5 Slack Tricks that Changed My Life

Aug 29, 2016


By: Brandon Quakkelaar

Please excuse the “click-baity” title. Sometimes I like to exaggerate.

Slack plays a significant role in my daily communication. My team at work has been using Slack as our primary mode of textual communication for over a year. It is also used by developer communities in my local area. At first, it felt a little clumsy. No more clumsy than a typical chat program. But, channels started to accumulate. The number of Direct Message feeds grew. Navigating and filtering all the conversations became more cumbersome. The tricks I will discuss here have helped me to stay nimble in Slack’s user interface. At first, I looked at Slack as a swamp of messages that I needed to wade through. But, with these small tricks, Slack has become easier to use and it even plays more of a productivity role.

  1. ctrl+k

    If you are in a large Slack room with many channels, ctrl+k can be a lifesaver! It gives you quick access to a list of channels that have new conversations. It also has an easy to use search feature that allows the user to navigate from their current conversation to a different channel or user. For someone like me, this is life changing. I love being able to use as much software as I can without needing to use my mouse.

  2. /remind

    At first, I thought the /remind feature was a gimmick that wasn’t useful. So it took me a few months to even try it out for the first time. Once I tried it, I became dependent on it. Some of the ways to use this include:

    • Remind yourself to follow up with a colleague the next day.
    • Remind yourself to start or end work on a project.
    • Right before leaving work, you can remind yourself to run an errand on the way home.

    My favorite way to use /remind is to set time-limits on periods of concentration. Outlook does a similar thing for meetings. About 15 minutes ahead of time, Outlook can pop up reminders that a meeting is approaching. I like to use /remind in a similar way for things that aren’t on my calendar.

    For example, I may need to switch concentration contexts midway through the day. I can use /remind me to work on XyzProject in 2 hours. Once the reminder has been set, it’s easier for me to concentrate on the current task because I don’t need to keep project ‘XyzProject’ in the back of my mind.

    /remind is also useful for helping me remember the state a project was in when I left it. For example, I can say /remind me to bind new service implementations with Ninject on Monday at 8am. This has been a great tool to get me working on a project right where I left off.

  3. Star important channels

    This is a cool little trick the helps me group my highest priority channels together. At work, I have a handful of channels that are team specific. I like to star those so they all get prioritized at the top of the list. Then all the other channels, which are company-wide, get grouped below the starred channels. It’s the simplest thing, but works so well. Just select the channel and hover over the channel’s name at the top. Then a click-able star button will appear.

  4. /mute

    /mute has been useful for me at work where I’m in many channels. However, I don’t need constant notifications whenever someone has added a post. /mute has been a great tool for alleviating the tsunami of push notifications that I would have otherwise received.

  5. /collapse

    If people are going nuts with /giphy or posting URLs that automatically show previews, then use /collapse to clean up that clutter in one giant swoop!

So those are my 5 Slack tips. But wait! There’s more. So here are a few bonus tips.