Slack

Slack Updates

Slack mention · April 10, 2019

How Zapier and HubSpot Empower Businesses to Do More through Automation

In an ideal world, every business could turn to an all-in-one application to manage leads, emails, marketing campaigns, cloud-based storage, eCommerce—anything their business could possibly need. Since that world doesn't exist, we have the next best thing: app automation tool Zapier, which helps you get the most out...read more
Slack mention · March 5, 2019

How to Turn Off the Red Dot in Slack

Slack puts a red dot next to its icon whenever there is an unread message. This is potentially useful, but can also lead to impulsively clicking. However interesting your job might be, it’s no match for a mysterious red dot, that most compelling of UI elements, one that you...read more
Slack mention · January 28, 2019

The Best Screen Sharing Software in 2019

Screen sharing makes collaboration and support as visual and interactive as it would be in person. You can present a design, document, or website exactly as it displays on your screen—while it's happening—or virtually peer over the shoulder of a colleague to offer guidance. But it doesn...read more
Slack mention · January 23, 2019

How to Create Autoreplies in Slack

Email users set up autoreplies when they go on vacation. Slack doesn't offer this exact feature, but there are two options that work similarly: The Status feature lets everyone know what you're up to, like an old school AIM away message. Slackbot can automatically respond to specific words...read more
Slack mention · January 15, 2019

How to Create Custom Emoji in Slack

Emoji are core to every workflow—at least, they're core to any workflow worth having. But your company has its own unique culture, and that culture deserves its own emoji. Happily Slack makes it easy to add your own. To get started click the name of your organization followed...read more
Slack mention · January 15, 2019

How to Use Slack Search

Can't quite remember that one piece of information you're confident someone told you on Slack? Try searching for it. One of Slack's key selling points is memory, the ability to look through every conversation your team has ever had. You wanting access to that history is core...read more
Slack mention · January 9, 2019

How to Customize Your Slack Sidebar

Do you ever wonder why your co-worker's Slack sidebar looks different than yours? It's probably because they customized it. Here's how you can do the same thing. To get started click the name of your organization, at top-left, then click "Preferences." Like this: Now head to the...read more
Slack mention · December 13, 2018

The 30 Fastest Growing Business Apps in 2018

Bundles are back. For years, web apps prompted a great unbundling of software, with a focus on apps that did one thing well. That changed in 2018. Adobe added Marketo and Magento to their wide-ranging suite of apps, Microsoft acquired GitHub, and Google built the new Hangouts Team Chat to...read more
Matthew Guay
Written by Matthew GuayLast updated April 25, 2018

It's the chat app that's taken the world by storm, the tool that's replacing email and IM and everything between. It's supposed to be just for business teams, but its free tier has become the new popular way to form an online community.

Slack wasn't the first team chat app, nor will it be the last—if anything, its popularity has plenty of other apps adding chat features to their latest versions. But as a chat tool built by the team that designed Flickr and then set out to build a game business, Slack is business collaboration tool that feels fun.

It starts with Slack's simple, playful design, with a bright (and customizable) color scheme, large icons, and customizable emoji (yup, you can upload your own emoji and use emoji to add a reaction—similar to a Facebook *Like*—to any post). A random quirky (and customizable) quote appears as its loading. Its design is basic, yet customizable with the colors you want.

All that leads you to Slack's core feature: team chat. You can peek at and join any public channel—or chat group—or could make your own channel. You can reply in a new message, or start a thread that links everything together in one conversation. Your standard random talk will likely go in #general, the default channel, while each team, interest group, and more will likely make their own channels. But since everything's public, you can feel free to see what other teams are up to, and can search through the entire archives of your whole company's conversations.

That is, unless they're private. Slack includes private channels and direct messages, ways to talk privately to groups or individuals respectively. Perhaps you need to plan a surprise birthday party, or just want to see if your coworker is feeling better today—direct messages are perfect for these, and messages here will only show up in your own searches. And if you're wondering what time it is for a teammate before getting in touch, just tap on their name for contact info, current time, and more—a great tool for remote teams.

There's also Slackbot, your friendly robotic sidekick in Slack. It'll ask you a few questions to help setup your account, then can be your personal notifications tool. You can use Slackbot with Zapier or other integrations to send you messages whenever anything happens—a new contact fills out your form, a new sale is made, when you're mentioned on your team blog, and much more.

So, you have a simple way to talk in groups or in private, something dozens of other tools—from email (with cc) to IM—have given for years. But its Slack's integrations that make it indispensable. Drag in a file, and odds are you can preview it in Slack. Or, share a Google Doc, YouTube video, Tweet and much more, and Slack will show a preview right along with your chats. You can even bring in apps, typing /giphy to find a relevant gif or /zoom to start a Zoom video chat. Or, you can star a message, and Zapier can send it to hundreds of other apps to help you start work right from chats.

It's not one thing that makes Slack so great. It's all the things it does, in one place, in an interface that makes it fun and easy to stay in touch. It's a team chat app that'll help you do more, together.

Learn how to build your own Slack Chat Bots to get more done right from chat.

Originally published December 23, 2015; updated April 25, 2018 with new screenshots, pricing, and features

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

Use our free platform to build a single Zapier integration and instantly connect your app with 1,400+ others.

Become a Zapier Integration Partner

Slack is a platform for team communication: everything in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. Offering instant messaging, document sharing and knowledge search for modern teams.