How to use Slack? 8 Tips to get started with Slack

Learn more about creating a Slack workspace, creating a channel, adding your team members, setting your status, searching for messages and more.

Slack is a collaborative tool that almost every workspace seems to be using, especially for remote and hybrid work. Whether you use the free or the paid version of Slack, you can make use of multiple helpful features that will help you increase your engagement and productivity at work. If you are wondering which one is better for you between Teams or Slack, we’d say Slack is better for small remote teams while Teams may be preferred by large teams and enterprises.

In this guide, you will be able to answer all your ‘How to Slack’ questions like conducting a Slack search within a channel or learning how to delete a Slack channel, so that you can be a Slack pro.

In this article, we will cover the following points:

  1. How to create a Slack workspace?
  2. How to create a channel on Slack?
  3. How to add or invite team members on Slack?
  4. How to set your status on Slack?
  5. How to customize your Slack workspace’s theme?
  6. How to start video calls on Slack?
  7. How to use the Slackbot effectively?
  8. How to make use of the Slack Search tool?
  9. How to use Slack Integrations on your workspace?

What is Slack?

When founded, Slack originally meant “Searchable Log of All Conversation & Knowledge.” For the uninitiated, it is a real-time communication and collaboration tool available on desktop, mobile, and also as a web application. It serves as an alternative to email, prevents Zoom fatigue and has become an internal communication tool for many companies.

Why should your company use Slack?

At Ricotta, we have been using Slack for over 12 months now, and we are big fans because of how easy it is to use!

To begin with, it’s a lot easier than mailing, it’s real-time, like WhatsApp, and you don’t need to fret over “snail” e-mail to depend on the status of your project, updates on a competitor, et al. Slack is packed with loads of features; one on one video calls in their paid plan, third-party apps for productivity, threads on DMs and groups, setting status’ and custom emojis are our favourite features at Ricotta. All of this combined definitely prove to be a significant improvement over email.

How to create a Slack workspace?

Here’s our step-by-step guide that will make it easy for you to set up your Slack workspace:

  1. Download the Slack app on your desktop and mobile 
  2. Create a profile by entering your email address and click on Continue. You can choose to continue with Apple or Google.
  3. Next, you will receive a confirmation code on your email
  4. Enter the code and create a workspace.
  5. Next, simply fill out your details and start using Slack!

How to create a Slack channel?

A Slack channel is like a chat-room centred around a topic of discussion or a relevant team. To address everyone in a channel, type @channel and then enter your message. Creating a channel is pretty simple, if you have the admin rights or if the workspace gives all members the permission to create a channel. 

 If you have the required admin rights, creating a channel on Slack is very simple. 

1. Click on the “Add channels” button that is below the list of default public channels, like #general and #random. 

2. You can choose to ‘Create a new channel’ or ‘Browse all channels’. The ‘Browse all channels’ feature gives you a complete list of existing channels that have been created on the workspace. This can avoid duplication of channels, so consider browsing the channels before you decide to create a new one.

Create a Slack channel by adding a name, description and channel settings

3. On selecting ‘Create a channel’, you will see a small window pop up where you enter the name and a short description of the channel. You can choose to make the group either private or public. In case you make it private, you need to add the members who will have access to this specific channel. You can add more members in a private channel and change admin rights in the ‘Manage members’ section. And your Slack channel will be automatically created.

Voilà! A new Slack channel has been created.

Of course, it is not easy to figure out which channels you should create for your team, but it is important that you don’t end up creating too many channels since it will lead to spam.

How to add or invite users on Slack?

Click on 'Add teammates' to invite users on Slack

Inviting users is just a click away. Click on ‘add members’ under the public chat section and enter the Email ID or share the group link.

There are two types of guest access: Single-Channel Guests access, where users have access to one channel, in case of a consultant working on a project in your firm and Multi-Channel Guests, where users have access to multiple channels.

How to set a status on Slack?

Slack status can come in handy if you want to communicate to your entire team at once. For example, if you are in a meeting, out sick or commuting, you can set a status using the emojis or add a custom status. You can also create your custom Slack status by choosing an emoji and text of your choice. This is especially helpful if you want to indulge in deep work and want to be offline for a few hours - you can always say that through your Slack status.

