Customize message and file retention

By default, Slack will retain all messages and files for the lifetime of your workspace. If you’d like, you can have them deleted after a set amount of time. 

What you need to know

  • Message and file deletion is permanent. Use with care when adjusting these settings.
  • Retention settings will apply to all messages and files, including ones that are pinned or saved.
  • On the Standard and Plus plans, you can adjust retention settings for the entire workspace or for specific channels.
  • On the Enterprise Grid plan, you can set a policy for retention settings that will apply to every workspace in your org.
  • In shared channels, retention settings will apply to the messages, files, and all other content sent by members of your organization. Content sent by members of an external organization will adhere to the retention settings for their workspace or Enterprise Grid org.
  • Adjusting retention settings won't immediately delete anything. Deletions run on a daily schedule, so your deletion will occur the next time your policy runs, typically at 9 p.m. Pacific Time.
  • Deletions with message retention policies occur once per day on a cycle.
  • Slackbot will notify each Workspace Owner of changes to retention policies.

Note: If your application to use Corporate Export is approved and you've enabled the tool, custom retention settings will be reset to keep all files.


Message retention

There are four options when choosing message retention for channels and direct messages (DMs). Keep in mind that your retention settings will impact what you see in an export file.

  • Keep everything
    Slack will keep all messages exchanged in your workspace, in addition to logs of users’ message edits and deletions.
  • Keep all messages, but don't track revisions
    Slack will keep all messages, but will not keep logs of what the original text was, prior to users’ message edits and deletions.
  • Delete messages and their revisions after... 
    This setting allows you to determine a period of time after which Slack will permanently delete messages (including message edit and deletion logs) from channels and DMs. This setting can be as short as one day.
  • Let workspace members override these settings
    This setting allows members to set their own retention period — making it shorter or longer — for private channels and DMs. With this option, Workspace Owners can also adjust retention settings for public channels.

 

Adjust message retention settings

Standard and Plus plans

Enterprise Grid plan

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. Click the Settings tab at the top of the page.
  4. Next to Message Retention & Deletion, click Expand.
  5. Select your preferred retention settings.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Check the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Confirm Settings.

Remember: If members are allowed to apply different retention settings to private channels and DMs they are a part of, those settings will override the workspace-wide settings.

Set org-level message retention policies

Org Owners can set a policy for message retention that applies to every workspace in their org. To do so, contact us.

If a policy is set, Slackbot will notify the Primary Org Owner and request approval to apply it. With a policy in place, Workspace Owners won’t have the option to adjust message retention settings for their individual workspaces.


Review org-level message retention policies

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Organization settings.
  3. Click Settings in the left sidebar, then select Messages and files
  4. Review your policy below Message Retention Policies.

Set workspace-level message retention settings

Note: If a retention policy has been set at the org level, Workspace Owners won’t be able to adjust message retention settings for their workspace(s).

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
  3. From the Settings tab, find Message Retention & Deletion.
  4. Click Expand and select your preferred retention settings.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Check the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Confirm Settings.

Note: Members can set different retention settings for private channels and DMs if both the org policy and workspace settings allow it.

Tip: Because files are stored at the org-level, Workspace Owners are unable to set a file retention policy. Learn more about setting a file retention policy below.


Configure retention 
settings for a specific channel

If permitted, members can configure message retention settings for individual channels, including shared channels. Any custom retention settings will override your workspace-wide settings. Keep in mind:

  • To set custom retention settings for a specific channel, you have to first enable the option to let members override the workspace message retention policy.
  • Multi-workspace channels will always adhere to the organization retention policy. In cases where the org-level policy isn't set, the default is to keep all messages and files.
  • Choosing retention settings for shared channels will only apply to messages and files sent by members of your organization.
  1. From your desktop, open the channel whose retention settings you'd like to configure.
  2. Click  Details in the top right.
  3. Click  More, then select Additional options.
  4. Select Edit message retention.
  5. Select Use custom retention settings for this conversation.
  6. Choose how long you'd like to save messages in the channel and click Save.
  7. Check the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Apply Settings. A Slackbot message confirming these new settings will be posted in the channel.

Note: Members can add different retention settings for their private channels and DMs if both the org policy and workspace settings allow it.

 

File retention

When configuring your file retention settings, there are two options to choose from:

  • Keep all files
    Slack will keep all shared files for the lifetime of your workspace.
  • Keep all files, only for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete files (snippetsposts, uploaded files, and those shared via third-party apps like Dropbox or Google Drive) older than the number of days you choose.

Note: Files shared via apps like Dropbox or Google Drive remain stored in the service they originate from. Deleting them from Slack won't impact the original files.

 

Adjust file retention settings

Configure retention settings for files shared in your workspace or Enterprise Grid org using the steps below. There’s currently no option to set file retention settings for specific conversations.

Standard and Plus plans

Enterprise Grid plans

    1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
    2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
    3. Click the Settings tab at the top of the page.
    4. Next to File Retention & Deletion, click Expand.
    5. Select your preferred retention settings.
    6. Click Save.
    7. Check the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click Confirm Settings.

Set file retention policies

Org Owners can set a policy for file retention that applies to every workspace in their org. To do so, contact us.

If a policy is set, Slackbot will notify the Primary Org Owner and request approval to apply it. With org policies in place, members will be unable to modify retention settings for their channels and DMs.


Review file retention policies

Org Primary Owners and Org Owners can review file retention policies using the steps below:

    1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
    2. Select Settings & administration from the menu, then click Workspace settings.
    3. Click Settings in the left sidebar, then select Messages and files.
    4. Review your policy below File Retention Policies.
Who can use this feature?
  • Workspace Owners and Org Owners
  • Standard, Plus, and Enterprise Grid plans