How to use Slack? 5 tips to be more efficient

By Lucas Chevillard

I’m a big fan of Slack. Maybe too much (e.g. I like to create custom emoji).
So I started to use more shortcuts and native features to remain efficient when Slacking.

Here are my 5 tips on how to use Slack for making the best of the tool and working effectively in it.

Search and find everything

Slack has a fantastic search engine. The name itself actually comes from:
Searchable Log of All Communication and Knowledge*.

You can use the search function to find pretty much everything that was ever posted in your Slack workspace: messages, files, links.
With all the data around it: who posted it, when was it posted, in which conversation.

This is true as long as it’s on public channels or you have access to it. That’s why I recommend to only have public channels and only a few private ones.

But if you have a lot of messages there is a way to find what you are looking for faster: search modifiers.
Here are my favorites search modifiers:

Find all messages with “2018 roadmap” in one specific channel:
In:[channel name] 2018 roadmap

Find all messages from one person:
From:[who posted it]

Find all messages posted before this date:
Before:[date]

And you can combine them like: In:#general From:@lucas.
This will search in the #general channel all messages sent by @lucas

Or another example: if you know a message was sent by either Olive or Sally, you can search like shown below:

How to use Slack: Multiple search Modifiers Slack

Check out all the search modifiers available in Slack help center.

The only Shortcut you need to know in Slack: Quick switcher

When you need to jump from one conversation to another one, it’s faster to keep typing rather than using the mouth.

So I use a shortcut: quick switcher
Open it with Command + T or K on Mac and CTRL + K on PC.
Then you start typing the name of the person or the channel name and hit enter.
That’s hit, you arrived at the right place.

How to use Slack: Slack Shortcut: Command + T or K

Here is a demo from a #general channel to #email-marketing channel in the emailgeeks Slack.

More information about the quick switcher.

Command + [ or ] to move back and forth

If you jump to a channel just to check something but want to go back to your initial conversation, you can use this shortcut: Command + [ on Mac or Alt + on PC.

Same here, leave your mouse on the side and stick to your keyboard.

Sidebar settings

This is a must if your company is running on Slack like at Airbnb.
Your sidebar can get crowded pretty quickly with channels you don’t need to see regularly.

This feature will only show you starred conversations and unread messages. So you’re only focusing on the channels that really need your attention. No need to check any other channel.

Unreads and starred conversation sidebar settings in Slack

Go to Preferences > Sidebar to set it up

It’s important to combine this by muting channels where you are only a listener and don’t have an active role in it. So they show in the unread list but without being highlighted.

Add keywords

A great other native feature is the My keywords. You can track what is relevant to you in the workspace you are in.
For example below, you can see the keywords I follow currently in the Emailgeeks community. So every time someone writes one of these words, I will be notified.

How to use Slack: My keywords in Slack

To set them up, click on the workspace and go to Preferences

There you go✌️

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About the Author

Growth Marketing Manager at Airbnb. Email Marketing Expert. Learn email marketing with my email marketing training