Remote work and distributed teams have increased the complexity of communication, as small details that would normally be communicated in person now need to be transformed into efficient digital interactions. Slack is a tool designed for exactly this purpose.
Slack allows remote teams to manage communications from the smallest detail to large company-wide announcements more easily and with far less clutter and confusion than competing methods. Read through this guide to understand what Slack is and take a look at what it has to offer.
What is Slack?
Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool that serves as a central hub for team communication. It was originally developed as a type of email replacement that helped eliminate the confusion caused by long email chains often used by collaborating team members. Since then, Slack has evolved into a comprehensive suite of features that facilitate both private and public conversations within an organization.
What is Slack used for?
Slack is meant to be the nerve center of your workplace. It’s not just for chatting; It is an intuitive platform for project management, information sharing and even socializing. Whether it’s a company-wide announcement or a private message between two team members, Slack offers a range of public and private channels to meet the communication needs of any company.
How much does Slack cost?
Slack offers multiple pricing options to suit different needs. It offers a free plan with limited features and three paid tiers: Pro, Business+, and Enterprise Grid. Each level offers additional functionality, such as: B. unlimited message history and integrations.
In addition to a free trial for the Pro and Business+ plans, Slack offers a 30% discount for the first three months. It also offers significant discounts and offers for educational institutions and non-profit organizations.
Slack’s free plan is relatively limited compared to its paid tiers. For example, message and file history is limited to 90 days and users can only add up to 10 integrations, while these features are unlimited on paid plans. Additionally, collaboration features like huddles and working with external users are limited to one-on-one conversations.
The Pro plan costs $7.25 per user per month when billed annually. For monthly billing, the plan is $8.75 per user.
The Pro plan offers an unlimited number of integrations and includes custom retention policies, user groups, Google authentication and app login for domains, guest access, and a configurable email recording service.
The Business+ plan costs $12.50 per user per month when billed annually or $15 per user when billed monthly.
For most medium-sized companies, the Business+ plan should be sufficient. The plan includes SAML-based single sign-on, compliance exports of message history, and real-time Active Directory synchronization.
Slack’s Enterprise Grid plan is aimed at companies with 500 to 500,000 employees and enables unlimited workspaces and shared channels, allowing companies to set up Slack to better reflect their organizational structure.
Teams interested in the Enterprise Grid plan must contact Slack’s sales team for a customized quote.
Key features of Slack
This sums up Slack’s diverse communication and collaboration features such as Huddles, which enable audio and video calls as well as the ability to share screens.
Slack allows group or private messaging through its channels feature. These channels can be department-specific or project-specific and provide a central location for relevant team members to collaborate.
It also has a messaging feature that delivers organized team chat and a clip feature that allows users to conveniently record and share audio or video clips.
Slack offers a built-in video chat feature (Figure A). While it’s not as feature-rich as dedicated video conferencing tools like Zoom, it offers team members a quick and easy way to initiate face-to-face conversations when needed, while also allowing for screen sharing and whiteboarding capabilities.
Slack Workflows allows users to automate a variety of tasks through a no-code approach, making routine processes more efficient. With Slack’s Workflow Builder, users don’t need technical knowledge to automate processes. You can easily and creatively automate your workflows using drag and drop. Every premium version of Slack has access to Slack’s automation tools.
One of Slack’s most compelling features is its user-friendly interface and overall simplicity. This simplicity contributed to Slack rapid growth Over the years, the company has managed not to compromise the overall usefulness of the app with functional limitations.
How do you use Slack?
Slack is accessible across various platforms. You can use it via a web browser or download the desktop application, which is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. Mobile apps are also available for Android and iOS.
