Tired of spending all of your time in your email inbox? Slack helps you say goodbye to email while keeping all of your teams’ communications and files in one place, wherever you go. You can group conversations, share files and search while staying in sync across multiple platforms. It also has dozens of integrations with third party applications and is a secure way to communicate.
Companies, big and small, are moving to this new tool for communication, including Productivityist. I’ve personally used this tool with multiple teams and continue to find more reasons why it’s my favorite messaging app.
Here are seven of my favorite tips and tricks to help make Slack easier and better to use.
1. Notify Individuals (@username)
One of the easiest and quickest tips for Slack is the ability to mention people in your messages. Just like Twitter, everyone on your team has a unique username prepended by the @ sign. If you want to mention someone in a message, type the @ sign and Slack will give you a popup of available users you can choose from; continue typing to autocomplete the user of your choice.
Furthermore, if you want to notify everyone in a channel or group you can type @channel and everyone will be notified of the message.
2. Quick Commands (/command)
Slack is often used for sharing messages, links, and files but there is much more to this app; Slack also has built-in and third party commands that allow you to interact with the app at a deeper level. All commands in Slack are initiated by a forward slash (/) at the beginning of your message. You will immediately see a popup of all available commands and can choose the one you want by typing the keyword for the appropriate command.
Here are some examples:
- /mute – mutes the current channel.
- /away – toggle your away status.
- /collapse – collapse all files in the current channel (/expand does the opposite).
- /invite @username – Invite another member to a channel or group.
Slack makes it easy because it autocompletes the command as you type and shows a description next to the keyword.
3. Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to increase productivity and quickly navigate and interact with any application. Slack has a great set of keyboard shortcuts for navigation, messages and more.
Here are a list of shortcuts I use everyday:
- Cmd / – Display all of Slack’s keyboard shortcuts.
- Cmd k – Open the Quick Switcher.
- Cmd u – Upload a file.
- Cmd , – Open Slack’s settings.
My favorite and most used shortcut is the “Quick Switcher” which opens with ⌘+K or ⌘+T (or Ctrl + K for Windows). It pulls up a search form that displays all unread channels, groups and private messages followed by a complete list of everything else. Simply type what area of your team you want to visit and hit enter. It’s an easy way to jump between conversations and view unread channels in a quick glance.
Ready to dive deeper into Slack? Then check out the new Productivityist course (built right inside of Slack) called Slack Made Easy. You can learn more about Slack Made Easy here.
4. Multiple Teams
Did you know you aren’t limited to one team with Slack? There are many companies and communities moving to Slack for team communication. Slack allows you to easily add multiple teams to your app.
You can switch between apps using the small sidebar on the right (or inside the menu on mobile). You can also switch using keyboard shortcuts displayed between each of your team icons (ex: ⌘+1). Combine team switching with the Quick Switcher utility and it becomes quick and easy to hold conversations between multiple channels with multiple teams.
5. Custom Themes
If you start using multiple teams, you will want to have a way to easily identify communication between teams. To help you with this, Slack allows you to customize the colors of your sidebar. In the settings there is a section called “Sidebar Theme” with a set of premade themes that have unique color palettes.
The real power house behind Slacks Sidebar Theme is the ability to create your own color themes. Click the link at the bottom and you can adjust whatever colors you want using their color picker or your own hexadecimal color value. I would recommend matching the Sidebar Theme with your company’s colors. For Productivityist Slack group, Choco Mint is the theme with a replacement of all the greens with Productivityist green.
This makes Slack feel personal and unique for each team you participate in, and the theme carries across all devices, so just make the update once and everything changes. Lastly, you can share your theme by copying the hexadecimal codes (from the bottom for of the Sidebar Theme settings) and even share it with your teammates.
6. Customize Notification Preferences
Slack isn’t intended to be a new instant messaging platform to keep you connected with your team. Rather, it’s supposed to be a smarter way to communicate on a team.
This is why the notification settings are critical when setting up Slack. I suggest using Slack’s recommended settings. It allows you to get notifications for @channel messages and responses from messages you directed or are mentioned in. These settings eliminate worry about missing important messages, without your phone or computer going off all day with less important conversations.
7. Emoji Reactions
A new feature introduced by the Slack team allows you to “react” to someone’s message with a emoticon. You can type +:emoji_name: or hit Cmd+Shift+\ to pull up a popup containing a list of emoji to interact with a message. On mobile you can tap and hold the message you want to react to and hit the “Add Reaction” link.
Emoji reactions are a simple but clever way to connect with what others are saying. It’s another reason why Slack is fun and forward thinking with their app.
These are just a handful of tips for working with Slack. This application has transformed the way Productivityist team communicates and we think it can help your team as well. Mike has teamed up with Steve Dotto to create a new course – administered in Slack – called Slack Made Easy. Plus, this is an active community; the course will continue to grow as the community grows. The Productivityist team members that built it – including Mike Vardy – along with Dotto Tech are in there so you’ll have direct access to them! You can learn more about Slack Made Easy and get enrolled today by clicking here.