Slack guide for Hipchat users

Welcome aboard! As you get started with Slack, this guide will help you get to know your new workspace. So sit back, have a read and make yourself at home. 🏡

Tip: Looking for more information about importing your data into Slack? See our import guide and frequently asked questions to learn more.

Getting started

Let’s start with the basics. Whatever your role or experience, we’ve got a few resources on hand to help you get to know the Slack app:

Roles and permissions 

Your role in Slack dictates your level of permissions and the actions you can take. Here’s an overview:

  • Owners
    Workspace owners control the highest level of security and administrative settings but only the primary owner (usually the person who created the workspace) has the ability to delete it.
  • Admins
    Workspace admins
    can manage members, public channels and maintenance tasks or functions.
  • Members
    They have access to all public channels in your workspace. (This is the default role for everyone.)
  • Guests
    Single-channel guests can only access the one channel they’ve been assigned to. They can start a direct message with people in that channel. 
    Multi-channel guests can only access channels they’ve been given permission to use. They can start a direct message conversation with people in those channels.

Tip: Learn more about roles and permissions in Slack.

Using Slack 


Workspace owners/admins

If you were a user in a Hipchat group, let’s cover some of the key differences you’ll see in Slack.

  • Calls and screen sharing
    From voice and video calls to screen sharing, Slack makes it possible to connect with your teammates when you need to work together. Take a look at the basics of making calls in Slack.
  • Channels
    Communication in Slack happens in channels. Similar to a Hipchat room, a Slack channel connects the right people and information in one place. Learn more about browsing and joining channels.
  • Emoji
    Use emoji and emoticons to add some extra pizzazz to your Slack messages or to react to activity. One thing that might look different to you is that our emoji codes use colons (e.g. :white_tick: = ✅). You can add your own custom emoji too, just in case your workspace doesn’t have your favourites yet. 
  • Notifications
    Notifications in Slack alert you to messages that need your attention. You can customise notifications for your desktop and mobile app, and even choose channel-specific options. There’s also do not disturb and snooze settings when you need some downtime. 
  • Quick Switcher
    The Quick Switcher is a quick and easy way to navigate between your channels and direct messages using a simple keyboard shortcut:
    K on Mac or Ctrl K on Windows or Linux.
  • Search
    Search in Slack to find messages and files. Apply modifiers, date ranges and even keyboard shortcuts to find what you need quickly.
  • Send and format messages
    Learn how to send and read messages and use message formatting to bring your communication in Slack to the next level.

If you were a Hipchat administrator, you’ll notice that there are a few additional levels of administration in Slack. Primary workspace owners, workspace owners and workspace admins each play a role in keeping things running smoothly. Learn more about these roles and their permissions.

Let’s cover some of the other key differences you’ll see in Slack:

  • Analytics
    You can gain insight into how your members use Slack. Workspace analytics are visible to all members (except guests) by default, but workspace owners can decide who has access to this information. Once you’ve imported your Hipchat data, it will take about 48 hours to see usage analytics.
  • App management
    Control who can approve apps for your workspace and which apps can be installed. Learn more about managing apps.
  • Billing
    Slack offers a number of billing options: choose from annual or monthly billing and take advantage of our fair billing policy.
  • Emoji
    You can manage workspace customisation to allow members to add custom emoji. One thing that might look different to you is that our emoji codes use colons (e.g. :white_tick: = ✅).
  • Files
    Any member can upload files to your workspace and only signed-in members can view them.
  • Guests
    In Slack, guests only have access to certain channels, not your entire workspace. They can either be a multi-channel or a single-channel guest. Learn more about inviting and managing guests.
  • Invitations
    Invite new members to join your workspace (send an email, create an invitation link or allow email sign-up for certain domains) and control who can send invitations.
  • Link previews
    When a link is shared in your workspace, other members will see a preview of the web page in Slack. You can’t turn off link previews entirely, but you can turn them off for certain URLs and domains.
  • Message and file retention policies
    Slack keeps all your messages and files for the lifetime of your workspace by default. If you like, you can have them deleted after a set amount of time by setting a custom retention policy.
  • Workspace administration
    Workspace administration in Slack means you can manage a whole host of things: workspace customisation, members, access and security, billing, plus data and exports.