How to Use Slack Huddles

Use the headphone toggle to start collaborating

What to Know

  • On desktop, open a channel or DM and select the headphones toggle in the bottom-left corner. 
  • On mobile, open the channel or DM and select the headphones icon in the top-right of the screen.
  • Huddles will end automatically once everyone has left.

This article explains how to set up and start using huddles in Slack. Huddles provide a way to directly collaborate with other users over voice chat and video.

How to Start a Huddle in Slack in a Browser

Beginning a new huddle is very simple, as are inviting people and sharing your screen.

  1. On desktop, open the Slack channel or DM you want to create the huddle in. Select the headphones toggle in the bottom-left corner of the sidebar to begin your huddle.

    Headphones icon highlighted in Slack sidebar
  2. Expand your view of the huddle by selecting the new window icon. You can also select the camera icon to turn on video (or leave it off if you’d prefer to stay audio-only).

    New Window and camera icons highlighted in Slack huddle
  3. Select the camera icon to turn video on. Select it again to turn the video off.

  4. Invite people on either platform by selecting the three dots icon (the person-shaped icon in the desktop huddles window will also work), then select Invite people.

    Invite people notification in Slack
  5. Select the share screen icon to turn on screen sharing, and then choose the application or window you want to start sharing.

    Screen sharing icon in Slack huddle

To draw while sharing your screen, you’ll need to share your full screen and not just a single window.

How to Start a Huddle in Slack on Mobile

Slack huddles are also fairly easy to use on a mobile device, though the steps are slightly different compared to using a web browser. Most of the same huddle features from the browser version of Slack will work on mobile, but you won't be able to change your video background or set a huddle theme.

Open the Slack app and find the channel or DM you want to open the huddle in. Then, select the headphones icon in the top-right corner of the screen to start your huddle.

How to End a Huddle in Slack

When you’re ready to put a stop to a huddle, select Leave or the headphones icon (you’ll also need to confirm on mobile by selecting Leave again). Huddles will automatically close themselves out once the last person has left, and the person who set up the huddle doesn’t have to stick around.

Headphones icon and Leave highlighted in Slack huddle

If you have the necessary permissions for the Slack workspace, you can turn huddles off for specific channels if you don’t want anyone using them. Open the channel and select the channel name at the top of the screen, then select Settings > Edit next to Huddles > No, members can’t start or join huddles > Save.

What Is a Slack Huddle?

Huddles in Slack act as an online meeting room of sorts — one where you can share screens, leave notes, and chat using audio and video. It’s something you can set up in either a direct message (DM) or previously-established Slack channel, and someone doesn’t have to already be in the conversation to join (when invited).

There are some limits to huddles, however, depending on whether you’re using Slack on desktop or mobile, and if you’re using a free or paid plan. You also may not be able to use huddles based on the settings of the Slack workspace you’re using. But if huddles are allowed, the primary differences are:

If you're on a free plan with Slack, up to two people can be in a huddle. If you pay for a premium Slack account, the limit goes up to 50 participants.

Both mobile and desktop users can send invites; manage preferences for camera, microphone, and speakers; and use live captions, but live captions are currently only available in English.

Desktop huddlers can also change the background of their video or set up a huddle theme for everyone that will appear in the huddle window.

How Is a Slack Huddle Different From a Slack Call?

While there may have been some significant differences between a Slack huddle and call, with all of the features that have been added to huddles over the years, they’ve all but disappeared. Now calls are actually more limiting than huddles, with the former unable to offer separate threads for messages or files. Calls also don’t provide animated effects or stickers (just emojis), and while huddles allow up to two people to simultaneously share screens, calls only allow for one.

Slack will be discontinuing the call feature starting on March 30th, 2023. After that date, you’ll have to rely on using huddles instead.

  • Can employers listen to Slack huddles?

    Yes. If call recordings and chats are saved to the cloud by default, admins can review Slack huddle conversations.

  • How do I join a Slack huddle?

    If there is a huddle with a channel or group chat you want to be part of, look for the blue antenna icon next to the channel. Select the channel, then select the Headphones icon in the bottom left to join the Slack huddle.

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