Send and read messages

Whether in a channel or a direct message, communication in Slack is the backbone of collaboration. Slack makes it easy to send and read messages so that you can quickly share information with your workspace.


Send messages in Slack

Desktop

iOS

Android

When you’re viewing a channel, its name will be highlighted in the channel list on the left. Click the message field at the bottom of the screen to send a message to this channel.

  1. Type your message in the message field.
  2. Press Enter to send.

You can quickly edit your last message by pressing the up arrow key in the empty message field.

Tip: You also have the option to add a send button to Slack, allowing you to use the Enter key to add a new line to your text.

  1. Tap the message field at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Type your message.
  3. Tap the  paper plane icon to send. 

Note: To give yourself more space to compose, tap the  diagonal arrows icon or swipe up on the message field.

You can add to your message using the options below:

Action Icon
Share a photo  
Upload and attach a file  
Choose a slash command  
Mention a member  

Tip: To edit a message, tap and hold the message, then tap Edit message.

  1. Tap the message field at the bottom of the screen
  2. Type your message
  3. Tap the  paper plane icon to send.

You can add to your messages using the options below:

Action Icon
Choose an emoji   
Take a photo to share  
Share a photo  
Upload and attach a file  
Choose a slash command  
Mention a member  

Tip: To edit a message, tap and hold the message, then tap Edit.

Note: If a message fails to send, you may see an exclamation mark next to a channel or direct message in the sidebar. To resend your message, open the channel or DM, find the message, then click or tap the exclamation mark icon.


Drafts

If you start writing a message and navigate away, you'll see a  pencil icon next to the channel name or direct message. That unsent message will sit under the Drafts heading at the top of your sidebar until you’re ready to send it.

Animated gif showing channels being moved into the drafts section of the sidebar if they have an unsent message

Drafts are available on desktop, iOS and Android. They do not sync across different devices.

Note: Drafts is a built-in feature – it's not possible to disable it for your account or workspace.


Read messages in Slack

Desktop

iOS

Android

Open and view channels

If you see a channel name in bold in the list, that means there’s unread activity – click it to open the channel and view unread messages.

You’ll see a blue bar when you open a channel with unread activity: this tells you the number of new messages since you last viewed the channel.

unread_blue_bar


Unread messages

By default, Slack marks a channel as read as soon as you view it, but you can change the way that your unread activity is managed from your preferences. Here’s how:

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Preferences from the menu.
  3. Click the Mark as read tab.
  4. Under When I view a channel, select your preference.

You can choose from one of these options:

  • Start where you left off (at the oldest unread message), and mark the channel as read
  • Start at the newest message, and mark the channel as read
  • Start at the newest message, but leave the older messages unread

Mark messages as unread

If you need to come back to a channel later, you can mark messages as unread. Here’s how:

  1. Hover over the oldest message that you want to mark as unread.
  2. Click the  More actions icon.
  3. Click Mark unread.

The message that you’ve selected and any others that are sent after it will be marked unread.

Tip: You can also hold Alt and click a message to mark that message, and any others sent after it, as unread.

Open and view channels

In the iOS app, your main view will be of the channel that you’re currently in. Here's how to navigate to other channels:

  1. Swipe left to right to open the channel list.
  2. Tap the channel you want to view.

If a channel name is in bold, this means that there's unread activity. Channels with unread activity will appear at the top of the channel list.


Unread messages

Slack will display a blue bar when a channel has more unread activity than can fit on your screen.

Tap the arrow on the left to jump to the oldest unread message, or mark the channel as read by tapping the  close icon at the right end of the bar
.

Note: To disable the blue unread bar, swipe from right to left, tap Settings, then Advanced, and toggle Mark as read immediately.


Mark messages as unread

If you need to come back to a channel later, you can mark messages as unread. Here’s how:

  1. Long-press a message.
  2. Tap Mark unread.

The message that you’ve selected and any others sent after it will be marked as unread.

Open and view channels

In the Android app, your main view will be of the channel that you're currently in. Here's how to navigate to other channels:

  1. Tap your workspace icon on the top left side or swipe from left to right to open the channel list.
  2. Tap the channel you want to view.

If a channel name is in bold, this means that there's unread activity. Channels with unread activity will appear at the top of the channel list.

Note: On Android 9 or above, any reply that you start writing from your device’s notification shade will be saved in Slack. If you switch over to the mobile app, you’ll see your drafted reply in the message field for that conversation.


Unread messages

Slack will display a blue bar when a channel has more unread activity than can fit on your screen. Tap the blue bar to jump to the oldest unread message, or tap the  close icon at the right end of the bar to mark the channel as read.


Mark messages as unread

If you need to come back to a channel later, you can mark messages as unread. Here’s how:

  1. Long-press a message.
  2. Tap Mark unread.

The message that you’ve selected and any others sent after it will be marked as unread.

In Slack, conversations happen in channels and direct messages. To start and join conversations, learn how to send and read messages.


Write and send messages

There are two ways to start writing new messages in Slack:

  • Use the   compose button.
  • Type a message in the message field of any channel or direct message.

Desktop

Mobile

Create a message from the compose button 

  1. From anywhere in Slack, click the   compose button next to your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Type the name of a person (up to eight) or channel in the To: field.
  3. Type and format your message in the message field.
  4. Click the  paper plane icon to send your message.


Type a message the message field 

  1. Click the message field in a channel or direct message.
  2. Type and format your message.
  3. Press Enter to send it.


Add to your message

As you're writing, use the icons below to add to your message:

Select a shortcut  
Format your message  
Mention someone  
Add an emoji  
Add a file  

Create a message from the compose button

  1. From the  Home tab, tap the  compose button at the bottom of your screen. 
  2. Type your message.
  3. Tap the  paper plane icon to send.


Type a message in the message field

  1. Tap the message field in a channel or direct message.
  2. Type your message.
  3. Tap the  paper plane icon to send it.


Add to your message

As you're writing, use the icons below to add to your message:

Select a shortcut  
Mention someone  
Format your message  
Add an emoji  
Take a photo  
Add a photo from your device  
Add a file  

Tip: For more space to compose tap the  diagonal arrows icon (iOS only) or swipe up on the message field.

Note: If at any point you’re not ready to send your message, it will save as a draft so that you can come back to it later. Read more about drafts below.


Create and edit drafts

If you start writing a message and do not send it, it will automatically save as a draft. Use the information below to help you access your draft messages. 

Desktop

Mobile

Click  Drafts in the left sidebar to view all of your drafted messages. Hover over any message for more options:

Delete draft  
Edit draft  
Send message  

Tip: If there is an unsent message in a conversation, you’ll see a   pencil icon next to the channel name or direct message in the left sidebar.

  1. From the  Home tab, tap Drafts at the top. 
  2. Tap a draft message to open it.


Read messages

If a channel or direct message name is bolded in your channel list, that means there are unread messages. You can click the bolded channel or direct message to open the conversation and view unread messages.


Decide how Slack manages read messages

Messages in Slack will be marked as read soon after you open a channel or direct message. If you like, you can change this preference.


Mark messages as unread

If you need to come back to a message later, you can mark it as unread.

Desktop

Mobile

  1. Hover over the oldest message that you want to mark as unread.
  2. Click the  three dots icon
  3. Click Mark unread. The selected message, and any others sent after it, will be marked as unread.

Tip: You can also hold Alt and click a message to mark that message, and any others sent after it, as unread.

  1. Tap and hold a message.
  2. Tap Mark unread. The selected message, and any others sent after it, will be marked as unread.