How to Use Slack Channels

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

What to Know

  • There's no limit to the channels you can join or have.
  • Join any public channel by typing /join followed by the channel name in the chat box.
  • Invite co-workers to channels with a link: Select Details > Add > Continue > enter names or email addresses > Done.

This article explains how to create and join Slack channels, invites others to your channels, make channels private, set channel topics, and archive or delete channels.

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.

    The button to use to browse or create a new channel in Slack.
  2. Select Create a channel.

    The button to create a new channel in Slack.
  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.

The button to use to browse or create a new channel in Slack.

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.

    The button to open channel details in Slack.

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

  2. Select Add.

    The Add button in Slack.
  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.

    The Details button in Slack.
  2. Select More > Additional options.

    The Additional options menu item under the More menu in Slack.
  3. Select Change to a Private Channel.

    Where to change a channel to private in Slack.

    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.

    The Details button in Slack.
  2. Select More > Mute.

    The Mute menu item under the More menu in Slack.

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.

    The Workspace menu in Slack.
  2. Select Settings & administration > Workspace settings.

    The Workspace settings menu item inside the Settings & administration menu in Slack.
  3. The Slack admin settings web page will open in your default web browser. Select the Permissions tab.

    The Permissions pane inside Settings & Permissions in Slack.
  4. Select Expand next to Channel Management.

    The Expand button inside Permissions preference pane in Slack.
  5. Choose who can manage channel settings, then select Save.

    Choose who can manage channel settings, then select Save.

What Is a Slack Channel, Anyway?

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.