by Stephan Simonett UX

10 Tips for Slack Improving my Daily Workflow

We use a ton of apps in our agency every day. We got one for every purpose actually. We use Trello for detailed task tracking in big projects. We use GSuite for the whole office kinda stuff. We use Gmail for our E-Mails, and last but not least, we use Slack for internal communication.

by Stephan Simonett UX

Personally, I use Slack every day most of all, for quite everything I do. There are a lot of hidden possibilities which can improve your daily workflow. I will share a few of them with you in this article, with whom I wouldn’t survive one single day in the office anymore.

1. Switch Conversations and Channels fast as f***

This is a pretty obvious one, but it’s so important for me personally, that I need to write it down. Simply hit cmd + K on a Mac or ctrl + K on your Windows machine and a search box kinda thing will pop up. Just start typing and the autocomplete will do the rest. As soon as the person or channel in question is visible in the list select it with your arrow keys and hit enter. When you did that a few times, you'll never search the sidebar for people or channels again, never, I promise. 😉

Switch DM and Channels in Slack

2. Slash commands

Speaking of fast interaction with Slack, there is something called slash commands. Just type a regular slash / and you'll see all commands that are available to you. I use /remind a lot for example. This triggers the built-in reminder function in Slack. Just type what and when to remind you and Slack will send you a message at given time. You can even remind team mates, channels or user groups.

If someone asks an odd question, just use /shrug to answer properly. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

3. Third party integrations

There are a ton of 3rd party integrations which make your slack even better. We use integrations for every tool we use like Trello or GSuite. You can implement Google documents into Slack as simple as pasting the link to the file. You can even create new documents right in Slack, or control your Trello tasks directly in the conversation with the slash command /trello.

One of our most used integration is the one from Giphy though. Type /giphy followed by the term you want Giphy to find a GIF and hit enter. In the preferences, you can choose if Giphy should send a random GIF right away, or you can toggle through thousands of GIF's in the Giphy database and send it when you're satisfied with the result.

If it gets out of control, /collapse is another handy slash command to collapse all images in the actual fold of the conversation. To get back your funny GIF's use /expand.

4. Quick edit

If you send a message to a team mate and instantly realize that this was not a good idea, you can fix that very quickly by pressing the up arrow key. As well you can edit the last sent message directly.

To fix a previous message hover over the message and click on the action buttons. There you got the option to edit your message. If you are an admin user you can even delete messages, not only yours, every message — yes for real, every message of every user ever sent in your team. Crazy huh? 😅

5. Advanced search

A while ago a team mate sent you an interesting article and you want to have a second read on that. Sadly, it’s way back in your chat history and you can’t find it cause of all those funny GIF’s that grab your attention. So you could use the advanced search terms to find that beauty again. Just use the modifiers from Slack. For this use case you type in:@yourhomie has:linkand you get a list of all messages containing a link. Start typing in the search box for a complete list of available modifiers.

Advanced search in Slack

6. Pin to conversation

Nice 1 to find your old articles right? But what if you didn’t even need to search for that article? Pin to this conversation is your feature. Hover over a message and click the message action button. Choose Pin to this conversation. From now on you can find this pinned message in the conversation details, followed by all shared files.

7. Star channels for more space

I’m a member of a lot of channels but I’m using just a handful in my daily work life. To save space and clean up a bit in the channel list I hide all channels and direct messages by default. Then I star the most important ones to have them for quick access in the sidebar. If something important happens in a channel, not on my starred list, I see that in the regular channel panel.

You can star messages too. Like Pin to this conversation, you can collect messages. The difference between Pin and Star is that Pin is limited to the channel or direct message. Starring is across Slack, so you can collect many different things. Click the little star icon in the top right corner and there you go, all you need in one place. I personally use this starring as my daily to-do list for stuff that came in directly as a message.

Starring Slack posts for quick access

8. Read all unread

If you are sitting in meetings all day long and running around from desk to desk in your spare time, you probably get a lot of unread messages like me. In a calm minute you could check your Slack and click through every single channel one by one, or you use Slack like a pro and click the all unreads button on top of the sidebar. There you get an overview of all your unread messages. Best one, you can mark all messages as read with one click of a button and enjoy a glass of champagne. 🥂

9. Do not disturb mode

Speaking of a loooot of notifications all day. Not only you have to deal with many many unread messages. You have to face all those notifications. @channel here, @stephan there, @here everywhere. Most of the time this works fine and is important to make fast decisions to go fast forward in a project. But if you need to focus on important tasks for a few hours, it’s pretty nice, that Slack gives you the opportunity to disable all notifications. The sender of a message gets notified by Slack, that the recipient disabled the notifications. Is there something really important that can’t wait? Slack gives you the possibility to send a notification anyway. But please don’t use it until it’s very urgent, your mate disabled notifications for reasons.

10. Use your own conversation

Is there something you want to keep, like a link, an image or some text snippet? Or just a basic reminder? You can slack with yourself! Hit cmd + Kand start entering your own name. There will be a conversation, with just you. I collect some important stuff in there. Best thing is, I can integrate all these things I don't want to forget into my regular Slack workflow, so it's all there right when I need it.

Happy slacking!