Create guidelines for channel names

Teamwork and communication in Slack happens in channels, where teams can discuss work and share messages, tools, and files. When most conversations in Slack happen in public channels, members of your workspace can find the right information and gain context they need to get their best work done.

By creating Slack channels aligned with your company structure and using clear, predictable naming guidelines, you can ensure your workspace is organized and easy to navigate. This will help people ask questions in the right place, find information quickly, and work efficiently.

Best practices for creating channels

  • Start with broad channels and get more specific over time
  • Create standard channel prefixes so anyone can find the right channel easily
  • Encourage the use of public channels 

 

Establish channel structure

Start with broad channels

Setting up your workspace using categories your team already knows will help your members get oriented when they join Slack. Add new channels named for major topics most members are already familiar with:

  • Departments (e.g., #design, #marketing, #finance)
  • Office locations (e.g., #san-francisco, #paris, #tokyo)
  • Company-wide announcements (e.g., #announcements-global, #announce-engineering)

Build and expand

As your workspace grows and more people start using Slack, the need for more specific channels will arise. If you start small, you can add new channels as conversations start to branch off organically.

For example, when there are conversations about distinct subjects taking place in your #sales channel, add new channels like #sales-training to plan for new hires, #sales-leads to track contacts, and so on!

Tip: Add a channel topic and purpose to let people know what each channel is used for. 


Create channel prefixes

We recommend using a set of standard prefixes to keep channel names consistent and descriptive. Here are some of our favorites:

 

help- To ask questions or find information from other teams or departments.
Examples: #help-benefits, #help-finance, #help-it
team- For teams to coordinate work and activities.
Examples: #team-design, #team-support, #team-sales
proj- For cross-functional teams working together. 
Examples: #proj-redesign, #
proj-office-move, #proj-expense-reports 
triage- To triage issues or tasks in a streamlined manner.
Examples: #triage-sales, #triage-help-center, #triage-website
event- To plan and execute events, large and small.
Examples: #event-board-mtg, #event-company-picnic, #event-hr-offsite

 

Note: While it's not possible to create folders or sub-channels, prefixes can help organize your channel list if your sidebar is set to sort alphabetically.

 

Document and share your guidelines

Once you've tailored your channel creation process, it's time to share it! This will help encourage consistency and efficiency amongst your members.

Create a Slack post and share your guidelines in a public announcements channel all members can access. We also recommend you:

  • Pin the file in appropriate channels for easy reference.
  • Include it with new hire onboarding materials so it's easy for new members to navigate your workspace.
  • Grant editing access to fellow Admins and others helping administrate Slack so they can add new prefixes and guidelines.

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Manage existing channels

Work is dynamic, and sometimes priorities shift. Maybe a project is renamed, shelved for another day, or canceled entirely. Here's how to keep your channels organized when things change:

Tip: Threads let you respond directly to a message in a channel, and keep all replies, images, and files organized in a single conversation. They can help members of a channel have multiple conversations at once without distracting others.

 

What's next?

Channels are where a majority of work happens in Slack, and consistency will go a long way in keeping your workspace organized. Here are some additional tips to keep on hand as your workspace continues to grow:

  • Set default channels for new members so they can access the most important information in your workspace from day one.
  • If you're on a paid plan, you can create user groups and set different default channels for each one.
  • Let members know they can star specific channels to keep those conversations above the fold in their app sidebar.