How to Use Slack Channels

Create a new channel, invite co-workers, and set a channel topic

After you create a workspace in Slack, you can set up channels for specific projects and topics. Here's how to use Slack channels to share files and communicate with co-workers.

Instructions in this article apply to the web version of Slack and the desktop versions for Windows and Mac.

What Is a Slack Channel?

Slack channels are essentially chat rooms within a workspace where co-workers can discuss specific topics or projects. There's no limit to the number of channels you can have; however, if someone is using the free version of Slack, then they can only see the most recent 10,000 messages sent in a workspace.

Every workspace has a #general channel that is public by default. Other channels can be made private by administrators. Once a channel is marked as private, it cannot be made public again.

Keep as many channels public as possible to encourage transparency. Likewise, make sure important conversations take place in public channels so that everyone has access to them.

How to Create a Slack Channel

Anyone in a workspace can create a channel, but owners and administrators have greater control over who can join. To make a new channel:

Your Slack interface may look slightly different depending on whether you're using the free or paid version of Slack.

  1. Select the plus (+) next to Channels on the left side of Slack.

    Select the plus (+) next to Channels on the left side of Slack.
  2. Select Create a channel.

    Select Create a Channel.
  3. Set the channel name, give it a description, then select Create. You can also select the Make private toggle switch to restrict access to invite-only.

    Set the channel name, give it a description, then select Create.

    Establish naming conventions for channels. For example, use prefixes like "project" or "team" so co-workers can quickly identify the channel's purpose.

  4. Enter names or email addresses of the members you want to add, or choose Add all members, then select Done.

    Enter names or email addresses of the members you want to add, or choose Add all members and select Done.

Administrators have the option to select Automatically add anyone who joins.

How to Join a Channel in Slack

You can join any public channel by typing /join followed by the channel name in the chat box. To open the channel browser, select the plus (+) next to Channels, then choose Browse Channels. From here, you can sort, filter, and search through all of the channels you can join in your workspace.

To open the channel browser, select the plus (+) next to Channels, then choose Browse Channels.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+L (for Windows) or Command+Shift+L (for Mac) to bring up the Slack channel browser.

How to Invite Someone to a Slack Channel

You can invite co-workers to join any public or private channel you are part of. To send someone a link to a Slack Channel:

  1. Open the channel and select Details in the top-right corner of Slack.

    Open the channel and select Details in the top-right corner of Slack.

    In some versions of Slack, you may see a cog icon instead.

  2. Select Add.

    Select Add.
  3. If the channel is private, Slack will ask if you'd rather create a new channel instead. Select Continue to proceed.

    Select Continue to proceed.
  4. Enter names or email addresses of the members you want to add, then select Done.

    Enter names or email addresses of the members you want to add, and then select Done.

How to Make a Channel Private in Slack

In some cases, a private channel is necessary to keep sensitive conversations contained. To change a public channel to invite-only:

  1. Open the channel and select Details (or the cog icon) in the top-right corner of Slack.

    Open the channel and select Details in the top-right corner of Slack.
  2. Select More > Additional options.

    Select More, then select Additional options from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select Change to a Private Channel.

    Select Change to Private Channel.

This setting cannot be undone.

Archive or Delete Slack Channels

You can archive or delete channels by accessing the Additional options menu following the steps above. Archiving a channel will close the channel to new members, but all conversations will still be saved. Archive channels that are no longer in use to declutter your workspace.

If you choose to delete a channel, any saved conversations and resources will be lost.

Channel Topics in Slack

Select Add a topic under the channel name to set the topic. Channel topics help keep everyone on track and up-to-date on the current conversation. Administrators can change the topic at any time. It's a good idea to add a descriptive topic to every channel.

How to Mute Channel Notifications

Slack sends notifications whenever there's new activity in your channels, which can get overwhelming. If you want to disable notifications for channels in Slack:

  1. Open the channel and select Details (or the cog icon) in the top-right corner of Slack.

    Open the channel and select Details in the top-right corner of Slack.
  2. Select More > Mute.

    Select More, then select Mute from the drop-down menu.

How to Manage Channel Permissions

Workspace owners and administrators control who can change topics and edit other channel settings. To manage these permissions:

  1. Select your workspace name in the top-left corner of Slack, then select Settings & administration > Workspace settings.

    Select your workspace name in the top-left corner of Slack, then select Settings & administration > Workspace settings.
  2. The Slack admin settings web page will open in your default web browser. Select the Permissions tab.

    Select the Permissions tab.
  3. Select Expand next to Channel Management.

    Select Expand next to Channel Management.
  4. Choose who can manage channel settings, then select Save.

    Choose who can manage channel settings, then select Save.