The art of MSN Messenger nicknames

I admit it; I’m a (MSN|Windows Live) Messenger power user. I’ve got scripts, plugins, modifications, sounds, custom emoticons and been through a few hundred display pictures. One thing I know a lot of people don’t like about MSN is the nicknames but I’m a big fan of them. Your MSN nickname gives you a hundred or so characters – your supposed to enter your (nick)name there and nothing else. But over time, it’s evolved into quite an art form. For me, nicknames really set MSN apart from the other networks.


Many people just use their nickname as what it was designed for – their nickname. MSN Messenger orders people alphabetically; I remember a fad a while back where everyone would put a dot at the start of their nickname so they’d appear at the top of the list. There was also a time where people would put [x] in front of their name which was supposed to show respect towards something.

The alphabetical nickname is annoying with people who totally change their nickname all the time. With these people, you can never find them on your list. Many people always prefix their name with something at the start however, so it’s not too annoying. 


Messenger nicknames often carry political statements. Back around the release of Firefox 1.0 I orchestrated a small campaign to ask people to add a link to in their MSN nickname. I’m not sure how many people joined the campaign but I know of several people who were converted. There are also people who insist on writing something about how great Apple are or how much George Bush sucks in their name. Your nickname is a fantastic place for a political statement as everyone who has added you will see it when they talk to you.

ASCII Art and Chavs

ASCII Art used to be kinda popular, mainly amongst "chavs":

(¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.-> BoB <-.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯) 

Chavs have been known to use their nicknames for political statements such as i LoVe YoU [eNtEr NaMe] or something. Alternating letters and long ASCII arts tend to be exceptionally annoying. Tons of emoticons in nicknames are also a bit annoying.

Back in the days of Messenger 4, a lot of people used to use colour in their nicknames. I haven’t seen anyone do this in years.


Geeks tend to stick the URL of their website or blog onto the end of their nickname. Some geeks get new websites every day and you’ll see a URL to a different website which they made every time you log on. URLs to popular movies, videos and animations also tend to be popular – I’ve often seen people with the URL to the latest Weebl & Bob in their nickname.

And also…

Looking down my contact list I can see people asking for technical support, campaigning for the return of a television show, jokes, film reviews, world cup scores and mini-poems in their nicknames. 

  • There used to be an exploit that allowed you to render yourself unblockable by using a certain nickname.
  • There was a time where MSN blocked swear words and URLs from nicknames. Fortunately these have been removed but if you logged onto Messenger during the version 4 days you’ll see people with URLs disguised like ht tp: // cow.neondragon.n et.

I think it could be really interesting logging the nicknames of your contact list over a certain amount of time and analysing the data. I’m pretty sure I found a website which did this a while ago but I can’t seem to find it again.

78 thoughts on “The art of MSN Messenger nicknames

  1. I hate it when people constantly change their nickname. This is especially annoying when they don’t even include their nick in it, only a message like "we’re number 1" or something. This is also very annoying when I have 2 people with the same name in the contact list, I have to change their alias on my client so I don’t accidentally speak to the wrong person. 

  2. I can relate with that – I think the MSN Messenger team tried to sort out some of these issues by adding a "Personal Message" which was separate from the nickname which you’re supposed use for additional messages. However, most people have just treated it as a way to double the length of the messages they can use 🙂

  3. God this gives me the shits (Not really…) :/

    Why can’t people use their name? My nickname is Rowan Lewis, it never changes and people will always know who I am on their list…

  4. i think it is great having new addys,coz no1 knows hu u are and you can tease them and flirt 4 a bit b4 they realise!!!
  5. i just got windows live messenger but when i got it i couldn’t see colour in my nickname and i could see the symbols and everything and everything was black. When i asked my friends wat they could see they said they saw colour. i need help to see colour!!!

