Regardless of whether you work remotely or in an office with your team, the odds are you’ve used Slack or that you’re at least familiar with its existence. After all, the platform has more than 12 million active daily users and over 156,000 organizations that pay a subscription to use it.
But while you might know that Slack makes it quicker and easier to communicate with your colleagues, you might not realize just how much more efficient and effective it can make your workday.
So, we’ve compiled 24 Slack tips to help you get the most out of the app and to put it to work making your life easier.
1. Use Slack in Your Browser
If you want to use Slack without having it constantly open on your desktop, consider using the web version instead of the app. This way, you can check in proactively without having the little red “new message” icon constantly dragging your attention away from your work.
2. Avoid Disruptions by Disabling Notifications
If you don’t like the browser version but want to reduce Slack-induced distractions, you can turn off your notifications in the Notification Settings tab. This can include muting channels, disabling the red activity icon, and turning off pings and noises.
3. Leverage the “My Keywords” Feature
As a standard feature, Slack lets you know when you’re tagged or mentioned in a channel or thread. But if you want to receive notifications for things that don’t necessarily pertain directly to you, such as notifications every time a message is sent in a specific channel, then you can set up notifications for that. You can even set up notifications for specific relevant keywords.
- Go to Preferences
- Click Notifications
- Find “My Keywords” and enter words and phrases and enter the words and phrases you’d like notifications for
Make sure to separate keywords using commas. And if you want to remove these notifications, just clear the keywords box.
4. Edit Quickly With One Key
Typos, incorrect links, and accidental tags don’t stand a chance against Slack. Why? Because you can edit every message you send–and you can do it without your hands leaving the keyword.
Just click the up arrow in the channel where you typed the message and Slack will automatically open the editor.
5. Use Slackbot for Reminders
If you ask us, the single most neglected feature of slack is @Slackbot. But that’s a mistake! You can actually use Slackbot to create Reminders for yourself or your colleagues.
All you need to do is type:
/remind [me / @someone / #channel] [what] [when]
For example, this could be:
- /remind me I have a call with John Doe at 3pm every Tuesday
- /remind @Mike to send through my report
- /remind #General it’s Lucy’s birthday on November 16
6. Sync Your Status to Your Calendar
If you want people on Slack to automatically know when you’re unavailable, sync your Outlook or Google Calendar app to Slack.
- Open the app inside of Slack and send it any message to get started.
- Click the “Connect to the app” button, then follow the steps to link your Slack and Outlook or Gmail accounts together. Once your account is connected, you’ll start receiving event reminders and notifications inside Slack.
- After linking your account, click the “Turn On” button to start syncing your Slack status with your Outlook or Gmail calendar.
- At the start of your next calendar event, your status will automatically update.
7. Set a “Do Not Disturb” Schedule
Need a time-out period from Slack to buckle down and get some work done? Going into a meeting and don’t want notifications? Then set your Slack to Do Not Disturb mode.
All you need to do is:
- Click on your name
- Click on Preferences
- Click on Notifications
- Set DND Schedule
Your Slack will automatically come back to life when that time period is done.
8. Use Slack for Notes or Quick Memos
Slack isn’t just for direct messaging. You can also use it for notetaking. All you need to do is Direct Message your notes to @Slackbot and they’ll be there forever. You can also flag notes you’ll need to revisit later.
9. Star Important Messages
The same way you can flag notes to yourself, you can also “Star” important messages from other people. Clicking the Star icon beside a message lets you bookmark it for later and files all your Starred messages in one place.
10. Use the Emoji Keyboard Shortcut
Emojis are a great way to add a little personality to your messages, but with so many to choose from, it can be tough trying to navigate the entire library.
Now, instead of clicking the gallery and scrolling through, you can use a shortcut to help you find the perfect emoji every time.
Simply type +:[character] followed by the word of the emoji you’re looking for. Your options will automatically start auto-populating as you start typing.
When you find the right one, just click “tab” then enter to send.
11. Create Your Own Emoji
Not satisfied with simply finding the right emoji? No worries. You can just create your own.
- Select the Customize Your Workspace page
- Select “Customize Slack”
- Click “Add Custom Emoji” to open the menu Add your emoji and save
Not sure how to make an emoji? Don’t worry. There are a ton of platforms out there that let you do it (like this one).
12. Change Preferences to Show Only Unread Channels
Some teams and organizations have literally hundreds of Slack channels, and in many cases, only a few will apply to you.
This can make it challenging to navigate to the one you’re looking for. So, you might want to try showing only unread channels by:
- Going to Preferences
- Clicking Advanced
- Selecting Channel List
- Selecting “My unreads, along with everything I’ve starred.”
