21 Slack tips and tricks to make you a workplace wizard

Communicate like a boss with these handy hints

Time was, communicating with your colleagues meant slinging them an email or - God forbid - having a conversation.

Between hourly Google Drive invites and constant calendar requests, something had to give - or else it was sharing WhatsApps with your colleagues and, well, no-one wants that when it’s kebab time on a Friday.

Thankfully, just in the nick of time, Slack arrived - like the MSN Messenger to your banal office chat, only slicker, better and a lot more fun.

Thing is, it’s all too easy to underuse Slack. Sure, it’s funny to send emojis to your boss and create secret channels to discuss the intern who’s spilt his soup - but Slack also happens to be a properly powerful productivity suite. Yes, we said that.

So, how can you get the most out of it? With these 21 nifty tips, that’s how. As everyday users of Slack, we’ve combed our collective consciousness for the neatest tricks this cross-platform app has up its metaphoric sleeves.

The basics

1) Set your status

This one’s a cinch: newly added to Slack is the option to edit your status, with on-tap suggested options including ‘in a meeting’ and ‘commuting’, that’ll stick a relevant emoji next to your name so your work buddies will know just what you’re up to in a jiffy.

It’s a lot more informative than the limited ‘active’ and ‘away’ options, while the ability to create custom emoji and message combos opens up a world of potential.

2) Customise the look

A productive environment means something different to everyone, which is why changing your sidebar theme is must. Hit up the preferences menu and select ‘sidebar theme’ for a choice of eight colour combinations, with a range of contrasting background, icon and highlight colours.

Our personal favourite is ‘Work Hard’. Just kidding: it’s obviously the all-white ‘Hoth’, because Star Wars. Feeling artistic? You can fully customise every colour setting, too.

3) Snooze notifications

Sometimes you just want some peace, especially if you have the Slack app installed on your smartphone. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to shush your colleagues: hit the little bell icon and you’ll be offered the option to snooze notifications for a set period.

Look further down the list and you’ll see the option to set ‘Do Not Disturb’ hours, too, so you can silence alerts automatically after 17.00 - until the next morning.

4) Message yourself

Looking for somewhere to make a quick note? In the ‘direct messages’ area you’ll see your own username.

Besides keeping yourself company, you can actually use this thread to store notes, to-do lists and brain dumps. You might not get a reply, but it’s an easy way to jot ideas without leaving slack.

5) Keyboard shortcuts

Slack loves shortcuts. In fact, we could probably produce an entire feature on the time-saving keyboard combos available to you within Slack - though it might be a bit dull.

Hit 'CMD' and '/' on Mac or 'Ctrl' and '/' on Windows to bring up a list of the most common, or click here for the full list. There’s everything from quick switching to unread message skipping, all beneath your fingertips.

6) React to messages

Busy Slack threads can soon lead to conversations spiralling out of control. Avoid comment clash by replying to individual messages, rather than the thread as a whole: hover over the relevant message and hit ‘start a thread’ to concentrate your convo.

You can also add instant reactions by hovering and clicking ‘add reaction…’ for a wordless emoji response that’s bound to please your workplace pals.

7) @everyone

Not getting the response you want in your ‘general’ channel? Send a message to @everyone and they’ll all get a notification - whether they want it or not.

Use it wisely, mind, as it’ll cross time-zones and continents - and might stir a reaction from colleagues you’ve long forgotten.