What is Slack?
Slack is basically a messaging app. It’s meant for teams and workplaces, can be used across multiple devices and platforms, and is equipped with robust features that allow you to not only chat one-on-one with associates but also in groups. You’re able to upload and share files with them too, as well as integrate with other apps and services, such as Skype for video calls, and you can granularly control almost every setting, including the ability to create custom emoji.
How much does Slack cost?
Slack is free – mostly. You’ll only be able to browse and search your team’s 10,000 most recent messages, and you’ll be limited to 5GB of file storage and 10 apps or custom integrations (more on that later). Currently, there are three pricing tiers available: Free, Standard ($6.67 a month), and Plus ($12.50 a month). A fourth tier, called Enterprise, is coming in early 2016 but doesn’t yet have pricing.
How do you sign up and get started?
If you want to be the administrator of your own Slack team, follow these steps:
- Go to Slack’s website and enter your email address to sign up
- Choose a name for your Slack team (ex: Workshop Talk)
- Edit the url to your Slack team (ex https://workshoptalk.slack.com)
- Choose a username for yourself
- Enter emails of associates you’d like to invite to join your Slack team
- Your Slack team chat will then load in a browser window
- Go through the brief tutorial that appears next to learn the basics
Where is Slack available?
To get the most out of Slack, we recommend you install the mobile app (iOS / Android) and the desktop app (Mac / Windows). Otherwise, you’ll be limited to accessing Slack through a browser window.
How does Slack work?
Click on your username or the drop-down arrow next to the Slack team name to access a settings menu. From here you can adjust your preferences (themes for sidebar, messages, emoji style, and more), view your profile and account, access a Help/Feedback page, get Slack apps (more on that later), and set yourself to away. If you’re an administrator, you can also access team settings, billing, etc. Team members will only see options to access app integrations, customise slack, and jump to team directory.
Click the bell symbol at the top-right of the sidebar to adjust your notification preferences. You can snooze them, setup a Do Not Disturb schedule, and more. When you sign in to Slack for the first time, almost every type of notification is enabled. But the service offers a number of different ways to manage them. Each channel even has individual notification preferences, for instance. To get to those settings, open the channel you want to adjust, then click the name of it at the top of the screen, and select Channel notification preferences.
Everything you’ve starred will appear above the Channels section and below your team name and username in the sidebar. Stars are a way to mark an item in Slack as important. You can star channels or direct messages to move them to the top of your left sidebar. You can also star messages in Slack so you can easily come back to them later.
Underneath the name of your Slack Team and your own username, you’ll see a section called Channels in the sidebar. Channels are chat rooms. You can name chat rooms based on anything, including a project (screenplay), a topic (music), or a team (sales). And you can make them public or private. If a channel is public, everyone in your team can join, but if it is private, only select people can join. And finally, if you click the Channels section name, you’ll see a new window that lets you browse and sort all channels.
To create a new channel, click the + button next to Channels in the sidebar. You’ll then see options to create a public or private channel. You’ll further be allowed to name the channel, invite others to join, and briefly describe the channel’s purpose.
Below Channels, you’ll see a Direct Messages section in the sidebar, followed by the names of every person invited to your Slack team. Click on any name to send that person a private, one-to-one message. If you click the + button next to the Direct Messages section, a window will open to let you find or start a direct message conversation.
If you’re an administrator, you’ll see a button to invite more people to join your team. This button sits below the Direct Messages section. If you click it, you’ll have three options: full members, restricted accounts, and single-channel guests. The first option gives an invited team member full access to messages and files in any public channel and the team directory. The second option lets the invited team member see only a partial team directory and gives him/her access to select channels and files. And the third option limits the invited team member to messages and files in a single channel.
At the very bottom of Slack, there is a Quick Switcher button that lets you, um, quickly jump to a conversation or direct message.
Chat room name
The left of the menubar always starts with the name of the room you’re in, whether that be a channel or direct message window. Next to the name you will see a drop-down menu to access things like view message archives, channel notification purposes, and advanced options. You can even star the channel.
Click the “i” symbol next to the search bar in the menubar to access channel details, such as the purpose and current topic of the channel, any pinned items (more on this later), a listing of all the members who have access to the channel, any shared files within the channel (more on this later), and notification preferences.
Ban in Iran
People are facing issue with this even if they’ve left the country. Many Slack users with ties to Iran discovered their accounts got deactivated. In order to comply with export control and economic sanctions law, Slack prohibits unauthorized use of its products and services in certain sanctioned countries.