13. Send Direct Messages Within Any Text Box
The same way scrolling through a ton of channels can be annoying, so can scrolling through direct messages to find a specific person.
The good news is you can message anyone from any channel by typing /msg @user [your message].
For example, you can type /msg @Jane Smith please give me a call when you have a moment from any channel and it would go directly to that person privately.
14. Give Kudos
Did someone on your team do something awesome? Give them some appreciation using the /kudos command.
Simply type /kudos @recipient + enter button.
This allows any user in your team to send recognition to one or more team members.
15. Jump to Latest Unread Message
Save yourself precious seconds of scrolling to find the newest unread message in a channel by simply clicking Alt + Shift + Down Arrow on PCs or Option + Shift + Down Arrow on Macs.
16. Use Advanced Search Queries
In addition to searching for keywords (Command + F on Mac or Ctrl + F on Windows), you can also use advanced search queries and commands in Slack. Click here for the comprehensive guide to doing so.
17. Forward Emails to Slack
If you want to ensure you (or a group of colleagues) never miss an important email, you can forward emails directly into Slack.
To do this, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- From your desktop, open the channel or DM you’d like to send email to
- Click the channel or member name(s) in the conversation header
- Click the Integrations tab
- Select Send emails to this [channel] or [conversation]
- Click Get Email Address
- If you’d like to set up an automatic forwarding rule from your email provider or add the email to your address book, click Copy next to the email address
- If you created an email address for a channel, Slackbot will post a message that’s only visible to you with a prompt to let members know an email address has been created. Click Share Email Address to post a message to the channel with any details you’d like. Otherwise, click Dismiss
18. Mute Any Channel
If you’re in a chatty channel, it can be annoying to get constant notifications about new messages.
To stop these notifications, all you need to do is go to the channel setting and mute it.
19. Learn to Use Giphy
Using GIFs can be a fun way to bring another element to a conversation. And here’s the good news: Slack is integrated with Giphy. To send a gif, just type /giphy and a search term.
For example, if you type /giphy TGIF, it will bring up an option for a GIF. If you don’t like it, click Shuffle until you find one that works. Then, hit send.
20. Turn Any Slack Message Into a Task
Asana is yet another awesome integration available with Slack and it actually lets you turn a Slack message into a task.
Here’s how to do it:
- Install the Asana app for Slack
- Click the three dot icon next to a Slack message
- Click either Add as task comment or Create a task
21. Access Complete Workspace Analytics
You can access every detail about Slack channel by viewing its analytics. To do this, simply:
- Click your workspace name in the top left
- Select Tools
- Choose Analytics from the drop-down menu
You can also customize the date range.
22. Let Your Team Know Your Working Hours
Working in a team distributed across the globe can be a challenge, especially when your coworkers span many time zones and locations.
So, the easiest way around this is to use Slack to let your team know your working hours.
Here are the steps to do it:
- Have each team member set a descriptive custom status that reflects their workload.
- Encourage team members to use the Do Not Disturb feature during the day to block off distraction-free hours when they’re focused on their work.
- Make sure your timezone is set in your user profile, and encourage others to check user profiles before DMing them or scheduling meetings.
23. Run a Quick Poll
Running a quick poll is a great way to get feedback from your team on anything from an upcoming lunch order to picking the best photo for a company blog post.
Here are the simple steps you need to follow to run your own poll:
- Write up a message that asks for input and offers options and use message formatting to make sure the voting options are really clear
- Ask people to respond using emoji reactions and remember, you may want to put one vote on each, to make it easier for others to just tap to vote
- Wait a bit and see which consensus forms to help you make a decision
24. Use Screen Sharing and Drawing For Collaboration
You may not realize that Slack isn’t just for written messages. It also has a “calls” functionality and, within that, you can even use drawing tools and screen sharing.
If you have a topic that would be more easily demonstrated or drawn out, do this:
- Hit the Call button in Slack to start a Slack Call
- Once connected on a call, hit the Share screen button. This also activates screen drawing, where participants can draw on the screen, in case you want to circle an area of the screen to highlight it or want to sketch out a new idea
- Select the pencil icon during screen sharing to begin drawing. For example, you can circle something you want others to pay attention to and everyone on the call will be able to see your annotation
When you’ve got a busy day and a big workload to get through, finding ways to put your tools to work on your behalf can save you time, hassle, and headache. And Slack goes above and beyond to give you options that make your life easier.
If you’d like to learn about how a flexible office space can also make your workday more productive and enjoyable, get in touch today to learn about Launch Workplaces.