11 useful tips for getting the most out of Slack

(And being even less busy, more productive and happier at work than ever)

Did you know that most people only use 10% of their Slack? These simple tips will help you unlock a whole world of potential.

1. Jump immediately to any conversation

Slack’s “Quick Switcher” is the fastest way to open any conversation. Press ⌘+K, (Ctrl+K on windows; or ⌘+T as an alternative in the Mac desktop app) and the magic of autocomplete will have you flipping channels, DMs and Groups faster than you can say “:thumbsup:”

Bonus: There are dozens of other handy keyboard shortcuts and ⌘+? (Ctrl+? on Windows) will reveal them all.

2. A list of your most Recent Mentions

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.

3. Easily manage your unread messages

When you want to come back to a message later, hold down the Option (Alt) key while clicking on it. That will mark it as unread and you can switch to another conversation with the peace of mind that comes from knowing Slack will keep your place. One “long press” (tap & hold) on a message in the mobile apps will give you a special menu that includes the option to mark as unread.

You have options when it comes to the default way Slack manages unread messages. Check the “Read State Tracking” option in your account menu:

And if you happen to want to mark things as read rather than unread, you can. Hit the Esc key to mark one channel as read, Shift+Esc to mark ALL as read. BOOM. DONE.

4. Customize Slack’s personality to suit your team

On the customize page, you can create custom emoji, add your own version of the welcome messages that your team will see on load screens, and produce slackbot responses to amuse, delight, inform and motivate people, and make Slack feel like home.

5. Message timestamps are links to the archives

Copy the timestamp link and share it for easy reference. When posted to a channel, the link expands to show the original message like so:

Simple and linkable, when you want to go back in time and bring an insightful idea back to the conversation. Like ripping a hole in the space-time continuum with your mouse.

6. Require an @ before suggesting names for autocomplete

Having autocomplete for names is great, but on a large team it can be too much. In Preferences > Advanced Options, check one simple box to make it so the autocomplete names function only kicks in when the “@” character is used. That way “William” and “Andrea” won’t keep popping up while you’re only wanting to type “will” and “and”.

7. Use stars to create an instant to-do list

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.

8. 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.

If you need to edit a message older than the most recent one you typed, you’ll find that option in the little ‘cog’ menu that appears when you hover over the message. And if you want to edit in the mobile apps, just tap & hold the message you want to edit in order to get the menu.

9. Narrow your searches for better results

When you know what you’re looking for, adding clever little search modifiers like “in:#channel or “from:user orhas:linkcan help you zero in. Using the Tab key will autocomplete user names and channel names. A full list of modifiers can be found here.

And if you can’t remember what you said, but you know when you said it…

We understand. Just add “during:monthto your search.

10. Make life easier: integrate services you’re already using

You may think you like your Slack raw, with no frills or fancy additions, but Slack tastes better with integrations, and almost every team could use things like:

  1. Set up the Google Docs integration and those ugly URLs you paste will become proper files with useful titles. Plus, the file contents themselves will be indexed and searchable within Slack.
  2. Twitter streams — tweets at you, about you, or about anything — can be fed into a channel, so you never miss a chance to connect.
  3. Google Hangouts from within the channel? Yes: “Can you hop on a call?” “Sure.” Types the /hangout command. Now they have a Google Hangout going! Whaaat?! Cool.

11. Add *emphasis* to your messages

Almost too many lovely little simple tricks, including:

• Using *this* to embolden this.

Adding > before a line, which will indent that line, blockquote-style. And adding >>> at the start of a paragraph…

…will indent everything that’s typed or pasted after it, preserving linebreaks.
Ta-da! Whatever you write looks 800% more authoritative!

And if you need reminding of formatting while you’re typing:

Done! Hopefully there’s something in there that’ll help you get even more out of Slack —but just in case :

Follow @SlackHQ for the latest releases, tweaks, integrations and top tips

We tweet nearly every little change we make to Slack. And we’re constantly changing, improving and listening, so following @SlackHQ is the quickest route to discovering top tips and tricks like these for making your working life less busy (and more lovely) with Slack.