Focusing on only one element of Slack’s functionality is like using a Swiss Army knife exclusively as a bottle opener. Slack is a collaboration hub, after all, designed to bring the right people together with the right information through features like search, shared channels, apps and integrations, pinned items, and more.
Here we’ll highlight several Slack features that make everyday teamwork more efficient and that help team members — whether in the same office or around the world — stay aligned and focused on their goals.
Pinning messages and reference links to channels
When you need information, you need it in a hurry. The ability to pin messages to channels is a handy method for creating collective visibility around priorities and need-to-know items.
In each channel or direct message, you can pin up to 100 messages, files, or documents, but approaching that total sort of defeats the purpose as you want to make sure to only pin the most useful and important messages and documents. Many users find it helpful to pin a message or two pertaining to the channel’s purpose: That way, channel members can quickly ascertain what information they will find.
Managing and tracking documents
To help you get all your work done in one place, we’ve integrated with several popular apps and tools, and we are always adding new ones to the mix. Syncing up with file management mainstays like Google Drive and Dropbox Paper helps cut a ton of back-and-forth for busy teams because you can access and discuss files directly in your channels.
Advanced search modifiers
Much like a Google search, the search function in Slack helps you find what you need in a snap. You can put a term in quotes to dial up exact matches, or even add an asterisk after a partial word to search for any instances of that fragment. Additional filters give you more options to narrow in on the exact message or file you’re looking for.
Not sure which file contains the information you seek? Linked files are indexed, which means all of their contents can be instantly searched for in Slack.
Learn all about searching, sorting, and filtering in Slack.
Using shared channels across workspaces
From small shops to dispersed global enterprises, Slack connects individuals in the same organization — not to mention freelancers, contractors, and remote workers — to keep everyone on the same page. But did you know you can use Slack to collaborate with people outside your organization, too?
Shared channels allow you to connect across Slack workspaces, creating a direct line of communication between you and another company or organization that you’re working with. This capability is only available on paid plans, but it can be tremendously useful for coordinated efforts between two organizations or business units that require ongoing and secure communication.
Learn how to create and join shared channels.
Streamlining your sidebar
The sidebar menu offers options to sort channels and direct messages to your specifications. Star channels that you need to keep up with regularly and watch those channels ascend to the top of your sidebar, where you’ll never lose sight of them.
You can also customize your sidebar theme. Bright colors making your eyes hurt? Go with a muted style. Your favorite team made the World Cup? Whip up a color combo to honor them. Whatever pleases your palate.
On both the mobile and desktop versions of Slack, you can adjust your theme and color scheme to your personal taste. Simply go to Preferences and then Sidebar, where you’ll find predesigned themes plus an option to create your own flavor.
Zip from channel to channel without moving your mouse. While in Slack, type /Command + K (or /Command + T) on a Mac or /CTRL + K on a Windows computer to pop up the Quick Switcher. Type in the first couple of letters for your desired channel destination, and you’ll be there in a flash.
With so many things to keep track of in a standard workday, it’s all too easy to let important matters slip. Use the /remind command to remind yourself or someone else of an event, meeting, deadline, message, file, or what have you. It’s a feature that people love and is easy to use.
You can also add the Google Calendar app to stay on top of your schedule and commitments and even customize your notifications by channel, so you can concentrate on your work without worrying about missing important comments and updates.
Subscribing to RSS feeds
Slack channels are the perfect place to share industry news and information with your team and track competitive intelligence. Add RSS feeds to Slack to stay tuned to your favorite blogs, news outlets, and aggregators. Once you’ve installed the app, all you have to do is type /feed subscribe [feed address] and you’re off to the races.
Try these Slack features on for size
Try one or try them all, but either way, we hope these features bring you much productivity and much joy. And in our ongoing mission to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant, and more productive, we are always open to your feedback and suggestions. (Or feel free to find us on Twitter @slackhq.)
Ready to try out these features and functionalities? Create a new workspace, invite your teammates, and start exploring.