Guide to Slack import and export tools

Slack offers import and export tools for customers on every subscription. This guide covers what you need to know about how content in your Slack workspace or Enterprise Grid organisation may be accessed using those tools. For subscription-specific details, jump to the section Import and export tools by subscription.


Export overview

As with other workplace tools, Slack customers may need – or be legally required – to export content. But they can do so only under limited circumstances. Employment, privacy and other laws, as well as corporate policies, limit the use of these exports. Laws and policies may also require employers to notify employees of their use of export tools. 

Here are a few examples where a customer may need to export content: 

  • A company receives a report of harassment or theft of trade secrets and needs to conduct a workplace investigation.
  • A financial services company is required by a regulation to archive certain communications for a set period of time. 
  • A court order mandates that information from Slack must be disclosed due to a lawsuit or investigation. 
  • A former employee requests to be provided with a copy of the information their former employer retained about them, as required by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. 

Our export tools help customers comply with their obligations. These tools, and their requirements for use, help keep Slack a safe and secure place for getting work done. 

 

Import and export tools by subscription

Free subscription

  • Imports: You can use the import tool to pull content from one of these sources: another Slack workspace, a CSV or text file or data that has been exported from third-party apps (HipChat, Flowdock, Campfire, Chatwork or others). 

  • Exports: Workspace owners and admins can export data from public channels. Data exports will include links to files, but not the files themselves.

    Under limited circumstances, workspace owners may contact Slack and apply to export content from all channels and conversations, including private channels and direct messages. We will reject applications unless workspace owners show in each instance (a) valid legal process, or (b) consent of members, or (c) a requirement or right under applicable laws in order to export data.


Standard subscription

  • Imports: You can use the import tool to pull content from one of these sources: another Slack workspace, a CSV or text file or data that has been exported from third-party apps (HipChat, Flowdock, Campfire, Chatwork or others). 

  • Exports: Workspace owners and admins can export data from public channels. Data exports will include links to files, but not the files themselves. If you export data from a workspace containing channels shared with external organisations, only links to files shared by members of your workspace will be included in your export.

    Under limited circumstances, workspace owners may contact Slack and apply to export data from all channels and conversations, including private channels and direct messages. We will reject applications unless workspace owners show in each instance (a) valid legal process or (b) consent of members or (c) a requirement or right under applicable laws in order to export data.


Plus subscription

  • Imports: You can use the import tool to pull content from one of these sources: another Slack workspace, a CSV or text file or data that has been exported from third-party apps (HipChat, Flowdock, Campfire, Chatwork or others).

  • Exports: Workspace owners and admins can export data from public channels. Workspace owners can also apply to access a self-serve data export tool. Access to this tool permits a workspace owner to export data from all channels and conversations, including private channels and direct messages, as needed and permitted by law. Each workspace owner must ensure that (a) appropriate employment agreements and corporate policies have been implemented, and (b) all use of data exports is permitted under applicable law.

    Data exports will include links to files, but not the files themselves.

    When you export data from a workspace containing channels shared with external organisations, links to files in private shared channels or direct messages between organisation members will only be included if they were shared by a member of your workspace.


Enterprise Grid subscription

Note: We don't support imports to Enterprise Grid organisations. As an alternative, you can import data to a separate workspace, then migrate that workspace to your org.

  • Exports: Org owners can apply to access a self-serve data export tool. Access to this tool permits an org owner to export content from all channels and conversations, including private channels, direct messages and all conversations that a single user is part of, as needed and permitted by law. Each org owner must ensure that (a) appropriate employment agreements and corporate policies have been implemented, and (b) all use of business exports is permitted under applicable law.

    Data exports will include links to files, but not the files themselves. Data exports for a single user's conversations will contain files if the export is in TXT format.

    When you export data from a workspace containing channels shared with external organisations, links to files in private shared channels or direct messages between organisation members will only be included if they were shared by a member of your Enterprise Grid org.

    Workspace owners and admins who manage individual workspaces in an Enterprise Grid org may also export data from their workspace’s public channels.

  • Discovery API: At the organisation level, the Discovery API export mechanism is available to org owners, allowing customers to use approved third-party apps to export, archive or meet other security and compliance obligations for any organisation content. Each org owner must ensure that (a) appropriate employment agreements and corporate policies have been implemented and (b) all use of the Discovery APIs is permitted under applicable law.

    Exports through the Discovery APIs will include files, which are accessible through direct download links. When you export data from a workspace with channels shared with external organisations, files in private shared channels or direct messages between members of organisations in a shared channel will only be included if they were sent by a member of your workspace.

    The Discovery APIs also support eDiscovery and data loss prevention (DLP) solutions. These solutions enable customers managing sensitive or regulated data to meet their obligations through routine exports and other management of protected data.

    If workspaces in your Enterprise Grid org contain channels shared with external organisations, content from those shared channels and direct messages sent between members of the organisations will be included in eDiscovery exports. Messages posted to shared channels will be available via your DLP provider, but only messages sent by members of your Enterprise Grid org can be deleted.

Tip: Visit Roles in Slack for details about the different types of workspace roles. If you have a Slack account, you can browse the owners and admins in your workspace.


Retention settings and exports

The content available for export may be limited depending on your subscription and data retention settings. For more information, visit Customise message and file retention policies.

Customers who have been approved to export data from private channels and direct messages will not be able to edit file retention for their workspace. File retention settings will be set to keep all files.

In channels shared with external organisations, your retention settings will only apply to the messages and files sent by members of your organisation. Content sent by members of an external organisation will adhere to the retention settings configured for their workspace or Enterprise Grid org. Each organisation’s settings will impact the data and content available to be read or exported for them to export.


Additional resources

Questions? Please contact us at feedback@slack.com.