Getting work done in channels just got easier

Introducing improvements to formatting text, sending channel invites and working with external partners in Slack

By the team at SlackNovember 13th, 2019Illustration by Wenting Li

If you’re one of the 12 million people actively using Slack each day, you already know that channels are a better way to work. They help you bring together the right people and information, so you can move work forward with a common purpose and place. And now, communicating in channels is even simpler.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out a series of improvements that make it dramatically easier to invite teammates into channels—and way, way easier to format your messages so everything looks exactly how you expected. Let’s start with that last one.

A better way to format and preview messages

Communication can be hard. And while we can’t compose the perfect message for you, we can lend a hand with its clarity. Slack has had text formatting for ages, and it’s a great way to add emphasis, convey urgency and underscore a point.

In the past, you needed to type *asterisks* for bold text or _underscores_ for italics. It was also difficult to tell what your messages would look like before you posted them. Well, that’s all changing with the new text formatting toolbar.

A new text formatting feature for Slack

Want to bold a few words? Start a bulleted list? Click the `Aa` button to expand the toolbar and select the formatting you’d like to apply. No fancy keystrokes required.

As you format your text, you’ll also be able to preview how it will look in your message, a feature known as What You See Is What You Get, or WYSIWYG. (In developer lingo that’s pronounced “wizzywig,” which we mention only because it is very fun to say.)

A better way to invite collaborators and colleagues into Slack

Recently we introduced you to shared channels—a better way to work in Slack with people outside your company. A shared channel functions just like a normal Slack channel, only it connects two organizations. We’re streamlining the process for inviting people into shared channels. Here are the details.

A new way to invite outside teams to a shared channel

Soon, any user on a paid plan will be able to generate a simple share link for a shared channel and send it to any external partner. The partner can then accept the invite and follow a series of short prompts to join the shared channel. Admins at both companies will be notified of the shared channel request, which they can quickly approve, sending everyone on their merry, collaborative way.

We’ve also made it easier to invite people from inside your organization to channels, whether that’s just a handful or a really large handful of users.

A new way to invite new members to a Slack channel in bulk

You can now invite up to 1,000 users at once by pasting a list of emails or usernames, rather than inviting users one by one. For large teams that frequently need to add hundreds or even thousands of members, what was a time-consuming, manual process can now be accomplished in only a few clicks.

With more control over who you work with and how you converse with them in Slack, it’s a lot less effort to move conversations out of isolated inboxes and into channels. Whether you’re formatting a message, inviting dozens of users into a new project or collaborating with an external partner, we hope these features introduce more time, and simplicity, into your day.

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