  6. How do you put hearts in your screen name?!?!?! Im dying here plz its urgent!


    With Out Hearts! 🙁

  7. How do you put hearts in your screen name?!?!?! Im dying here plz its urgent!


    With Out Hearts! 🙁

  8.   Hi i was wondering how do you get ascii words on msn messenger? I mean so when I type "lol" it will show up as an ascii word?? I know for sure it can be done but im not sure how??? thankz (L)

  9. Yes hi i was wondering how to make ascii words on msn??? i would really like to spice up my msn with ascii words…

               much luv eZ*(L)(K)


  10.  ya i would like to know how to make ascii words on msn please and thank you very much(K)


  11. i know how 2 make ur nickname coloured all u need 2 do is 2 get msn plus.

    then when u have it type in google coloured nicknames for msn plus it should come up>

    hope i can help

    luv ya

  12. Can sum1 help me plz i wna no how yu get colour on to my msn name!i ask ma m8z if they see colour and they say ye its baby pink but i cant see the colour all i can see is the simbols n itz all black!!

     Luff Yaz x0x

  13. ·$        <<<<<<<<<<<if u hav msn plus copy and paste this code before your name and put a no. after the last symbol like 56 to get purple writing and there u have it

  14. Heyloo How Do Yoo Get Colours In Your Msn Name If You’ve Got Msn Plus But What I Mean Is Of Yoo Had You Msn Name As Rhowan Dyer [e.g] Rhowan Could Be Hot Pink And Dyer Could Be Baby Pink-How Do Yoo do It??xx??

  15. hi gurlz, just wonderin’ if any of u gurlz know how to make ur nickname in colour? i ask ma friend she knowz but wont tell me! can u lpz help me?

  16. i have had the colour nicks thing b4 but then everything on my computer got deleted..and i dont have it anymore..and i cant remember how to get the colour nicks back..i have plus but i dont knwo how to download the colour nicks…if any of u know pls help me out

  17. Guys,

    Thanks for visiting the site but these comments are totally unrelated to the blog entry; please keep them on topic and don’t resort to personal attacks. 

  18. i dont no how to get clolour nicknames all my friends have them but wont tell me how to get them please help me!

  19. hey does any one no the code you put infront of your name on windows messanger live  ?! its a differnt one to the normal one please help !!

    lotsa love x x

  20. Hi

    I wanna know how to change the color of my nickname. I need your help since I don’t know how to do it.

    Thanks alot for helping me

  21. hey,,
    ive really got maself stuck!!
    i wanna colour just 1 part of my name and i sorta kno how to do it…but…
    i need to kno how to put tht dot coz i cnt copy and paste it in the dot is this dot >>>> ( · )<<<<<< PLLLLLLLLZ help i really need to kno how to do it

    if any 1 wants to add me no guys over 19 plz im 14 f uk
    add me

  22. how do i put those really cute wee hearts on my name??? its really annoying me! please help

    love ya

  23. Heyy ppl if you want to get windowsplus just go to goggle search and type in windows plus free download and then download the program!!!!! its dat easy

  24. Hey guys, I’ve been reading your messages and how some of you want to know how to do ASCII Art.

    First off here is my MSN nickname:
    ··¤(¯`×(`¤.CiNdErElLa.¤´).×´¯)¤·· ¦¦°º¤¤º°¦¦ °·.?.·°.I LoVe yOu.°·.?.·°

    And my MSN personal message:
    »-(¯`v´¯)-» i lôV DaRrYl ¥Ë§ Ï Dô, Hϧ 4 mË & ÑôT 4 Ü if û tr¥ & tÅkÉ m¥ plÅcÉ, fÜk Öff l3itch il smÅsh Ür fÅÇÉ »-(¯`v´¯)

    I dont know if any of you… like these, but I could do with some comments. Anyway, if you want, tell me what you would liek your nickname/personal message to be and I could make one or two for you.

    Also, I can show you all some personal messages at some point.

    If you need me, start your message as

    To Cinderella,

    then say your nickname or first name, like mine is ‘Cinderella’ even though my first name is ‘Lucinda’. Then I can make up a nickname for you.

