Slack Etiquette and Hacks

A curated tips and tricks to keep Slack under control

October 14 2017
Reading Time: 11 minutes
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While having a healthy number of channels is good (the more specific and focussed the conversation, the better), it can also be distracting.

Good Sidebar Hygiene 🚻
Slack Notification Settings

The sidebar sweep Now for the powerful magic. In your user menu (top left on desktop), go to Preferences > Advanced Options, and you’ll find this pulldown:*ryF8nJLfkRZdmz13
Slack Sidebar Preferences

Select the option for Hiding all channels, groups and DMs with no unread activity for instant peace. Channels will just pop up when someone speaks. If you have and use starred channels, and often want to get to those even when there’s no new activity, choosing Hiding all channels etc., with unread activity, unless they are starred will make everything feel a lot more manageable.

This is a power move, and can get disorienting fast if you’re used to navigating channels with your mouse. The “Quick Switcher” is the fastest way to get around when channels are hidden. Press ⌘+K, (Ctrl+K on windows; or ⌘+T as an alternative in the Mac desktop app) to reach new channels or conversations. Or move back and forth through your channel history with cmd+[ or cmd+] on Mac, alt+left/right arrows on Windows.

Tidy up the feed

Image and link previews are part of the appeal of Slack, but if you’ve got particularly GIF-happy colleagues or there are a lot of links to wade through then your screen can get very busy very quickly. Type /collapse to hide all image previews in the current channel and /expand to bring them back.

There are a host of helpful commands that begin with the slash symbol—just type / in the message field to see them all pop up. Some of them may have been added by the people who set up your Slack channel, and any third-party plug-ins and add-ons will have similar commands of their own

Slack Hacks

Update your Slack status when Google Calendar events begin

If it’s not on Slack, did it really even happen? Use this automation to communicate your status with your team. After you set it up, whenever an event starts in Google Calendar, Zapier will update your status in Slack. That way, your team will know you’re AFK with no extra effort on your part. You can add this hack and read more about it here

Did you know that you can … 🤔

Choose specific words to get notifications for
Choose specific words to get notifications for

Slack will automatically notify you if someone tags you or mentions your name, but if you are working on a project that spans multiple Slack channels, you can set the service to notify you whenever certain keywords are mentioned.

To do this, click [Preferences] and then select [Notifications]. You can enter as many keywords as you like, and will receive a notification as well as a badge on the channel name when they are mentioned.

Set up Slack reminders so nothing ever slips your mind again
Set up Slack reminders so nothing ever slips your mind again

One of the best built-in Slack commands is /remind You can set it to give you a personal reminder, or you can have it remind someone else on your Slack team about something they need to do.

For example, if they were borrowing your headphones for the day, you could tell Slack /remind @person to return my headphones at 4:00 And once 4 p.m. rolled around, they will receive a polite reminder from Slackbot

List of your most Recent Mentions and Use stars to create an instant to-do list

Missed that last question? Opening Recent Mentions in the Flexpane menu will give you one tidy list of every time someone has mentioned your name or one of your highlight words. Click recent ones to jump straight to the right point in the right conversation.

Every message, file and comment can be starred. While catching up, add stars to anything you need to reply to or take action on. You can then use the Flexpane menu to view a list of everything you’ve starred, ordered by time. PAF! Instant organization

Press the Up arrow to edit

Pressing the Up arrow key will let you edit your most recent message in whatever channel you’re in

Right-click on a time stamp, click on the options menu to the right, or (on mobile) long press to find the specific link for a specific message—you can bookmark this or drop it back into the channel, for example, enabling you to quickly remind your co-workers exactly what they’ve said in the past

Quickly send a private message using the /msg command

Sometimes we find ourselves with questions that warrant the attention of everyone in a specific channel. You know, important things such as, “Does anyone have a stapler?” or “Who is free for lunch?”

Format messages

Legibility matters, especially when you’re sharing a message that’s long than a sentence or two. If you want to emphasize a certain point, you can *bold it by using asterisks on each side of the word or phrase. You can italicize by using _underscores_ on each side of the word or phrase. You can also make lists within a message. Use the Shift + Enter you create a line break, then number the items or create bullet points with dashes. One of the most unknown formatting tips is that you can create block quotes by using the > symbol and a space before tying your sentence

Reference the following syntax:

Useful Shortcuts ! ⌨️

Searching Slack “for dummies” 🤦‍♂️

One of the great things about Slack is that messages and files are easily searchable. Because channels move so fast, you can use these advanced search commands to pull up exactly what you’re looking for without wasting any time.
Advanced Slack Search

Channels and direct messages

Messages or files from a specific person

Dates and times

Pro tip: To use very specific dates, use the MM/DD/YYYY (United States) or YYYY/MM/DD (International) format.)

For more on searching in Slack, check out this resource.


Naming Guidelines

Broad channels

Start with the basics and add new channels around major topics:

Individual channels for regional offices or project teams are a great way to share relevant information and start conversations with the right people.

Specific channels

Next, consider using a set of standard prefixes to keep channel names organized and descriptive. Here are a few of our favorites:

Pattern Description
dev_ Ask questions or find information about engineering topics. Example: #dev_general, #dev_status
sales_ Ask questions or find information about sales topics. Example: #sales_general, #sales_ideas
cs_ Ask questions or find information about customer success topics. Example: #cs_general, #cs_ideas
marketing_ Ask questions or find information about marketing topics. Example: #marketing_general, #marketing_ideas
team_ A place for groups to coordinate team-related topics and activities. Example: #team_DISCO, #team_enigma
wg_ A place foe workgroups to coordinate around certain specific issues Example: #wg_facebook, #wg_teamwiki
feature_ or project_ For cross-functional teams working together. Example: #feature_integrations #project_bathtub

The main difference between a feature and project channels is that usually feature are long term product features while projects can be temporary exploration or a short-term feature

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