There are a few shortcut terms that we should distinguish between to avoid confusion and frustration later.
Slash Shortcuts: these are in-app actions you can set in motion by typing a forward slash (/) in the message field — for a full list of shortcuts, just type a / anywhere in Slack.
Keyboard Shortcuts: these are keystroke patterns that allow you to move around in Slack without disrupting your workflow with a keypad or mouse — for a full list, just hit ⌘ + / (Mac) and Ctrl + / (Windows/Linux) anywhere in Slack.
Slack Hacks for Speed, Ease, and Fun
1. Leverage Slack as your personal assistant for time management and planning.
One of the best parts about Slack isn’t the application itself but its ability to integrate with other platforms. Connecting Slack and Google Calendar allows you to view your schedule and respond to events without leaving your workspace and enables team transparency around scheduling. Instead of your co-worker wondering why you haven’t responded to their message 20 minutes ago, they can see that you’re in a meeting and (hopefully) remember not to spam you with notifications.
After integrating, /gcal allows you to see all of your scheduled events and personalize notification preferences. Get a quick overview of your day without taking the time to open a browser or new window.
Beyond manual scheduling, Slack can act as a personal assistant. Using /remind [@someone or #channel] to [What] [When] allows you to remind yourself, your colleague, or your team what to accomplish and when.
Then, /remind list tells you all of the reminders that you have set, so you can get an overview of your ‘to-do’ list all at once.
2. Set boundaries and follow them.
Especially with remote work, effective and consistent communication in the digital office is key to keeping your team on the same page, but it’s a fine line. With so many channels and DMs, it can begin to feel like someone always has something to say, and let’s be real, most likely not every message needs your review (at least not immediately). You don’t let your co-workers talk your ear off in the office, so don’t let them do it virtually. Sometimes, silencing notifications, even just for a set amount of time, allows you to zone in on a task and get it completed. Slack makes it easy to set these boundaries and keep your team in the loop about when you need some space.
For total silence, leverage the /dnd [some description of time] shortcut to start or stop a ‘Do Not Disturb’ session. This can be especially helpful at the start of a meeting to ensure you won’t be distracted.
For ‘filtered’ silence, use /mute to silence a channel or (on desktop) a thread, so you don’t have to read conversations not relevant to you
Utilize /away* to set your status to ‘away’ and let your team know that you’re not available to chat or answer questions
If you want to be even more transparent, /status allows you to update your status more specifically, so you can tell your colleagues that you just need some focus, you’re in a meeting, or something el
3. Become a master communicator (and STOP losing important messages).
Obviously, one of the primary things users love about Slack is quick, casual communication. You can lose the formality and complexity of an email chain and have real time conversations ‘in the office.’ However, though the beauty of channels and DMs is to organize conversations, they also promote ‘losability’ of information. It’s easy to forget where that document was shared, what the answer to that question was, or who provided feedback on your blog draft. Thus, it’s important to prioritize important channels and messages, organize them in a way that you can refer back to, and format them in a readable, clear manner.
Prioritize channels or DMs that are most relevant to you or that you need to access most often. Right click on a given conversation and choose to ‘Star’ it. Then, it will move into the ‘Starred’ section on the top left side of your navigation bar. You can add and remove sections as needed.
You can save specific messages for later by hovering over them and tapping the bookmark icon. The message will jump into your saved folder and you can build a collection of posts to refer back to.
Format your messages using inline code to increase readability. Posting blocks of text, especially with lists and quotation marks, can be difficult to read and decipher quickly. Use the </> code icon to box text within your messages, as shown below.
⌘ + Shift + C on Mac orCtrl + Shift + Con Windows/Linux does this without taking your hands off the keyboard.
/msg [#channel] (or /dm @someone) [your message] sends your message to a specific member or entire channel without disrupting your workflow.
⌘ N or Ctrl + N composes a new message instantly
4. Expedite search with operators.
We can’t lie: Xoba is a bit biased in our love of search (it is part of what we do best after all), but truly, mastering search operators can turn you into a Slack power user. You no longer have to ping your co-workers or an entire channel just to find that one message someone sent last week. Slack search parameters allow you to get specific about what you’re looking for and find it within seconds.
Slash Shortcut: /search [your text]* searches your Slack messages and files for specific phrases
5. Bonus: Partner Slack and Xoba
You can integrate Slack and Xoba, a knowledge discovery tool that connects all of your platforms and enables you to search across them.
After creating your Xoba account and connecting Slack, you can use /Xoba [your search] to find any Google Drive file, Asana task, email, and more, directly in the app. Then, you can share it to any DM or channel instantly.
You can also use the Xoba page or browser extension to search within Slack from anywhere, pulling up specific messages or full conversations.
Xoba is currently in beta— sign up today and find anything, from anywhere.