7 Slack shortcuts to make communicating a little bit easier

27 Mar 2016

Slack on my sturdy little HTC, via Luke Maxwell

Want to squeeze a little more out of Slack? Here are seven simple steps to add a whole lot more productivity to your favourite communications tool.

We’re big fans of Slack here at Silicon Republic, using it as the perfect foil to funnel both relevant and extremely trivial communications between different teams in the office (and off site).

However, despite using it for quite a while now, we constantly find new quirks to the application: sometimes colourful, sometimes quick, sometimes homemade, sometimes slick.

If you haven’t yet gone down the Slack route, we highly recommend it. If you have, then hopefully these seven steps should help you in future.


It happens to you. It happens to everyone. If you’ve typed the wrong message to your colleague you can act quickly by pressing the up arrow. Simples.

That lets you edit the original message to whatever you want. But beware, they’ll know if you’ve changed it, regardless of whether or not they saw the original.

Undo slack shortcuts

A greyed out ‘(edited)’ appears beside the new message. Still, if it hides your mislaid insults, all is good.

Custom Emoji

The suite of emojis is extensive in Slack, with the capability to utilise them in more than one way. Standalone emoji use is fine, but you can also reply within a message with a minuscule variant too. However, what if you want something more, something personal?

Well, you can always create your own. Just crop an image and resize it into a 128px x 128px square shape (note that the centre circle is the target, and nothing too small should be entertained). Then head here and save it into your Slack domain.

Custom Emoji Slack shortcuts

Ours, for example, are awful.

Jump between channels

If there’s one thing shortcuts are made for, it’s to reduce your reliance on a mouse. Almost everything should have navigation options on the keyboard, and Slack is no different.

If you want to jump between your conversation with one of your friends and your boss, just press ⌘+K on a Mac or CTRL+K on a PC.

Jump Channel Slack shortcuts

Once there, type # and a list of all your conversations should appear. Press up and down to get to where you want to go.

Add GIFs with ease

If you’ve integrated Giphy with your Slack setup then type something as simple as “/giphy Adele” and see what pops into your feed. Slack is a productivity app, of course, so this isn’t necessarily advisable.

Format your text

If you want to add some emotion to your language, there’s all the standard formatting possibilities hidden away from view. For example, if you want to bold up your text, put an asterisk either site of the words. If you want italics then wedge the words between underscores of start with a greater than sign (so this: >) for block quotes and grave accents (the opposite of single quotation marks) to code.

Format Slack Shortcuts

The four techniques, although the > for pull quotes does not work mid-sentence, so below you will see an added line for effect


Slash commands

Slack’s primary resource for shortcuts is its suite of slash commands. Starting a message with ‘/’ will open up a world of possibilities.

slash commands Slack shortcuts

A drop-down menu of options appears with things like shrugs, invites, feedback options and ‘who’, which tells you who’s watching. Although you should probably be aware of that already.

Keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcuts Slack

For a full list of keyboard shortcuts, just press ⌘+? or Ctrl+? and this appears. That should be your lot.

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Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic