How do I start a Chat thread?

Substack Chat is available on the web and the Substack app.

The easiest way to start a chat thread is to click on your Substack profile and select "Chat" from the drop-down menu.

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Tap your row and then select "Start a new thread".

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Note: Each chat thread you start can include text, links, video, or up to six images.

Type a message you'd like to share with your subscribers. 

  • To add an image: Tap on the picture icon to select photos from your device.
  • To add a videoTap on the video icon to upload from your gallery. If you're using the Substack app, you can tap "Camera" to record a video directly from your phone's camera. Videos in Chat can be up to five minutes long and the recommended resolution is 1080p or lower. If you allow subscribers to start their own chat threads, they can share their own images and videos with the community.


  • To share a link: Long-press within the thread body to paste a link. If the link you're sharing has a preview, it will appear.
  • Choose your audience: If you'd like only paid subscribers to access this thread, tap on the lock icon on the web or the three dots on the app and select "Paid subscribers" or "Founding members".
  • Send as email: Tap the toggle to the right to notify your subscribers, letting them know you've started a new Chat thread.

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Once you've finished composing a message, click Send on the web or the up arrow on the app, and your thread will appear in the Chat.

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How are subscribers notified about Chat?

When you post your first chat, we'll notify your subscribers via email. Your subscribers won't be emailed about chat threads after that unless you've selected to send the thread as an email. If they have notifications enabled on the Substack app, they'll receive a push notification about any new threads. 

Can I paywall a chat thread?

When you start a new chat thread, you can select the option to have only paid subscribers or founding members be able to view and reply. Free subscribers will see a "Subscribers only" lock screen on paid threads.


Can I paywall my entire chat?

Slide the toggle next to "Enable chat paywall" and select whether you want to gate access to paid subscribers or just founding members.

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Subscribers without access cannot view or reply to any chat threads. If they try to access your chat, they’ll be prompted to upgrade to participate.

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Can my subscribers start a new thread?

You can let other members of your Substack community initiate a new thread in your publication's Chat.

On your desktop, head to your publication's Settings page and scroll to the Chat section.

  • Payments enabled: Next to "Who can start new threads", select which type of reader you'd like to be able to start a new thread on your Chat. The options are publication contributors, founding members, paid subscribers, or free subscribers. If you've paywalled your entire chat, you will not see the option for free subscribers.

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  • Free publications: Free publications will see the options for publication contributors and subscribers. 

Note: Publication contributors, founding members, and paid subscribers can start chat threads, but any subscriber, free and paid, can participate and respond to the threads unless your entire chat is paywalled to just paid subscribers or founding members. If you do not want your subscribers to start a new thread, select "Only publication contributors" next to "Who can start new threads".

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