    But for a personal message, just say what you want in it and I can make you some.



  25. You can change the colour of your msn. And if you add a symbol like one of those black hearts the font slightly changes.
    To change the colour you need msnplus.. So, ha. XP

  26. hi guyz im wondering how the hell do u get lke coloured writing on ur msn name and how do u get like black hearts like all my frends have them but no one eva tells me!

  27. listen 😐
    soz bu wha r use all onnnn 😐
    ·$ pu tha at the beginnin

    theres the heart (Y)
    copy and paste it
    onto ure name
    klick on options
    then were u go to type ure name in, pres ctrl and V
    ( when uve copyed ♥)

  28. Heyy Everyonee 🙂 Okk To make ur name coloured youve gotta download msn plus (type it on google), Seriousley afta that ittle talk for itself, Then u can change the colour of yore actual messaging font and everyfinnn ! Lyke seriousley soo kewl, But what i wanna know isss… how u actually see other peoples msn names lyke i can see em and most of them hav colours, but i cant see the colours ! :S x

  29. i am really stuck, i can copy the lil black hearts>>> ♥ ♥ ♥ but when i put them on my MSN name they go trun into blocks and i had a heart before but now it is not working ): HELP ME PLS XXX♥♥XXX

  30. Heeyyyyy I Really Want To Knoww How To Get Rid Of The ‘Says’ Bit On The Msn Nameee ??? x

    Aniwayss Addd Meee Love To Talk To Fit Ladssss 13/f/uk Loveee Yaaaaaa 😀 xxx

  31. to get color in to your msn you neew to get windows live plus just tipe it in to google and then u down load it

  32. Onn facebook you can get black hearts & stars & smiley faces & such likee. Howw doo you get them on yourr Msnn Namee?!?!?!?!?!? Annnnddddd- howw doo youu makeeit differant colourss??!?!?!?!?! I need 2 knww theesee thingss!!!!!!..xx

  33. Hiyaa.
    my mates have their msn names back to front with their writing,
    im wondering if any of you would be kind enough to tell me how to 🙂
    thankyouuuuuuuuuuuuu 🙂 xx

  34. Yes, its true you can change the colour of your display name.
    But you need to download windows live messenger plus! its free and easy to work x
    you can put hearts in by pressing Alt and then clicking 3 at the right keypad of your keyboard x
    hope ive helped 🙂 x


  35. heyy um some of you guyys want to knw how to do little black hearts so hears some hidden emotions:

    xbox: (xx)
    turtle: (tu)
    bunny: (‘.’)

    and little black hearts are ALT + you number key board that looks like this l 7 l 8 l 9 l and hit 3
    l 4 l 5 l 6 l
    l 1 l 2 l 3 l
    l0 l

    umm like the a msn+ got banned from the internet because the owners were over riding the systems so theres new owners and they deleted the colour names thingy mabober

  36. fgs people. its eaasy! you can change youur font..and you can add colour. my names emma..i can change the font to єммα. easy. if you need help..leaave a message on her and i’ll give you my addy.

  37. How come I can’t copy and paste nicknames on MSN Messenger??? Someone help me please!! Thanks.

  38. To Cinderella,

    could you design sumtin for me similar to :
    (¯`v´¯)-★ i lôV ,….., ¥Ë§ Ï Dô, Hϧ 4 mË & ÑôT 4 Ü if û tr¥ & tÅkÉ m¥ plÅcÉ, fÜk Öff l3itch il smÅsh Ür fÅÇÉ★ -(¯`v´¯)

    ty 🙂
    ma nickname: 3CH0

  39. can you plz tell me hw can i change my chat writting colour from black to pink? plz if any body knows tell me

  40. Helloo,

    Iv’e been reading so of your comments and most of them are seeking help to get black love hearts. Im no expert but on most computer theres a weird thing called “character map” click this and a box with random letters will appear. Scroll to the bottom and wa-laaa! Theres a “black love heart” along with other lil pictures. Copy and paste it into your name.

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