In the remote-working world, everyone loves Slack.
It’s ‘where work happens.’ It’s where conversations happen. For many, it’s the ultimate collaboration tool.
But like any software, it’s easy to get lost in the functionality. That is until you learn the tricks of the trade and start navigating the app like a pro. So whether you’re new to Slack or you know it well, there are likely some features you haven’t used before.
If you want to…
- Stop distracting notifications
- Stay alert to keywords
- Set reminders in a few keystrokes
- …and much, much more
You’re in the right place: here are nine ways to work faster on Slack.
1. Disable Notifications
Slack is notorious for its endless notifications.
That’s great when you’re in conversation mode. But it’s a productivity killer if you’re trying to focus — so the first way to work faster is to keep distractions to a minimum.
You can turn off notifications by going to ‘Notification Settings’ and clicking ‘Nothing,’ which will let you check your messages when you want, not when you hear a ping. You can then mute channels, disable the red icon, even stop all sounds — leaving nothing to distract from your work.
2. Set Alerts For Keywords
What if you don’t want to disable notifications? In fact, what if you want to create more?!?
Well, Slack has a feature for that too. Say, you want to know when a product name is mentioned. Or if a word like ‘hack’ comes up? Slack lets you set alerts for keywords that otherwise might go unnoticed:
- Open the ‘Preferences’ tab
- Click ‘Notifications’
- Find ‘My Keywords’
- Enter your keyword alerts
You’ll never miss an event if you use keywords — and when you want to remove them, you can clear the section just as quickly.
3. Edit Messages With One Keystroke
Here’s why Slack beats email.
You can edit every message, no matter how long you wait. Say, you’ve messaged the wrong person or misspelled a word — simply dive in and correct. To edit quickly, hit the up arrow on your keyboard in the relevant channel, and Slack will open the editor for you.
All that’s left is to make your corrections, hit ‘Enter,’ and escape the conversation before anyone’s the wiser.
4. Set Reminders With Slackbot
Slackbot is every users’ personal assistant.
People often ignore its handy hints, but once you’ve read this one, we bet you’ll take a second look. Slackbot can set reminders, which are a godsend when you’re busy. No iPhone to-do lists, no calendar co-ordinations. Just a direct message to Slackbot saying, “/remind [me / @someone / #channel] [what] [when]”
…and it will prod you to act at the appropriate moment. Want some examples? How about these:
- /remind me to call my wife at 5 pm
- /remind @shawn to pay the invoice on Friday
- /remind #general it’s a public holiday tomorrow
Next time you need to send a weekly memo to teammates, get Slackbot to remind you.
5. Take Notes As You Chat
Since we’re avoiding the ‘Reminders’ app, let’s avoid ‘Notes’ too.
You can take notes on Slack in the same way you set reminders: send a direct message to Slackbot to jot something down, and it will store your thoughts for eternity. If you want to highlight something important, *star* the note so that it sticks out for later (or set a Slackbot reminder to revisit your notes at 10 am tomorrow).
It’s the easiest way to keep track of your thoughts without exiting a workspace.
6. *Star* Important Messages
We’ve just introduced starred notes, and you can star messages too.
It’s the perfect way to keep all the important conversations in one quickly accessible place — instead of copy-pasting to ‘Notes’ or a Google Doc.
Starred messages sit in none other than the ‘Starred Items’ section found in the top-right hand corner of Slack. Use them to save messages, links, and other bits of information you return to repeatedly.
7. Autocomplete Emojis
Emojis aren’t strictly work … but if you spend lots of time on Slack, they quickly become part of your work routine. And if you want to keep working quickly, it pays to know how to find your favorite emojis in seconds.
After all, there are literally hundreds to choose from. Clicking the emoji icon every time won’t cut it. Instead, type ‘+:[letter]’ to find what you’re looking for, then Slack should take care of the rest. Say you want to alert the team to Taco Tuesday, just type ‘+:t’ — and the taco emoji (as well as ‘thumbsup’, ‘tada’, and more) should appear.
Now, hit enter 🌮
8. Only Show Unread Channels
The bigger your organization, the more channels you’re likely to see. If only there were a way to cut through the noise… as it turns out, there is.
You can tell Slack only to show channels with unread messages, which makes it easy to see if something’s awaiting your attention: and if that something’s important, you can star the message to come back to later. To show unread channels, head to ‘Preferences’ —> ‘Advanced’ —> ‘Channel List’ — and select “My unreads along with everything I’ve starred.”
9. Skip To The Last Unread Message
What if you leave a channel, only to return minutes later to a flurry of new messages? How do you pick up where you left off? You guessed it…
There’s a shortcut for that, both on Mac and Windows.
- Mac: CMD + Shift + ↓
- Windows: Alt + Shift + ↓
If you’re skipping between channels, this is an especially nifty trick. If you’re jumping back into Friday’s #random chat, it may be the only way to pick up on what’s been happening since you left.
We’ve put together a short article on ‘How to work from home’ to help businesses adapt to the new normal — if you want help getting set up for longer-term remote work, get in touch on 207-223-7594.