What is a direct message?

Direct messages (DMs) are one-to-one conversations between you and another workspace member. Group direct messages (group DMs) are smaller discussions outside of channels between you and up to eight other members. DMs are good for one-off conversations that don’t require an entire channel to weigh in.

A few things to bear in mind:

  • When you invite someone to a group DM, a new conversation will start without the previous message history.
  • To preserve message history, you can convert your group DM to a private channel before adding new members.
  • It’s not possible to leave a group DM, so you’ll need to ask one of the participants to create a new DM without you.
  • Members of a group DM will receive notifications only for messages. They will not be notified when the group DM is created.  

Note: Only members with permission to create private channels can move a group DM to a private channel.

 

Access your DMs

Desktop

iOS

Android

Recent DMs are listed under the Direct messages heading in the left-hand sidebar. If you want, you can customise your sidebar so you only see what’s most important.
  1. Click Direct messages in the left-hand sidebar to see all of your DMs.
  2. Or, use a keyboard shortcut!
    Mac: ShiftK 
    Windows/Linux: 
    CtrlShiftK

Open a DM conversation

  1. Swipe right to open the sidebar.
  2. Tap Jump to..., then type the name(s) of the member(s) in your DM.

View DMs in the sidebar

  1. Swipe right to open the sidebar, then scroll down to Direct Messages. Or, swipe left to view recent DMs.

Open a DM conversation

  1. Swipe right to open the sidebar.
  2. Tap Jump to..., then type the name(s) of the member(s) in your DM.

View DMs in the sidebar

  1. Swipe right to open the sidebar, then scroll down to Direct Messages. Or, swipe left to view recent DMs.

Tip: To remove a DM from your sidebar, click or tap the  icon.

 

Send a new DM

DM one person

Desktop

iOS

Android

  1. Click the  plus icon next to Direct messages in the left sidebar.
  2. Search for the person you want to message.
  3. Click Go to start your new DM conversation.
  1. Open the Slack app, then swipe right to open the sidebar.
  2. Scroll down to Direct messages and tap the  plus icon.
  3. Search for the person you want to message and tap the circle next to their name.
  4. Tap Next to start your new DM conversation.
  1. Open the Slack app, then swipe right to open the sidebar.
  2. Scroll down to Direct messages and tap the  plus icon.
  3. Search for the person you want to message and tap the circle next to their name.
  4. Tap Start to start your new DM conversation.

Start a group DM

Desktop

iOS

Android

  1. Click the  plus icon next to Direct messages in the left sidebar.
  2. Search for people and click their names to add them.
  3. Click Go to finish.
  1. Open the Slack app, then swipe left to open the sidebar.
  2. Scroll down to Direct Messages, then tap the  plus icon.
  3. Search for people and tap the circle next to their names to add them.
  4. Tap Next to finish.
  1. Open the Slack app, then swipe left to open the sidebar.
  2. Scroll down to Direct Messages, then tap the  plus icon.
  3. Search for people and tap the circle next to their names to add them.
  4. Tap Next to finish.

 

Add members to a group DM

Desktop

iOS

Android

  1. From a group DM, click the  cog icon.
  2. Select Invite another member.
  3. Search for the person you'd like to invite, then click their name to add them.
  4. Click Go to create a new group DM.
  1. From a group DM, tap the names at the top of the message. 
  2. Tap Add Someone.
  3. Find the person you want to add and tap the circle next to their name.
  4. Tap Next to create a new group DM.
  1. From a group DM, tap the names at the top of the message. 
  2. Tap Add Someone.
  3. Find the person you want to add and tap the circle next to their name.
  4. Tap Next to create a new group DM.

Tip: you can also type /invite in the message field of a group DM to add people.

Who can use this feature?
  • All members can send DMs. Single-channel guests can participate in group DMs, but cannot start their own.
  • FreeStandardPlus and Enterprise Grid subscriptions

Although most discussions in Slack happen in channels, direct messages work well for one-off conversations that don't require an entire channel to weigh in. Direct messages (DMs) are smaller conversations outside of a channel, between you and up to eight other people. 


Access your direct messages 

Desktop

Mobile

Like channels, your direct messages are listed in your left sidebar. You’ll see your most recent DMs below Direct messages by default. Keep in mind that your sidebar preferences may affect which DM conversations are visible. If you don’t see the direct message you’re looking for, there are a few ways to access it:

  • Use the keyboard shortcut ShiftK (Mac) or CtrlShiftK (Windows/Linux) to find or start a DM conversation.
  • Click a direct message listed in your left sidebar to open the conversation.
  • From the  Home tab, you'll see your most recent DMs listed below Direct messages.
  • To see all your DM conversations, tap  DMs tab. Scroll through your DMs and tap one to open it, or you can type someone’s name in the Jump to… field to quickly open a conversation.


Send direct messages

Sending a direct message is just like creating any other message in Slack:

  • Use the   Compose button.
  • Type a message in the message field of any direct message.

Read more about writing and sending messages in Slack.


Invite more people to a group direct message

If you need to add others to a conversation, you can invite them from an existing group DM. Adding someone new will start a new direct message without the previous conversation’s history.

Desktop

Mobile

  1. From a group direct message, click  Details in the top right.
  2. Click  Invite.
  3. Search for the person that you'd like to invite, then click their name.
  4. Click Go to create a new direct message.
  1. From a group direct message, click  Details in the top right.
  2. Tap  Add people.
  3. Find the people that you want to add and tap their names.
  4. Tap Next to create a new group DM.

Tip: If you need to add several people to a conversation, or if you’d like to preserve the message history of your DM, you can convert a direct message to a private channel instead.


Use your personal direct message

In Slack, your personal direct message is a lot like a notepad. Record notes and ideas or use this space for whatever you might need.

Desktop

Mobile

  1. Locate Direct messages in your left sidebar.
  2. Click your name in the list, or click the  plus icon to start a new message to yourself.
  1. From either the  Home or   DMs tab, tap Jump to... 
  2. Type your name. 
  3. Tap your name to start a new message to yourself.