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Chat Formatting with Essentials Chat

Last modified on Mar 5, 2021 in plugins

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

Chat formatting in Bukkit is made up of two parts. There is the users nickname or displayname, and chat messages. Essentials in combination with its addon Essentials Chat, lets you modify both of these.

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

Formatting Examples

Below are examples for the format settings as seen in the plugins/essentials/config.yml. Here is the section will need to configure in order to format the chat in game.

    # +------------------------------------------------------+ #
    # |                   EssentialsChat                     | #
    # +------------------------------------------------------+ #

    # This section requires the EssentialsChat.jar to work.


      radius: 0

      format: '<{DISPLAYNAME}> {MESSAGE}'
      #format: '&7[{GROUP}]&r {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&r {MESSAGE}'

      #  Default: '{WORLDNAME} {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&r {MESSAGE}'
      #  Admins: '{WORLDNAME} &c[{GROUP}]&r {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&c {MESSAGE}'

There are an infinite number of different valid combinations for this setting, and these will be dependent on personal preference. So we will show some example formatting and you can examine those to gain a sense of how to configure the chat to your liking.

Setting the default format

The following line is how we set the default chat format for all users and groups.

    format: '<{DISPLAYNAME}> {MESSAGE}'

We can see our value after format: encased in “’…’”, please note that any edits will need to be made within these ticks otherwise you could break the chat formatting. Now in value you can see two basic tags {DISPLAYNAME} and {MESSAGE}. More tags like the group the player is in can be added as well, you can find a listing for additional tags on the Essentials wiki.

Lets clean up the default value by getting rid of left and right pointing angle brackets.

    format: '{DISPLAYNAME} {MESSAGE}'

Next we should set a standard to easily distinguish the display name of users, along with any additional appending tags we may add later on, from the actual chat message. We can do this by creating a simple barrier using ” : ” to divide them.

    format: '{DISPLAYNAME}: {MESSAGE}'



Now we should set some coloring to distinguish the separation even further as well as add some aesthetic appeal. Here is a list of all available minecraft server Colors Codes.

    format: '&8{DISPLAYNAME}: &7{MESSAGE}'

That’s it, now save your edit, and reload Essentials for the changes to take effect.

Setting the format based on group

Now instead of setting a default format for all users and groups, we can set the format per group. The following line shows an example for the Default and Admin groups. The list is case sensitive, and must exactly match the group name returned by your permissions plugin. To add a new group simply create a new line within group-formats: and list the new group. Will add a Donor group.

      #  Default: '{WORLDNAME} {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&r {MESSAGE}'
      #  Admins: '{WORLDNAME} &c[{GROUP}]&r {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&c {MESSAGE}'
      #  Donor: ''

Next we need to activate them by removing the “#” from the beginning.

        Default: '{WORLDNAME} {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&r {MESSAGE}'
        Admins: '{WORLDNAME} &c[{GROUP}]&r {DISPLAYNAME}&7:&c {MESSAGE}'
        Donor: ''

Now we can format them similar to how we format the default chat.

        Default: '&e{GROUP} &8{DISPLAYNAME}: &7{MESSAGE}'
        Admins: '&c{GROUP} &8{DISPLAYNAME}: &7{MESSAGE}'
        Donor: '&3{GROUP} &8{DISPLAYNAME}: &7{MESSAGE}'

That’s it, now save the changes, and reload Essentials for the changes to take effect. Now note that if you have a group format in place, it will take priority over the default chat format.

Common Issues

Generic chat formatting in-game after configuration
This suggests a syntax error in the format. Review the configuration file and run it through a YAML Parser.

Adding tags from other plugins like Factions
The plugin in question should provide the tags needed to use when formatting the chat. If not then contact the plugins author.


While we offer services for installing plugins, we do not offer services in the configuration of plugins. For this you will need to review the wiki.

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