Halpful Tips
July 26, 2019

Top Secret Slack Maneuvers You Probably Don't Know About

Even if you use Slack every day, it’s likely that there are a few tricks you still don’t know about. It’s understandable – it’s extremely easy to get the basics of Slack and feel like we’ve mastered the tool. And you’re probably right, but that’s not the same as using Slack with the assurance that you’re doing things the most efficient way. 


There are quite a few hidden (or not so hidden, but that we tend to oversee!) tactics that will make your day even more efficient. Whether you’re collaborating with other teams, or busy answering support tickets in Slack, each trick you master will make you better at your job. That also means having access to Slack’s early releases, including the much coveted dark mode. 

In this article, we cover some of Slack’s most useful secret maneuvers you might not know about. 

1. Joining the Beta program

A dark theme for its desktop version is one of the most demanded requests for Slack. Unfortunately, while a dark theme is available for iOS and Android, desktop users will have to wait. 

If you want to skip the queue a way to get access to the early release of this – and other – new features, you can sign up to the beta program. As a member of the beta community, Slack will automatically send you new updates of its app before they are rolled out to the rest of the public. All you have to do is download the beta version!

Of course, being part of the beta community and having early access to Slack’s coolest new features also means giving back: if you spot anything funny or buggy, you can share your feedback so they can fix it on the following release.   


2. Writing messages that auto-destruct

Tomorrow is your boss’ birthday but you’re out of the office? Timy is a free and handy app with a simple purpose: schedule your messages to be sent in the future. For example, write /send Happy Birthday! at 12am in a channel or a DM and you’ll be all set! 

Besides scheduling messages, Timy also gives you the ability to write messages that get automatically deleted. You can either schedule the auto-destruction of your message to a specific hour or tell the app that you want the message to delete itself after a certain number of minutes or hours.  



Mission Impossible? Not anymore. 

3. Setting up custom notifications

Custom notifications are one of the most underused yet practical ways to customize your Slack app. It basically lets you add alerts so that whenever a keyword is used in a conversation, you receive a notification. This makes it easier to track topics that interest you in conversation and channels you've joined! 

When keywords are active, every time someone uses one of your keywords, you’ll receive an alert and see it highlighted in yellow. No more FOMO on those subjects that you care about – be it names of important accounts you’re managing when they are discussed in channels you aren’t in or free goodies in the office kitchen.

Be careful to only add those keywords that really matter or you risk getting notifications too often. To add your keywords, head to Preferences from the menu of your Slack app. 


4. Writing your own loading messages 

You know those messages you can see written “by your friends at Slack” while the app powers up? Did you know that you can write your own? You don’t need to settle with Slack’s default loading messages – be creative and share your own wise words and inspirational quotes with your team.

Changing them is easy: you can write your own loading message by heading to the account’s customization settings and the Loading Messages tab. The quotes you write you will be attributed to you, so make sure they are worth it!



5. Using shortcuts and quick commands 

It’s clear that Slack is a great tool for work. When used effectively, it has the potential to increase the productivity of your team by 32%, reducing the time you spend on meetings and email. Now, there are still things that can be a bit painful to do. One of them is to upload files. 

Using shortcuts and quick commends allow you to reduce some of these pain points. While this is not exactly a secret – the list is published on Slack’s website – most users don’t know about them or haven’t paid the attention they deserve. For example, did you know that you can quickly upload a file by using the ⌘ U combination (on a Mac) or Ctr U (on Windows)?

 

You can find the full list of shortcuts by clicking on More items, then Keyboard Shortcuts in your workspace.


6. Sharing code snippets

If you work with developers, or you’re one yourself, you’ll probably want to discuss bits of code. Slack’s regular text box won’t let you format content the way you need it, but the snippet feature will. 

To create a new snippet to share with your team, click the + plus icon to the left of the message field and select Create Snippet from the menu. Then, simply paste your code snippet and select the programming language you’re using from the drop-down menu. 

An even easier way to share your code is by using a shortcut: ⌘ Shift Enter (Mac) and Ctrl Shift Enter (Windows) will save you time sharing your snippet. 

 

7. Using built-in slash commands

Master the use of slash commands and you’ll be an efficiency pro. Slash commands act as shortcuts for specific actions in Slack. 

While you need to know about their existence in order to use them (rarely will you discover them by chance), they are an extremely powerful way to carry on specific actions in Slack. 

From setting up reminders to viewing a channel’s members, becoming a slash command pro is worth it. Basically, they’ll allow you to perform entire tasks by simply typing in the slash sign (/) and a word – it’s that simple!

One of the most useful (and yet it took me months to learn about this) features is the ability to add built-in reminders in Slack. For example, if you need to remind yourself to call your client in half an hour, all you’ll need to type is /remind me to call my client in 30 min. Slack will then automatically send you a notification to remind you about your task. You can write your slash commands in any channel or message, they are invisible and only you’ll see it.

 

 

 

If you’re being interrupted or need some quiet time, you can pause notifications on the go with the /dnd slash command, followed by a specific time of day or time frame. Or if you need to see the list of members in a channel, simply type in /who. Make sure to check out the entire list of slash commands, it’s worth having this tab open until you familiarize yourself with the ones you’ll use the most. The time investment will be worth and you’ll move around Slack faster!  

You can also see a full list of available slash commands by typing a forward slash in any channel or direct message. You can also create your own list of slash commands, but you’ll need an internal integration. 

No more secrets between you and Slack 

Mastering these tips will make you a Slack pro but, above all, will make you more efficient at work. Most of these tools aren’t hidden from users, quite the opposite, they are Slack’s own tools. However, plenty of users, even those that have been using Slack for years, don’t know about them –don’t be one of them. 

Make sure that you spend a little time reviewing things like quick commands and slash commands. Knowing how to perform your most used actions with a shortcut or setting up reminders can be a game-changer on your day.


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