21 Facebook Messenger tricks you're (probably) not aware of

Become the king of chat and the envy of your friends by levelling-up your Messenger skills

Time was, sending messages through Facebook was a clunky add-on to your favourite social media service.

Now, though, it's grown into a fully fledged, standalone beast of communications, compelte with a slew of cool features - many of which are hidden away in settings menus.

So, to keep you abreast of the best developments - and to ensure your chat game is on point - here are 21 Facebook Messenger tips and tricks that you might not know about.

The basics

Use Messenger without a Facebook account

Some people prefer to steer clear of signing up for a full Facebook account - but that doesn't mean they need to miss out on the Messenger fun.

At the login screen, simply hit the button to say you don't have an account and you'll be able to register using only your phone number. If you've associated this with an account before it'll try and get you to sign in with that - but if you're trying to go cold turkey on Facey-B, you can still make a new chat-only login using this number.

Once you're online, you'll still be able to choose a picture and start chats with people you know, many of whom are easily found from your phone's contacts library.

Access Messenger anywhere with the web version

Away from your phone or trying to stay under the radar? Fear not: Facebook has a full, standalone web-based Messenger service.

Head to the website, sign in and - hey presto! - you've a phone-like Messenger interface right there on your PC, without having full Facebook open to distract you with its cheeky memes.

Play instant games

If the chat has dried up it might be time to get some fun going - and that's now easier than ever thanks to Messenger's in-built games.

Hit the little plus symbol when you're in a conversation and then tap the 'games' icon. From here you'll be able to fire up a whole host of time-wasters - from Snake and PAC-MAN to Solitaire and Tomb Runner - without leaving the app. It even works in group chats, too, if you want to get properly competitive.