages tab on the three dots at top right hand side of the channel.

Starred messages are per chat room and are not global. Each room has its own list of messages you have starred in that channel.

Pinning messages

Pinning a message to a channel means the message will be easily accessible via pinned messages tab. To pin a message, select the pin-message option on the message actions menu, to un-pin it just select the unpin option on the message actions menu.

The administrator of a Rocket Chat team sets the permissions for who can pin messages in a channel. By default, only administrators, moderators, and owners of the channel can pin messages.

Permalinking a message

Permalinking a message creates a link directing to that message, also if you post a permalink on another channel it creates a preview with the contents of the message.

To permalink a message simply click on the permalink option on the message actions menu and the link will be copied to your clipboard.

Managing your account

To access and manage your Rocket Chat account, login and click on your profile picture or username in the top-left corner and select My Account.

You can change the message notification settings here.