While using Slack may be intuitive for many users, here are some common keyboard shortcuts you should know to speed up repetitive processes.
|abbreviation||Windows and Linux||MacOS|
|New message||Ctrl + N||Command + N|
|Search in current conversation||Ctrl + F||Command + F|
|Send a message back||Ctrl + Z||Command + Z|
|Jump to a conversation||Ctrl + T (Slack desktop app only)||Cmd + K (and Cmd + T only in the desktop app)|
|Jump to the last unread message in a conversation||Ctrl + J||Command + J|
|Jump to the previous unread channel or DM||Alt + Shift + ↑||Option + Shift + ↑|
|Jump to the next unread channel or DM||Alt + Shift + ↓||Option + Shift + ↓|
|Open Threads view||Ctrl + Shift + T (Slack desktop app only)||Command + Shift + T|
|Search direct messages||Ctrl + Shift + K||Command + Shift + K|
|Browse channels||Ctrl + Shift + L||Command + Shift + L|
|Open conversation details||Ctrl + Shift + I||Command + Shift + I|
|Open a conversation canvas||Ctrl + Alt + .||Command + Option + .|
|Expand or collapse all sidebar sections||Alt + click||Option + click|
|Upload a file||Ctrl + U||Command + U|
Slack has many more shortcuts that you can explore in the desktop app by pressing Cmd + / on macOS and Ctrl + / on Windows and Linux.
What are some of the best Slack integrations?
Slack offers a wealth of integration options spanning categories of analytics, communications, customer support, design, developer tools, marketing, project management, and more. Popular integrations include:
- Jira: Ideal for agile teams, the Jira Cloud app for Slack allows users to receive notifications and track issues without leaving the Slack interface.
- Google Calendar: Once installed, this integration updates users’ Slack status based on their calendar entries and sends reminders, making it easier to manage and communicate their schedules.
- Foreclosure: This integration enables real-time data sharing between Salesforce and Slack, streamlining workflow for sales and customer service teams.
- Zoom: With the Zoom integration, meeting organizers can schedule, join, and even record Zoom meetings directly from Slack, making it convenient for remote teams and teams that rely heavily on video conferencing.
- GitHub: Developers can use this integration to keep track of code changes, pull requests, and issues, making it easier to manage software projects.
- Trello: This integration allows project managers and team members to manage Trello cards, update due dates, and move cards between lists within Slack. Check out ours Trello versus Slack Guide to see how Trello compares to Slack.
- Asanas: For project management, the Asana integration enables project managers and their teams to create and assign tasks and receive notifications within Slack. Read ours Comparing Slack and Asana to see how they differ as project management tools.
- Dropbox: Teams of all types can share files and collaborate on documents by connecting their Dropbox accounts to Slack.
Where does Slack fit into the current collaboration software market?
Slack places a strong emphasis on streamlining typical communications that users may not even know can be streamlined, which has created a niche for the collaboration tool. Slack started as a potential email replacement and is now an intuitive platform for team communication and collaboration.
However, its focus on real-time communication also makes it suitable as a modern project management tool, making it a favorite for dynamic teams that need instant feedback and quick decision-making. Additionally, Slack’s free plan and scalable pricing plans make it accessible to companies of all sizes, from startups to large enterprises.
What are Slack’s main competitors?
The Microsoft Teams platform is Slack’s main competitor. Teams goes beyond chat and video communication to include file sharing, automation tools, and a central workspace. This allows project teams to access tasks within one platform and work on them together. And with the addition of Guest accounts and a free tier in 2018, Microsoft Teams is primed to compete directly with Slack’s freemium model.
For more information, see our Microsoft Teams cheat sheet.
Popular video conferencing software Zoom has added Zoom Chat to its software, which directly competes with some of Slack’s core features. This makes Zoom an alternative for those already on the platform who only need light chat features. Zoom Chat works similarly to Slack with search capabilities, granular admin controls, and secure file sharing.
For more information, see our Zoom cheat sheet.
Slack’s independent competitor Twist describes itself as a “communications tool for teams that believe there’s more to do than keep up with group chat apps.” The approach is deliberately minimalist, as there is no online status display. There is a free tier where message retention is limited to one month. The unlimited tier is available for $5 per user per month.
See how Twist compares to our list The best tools for digital collaboration.