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6 Advanced Tips for Diehard Slack Users

John Brandon

These tips will help you get the most out of your company's chat client.

We become so accustomed to certain tools that we end up repeating some of the same patterns, like always opening the same tabs in Google Chrome or using the same font in Microsoft Word. While Slack has not been around that long (the collaboration app launched in 2013), some of us keep using it the same way, tagging teammates and using the same channels.

Even for diehard Slack users, a few advanced tips can save you time and make repetitive tasks unnecessary. Here are some tips to save you time and help you find conversations faster.

1. Search for channels.

Slack recently introduced a feature called Channel Search. It's handy for anyone working at a company with too many channels to count. In the search bar, type any search team – say, "photography." If there is a public channel with that name, you can see the channel and the description, which helps you join new discussions.

2. Set reminders.

When you get really busy using Slack, it's easy to forget what you decided with your team or the action items you assigned. It's helpful to use the Reminder feature. Type "/remind," then mention the person or channel in quotes followed by reminder text (in quotes) and the due date (e.g., 4/21). That person or channel will then see a reminder on that date.

3. Check your activity history.

One of the coolest things you can do in Slack is also one that few people know about. You can review your recent activity by checking your history. For example, let's say you've been sending Slacks all day. A few hours ago, you were talking to someone but forgot what you decided. Press Alt and the left arrow key to go back in time to see all your interactions. Slack will jump to that channel or conversation. You can also press Alt and the right arrow to go forward.

4. Capture decisions with an emoji.

Here's a really weird one that is also really useful. It requires a Slack add-on called Reacji Channeler. The way it works is pretty simple: Each time someone on your team uses a specific emoji, like the gavel or a high five, the Slack message is placed into a specific channel. For example, on a marketing team, you might use Reacji Channeler for an emoji like a happy face to record all successful project wins, placing them in a #bigwins channel.

5. Use @here instead of @channel.

Many Slack users know about tagging channels to get everyone's attention. Most of us use @channel (or @everyone in the General channel). However, there's a subtler way to do that. Using @here only notifies people who are currently on Slack, instead of sending a notification even to those who are not online yet.

6. Uses badges to flag keywords.

It's sometimes hard to keep track of conversations in Slack, especially if someone doesn't tag you. A quick fix for that problem is to use keywords that automatically add a badge for that channel. For example, you can use the keyword "status" so that anytime someone mentioned the status meeting for your team, you see a badge in that channel.

Image Credit: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock
John Brandon Member
<p>John Brandon is a technology expert, business advocate, and columnist. He has written over 12,000 articles in 16 years. His first articles appeared in LAPTOP magazine in 2002.</p>