Manage your sidebar preferences

Every workspace starts with a #general channel and a #random channel. Naturally, your workspace will add more channels to keep discussions focused on specific topics and projects. As your channel list grows, you can manage your sidebar to keep your most important conversations right where you need them.

Preferences to manage your sidebar display

 

Sort channels by priority

Your channels appear in alphabetical order by default. If you're on a paid subscription, you can choose Priority sorting to sort them based on how you use Slack. Sorting channels scientifically will bump the channels that are most relevant to you to the top of your sidebar. Here’s how to set this preference:

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. From the menu, select Preferences.
  3. Select Sidebar.
  4. Under Sorting and grouping, choose Priority.

Note: It’s not currently possible to create sub-channels or folders. When channels are listed alphabetically, you can use channel pre-fixes to help to organise your sidebar.


Separate your public and private channels

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Preferences from the menu.
  3. Select Sidebar.
  4. Under Sorting and grouping, tick the box next to List private channels separately.

Tip: If you're on the Enterprise Grid subscription, you can choose List organisation channels separately to display public org-wide channels in the sidebar. Please note that private org-wide channels will still be grouped under the Channels category.


Hide conversations with no unread activity

Instead of listing every channel that you’ve joined in your sidebar, you can choose to display only the ones with unread activity. This way, channels and direct messages will only appear in your channel list when there is a message that you haven’t seen yet.

Choosing to display only unread and starred conversations will make everything feel a lot more manageable:

organised_sidebar

Here's how to hide channels and DMs that have already been read:

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Next, select Preferences and choose Sidebar.
  3. Under Appearance, choose from one of these two options:

    🌟 Unread messages and starred conversations
    Only your unread messages and any starred conversations will be visible.

    📰 Unread messages only
    Only your unread channels, direct messages and apps will be visible.

Note: With this setting, use the Quick Switcher to find channels that are hidden. To reach other channels and conversations, press ⌘+K on Mac, or Ctrl+K on Windows.

 

Tips and preferences

Here are some features that you can use when your channel list starts to look crowded:

Over time, the number of channels and direct messages (DMs) that you’re a part of may grow. If this happens, the list of conversations in your sidebar will become longer. There are a few ways in which you can manage your sidebar preferences so that they’re more tailored to the way you work.

Tip: If your workspace is on the Standard, Plus or Enterprise Grid subscription, learn how to organise channels with custom sections in your sidebar.

 

Understanding your sidebar

At the top of your sidebar, you’ll see certain options such as Threads, Mentions & reactions and Saved. While this part of your sidebar is fixed and cannot be customised, you can collapse and expand this list at any time. There are a few preferences available for organising the rest of your sidebar. Keep reading to learn more.

Screenshot of a Slack workspace sidebar

 

Star channels and direct messages

The starred section in your sidebar helps you to organise the conversations that are important to you, so that you can easily reference them later. This section will appear in your sidebar after the first time that you Star a channel or DM. To learn more, visit Star channels and direct messages.

 

Manage the conversations that you see

By default, Slack will display all the channels that you’re a part of and the DMs that you use most frequently in your sidebar. To manage the conversations that you see, you can choose to show all your conversations or unread conversations only.

Free subscription

Standard, Plus and Enterprise Grid subscriptions

On the free version of Slack, the preference you choose will apply to all of your channels and DMs. Manage the conversations that you see by using the steps below.

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Select Sidebar.
  4. Under Show, choose either All your conversations or Unread conversations only.

On the Standard, Plus and Enterprise Grid subscriptions, you can manage the conversations that you see by choosing a preference for specific sections in your sidebar. Visit Organise conversations with custom sections to learn more.

 

Sort your conversations

By default, the conversations in your sidebar appear in alphabetical order. If your workspace is on a paid subscription, you can enable priority sorting to move the conversations that you use most frequently to the top of your channel and DM list. Keep in mind that the conversations that you see with priority sorting enabled may change over time, depending on how you’re using Slack.

Note: The preference to enable priority sorting is only available on the Standard, Plus and Enterprise Grid subscriptions.

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Select Sidebar.
  4. Under Sort all conversations, choose Alphabetically or By priority, based on how you use Slack.