How to Use Slack Channels – The Verge

Slack, the instant messaging app of choice for many businesses, has likely become a bigger part of your life if you’re working from home. And while Slack is typically used for work, it’s also great for chatting with friends and family. Soft offers paid plans, but anyone can sign up for the free version and create a workspace, a virtual space where you can set up different conversations and projects.

Each of these conversations and projects on Slack are called channels. These channels work like chat rooms or group chats. While there’s no limit to the number of channels you can create or private messages you can send in Slack, the free version will only let you see the last 10,000 messages sent in your workspace. .

Here’s an introduction to the basics of using Slack Channels.

Create a channel

  • Hover your cursor over the “Channels” subheading in the left column until you see a + sign. Hover over it and you’ll see an “Add Channels” pop-up label. Click this button.
  • Select “Create channel”.
  • You will get a “Create Channel” pop-up window. First, enter a name for your channel. Most Slack channels have two-part names separated by a hyphen: the first part describes the general purpose of the channel, and the second is more specific. (For example, “proj-dollhouse” might imply building a new dollhouse.) When you start typing in the name field, Slack might offer suggestions on how to categorize your name – you can use its suggestions or suggest your own name. .
  • Add a description if you wish.
  • You have the option to make the channel private, which means others can only see or join it if you invite them. Users designated as owners or admins can make any channel they’re a part of private (other than the #general channel) at any time, but once you make it private, you can’t make it public.

When creating a channel, we encourage you to create a two-part name.

  • Click “Create”
  • A window will appear allowing you to add members to your channel. You can add everyone in your workspace, a few select people, or you can skip adding people at this time. You can also configure the channel so that anyone who joins your workspace is automatically added to the channel. Make your selections and click the “Done” button in the lower right corner of the window. You can also click the “X” in the upper right corner of the window to skip this step.

You can add all members of your workspace or just some to your channel.

You can add all members of your workspace or just some to your channel.

Join a channel

You can find channels to join through the “Channel Browser”. There are several ways to activate it.

  • Click the + sign next to the Channels label in the left column, then select “Browse Channels” from the drop-down menu.
  • If you’re using the Slack desktop app, you can also open the Channel Browser by clicking Ctrl+Shift+L on a Windows computer or Command+Shift+L on a Mac.
  • If you’re using Slack on the web, you can click “Browse Slack” (which should be above the “Channels” subheading on the left), then select “Channel Browser”.

The channel browser is useful for finding channels to join.

The channel browser is useful for finding channels to join.

  • Whichever method you use, the Channel Browser will appear at the top of the left column. Click to see a list of channels available in the main window; channels you already belong to will be labeled “Joined”. You can filter channels by typing what you are looking for in the search bar at the top. Click a channel name to open the channel, then click “Join Channel” at the bottom of the page to join.
  • If you already know the name of the channel you want to join, you can type that channel name into the search bar at the top of the main Slack screen. As you type, a list of channels will appear. Click on the channel you want to join, then click the “Join Channel” button at the bottom of the page to join.
  • You can also type “/join [channel name]” (without quotes) in the message box at the bottom of the main screen to join a channel without previewing it first.

Add someone to an existing channel

Although anyone can join a public channel in a workspace, they will need to be added by a current member to join a private channel. If you’re a member of a public or private channel, here’s how to add a new member:

  • Open the channel and click the button that shows people who already belong to the channel in the top right (you’ll see their icons).
  • Click on “Add people”.

A single window lets you add or remove people from a channel.

A single window lets you add or remove people from a channel.

  • If you are adding new members to a private channel, you can choose either “Add to [channel name]“, which gives new members access to the channel history, or “Create a new channel”, which creates a new private channel with the members of this channel. Make your selection, then click “Continue”.
  • You will then be redirected to the “Add people” window. (If you add people to a public channel, you will be taken directly to the “Add people” popup without seeing the previous window.)

  • In the “Add people” window, type the name of the person you want to add in the bar. As you type, the names of people in the workspace will appear below the bar. Click on the names you want to add, then click “Done.”

In a private channel, you just type in the names of those you want to add.

In a private channel, you just type in the names of those you want to add.

  • If you’ve created a public channel and are adding people to it, the “Add people” popup will also allow you to enable the ability to automatically add anyone who joins your workspace. When you’re done, click “Done”.

You can either add new members to a private channel or create a new channel (which will also move members from the old channel)

You can either add new members to a private channel or create a new channel (which will also move members from the old channel)

Set a channel topic

At the top of your screen, below the channel name, is the channel topic. Topics can be useful for keeping people informed about the current conversation or goals of that channel.

You can also add a channel description, which lets others know what the channel is for. While the topic will appear under the channel name, the description will appear when browsing channels.

You can set or change the channel subject or description at any time:

To define the subject:

  • Open a channel.
  • Click the down arrow next to the channel name.
  • Create or edit the subject or description in the appropriate boxes and click “Save” when finished.
  • It is worth looking around; you can also do things here like turn on notifications, start a call, or (if you click the “settings” tab) archive or delete the channel.

Set a channel subject to keep members informed.

Set a channel subject to keep members informed.

Mute Channels

Being part of multiple channels on Slack can be overwhelming at times, especially when you’re constantly getting notifications about unread messages from every channel you’re in. You can mute the channels you are less interested in, which means the channel name on the left side won’t turn bold every time someone sends a message. Here’s how:

  • Right click on the channel name in the left column.
  • Click “Mute Channel”.

Updated January 28, 2022, 1:40 PM PT: This article was originally published on April 2, 2020 and has been updated to reflect changes to the Slack interface.

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