The Most Useful Chat and Bot Commands In Discord

Like the IRC chat of old, Discord comes with a set of slash commands that you can use to express yourself or do useful things like search for GIFs or read text aloud. Better yet, you can add bots to your Discord server to get even more functionality out of your server. Here are the most useful chat commands and bots for Discord.

RELATED: How to Set Up Your Own Discord Chat Server

Much like IRC or Slack, Discords servers use slash commands to run tasks or interact with bots. To use a slash command, start by typing / then type the command and press enter. Some commands can take extra arguments like search terms to do some cool stuff. Out of the box, here are some of the useful commands Discord can already use:

  • /giphy [search term]: Use this command to find some animated GIFs. The first few results will appear just above your chat box. Click the image you want and press enter to send it to the chat room. If you don’t find the right GIF, you can use /tenor to search a different service and maybe get a different set of results.
  • /nick [new nickname]: This command changes your display name at it appears on the server. Enter the nickname you want to replace your old one with and press Enter.
  • /tts [message]: Discord is designed to let users hop into voice chat whenever they want, but not everyone has a microphone. This command lets users send a message that will be read aloud to everyone in the channel using text to speech. And yes, this has a huge potential for abuse, so server admins can turn it off.
  • /tableflip, /unflip, and /shrug: Some of Discord’s default commands aren’t so much practical as they are fun. The /tableflip command will paste the (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ emoji in the channel. The /unflip command will share ┬─┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ), and /shrug will put ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ in the channel.

These are a few basic helpful commands, but if you’re running your own server or want to have more fun, you can add bots to your server. Bots can join your channel and sit in the user list until you call on them with slash commands. To demonstrate how to use bots, we’ll look at one really powerful bot called Dyno. Dyno is designed to help with server moderation, announcements, reminders, and it can even perform Google searches or find music on YouTube.

First, you’ll need to invite the Dyno bot to your server. To do that, head to this link and click Invite Dyno at the top left corner of the screen.

You’ll need to sign in, if you’re not already signed in through your browser.

Next, you’ll see a screen like the one below. First, pick which server you want to invite your bot to. Then, you can approve or deny permissions you want to give to the bot on this server. You can ban bots later if they break or you discover they’re malicious, but it’s also a good idea to only give important permissions to bots you trust in the first place. When you’re done, scroll down and click Authorize.

Finally, Discord will ask you to confirm that you are not a robot yourself. Because bots using bots would be pretty uncouth.

Shortly after you invite your bot, you’ll get a message like this one telling you how to use it. By default, Dyno uses ? to start commands instead of a / (presumably to avoid conflicts with other bots or commands) but you can tweak by heading to Dyno’s site, clicking your server in the drop down menu at the top right corner, and changing “Command prefix.”

Now that your Dyno bot is set up, here are some handy commands to use with it:

  • ?ban [user] [limit] [reason]: This command lets moderators ban users from the server. Optionally, you can set the ban to expire after a certain time limit. They will receive a message with whatever you put in the final [reason] argument.
  • ?softban [user] [reason]: This command will ban and immediately unban a user. This has the effect of clearing out all their messages from a server, as well as giving them a swift kick in the pants if they need it. Though if you don’t want to get rid of every message they’ve ever sent, you should consider a timed regular ban or a kick instead.
  • ?kick [user] [reason]: This kicks a user out of the server. Unlike a ban, a user can come right back to the channel immediately if they get another invite.
  • ?mute [user] [minutes] [reason]: This mutes a user so they cannot speak. Add a time limit to make the mute expire. You can also remove the mute with the ?unmute command.
  • ?addrole [name] [hex color] [hoist]: Discord uses a feature called roles to distinguish groups of users from one another. Some roles can be moderators or have special permissions, while other roles are simply used to tell two groups of regular users apart (like Overwatch vs. Paladins players, or Caught Up vs. Catching Up in a Game of Thrones discussion server). This command lets you create new roles on your server.
  • ?delrole [role name]: This command lets you remove a role from your server, and takes this role away from everyone who had it.
  • ?role [user] [role name]: This lets you assign a role to a particular user.
  • ?play [url]: This command lets you add songs to a playlist that you’ll hear while in a voice channel. Each new ?play command will add that song to your playlist. You can add direct links to YouTube videos or you can search for a term and Dyno will automatically pick a song to add to your queue.
  • ?queue list: This will show you which songs are currently in your music queue.
  • ?google [search string]: Enter this command plus a search string and Dyno will share a link to the first result on Google. Hope you’re feeling lucky.

These are just a few of the most useful commands, but you can check out the rest of Dyno’s commands here. There are a lot of really powerful tools for managing your server, or having fun even if you’re a regular user.

You can add as many bots as you want to your server to keep adding new commands, as well. To find new bots, you can check out sites like DiscordBots.org or Carbonitex.net. Both sites have directories of tons of specialized bots. For example, there’s a bot to manage your Trello boards, get access to your Overwatch stats, or search songs on Spotify. Some of the bots may be garbage or joke bots, but there are plenty of useful ones out there. If you can’t find the tools you need between Discord’s built in commands and general purpose bots like Dyno, look for more bots to add to your server to do what you need.

Eric Ravenscraft covers smarthome tech for How-To Geek. He's a problem solver who never learned to say no to a project. When he's not fixing things, he's cosplaying at cons, playing video games, and watching too many comic book movies. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram.