Use a canvas in Slack

When you need to share information that won’t fit in a simple message (such as project plans or meeting notes), create a canvas. A canvas is a surface where you can create and share fully formatted content with your colleagues, directly in Slack.

An image of a cursor pointing at the channel canvas icon in the Slack desktop app

What to expect

There are two ways to use canvases in Slack:

  • Channel and direct message canvases
    Every channel and direct message (DM) has a built-in canvas where you can store relevant and persistent details about the conversation and the work that is happening there. Channel canvases can be seen by anyone with access to the channel, and DM canvases are only visible to the members of the DM.

  • Standalone canvases
    You can create a canvas for anything that you’re working on – meeting notes, project briefs or checklists – and then share it with your colleagues in any conversation. You can also keep canvases private, for select eyes only.

Tip: Not sure what to use a canvas for? Take a look at our ideas and templates for canvas to get started.


Get started

A canvas in a conversation

A canvas on its own

Channel and DM canvases can be used to organise the information that your team needs regularly, or for any important details that someone in the conversation might need at a glance.

  1. Click on the blank  add channel canvas icon in any conversation header to open the canvas.
  2. If you have permission to post in the conversation, start typing to add content to the canvas.

Tip: When the canvas in a conversation has content in it, the icon will change from the blank   add channel canvas icon to the filled   canvas icon.

You can create a canvas on its own for anything that you’re working on – from employee onboarding to company newsletters, project briefs and more.

Desktop

  1. From your desktop, click   Canvases at the top of your left-hand sidebar. If you don’t see this option, click on   More to find it.
  2. From the   Canvases view, click   New canvas in the top-right corner.
  3. A blank canvas will open in a new window, and you can start typing to add content to your canvas.

Mobile

  1. From the   Home tab, tap   Canvas at the top.
  2. From the Canvas view, tap Create.
  3. A blank canvas will open. Start typing to add content to your canvas.

 

Formatting options for canvas

Format your text

Add objects to your canvas

  Text formatting options

You can apply the following formatting options to the text in a canvas:

  Paragraph

  Big heading

  Medium heading

  Small heading

  Checklist

  Ordered list

  Bullet-point list

  Block quote

  Code block

  Insert objects

Insert media directly into a canvas to play audio and video in line, and interact with files and other canvases.

  Video clip

  Audio clip

  Divider

  Image

  Canvas

  File

Quick actions

Along the toolbar, you’ll notice additional icons that will allow you to complete some quick actions in your canvas:

  Upload an image

  Format text as a checklist

  Open the emoji browser and add an emoji to your text

 

Apply formatting

Desktop

Mobile

When you open a canvas, the formatting options will appear in the formatting bar at the bottom of the canvas. Use the formatting bar to insert media such as clips or files, or to configure your text into lists, quotes or headings.

Format your text

  1. From the canvas, start typing your content.
  2. The formatting bar will appear at the bottom of the canvas.
  3. Click on the   formatting icon to reveal text formatting options. Select an option from the list to format your text.
  4. Highlight any text that appears in your canvas to reveal the formatting bar and apply options such as Bold, Italic and Strikethrough.

Insert media

  1. From the canvas, start typing your content.
  2. The formatting bar will appear at the bottom of the canvas.
  3. Click on the   insert icon and select from the list to insert the media of your choice.

Once you’ve added content to your canvas, you can rearrange it by clicking and holding the six dots icon and dragging the content to a new location in the canvas.Canvas-blocks_2x.gif

Tip: Click the   six dots icon for additional formatting options, to copy a link to the section or to add a comment.

Format your text

  1. From the canvas, start typing your content.
  2. The formatting bar will appear at the bottom of the canvas.
  3. Tap on the   formatting icon to reveal text formatting options, and swipe the toolbar towards the left to scroll through the options.
  4. Select your option from the toolbar, then tap to apply the changes.

Note: It is not currently possible to add objects to a canvas on mobile.

 

Work on and collaborate in a canvas

Canvases are designed with collaboration in mind. Share your canvas to involve multiple editors, leave comments on canvases and mention people in the body of a canvas to notify them.

Tip: Review our guide on Sharing, access and security for canvases to learn how to share and assign permissions to canvas.

 

Edit a canvas

To edit a canvas, all you need is Editor access. Simply open the canvas and start typing to make any changes you like.

Tip: If you have View only access to a canvas but need to make edits, you can Request edit access by clicking the View only button in the canvas header. A notification will be sent to the creator of the canvas to approve or deny your request.

 

Add comments to a canvas

You can use comments in a canvas to leave feedback or start a discussion. Comments on a canvas will behave like threads, and all new replies will appear in your Threads view if you’ve commented or been mentioned in a comment.

Desktop

Mobile

  1. From your desktop, open a canvas.
  2. Find the text that you’d like to comment on, then click the   six dots icon and choose   Add comment.
  3. Type your comment, then press Enter to send it.
  1. From your mobile device, open a canvas
  2. Highlight the text that you’d like to comment on, then tap the   Add comment icon. If you don’t highlight specific text, your comment will apply to the whole section.
  3. Type your comment, then tap   Send.

 

View comments on a canvas

Desktop

Mobile

  1. From your desktop, open a canvas.
  2. Click the   three dot icon in the canvas header, then choose View all comments.
  3. To sort your comments by Most recent, Unread or Archived, click the   Filter icon.
  1. From your mobile device, open a canvas.
  2. Text that has been commented on will appear highlighted. Tap the highlighted text to view and reply to comments.

Tip: You can archive individual comments by clicking the   archive icon at the top of the comment thread. To archive all comments on a canvas, click the   three dots icon at the top of the canvas, then choose Archive all comments.

 

Mention people in a canvas

To notify someone directly in a canvas, mention them by using the @ symbol, followed by the member’s name. As long as the canvas has been shared with the person that you mention, they will receive a badge notification next to the   Canvas view in their sidebar.

Members that you mention in a canvas who do not have access permissions to the canvas will not be notified.

 

View and manage existing canvases

A canvas in a conversation

A canvas on its own

  1. From your desktop, open the channel or DM that the canvas is in.
  2. Click the   canvas icon to view and interact with the canvas in the conversation.

Tip: A canvas in a conversation can’t be deleted, but you can highlight and delete all the content if you’d like to start fresh.

From the   Canvas view, you’ll be able to browse the canvases that you’ve created, as well as any canvas in your workspace that you have View or Edit access to.

  1. From your desktop, click   Canvases at the top of your left-hand sidebar.
  2. If you don’t see this option, click on   More to find it.
  3. Use the   Filter and   Sort options to help you find exactly what you need, or search for your canvas by name in the search bar.
  4. Choose the canvas from the list, or click the   More actions menu to either View canvas details, Copy link, Save for later or Delete the canvas.
Who can use this feature?
  • All members and guests
  • Canvases in conversations are available on all subscriptions
  • Standalone canvases are available on paid subscriptions

When you need to share information that won’t fit in a simple message (such as project plans or meeting notes), create a canvas. A canvas is a surface built into Slack where you can create and share fully formatted content. You can use a canvas in two ways:

  • In a channel or direct message (DM)
  • On its own

Tip: Discover some helpful ways to use canvases in Slack.

Create a canvas

A channel or DM canvas

Every channel and DM has a built-in canvas where you can store details about the conversation and the work that is happening there. Channel canvases can be viewed by anyone with access to the channel, while DM canvases are visible only to members of the DM.

Desktop

Mobile

  1. Click the   add canvas icon in any conversation header to open the canvas.
    An image of a cursor pointing at the channel canvas icon in the Slack desktop app
  2. If you have permission to post in the conversation and edit access to the canvas, start typing to add content to the canvas.
  1. Tap the blank   add canvas icon in any conversation header to open the canvas.
  2. If you have permission to post in the conversation and edit access to the canvas, start typing to add content to the canvas.


A standalone canvas

You can create a canvas for anything that you’re working on – think meeting notes, project briefs or checklists – and then share it in any conversation. You can also keep canvases private, for select eyes only.

Desktop

Mobile

  1. Hover over   More, then select   Canvases.
    An image of a cursor over the More icon in the Slack desktop app.
  2. Click New canvas or Start from a template in the top-right corner.
  1. From the   Home tab, tap the search bar at the top of your screen.
  2. Tap Canvases, then tap   Create a canvas.
  3. The canvas will open. Start typing to add content.


Find and manage an existing canvas

A channel or DM canvas

Desktop

Mobile

  1. From your desktop, open the channel or DM that the canvas is in.
  2. Click the   canvas icon to view the canvas in the conversation.
  3. Click the   three dots icon to access management options for the canvas. 
  1. From your mobile device, open the channel or DM that the canvas is in.
  2. Tap the   canvas icon to view the canvas in the conversation.
  3. Tap the  three dots icon to copy a link to the canvas.

Tip: Channel and DM canvases can’t be deleted, but you can delete all the content if you’d like to start fresh.


A standalone canvas

Desktop

Mobile

From the   Canvases tab, you can browse the canvases that you’ve created, as well as the canvases in your workspace that you have View or Edit access to.

  1. Hover over   More, then click   Canvases.
    An image of a cursor over the More icon in the Slack desktop app.
  2. Use the   Filter and   Sort options to find exactly what you need, or search for a specific canvas in the search bar.
  3. Choose a canvas from the list, or click the   three dots icon to either Share canvas, View canvas details, Copy link, Save for later or Delete the canvas.
  1. From your mobile device, tap the search bar.
  2. Tap the Canvases filter.
  3. Tap a canvas in the list to open it, or press and hold to either Share in Slack, Copy link, Save for later or Delete the canvas.

 

Edit a canvas

To edit a canvas, you'll need Editor access. Anyone with Editor access will be able to apply formatting, mention people and add comments to the canvas.

A channel or DM canvas

The ability to edit a channel or DM canvas is determined by the following:

  • Whether you're a member of the conversation
  • Whether a channel manager has set edit permissions to Anyone who can post in the channel or Channel managers only

If you belong to a channel and can't edit its canvas, ask the channel manager for permission to edit.


A standalone canvas

If you need to edit a View only canvas, you can request editor access from your desktop using the steps below.
  1. From your desktop, click   View only in the top-right corner of a canvas, then click Request edit access.
  2. Your request will be sent to the canvas’ owner for review, and you’ll be notified once the request is approved.

You can send the canvas owner a reminder of your outstanding request by repeating step 1.

Note: It's currently not possible to request edit access on mobile.

Tip: Review our guide on canvas sharing, security and access to learn how to share and assign permissions.

Apply formatting

You can apply a variety of formatting options to the text in a canvas, such as headers, block quotes and bullet-point lists. You can also insert audio and video into a canvas to have it play inline, and any files or other canvses that you insert will include a preview.

Desktop

Mobile

Add a cover image

Choose a cover image from our library, or customise it further by uploading your own.

  1. From the canvas, click the   three dots icon, then click Add cover image.
  2. To customise the cover, hover over the image, then click Edit.
  3. Choose an image from the library, or click Upload to add your own.
  4. Click on Save.


Format your text

Use the formatting bar at the bottom of the canvas to format your text, organise your content into lists or insert media such as clips and files.

  1. From the canvas, start typing your content to reveal the formatting toolbar.
  2. Click on the   formatting icon to reveal text formatting options. Select an option from the list to format your text.

To change the formatting, highlight the text to reveal the formatting bar and apply options such as Bold, Italic and Strikethrough.


Insert media

  1. From the canvas, start typing your content to reveal the formatting toolbar.
  2. Click on the   insert icon and select from the list to add media.

To rearrange content in a canvas, click and hold the   six dots icon and drag the content to a new location.Canvas-blocks_2x.gif

Tip: Click the   six dots icon to copy a link to the section, add a comment or access additional formatting options.

Format your text

  1. From the canvas, start typing your content to reveal the formatting toolbar.
  2. Tap on the   formatting icon to reveal text formatting options. Swipe left on the toolbar to scroll through the options.
  3. Select an option, then tap to apply the changes.

Note: It's not currently possible to add objects or a cover image to a canvas on mobile.


Use the toolbar

You can access the following common actions from the toolbar. Select an option to add it to the canvas:

  Upload a file

  Create a table

  Format text as a checklist

  Open the emoji browser and add an emoji to your text

Tip: To access formatting options, insert objects or embed files inline with a shortcut, press / on your keyboard.


Mention people in a canvas

To notify someone directly in a canvas, mention them by using the @ symbol followed by their name. As long as the canvas has been shared with the person that you mention, they'll receive a badge notification next to the   Activity tab in their sidebar. Members who don't have access permissions to the canvas won't be notified.


Comment on a canvas

Use comments to leave feedback or start a discussion. Comments on a canvas behave like messages in threads, and new replies will appear in both your Threads view and the   Activity tab.

Add comments

Desktop

Mobile

  1. Open a canvas.
  2. Find the text that you’d like to comment on, then click the   six dots icon and choose   Add comment.
  3. Type your comment, then press Enter to add it.
  1. Open a canvas.
  2. Highlight the text that you’d like to comment on, then tap the   Add comment icon. If you don’t highlight specific text, your comment will apply to the whole section.
  3. Type your comment, then tap   Send.


View comments

Desktop

Mobile

  1. Open a canvas.
  2. Click the   three dots icon in the canvas header, then choose View all comments.
  3. To sort your comments by Most recent, Unread or Archived, click the   Filter icon.
  1. Open a canvas.
  2. Text that has been commented on will appear highlighted. Tap the highlighted text to view and reply to comments.

Tip: To archive individual comments, click the  archive icon at the top of the comment thread. To archive all comments, click the   three dots icon at the top of the canvas, then choose Archive all comments.

 

Who can use this feature?
  • All members and guests
  • Channel and DM canvases are available on all subscriptions
  • Standalone canvases are available on paid subscriptions