Is there any way to prevent others from seeing your Steam status without removing them as a friend?

Let's say I want to play Borderlands 2 without letting some friends know. Is there any way to hide my status to prevent them from knowing I'm playing it?

Basically, what I'm asking if Steam has an "Appear Offline" option.

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    I think he's looking for an "Appear Offline" option. – Frank Nov 26 '12 at 21:20
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    There is no "Appear Offline" option in Steam as such, but you could always sign off of Friends and see your friends' statuses on steamcommunity.com – njallam Nov 26 '12 at 21:22
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    @njallam Why not post that as an answer? – LessPop_MoreFizz Nov 26 '12 at 21:49
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    @njallam There is an appear offline option. -.- – Decency Nov 27 '12 at 1:49
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    The 'appear offline' option is merely signing off of your friend's list. As made evident by the 'Sign In' button in your answer's picture. – Christopher Berman Nov 27 '12 at 20:43

Since a recent update, you can now set it so that only your friends, or no-one can see what you're playing.

Go to the Steam community settings page here, it can be found at that link or as this answer states, on Steam go to Profile > Edit Profile > My Privacy Settings > Game details
At Game Details you can choose between public, friends only or private.

This category includes the list of all games on your Steam account, games you’ve wishlisted, your achievements and your playtime. This setting also controls whether you’re seen as "in-game" and the title of the game you are playing.

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Open your friends list and change your status to Offline, and that should be what you need. You can't do it for specific friends, but if you're just trying to play solo that will do the trick.


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    I was hoping to be online in a game without friends seeing me playing the game. It's weird. – senpai Nov 27 '12 at 3:29
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    ... yeah, this lets you do that. – Decency Nov 27 '12 at 4:43
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    @ChristopherBerman Because you don't have to go offline to appear offline. Your answer is wrong. – Decency Nov 27 '12 at 20:34
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    Ah. You read my post as suggesting the user go into Offline Mode, and not going offline on your friend's list. I can see how that would be misread. Ok. – Christopher Berman Nov 27 '12 at 20:42
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    As an addendum to this post, with Steam Web Chat, you can go offline on the Steam client but still chat with friends -- without revealing that you're in game. – Schism Apr 12 '13 at 2:54

Click "add non-steam game" then add something like notepad. You can then rename it whatever you want to make it less suspicious. Run it from steam and it will show you as in a non-steam game called whatever you decide to name it. Then run the game you actually want to play and your status will remain in the non-steam "game" you launched first.

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    Wow, that's sneaky :) – wip Sep 12 '13 at 0:22
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    I'm not convinced that this works, at least not anymore, because I've had friends comment that my status is rotating between different games I have running at the same time. – Hubro Mar 2 '16 at 16:42
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    This worked for me until about 2 weeks ago. Now instead of the oldest-launched game hiding new ones from my status, the newest-launched game does. To make this technique work now, I launch the "real" game while offline, then the "mask" non-Steam game, and then I come online. – Skull Kid Jul 22 '16 at 21:14

Edit: As of 2018-04-10 there is a built-in setting to hide your currently played game in Profile > Edit Profile > My Privacy Settings > Game details. Set this to Private, but take note of the other profile items affected by this setting. Since it would hide so much of your profile, this old answer may still be useful:

You can maintain a "blue" online status while playing a Steam game.

This method requires multiple instances of Steam. For example, sign into the same Steam account on 2 different machines. Set your status to Offline in the instance you'll play your game from, and set the other instance's status to whatever you want your friends to see.

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  • Nice idea, created an acqade account just for upvoting :) – kazenorin Nov 1 '16 at 14:18
  • How is it different from just playing offline? – Baskakov_Dmitriy Mar 28 '17 at 15:43
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    Note that the 'blue' Online effect can also be accomplished by signing in to the mobile app, although that will show that you're 'on mobile' rather than just online. – Robotnik Apr 11 '18 at 12:51

Steam → Settings → uncheck Automatically sign into Friends when I start Steam

It actually should keep the Steam trolls from harassing you.

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  • Not found the option you said. – vee Jun 9 at 3:11

Yes, it is possible. All you have to do is to block them:
In the drop-down next to the person's name, I pick "Block All Communication".

You might want to look at this question too to be clearer, but basically it makes you appear as "offline" to that person only. However, like that post says, be careful because they can still see your real status if they go to your profile, whether they're logged in or not. If you're concerned about it, one counter is to set your profile as private to everyone, or just do like other answers say and set your status to Offline.

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  • Setting the profile to "Private" is not going to help against users already on your friends list. Blocking is a great option for specifying certain users though. – Batophobia Jul 29 '13 at 16:25
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    @Batophobia: Yeah, it can. If you look, completely private is an option. – Ullallulloo Jul 29 '13 at 16:34
  • Did not know that. Interesting. – Batophobia Jul 29 '13 at 17:11

To play online without anyone seeing (I know even people who are your friends can get annoying with requests when you just want to play alone), right click your profile pic in steam when you're not in game and set it to offline. You can still play online but it wont show that little notification to your friends. I use it all the time

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You can set your status to offline after you join the game with someone. So there will be a minute or so window where they will be able to see what you are doing so not really a perfect solution.

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I have the solution after needing to be hidden as well. At the top of your steam window should be several options, steam view friends games help.

Click on the friends option and a drop-down menu should appear. From there you can click on whatever status you would like. This allows you to be "offline" while still being able to play and you don't have to block anyone.

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