Zulip glossary

Exclusive Zulip terminology may be used in Zulip conversations. Here are some common terms that you should know.


Administrators have special privileges that allow them to control the settings and customizations of the organizations that they own, including the ability to deactivate and reactivate other human and bot users, delete streams, add/remove administrator privileges, as well as change configurations for the overall organization (e.g. whether an invitation is required to join the organization).


Zulip bots are often used for integrations to send automated messages to users and can do everything a normal user in the organization can do with a few exceptions (e.g. a bot cannot login to the web application or create other bots).

compose box

The compose box is the area where you input the content of your message when you send stream or private messages. The compose box features several features that can help you compose your message, such as the Emojis, Attach files, Formatting, and Preview features.


Customization is the process of modifying Zulip's settings to fit a user's set of personal preferences. Users can customize their Zulip settings by clicking the cog () icon in the top right corner of the right sidebar and choose Settings from the dropdown menu.

down chevron

A down chevron is a small downward-facing arrow () icon next to a message’s timestamp that appears upon hover, offering contextual options when clicked on, such as View source, Reply, Collapse, Mute [this topic], and Link to this conversation.


An emoji is a small image used to express an idea or emotion in a conversation. Emojis can be included in Zulip messages by enclosing an emoji phrase (a complete list of emojis can be found here) in colons or clicking the smiley face () icon below the compose box.

emoji reaction

Emoji reactions are small emoji icons that appear below messages. Although they are generally used to show reactions to a message, they can be used for various other purposes, such as voting or checking off items in a to-do list.


Message drafts are created when unsent messages are discarded by exiting out of the compose box while content has been written in the Compose your message here... field. Zulip's Drafts feature allows users to retrieve and edit draft contents in order to send them as new messages.


Also known as a view, a filter is one of the options for viewing different kinds of messages, listed in the upper left corner of the Zulip browser window, such as All messages, Private messages, Starred messages, and Mentions.

group PM

Shorthand for group private message, a group PM is a private message sent directly to two or more other users rather than through a stream.

all messages

All messages is a specific view (or filter) that shows all messages to the user's subscribed streams and all of the user's private messages in chronological order, excluding messages to muted streams and topics. This view is accessible by clicking the All messages link, Zulip logo in the upper left sidebar, home () icon to the left of the search bar, or pressing the escape key.


An integration is a tool that combines Zulip with another service or application. Zulip offers a variety of integrations for version control, issue tracker, CI system, monitoring tools, and other tools used for development. The three types of integrations that Zulip supports are webhook integrations, Python script integrations, and plugin integrations.


To mention users in Zulip, you have to type @ and their email addresses or usernames for auto-completions in your compose box. The users will be mentioned in your message as @**username**, and they will be notified of your message. Users can see all messages they've been mentioned in through the Mentions link in the left sidebar or by using is:mentioned as a filter or a search constraint.


/me is a reference to one's one name, often used to send status messages to Zulip by prepending status messages with /me. Status messages are usually written in third person and notify other users about the status of a user, such as if a user is away from the keyboard or busy.

message editing

If enabled by an administrator, users can utilize message editing for a few minutes after posting a message to edit the content of their recently-posted message by hovering to the right of their message's timestamp and clicking the pencil () icon that appears. Zulip labels edited messages with (EDITED) next to the username of the message writer.

message table

The message table is the current view of messages in the middle pane of an open browser window. Depending on a user's search settings, the message table can show all messages in a particular topic or stream.


Muting a topic or stream allows a user to stop being notified of messages sent to the specified topic or stream. This can be activated by clicking the corresponding chevron of the stream or topic and selecting Mute the [stream/topic] [stream/topic name] from the dropdown that appears.


Narrowing a topic or stream will cause you to only see the messages of that particular stream or topic. This can be activated by clicking the corresponding chevron of the stream or topic and selecting Narrow to [stream/topic] [stream/topic name] from the dropdown that appears or clicking the stream or topic of a set of messages.


Notifications are messages that appear notifying Zulip users about important events in the organization, such as being mentioned in another user's message or the creation of a stream. Notifications can be sent as emails or browser/desktop notifications, often accompanied by an alert sound.


Pinning a stream will move that particular stream above other streams in the Streams section in the left sidebar. You can pin a stream by clicking the chevron of the corresponding stream and clicking Pin stream [stream] to top from the dropdown the appears.

private message

Private messages are either one-on-one or group conversations, and are only visible to recipients of that message. The exception to this is that in corporate organizations, organization administrators may be able to access to private messages via compliance exports. In community organizations, even organization cannot access private messages unless they are listed recipients of the message.

private stream

Private streams are for confidential discussions and are only visible to users who've been invited to subscribe to them.

public stream

Public streams are for open discussions. All users can subscribe to public streams and discuss there.


An organization is a private chamber hosted on Zulip with its own users, streams, customizations, etc. Administrators manage the organization, controlling the specific settings of the organizations that they own.

recipient bar

The recipient bar is a visual indication of the context of a message or group of messages, displaying the stream and topic or private message recipient list, at the top of a group of messages.


Zulip allows users to mark any important messages they receive as starred by hovering over the area next to the message's timestamp and clicking the star () icon that appears. A user can easily access messages they’ve starred through the Starred messages link in the left sidebar or use is:starred as a filter or a search constraint.


A stream is a channel of topics expected to fall within a certain scope of content. Streams are located on the left sidebar. Streams are either public (used for open discussions) or private (invite-only).


When a user subscribes to a stream, the user is choosing to receive all messages from the stream that they subscribed to.


A timestamp shows you the exact time when a message was posted. It is located to the right of a message.


Topics are similar to conversation threads. Topics are used to describe the general subject of the messages a user sends. Topics effectively ensure sequential messages about the same thing are threaded together, allowing for better consumption by users. The topics of messages can be edited as well as the content of the message.


When a user unsubscribes from a stream, the user is choosing to stop receiving all messages from the stream that they unsubscribed from.


Also known as filter, a view is an option for viewing different kinds of messages, listed in the upper left sidebar, including sections All messages, Private messages, Starred messages, and Mentions.