Send and read messages

Whether in a channel or a direct message, communication in Slack is the backbone of collaboration. Slack makes it easy to send and read messages so you can quickly share information with your workspace.


Send messages in Slack

Desktop

iOS

Android

When you're viewing a channel, its name will be highlighted in the channel list on the left. Click the message field at the bottom of the screen to send a message to this channel.

  1. Type your message in the message field.
  2. Press Enter to send.

You can quickly edit your last message by pressing the up arrow key in the empty message field.

Tip: you also have the option to add a send button to Slack, allowing you to use the Enter key to add a new line to your text.

  1. Tap the message field at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Type your message.
  3. Tap Send.

Note: To give yourself more space to compose, tap the  diagonal arrows icon or swipe up on the message field.

You can add to your message using the options below:

Action Icon
Share a photo  
Upload and attach a file  
Choose a slash command  
Mention a member  

Tip: to edit a message, tap and hold the message, then tap Edit Message.

  1. Tap the message field at the bottom of the screen
  2. Type your message
  3. Tap the  paper plane icon to send.

You can add to your messages using the options below:

Action Icon
Choose an emoji   
Take a photo to share  
Share a photo  
Upload and attach a file  
Choose a slash command  
Mention a member  

Tip: to edit a message, tap and hold the message, then tap Edit.

Note: if a message fails to send, you may see an exclamation mark next to a channel or direct message in the sidebar. To resend your message, open the channel or DM, find the message, then click or tap the exclamation mark icon.


Drafts

If you start writing a message and navigate away, you'll see a  pencil icon next to the channel name or direct message. That unsent message will sit under the Drafts heading at the top of your sidebar until you’re ready to send it.

Animated gif showing channels being moved into the drafts section of the sidebar if they have an unsent message

Drafts are available on desktop, iOS and Android. They do not sync across different devices.

Note: drafts is a built-in feature — it's not possible to disable it for your account or workspace.


Read messages in Slack

Desktop

iOS

Android

Open and view channels

If you see a channel name in bold in the list, that means there’s unread activity – click it to open the channel and view unread messages.

You’ll see a blue bar when you open a channel with unread activity: this tells you the number of new messages since you last viewed the channel.

unread_blue_bar


Unread messages

Slack marks a channel as read as soon as you view it by default, but you can change the way your unread activity is managed from your preferences. Here’s how:

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Preferences from the menu.
  3. Click the Mark as read tab.
  4. Under When I view a channel, select your preference.

You can choose from one of these options:

  • Start where you left off (at the oldest unread message) and mark the channel as read
  • Start at the newest message and mark the channel as read
  • Start at the newest message but leave the older messages unread

Mark messages as unread

If you need to come back to a channel later, you can mark messages as unread. Here’s how:

  1. Hover over the oldest message you want to mark as unread.
  2. Click the  More actions icon.
  3. Click Mark unread.

The message you’ve selected and any others that are sent after it will be marked unread.

Tip: you can also hold Alt and click a message to mark that message and any others sent after it as unread.

Open and view channels

In the iOS app, your main view will be of the channel you’re currently in. Here’s how to navigate to other channels:

  1. Swipe left to right to open the channel list.
  2. Tap the channel you want to view.

If a channel name is in bold text, this means there’s unread activity. Channels with unread activity will appear at the top of the channel list.


Unread messages

Slack will display a blue bar when a channel has more unread activity than can fit on your screen.

Tap the arrow on the left to jump to the oldest unread message, or mark the channel as read by tapping the  close icon at the right end of the bar
.

Note: To disable the blue unread bar, swipe from right to left, tap Settings, Advanced and toggle Mark as read immediately.


Mark messages as unread

If you need to come back to a channel later, you can mark messages as unread. Here’s how:

  1. Long-press a message.
  2. Tap Mark unread.

The message you’ve selected and any others sent after it will be marked as unread.

Open and view channels

In the Android app, your main view will be of the channel you’re currently in. Here’s how to navigate to other channels:

  1. Tap your workspace icon on the top left side or swipe from left to right to open the channel list.
  2. Tap the channel you want to view.

If a channel name is in bold text, this means there’s unread activity. Channels with unread activity will appear at the top of the channel list.

Note: on Android 9 or above, any reply you start writing from your device’s Notification Shade will be saved in Slack. If you switch over to the mobile app, you’ll see your drafted reply in the message field for that conversation.


Unread messages

Slack will display a blue bar when a channel has more unread activity than can fit on your screen. Tap the blue bar to jump to the oldest unread message or tap the  close icon at the far right of the bar to mark the channel as read.


Mark messages as unread

If you need to come back to a channel later, you can mark messages as unread. Here’s how:

  1. Long-press a message.
  2. Tap Mark unread.

The message you’ve selected and any others sent after it will be marked as unread.