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How to use GIPHY in Slack: A step-by-step guide

By Luke Strauss · July 16, 2023
Logo icon for Slack.

It's 4:30 p.m., and you just realized you forgot to wish your coworker a happy birthday in your team's Slack channel. There's no time to craft a hilarious-yet-touching note about that one time she saved you from embarrassment in a client meeting—you have to act now.

Thankfully, Slack integrates with GIPHY: a platform with one of the largest libraries of GIFs, enabling you to search and share fun animations with your team—no writing required. But it's really easy to embarrass yourself if you don't know how to use the extension well.

Here's your foolproof guide on using GIPHY in Slack, including installing and managing it, sharing GIFs, and avoiding any major facepalms.

How to add and manage GIPHY in Slack

Let's start by adding GIPHY to your Slack workspace.

  1. Open your Slack workspace, and navigate to Apps on the left-hand panel. Depending on your client version and individual workspace, this might be located under More.

    Screenshot of where to find Apps on the Slack platform.
  2. Search for "GIPHY" in the app directory, and click Add when you see it pop up.

    Screenshot that shows where to search for GIPHY in the app directory on Slack.
  3. Once you click on the GIPHY app, a new tab will open. Click Add to Slack.

    Screenshot showing the GIPHY app and a button that says "Add to Slack."
  4. You can then adjust some settings—choose the desired channel for your GIPHY integration and grant necessary permissions, like setting the maximum maturity rating for GIFs (G, PG, PG-13, or R). If you're setting this up for your workplace, please don't make HR's job harder.

    Screenshot of integration settings in Slack, where you can choose the maximum maturity rating for GIFs: G, PG, PG-13, or R.
  5. Choose if you want to enable or disable GIPHY previews. These show you the GIF privately before you send it. I highly recommend enabling it…for obvious reasons.

    A screenshot of the same integration settings window, which an arrow pointing toward the "Enable GIPHY previews" box to check.
  6. Click Save Integration.

Tweak these settings to tailor GIPHY to your preferences and ensure a safe and positive GIF-sharing experience. If you can't access these settings and you've already tried using GIPHY in Slack using the instructions below, you'll have to ask your Slack admin to add the app to your workspace.

How to use GIPHY in Slack

Here's how to share a GIF using GIPHY:

  1. Open the Slack channel or direct message where you want to share the GIF.

  2. Type /giphy in the message box, followed by a keyword or phrase describing the type of GIF you want. Don't limit yourself to a plain old "happy birthday" search. You can get as specific or absurd as you want.

    Screenshot of a message box in Slack showing where to type /giphy and the keyword or phrase that describes the GIF you want.
  3. Press Enter, and GIPHY will search its gargantuan library for a relevant GIF. I apologize in advance for the nightmare fuel below.

    Screenshot of a GIF that says "Happy Birthday from Shrek" and a photo of a green man in a bathtub.
  4. View the different results by pressing the Shuffle button. 

    Screenshot of a GIF of Shrek yelling.
  5. When you land on one you like, click Send. Boom! You just made your coworker's day—hopefully.

Note: Using GIPHY on the mobile app is really the same process—the Slack interface just looks slightly different. 

How to send a GIF with sound on Slack

If a silent animation isn't enough for you, you can add more sentiment to level up your message with a GIPHY clip, which is essentially just a GIF with sound.

  1. Type /giphy in the message box, but this time, select Find and share a Clip from the dropdown.

    Screenshot of a message box in Slack, showing where you type /giphy and select "Find and share a Clip."
  2. Describe the type of clip you want under Search for a Clip, then click Search.

    Screenshot of the message box in Slack showing where to search for a clip with a keyword or descriptive phrase.
  3. Just as you would for any other GIF, click Shuffle until you land on one you like, then click Share. Pro tip: Click on the clip to watch the full thing with sound before you send it.

    Screenshot of the shuffle feature and a picture of a GIF from the show The Office that shows a banner with the words: It is your birthday.

Tips for using GIPHY on Slack

Before you press send, here are some tips to make your Slack interactions enjoyable and lawsuit-free.

  • Watch what you type: Be mindful of what you type as a prompt because everyone can see it. Typing "happy birthday to random coworker" might be funny in your head, but it's less funny when your prompt shows up above the GIF for everyone to see.

  • Start with the slash: If you accidentally type a space (or anything else) before the slash, it'll just send "/giphy" to the channel. Worse things have happened, but it ruins the upcoming GIF surprise.

  • Use GIFs sparingly: Avoid being the person who bombards every conversation with GIFs. They can be fun, but excessive GIF usage can distract and disrupt communication. Whatever you send will be flashing on the screen for the next bunch of people on the thread.

  • Don't settle for generic searches: Experiment with specific keywords or phrases to find the perfect GIF that captures your mood. I personally add "The Office" or "Schitt's Creek" to every GIPHY search, but to each their own.

  • Know your audience: We can all agree that GIFs are fun, but please read the room and be mindful of the tone and professionalism required in some channels.

Automate your GIFs on Slack

With Zapier, you can automate your GIFs. Send scheduled GIFs to start the day off with a laugh, or create a win-bot that sends a GIF whenever something worth celebrating happens. Here are a few examples to get you started.

Start a GIPHY GIF party for new Slack team members

Start a GIPHY GIF party for new Slack team members
  • Slack logo
  • Giphy logo
  • Slack logo
Slack + Giphy

Post GIFs from GIPHY when keywords are mentioned in Slack

Post GIFs from GIPHY when keywords are mentioned in Slack
  • Slack logo
  • Slack logo
Slack + Filter by Zapier + Giphy

Post random Good Morning GIFs from GIPHY every day on Slack

Post random Good Morning GIFs from GIPHY every day on Slack
  • Schedule by Zapier logo
  • Giphy logo
  • Slack logo
Schedule by Zapier + Giphy + Slack

Post Giphy GIFs to Slack when Copper opportunities are won

Post Giphy GIFs to Slack when Copper opportunities are won
  • Copper logo
  • Giphy logo
  • Slack logo
Copper + Giphy + Slack

Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works.

Related reading:

  • How to use Slack during meetings without anyone noticing

  • 12 ways to stay productive in Slack

  • Automatic Slack notifications for everything

  • Slack etiquette at Zapier

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'