If your workplace (or organization, or group of friends, or whatever) is anything like mine, and you’ve been using Slack for more than, say, a month, you’ve undoubtedly accumulated a lot of channels (known as conversations). This can result in a lot of scrolling – I mean, a lot or scroll — to find the channel you want to use. You can also spend a lot of time figuring out which channels to watch out for now and which to save for later.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can organize that long list of channels on the left side of your Slack app to at least make it a little easier to deal with. Unfortunately this is only available in paid versions of Slack. Normally we only try to describe free features; but maybe there are plenty of our readers who use Slack through their businesses and organizations who might find these organizational features useful. And maybe someday Slack will offer these features to the free accounts as well.
Star your favorites
There are actually two organization tools available for free accounts. The first is the ability to star a channel that you want to pay special attention to. Starred channels appear at the top of your channel list in a category called (of course) Starred.
On a computer, right-click on one of your channels and select Move to > Starred. In the mobile app, long press the channel and select Move to… > Starred. Once that’s done, you’ll see a new category above Channels called Starred, which – with all the conversations you’ve assigned to it – will now lead all others.
Mute unnecessary channels
You may have channels that you use only occasionally, such as one that handles IT queries, or one that is only active during a holiday season. In that case, you can mute the channel. This will make the channel names gray (but you will still see them in bold or numbered if there are notifications).
In the desktop app, right click on the channel name; In the mobile app, long press the channel name. Then select in both cases Mute Channel.
All other features mentioned here are currently only available for paid accounts.
You can create different categories, known as sections, to organize all your channels. Any channels you don’t categorize will stay in the existing section called Channels.
For example, I’ve created a section called Priority for the channels I always need to watch out for, one called Interesting for the channels I want to monitor but aren’t essential to my job, and LowPri for the ones I just need to be aware of. are from. Everything else stayed in the basic Channels section.
To create a new section (which you can only do with the desktop version):
- Right click on the channel you want to recategorize and click or hover over it Move channel.
- Select Move to new section.
- In the Create a sidebar section popup, type in a name for your new section; you can also select an emoji. Then tap To create.
- Your new section will appear at the top of your channel list. (Don’t worry, you can move it. Press and hold the section name and move it where you want in the section list.)
Move channels between sections
After you’ve created your sections, you can move all of your channels to one of your new sections. For example, I moved my Priority section above the Interesting section and pushed LowPri down.
- On the desktop, the easiest way is to just click and hold the channel name and then move it to the section where you want it. You can also right-click the name, select Move Channel, and then select the desired section.
- In a mobile app, tap and hold the channel name. In the resulting pop-up menu, tap Move to… and then the name of the desired section.
In either case, if you choose to just remove it from the current section, the channel will simply go back to the main channels section. It will not be deleted.
If you really want to keep things tidy, you can hide all channels in a specific section by clicking the arrow symbol to the left of the channel name. So if you’ve created a section for all the channels you use to socialize at work, you can hide them during work hours to avoid being sidetracked. If you have new posts in one of those channels, the section name will be bold.
Sort your channels
One benefit of using sections is that you can sort the channels within each section, making it easier to keep track of all those conversations. And it’s easy to do.
To sort the channels within a section, right click on the channel name or left click to the right of the channel name. Select Kind from the drop-down menu and choose Recent activity, alphabeticallyor Priority (which is sorted by the channels you use most).