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Chat Formatting

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Chat formatting in Bukkit is made up of two parts. There is the users nickname or displayname, and also chat message formatting. Essentials lets you modify both of these, if you have the appropriate plugins.

To prevent conflict with other plugins, Essentials will disable most of it's chat formatting if you don't install the EssentialsChat component with Essentials. You can enable the displayname formatting without EssentialsChat, by editing the config file however.

The gist of this page is that, if you set short player name prefixes in your permissions config, you can set longer messages for chat in the Essentials (chat) configuration.

Upgrader Note: If you upgrade to 2.9 from 2.8, you may notice the tab list no longer shows colours. This option is disabled by default due to a conflict between colours and nickname tab complete in the new 1.2.4 client.

Display Names

In Minecraft, your displayname is what you see in messages whenever a command needs to display your name in some way. This is shown in places such as the output from /list, in the 'tab list' and is found displayed in most plugins you have installed.

The displayname formatting is pulled from your permissions file, or group permissions file. For Group Manager this is generally the groups.yml in your world folder.

The maximum length that Bukkit allows for the player list is 16 characters, so it is recommended you keep the prefix/suffix for the displaynames down to just a few characters, otherwise you will find that nicknames are truncated.


Essentials has 6 settings related to displaynames in the Essentials config file, these are:

change-displayname: true This option allows you to completely disable the displayname changing

max-nick-length: 15 This option allows you to set the max length of a nickname. GM based prefix/suffix will be included when calculating max length. We recommend you keep this to 15 or less when 'change-playerlist' is set to true.

change-playerlist: true This option enables (tab) player list updates, which updates the list with players displayname (if short enough). This option may cause nickname tab completion to fail.

ops-name-color: 'c' This option will prepend a colour code to the start of the displayname if the player is op.

nickname-prefix: '~' This option will prepend a prefix infront of displaynames which are made up of nicknames (set using /nick)

add-prefix-suffix: false If you set this option, you will manually force on or off the appending of prefixes and suffixes to displaynames, regardless of if EssentialsChat is installed.

sort-list-by-groups: false If you set this option the output of the /list command will be sorted by groups


The following is an example from a typical Group Manager file.

  default: false
  - '*'
    prefix: '&d'
    suffix: ''

Chat Formatting

Chat formatting requires you to have EssentialsChat installed.

Chat formatting is how you control what the chat looks like when anyone speaks ingame. This is where you typically prepend group names and generally change the formatting to make players or groups stand out.

The chat formatting settings can be found in the Essentials config file, towards the bottom of the file.

There are a few tags that will be automatically replaced by the server:


{MESSAGE} is the text you type into chatbox.

{GROUP} is the name of the permissions group you are in. requires a permission plugin.

{DISPLAYNAME} is the name of your user with prefix/suffix added.

{WORLDNAME} is the name is the name of the world you are in.

{SHORTWORLDNAME} is the first letter of the world you are in.

{TEAMPREFIX} {TEAMSUFFIX} {TEAMNAME} are your scoreboard team variables.

There are an infinite number of different valid combinations for these settings, and these will be dependant on personal preference. Some general examples are given below, including the use of various colour codes:

Chat format

There are two ways you can define chat formatting, you can either define one style of formatting which applies to all groups, or you can give a special formatting for each group.

These are examples settings for the format setting in the Essentials/config.yml

format: '&8[&7{GROUP}&8]&f {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&f {MESSAGE}'
format: '{WORLDNAME} &8[&7{GROUP}&7]&f {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&c {MESSAGE}'

Group formatting

If using a single colour scheme, and formatting for all groups isn't sufficient you can give specific formatting for different groups, this is an example from a server with a few extra groups:

This list is case sensitive, and must exactly match the group name returned by your permissions plugin.

This is an example set up for the group-format setting in the Essentials/config.yml

  Owner: '&f[&4God&f] {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&f {MESSAGE}'
  Admin: '&f[&4God&f] {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&f {MESSAGE}'
  Moderator: '&f[&5Mod&f] {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&f {MESSAGE}'
  VIP: '&f[&2ViP&f] {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&f {MESSAGE}'
  Builder: '&f[&1Builder&f] {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&f {MESSAGE}'
  Default: '{DISPLAYNAME}&7:&f {MESSAGE}'


If you are using the Multiverse plugin, and you are getting a prefix of the world name on your chat, you must disable this in the Multiverse config.yml. It should look like this:

prefixchat: false