Set your Slack status by selecting a default status or customizing it


You can update your status by clicking on your profile photo in the top right corner and choosing on the ‘Update your status’ option.

How to customize your Slack workspace’s theme?

Slack has an aubergine theme by default and a wide list of other themes to choose from. To change the theme,  you can click on your profile photo in the top right corner and choose ‘Preferences’. Next, go to the ‘theme’ option and choose between a light and dark theme. You can also choose from a variety of colour options.

If you’d like your own theme, Slack lets you design your own template that can be shared across the organization. Sharing a customized template is as easy as it can get -  click on the Copy button below ‘Copy and paste with others’. Paste your template into any channel and members can click the switch sidebar theme button from their desktop to start using it.

How to start video calls on Slack?

To start a video conference on Slack, go to the direct message conversation with a person/group and click on the phone icon. Once you click on call, you’ll be able to toggle between voice and video options. If you have subscribed to the paid version of Slack, you can add up to 15 people to the call. There are countless apps which aid in one on ones and facilitate icebreaker meetings via Slack calls.

How to use the Slackbot effectively?

Slackbot is your personal built-in genie for all Slack FAQs, help, notes and much more. It helps you keep notes, manage docs and wiki, answer common queries in channels and respond to trigger words or phrases. To customize the Slackbot, go to ‘customize channel’ in the settings section and click on Slackbot. Next, set automatic responses to messages on the channel.

You can use these simple commands to set reminders on Slack:

 /remind me to send Q1 data to product team 
/remind @Archer to mail invoice 
/remind #sales to send expense report

Add customized responses using the Slackbot

You can also set automated reminders using your Slackbot. To customize a response, you can simply type in a phrase or some variations to the phrase and also set up a response. For example, if someone uses the phrase ‘Wi-Fi’ or ‘Wi-Fi password’, you can automatically set a Slackbot response with the password. Easy-peasy!

How to make use of the Slack Search tool?

Slack search engine is extremely well-designed and crucial to retrieve the required data. Slack channels get deluged with content, and so you can use some tricks to cut through the haystack and find relevant docs or threads. Here are some Common Advanced Search use cases in Slack:

1. In a particular Slack channel: “In:”

Use in: to search in a particular channel


2. Message from a particular user: “From:” 
Use from: to search for a message from a user


3. Find Messages within date ranges

a. After

Use after: to search for a message after a particular date

b. Before

Use before: to search for a message before a particular date

c. During

Use during: to search for a message during a particular time period


4. Messages with specific elements using “has:”

Use has: to search for a message with specific elements
5. Messages containing the letters or part of a word: Asterix
Use asterix: to search for a message containing letters or part of a word
6. Combining multiple modifiers together
Combine multiple modifiers to get more accurate results

For example, let’s say that you want to find a particular file using the search tool, you can type from followed by the username, and the command will be from: @USERNAME.

You can make this more targeted by adding an after and before date to get results of a defined date range. after:<date> before:<date>. You can make use of other commands listed above to get more specific results. Simple!

How to use Slack Integrations on your workspace?

Slack has around 2000 third party integrations and apps which provides a range of utility for any company that uses Slack. There is a 10-app limit on the free tier. To add an app, go to the Slack app directory, search for the app or browse from the catalogue and add it with a click of a button (open in slack). Slack has a lot of useful categories like ‘Social and Fun’, Work From Home, Productivity etc. Some apps require permission to post in certain channels or DM users directly, pay heed to that. For instance, adding Ricotta productivity app to your workspace can be done in a click of a button. 

Conclusion

Now that you’ve learnt the basics and more. We hope all your ‘How to Slack’ questions are answered. From learning how to create a workspace, a Slack channel, conducting an effective Slack search to deleting a Slack channel, these features will come in handy while using Slack. With the addition of having an amazing Slack app directory wherein you can install amazing Slack apps, bots and integrations, Slack is a one-stop-shop for all your collaboration needs. You can search for apps directly on the app store, especially the featured apps, or search by categories.

For example, Ricotta Trivia is featured in the Top 3 apps in the Working From Home category on the Slack App Directory. 

Ricotta Trivia Slack app for Trivia, Icebreakers and Games


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