Slack UI on mobile device with a hand representing 5 ways to use Slack best

Top 5 tips for getting started in Slack

Go forth with confidence using this quick guide

We created these simple Slack tutorials with two types of people in mind: anyone who’s new to Slack (welcome!) and the more advanced user who wants tips to share with others. Each tip has three parts:

  • Why this tip matters
  • How this works for teams at Slack (we always get questions about how Slack uses Slack)
  • How to learn more

1. Get connected to your team

Why it matters

Slack allows you and your team to stay connected anywhere—on the road, in a home office or two desks down. First, download the Slack apps for desktop and mobile with notifications on . This is what you need to share documents, start a video call in Slack or discuss tomorrow’s big meeting. Next, help your workmates find you by uploading a clear profile photo and filling out your Slack profile with your name, job description and/or title, phone number and time zone.

How this works at Slack

Right now we have 25 people named Matt at Slack, making it essential that each one sets up a complete profile. (If you’ve ever tried to find “Joe in Accounting," you’ll appreciate how much time this will save.) At Slack, we use our profiles to share our office locations, managers, even dietary restrictions. You may see custom fields like this in your profile if your workspace is on a paid plan.

Learn more

Having trouble getting plugged in to Slack? See more guidance on our Get Started page .

Slack UI showing how to edit your profile including picture, name, title, time zone, and phone number

2. Move a project from email to channels

Why it matters

Work in Slack is organized by channels . So to really understand what working in Slack is like, start using channels right away. Bring your most active project or work conversations out of multiple email threads and into one Slack channel . Add teammates and related files to the same channel and continue the conversation there. When teams do this, many find that:

  • It’s much easier to assemble the right people and organize around a common goal
  • They have more control—anyone can join or leave a channel as needed
  • Folks coming into a project ramp up faster because messages and files are saved and searchable

Here’s a video that goes deeper into why channels are a better way to work:

How this works at Slack

Here are some of the key ways we use channels at Slack:

  • Default to public channels so that knowledge is shared, and reserve private channels for sensitive conversations
  • Create and use consistent channel naming conventions, like #proj-website-launch ( proj = project), so that conversations are easy to find
  • Use shared channels to work with external partners, clients and vendors

Learn more

Lesson 4 in our new Slack curriculum covers channel basics, plus some fun, social ways to use channels to strengthen team bonds. And here is a curated collection of more advice about working in Slack channels .

3. Add the tools you use every day

Why it matters

In a typical day, we all move from app to app to app: one for calendars, another for file sharing, still another to log account updates. Slack is the hub for all of these apps, saving time and boosting productivity.

How this works at Slack

Every organization is different, of course, but at Slack we’ve found that a few types of apps add huge value for every person:

  • File sharing and cloud storage: Examples include Dropbox, Box and Google Drive
  • Email and calendars: Gmail/Google Calendar; also works with Microsoft Outlook
Slack UI image with app partner icons such as Google, Zoom, Jira and Salesforce

Learn more

Start with this tutorial on how to add apps to your Slack workspace and then explore the more than 1,500 apps in the Slack App Directory .

4. Reach key people with @mentions

Why it matters

Work often involves waiting for others—to review work or to get an approval before moving forward. Grab the attention of anyone in Slack by mentioning their name in a channel, preceded by an @ symbol. They will get a notification that you’ve mentioned their name. Use it to get quick responses on time-sensitive matters, or when you need a question answered in a channel by a specific person you know is the expert.

Slack UI showing how to use the "at" mention to organize tasks and owners

How this works at Slack

After meetings, we often post summary notes to the project or team channel with action items and deadlines. We use @mentions to reiterate who agreed to take on each task, and each person gets a notification with a link to the message. There are also special mentions, like @channel to alert everyone in a channel and @here to alert everyone in the channel who is currently online, but we reserve these for only the most urgent situations.

Learn more

There are many more Slack tutorials to discover in our guide to actions in Slack .

5. Say more with less

Why it matters

When it comes to communication, how you say it is often just as important as what you say. Look for opportunities to use “reacji," or emoji reactions, in place of messages that might otherwise clutter communication. Here’s a good list to start:

  • 👀= “I’ve seen your message"
  • ✅or ✔ = “Approved" or “I finished the training"
  • = “I agree"
  • 👏= “Great job!" or “Well done!"

How this works at Slack

We use emoji/reacji all the time to speed up work—it’s serious business at Slack. In the example below, reacji let the designer know that the draft ad copy for our conference has been approved, without needing to type another message. If needed, write more detailed responses in a thread, while the designer can hover over each reacji to see who reviewed and approved the draft.

Slack product UI showing how to share a file and provide feedback

Learn more

See more advice on messaging in Slack in our guide to formatting .

Learning a new tool takes patience, but we think you’ll get the hang of Slack pretty quickly. For your next Slack tutorials, consider pausing notifications with Do Not Disturb or searching your Slack workspace for the team’s conversation history.

OK, we’ll let you get back to work. (On Slack, that is.)

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