Getting Started With Second Life: The Basics

Updated on September 24, 2018
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Cleo Addams is a published science fiction author. In her free time, she enjoys researching and writing articles on various topics.

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A lot of people sign up for Second Life (SL), but then quit after a couple hours of trying to figure out how to move the avatar and use the site.

At first glance SL does look complicated, but it's really not.

I'm going to assume at this point that you've signed up, downloaded the SL Client, and have completed the in-world Tutorial when you log in for the very first time.

Here is a list of the Basic controls that you'll need to know to get started in Second Life. (If it helps, print this page for quick reference.)

Moving Your Avatar Using The Mouse & Keyboard

  • To Move your Avatar: Use the Arrow Keys
  • To Fly: Hold down the “E” key for a few seconds, then release
  • To Gain Altitude when Flying: Hold down the “E” key
  • To Land when Flying: Hold down the “C” key
  • To Jump: Tap the “E” key once
  • To sit on a chair or other object : Right click and SelectSit Here” (To stand up, click “Stand” at the bottom of the screen)

To Look Around

  • To change the Camera View: Hold down “Ctrl+Alt” and use your mouse to click on the screen wherever you want to look and drag the camera to that location. Use the scroll wheel on your mouse to Zoom in and Out. (This takes a little time to get used to, so don't give up! Practice makes perfect.)
  • To reset your Camera view: Hit the "Escape" key

To Friend Someone

  • To send someone a Friend Request that is by you: Right click on the person's name and select “Add Friend”.
  • To send someone a Friend Request that isn't by you: Click the magnifying glass on the Tool Bar (Image 1). A box will open.

    Change the drop down to "People". Type the person's Second Life name, then click "Search" (Image 2).

    If the person has their profile as public, their name will populate. Then, click on "Profile" (Image 3). Then the box will expand.

    Click on "Profile" again (Image 4). A new box will open.

    Click "Add Friend".

Image 1: Magnifying Glass
Image 1: Magnifying Glass | Source
Image 2: Searching for Someone
Image 2: Searching for Someone | Source
Image 3: Click on "Profile"
Image 3: Click on "Profile" | Source
Image 4: Click the "Profile" button
Image 4: Click the "Profile" button | Source

To Block Someone

Is someone harassing you? You can Block them by right clicking on their name and select “Block”.

To Fill Out Your Profile

Right click on your name and select "My Profile".

A box will open, then click "Edit Profile".

To Change the Shape of Your Avatar

Right click on your name and select "Edit My Shape".

A sidebar will pop-out from the left side of your screen

You can click any body part listed, i.e. "Body", "Head", "Eyes", etc and use the sliders to change the shape.

When you are done, click on the green "Save" button at the top (Image 1).

Image 1: Click the Green "Save" Button
Image 1: Click the Green "Save" Button | Source

Is It Too Dark and You Can't See?

A Second Life day is only 3 hrs long and the night is only 1 hour long. So, if it gets dark and you can't see, click on "World" at the top of the screen, then "Sun", and then "Midday". Now you can see again!

Communication

Sending someone an Instant Message differs depending on if you want to chat with someone that is or isn't on your friends list. Well, no worries. Finding them to chat takes just a little bit of searching.

To communicate with someone that isn't on your Friend's List:

  • To send someone an Instant Message that is by you: Right click on the person's name and select “Send IM”.
  • To send someone an Instant Message that isn't by you: Search for them just like you're going to add them to your friend's list, except click "IM". (See the "To Friend Someone" section above in this tutorial.)

To communicate with someone that is on your Friend's List:

  • To send someone an Instant Message that is standing by you: Right click on the person's name and select “Send IM”.
  • To send someone an Instant Message that isn't standing by you: Click on the "People" button on the bottom toolbar (Image 1). A box will open.

    Then click on the "Friends" tab (Image 2).

    Right click on the person's name that you want to chat with and select "IM" (Image 3).

To Chat Publicly to Anyone:

  • To chat out openly in Public, click the "Chat" button on the bottom toolbar (Image 4), type what you want to say, then hit "Enter" on your keyboard. Anyone within 20 steps (meters) of you will see what you are saying and can respond.

Image 1: Click the "People" Button
Image 1: Click the "People" Button | Source
Image 2: Click the "Friends" Tab
Image 2: Click the "Friends" Tab | Source
Image 3: Click "IM"
Image 3: Click "IM" | Source
Image 4: Click the "Chat" Button
Image 4: Click the "Chat" Button | Source

Second Life 2018 Community Trailer

Note: This tutorial was written for use with the SL Viewer. This tutorial will not be accurate for 3rd party viewers.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Cleo Addams

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