Best Slack Features and How to Use Them

009 slack app logo on phone 2021

Sarah Tew/CNET

Over 10 million people use Slack every day. The communications platform has helped businesses, businesses and organizations stay connected during the pandemic as they adapt to hybrid workspaces.

Over the past two years, Slack has added several new features to meet user needs. Here’s a list of Slack’s best features to make sure the app works best for you.

You can schedule a Slack message while using the mobile or desktop app.

Shelby Brown/CNET

Scheduling Slack Messages

Your team may not have the same work schedule for a number of reasons: time zone differences, vacations, sick days. Scheduling Slack messages is an easy way to avoid pinging a coworker at an inopportune time. You can even schedule messages to send to yourself, which is great for reminders of deadlines. Here’s how:

1. Open Slack.

2. Type your message in the text field.

3. If you’re using the desktop app, click the green down arrow next to the submit button. For mobile, long press the send button to display scheduling options.

4. Click Custom Time and enter the desired date and time to send the message. You can plan up to four months in advance.

5. Click Schedule Message.

Slack Huddle for quick chats

Sometimes you need to talk to a colleague and it’s too much to type out, but also not important enough to host a Zoom conversation. Slack’s Huddle feature is an easy way to have real-time audio conversations. You can chat with just one person or with a larger group. Here’s how to use it:

1. Open Slack.

2. Select a conversation

3. Enable the headset icon in the lower left corner of your screen if you are on a desktop. Tap the headphone icon in the top right corner of the screen to start a Huddle on mobile.

Customize your Slack theme

Slack defaults to a light mode with a purple color scheme. If you don’t find this layout vibrant, you can choose from several color palettes and dark mode. Here’s where to find it:

1. Open Slack.

2. Click on your profile pictures in the top right corner.

3. Click Preferences. This will open a notifications tab.

4. Click Themes in the left menu pane.

5. From here you can choose dark mode, different pre-made color schemes, or build your own color schemes from scratch.

Can’t feel Slack’s default colors? You have more options.

Shelby Brown/CNET

Change the font size of Slack

Dark mode can make looking at a screen more bearable, but if the font is too small, color changes won’t help much. If you prefer a larger font or interface, here’s how to adjust your Slack settings:

1. Open Slack.

2. Click on your profile picture in the top right corner.

3. Click Preferences. This will open a notifications tab.

4. Click Accessibility in the left menu pane.

5. From here you can make your font larger or smaller. By default, the app is set to 100%, but you can go as low as 70% or as high as 200%.

Change Slack Notification Sound

Slack has notification sounds by default, but you’re not tied to it.

Shelby Brown/CNET

If you’re tired of Slack’s default notification sound, or don’t want to grab your phone when Slack’s commercials are playing on TV, you can change your notification sounds. Check out CNET’s article for a full breakdown of notification settings for iPhone and Android. To change notification sounds on the desktop, do the following:

1. Open Slack.

2. Click on your profile pictures in the top right corner

3. Click Preferences. This will open a notifications tab.

4. Scroll down to Sound & Appearance.

5. Open the drop-down menu under Notification Sound (Messages).

6. Click on a sound to play a sample. Here you can choose a new sound or no sound at all. Once done, you can exit the preferences and your changes will be saved automatically.

Slack Connect

Slack Connect allows you to message people outside of your company, simplifying communication with partner companies and customers. The feature bypasses long back and forth emails and streamlines messaging, scheduling meetings, and file sharing. This is how you set it up:

1. Click Slack Connect and click Create a channel.

2. Name your channel and add an optional description.

3. Choose whether you want to make the channel private or public. (Note that once you make a channel private, you can’t switch back to public.)

4. Make sure the small box that says Share Outside of [company name] has been checked.

5. Click Next and you can start sending invitations automatically by entering email addresses for people outside your organization or within your organization. Add a short message if desired and click Send.

6. Slack Connect confirms that the invite has been sent and lets you know that the people you’ve invited must accept to join.

7. When you no longer need the channel, you can mute it in Slack Channel Details (click the little “i” or arrow next to the channel name to go to the info screen). You can also leave a channel or group by going to the info screen and then selecting Leave.

Use custom floppy emojis

Here’s how to create a custom emoji in Slack.

Karisa Langlo

Okay, so this tip isn’t really focused on productivity, but it’s fun. Slack has over 2,000 emojis available, but you can also create your own. Unfortunately, you can’t create custom emojis through the mobile app, but here’s how to do it on desktop:

1. Open Slack.

2. Click the name of your workspace in the top left corner.

3. Click Customize.

4. Click Add Custom Emoji.

5. Upload an image and give it a name.

6. Click Save.

For more information, check out CNET’s tips for working from home and how to make Outlook more like Gmail.

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