Become a Slack master with slash commands

Let Slack’s built-in slash commands be your secret weapon as you speed your way through common tasks. Here’s how.

Slack  >  Slash Commands for users [screenshot]

If you use Slack a lot during your workday, you can be more efficient by learning some key “slash commands.” Many functions and tools of this popular chat platform can be executed by typing the / key in the message field, typing a command after it, and pressing Enter. Familiarizing yourself with certain slash commands will help you navigate Slack without having to take your fingers off the keyboard to use the mouse or touchpad.

When you type the / key in any Slack message field, a pane pops up showing a list of slash commands that you can type in. The last slash command you used shows up at the top of the list.

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Typing a slash character into the Slack message window reveals a list of built-in slash commands. (Click any image in this story to enlarge it.)

You can scroll through the list to find commands, but it’s much faster if you memorize the commands for tasks you perform frequently and type them in.

This guide highlights the most useful slash commands, grouping them in categories to help you better understand what they do and how they relate to one another. These commands work in the Slack apps for Windows, Mac, and the web. (Some of them work in the iOS and Android apps as well, although they're less of a timesaver without a physical keyboard.)

Note that some of the commands described below may not be available to you; the administrator for your Slack workspace may have restricted access to certain slash commands. Your administrator might also have added custom commands specially for your Slack team.

Navigate and manage channels

/topic short description

Example: /topic Questions and advice on how to use our new accounting software

This command sets or changes the topic of the channel you’re currently in. You type the slash command followed by a few words (up to 250 characters) that describe the purpose of the channel. This topic appears at the top of the channel, just under its name.


It can be a chore to scroll through lots of images that team members have posted when you just want to read their written words. This command collapses (hides) inline images and videos in the channel you’re currently viewing. It affects only your view of the images and videos in the channel, not the views of other Team members.

Note that this command hides the images you see in the chat window and any that are further down (more recent) in the chat thread. If you want to collapse images in the entire channel history, you’ll need to go up to the beginning of the channel history and type /collapse there.


This command does the opposite of /collapse, restoring hidden images and videos in the visible chat window and further down in the chat thread.

/open #channelname or /join #channelname

Example: /open #accounting

Typing either of these commands into the message field of any channel takes you immediately to the channel that you entered in the command (as long as you have permission to access that channel). If you’re not already a member of the channel, it adds you as one.

/close, /leave or /part

These commands do the opposite of /open and /join: They close the channel you’re viewing and remove you as a member of it. You might want to leave a channel if you’ve finished your work for that channel, if the project discussed in that channel has been completed, or if you find that it’s not relevant to your work.

You can also type /leave #channelname (or the other commands) to leave a channel that you’re not currently viewing.


Sometimes you don’t need to keep track of all a channel’s daily activity but don’t want to leave it outright – or you might want to temporarily stop notifications from it if you’re trying to limit distractions. In these cases, you can mute the channel, which grays it out and moves it to the bottom of the Channels section in the sidebar list. Its title won't be bolded when team members post new messages to it, and you won't get a notification if you’re mentioned in it.

To mute the channel that you’re currently viewing, type /mute into its message window. You can also type /mute #channelname to mute a channel that you’re not currently viewing. To un-mute the channel, type the same slash command.

You can also use /mute to mute and unmute the message thread or direct message you’re currently viewing.


This slash command archives the channel that you’re currently viewing, removing it from the Channels list in the left sidebar. You may want to archive a channel after discussions and other activities in it have concluded. Archiving helps you clear inactive channels our of the Channels list but saves them for later reference. Team members can’t post new messages or add other items to an archived channel, but they’ll be able to view and search it.

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Use the channel browser to find archived channels.

To view archived channels, click the + icon next to “Channels” in the left sidebar and select Browse channels. This takes you to the “Channel browser” window, where you can browse and search through your channels. Click the Filter icon below the right end of the search box, and in the “Channel types” section that appears, click the All channel types drop-down and select Archived channels.

If you select an archived channel from the results, a pane opens on the right that lets you view the channel, unarchive it, or search it.

Manage team members in channels

/invite @username #channelname

Example: /invite @erika #accounting

This command sends an invite to the designated team member to join the designated channel. This person will get a notification asking them to join the channel.

/remove @username or /kick @username

The /remove and /kick commands do the opposite of /invite. Either removes a team member from the channel you’re currently in, but only if you have permission to do this.


This lists the names of the people who are members of the channel you’re currently in.

Use Slack’s built-in tools

/msg #channelname your message

Example: /msg #accounting Don’t forget to file your progress reports!

This command posts a message to the channel that you designate, so you don't need to be viewing that channel in order to post to it. It can save a second or two over switching to that channel.

/dm @username your message

Example: /dm @erika Don’t forget to file your progress report!

Similarly, this slash command sends a private direct message to the team member you designate and saves you from having to click the + icon by Direct Messages in the left sidebar and search for the team member in a search box.

/remind me what when
/remind @username what when
/remind #channelname what when

These commands summon the Slackbot to keep track of things and send reminder notifications to you a channel, or a team member.

Here's an example of using /remind to set a reminder for yourself:

/remind me to finish proposal Monday at 2 PM

An example of setting a reminder for a channel (every member of the channel will get a notification):

/remind #development-team submit final reports Tuesday

And here’s an example of a reminder for a specific Team member:

/remind @franklin pick up package on 7/13 at 11am

You may have noticed that I wasn’t consistent in formatting the date and time in these examples. Fortunately, the Slackbot can recognize several formats. Just type out the date or time in a direct, brief way, and it should understand what you mean.

If you don’t include a time of day for the reminder, as in the middle example above, the message will go out at 9 a.m. on the day you specified. And if you specify a time but not a day (e.g., at 10am), the Slackbot will send the reminder whenever that time next occurs – which might be later today or tomorrow.

You can even set up recurring reminders for yourself or for a channel. Examples:

/remind me to go over inventory every Monday at 4:30 pm

/remind #development-team every Friday to submit progress reports

(For more details about which date and time formats work, see this post about reminders from the Slack developers.)

To view all the reminders you've set, type /remind list in the message field. This opens a list of your reminders, where you can delete any reminder or mark a reminder as completed.

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Type /remind list in the message window to see all the reminders you've set.

/search your text

Example: /search client request

As you’d expect, this command searches through all the channels of your Slack workspace for messages and files that contain the words you included. This function works the same as if you used the search box at the top of the Slack, and search results appear in the same results panel that opens over your workspace.

Express yourself

/active and /away

These two commands set your status. If you're presently using Slack, your status is set to “active” by default. If you’ll be away from Slack or unavailable to respond to team members, you can use the /away command to denote your “away” status. Once you’ve returned or become available again, you can use the /active command to return your status to “active.”

You can type /active or /away in the message field for any channel or direct message, and it will change your overall status in Slack, not just for that individual channel or DM. Your other team members will see a solid dot by your name when you're active on Slack, or an empty dot if you're away.

/status your custom status

Example: /status On a client call

If you want to set your status to something other than “active” or “away,” use the /status command and type in the status you want to display. Your new status will automatically be cleared at midnight. To clear it sooner, just type /status in the message field again.

/dnd description of time

This command is critical when you need to get some work done without interruptions; it starts a Do Not Disturb session for you. During the period of time that you designate, you won't receive notifications for any activity in your channels or your @mentions. Other Team members will see a Do Not Disturb icon, which looks like a status circle with a “z” over it, by your name.

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The Do Not Disturb icon tells others you're busy.

You can write the time period in several ways, such as:

/dnd until tomorrow morning

/dnd until 3 pm

/dnd for 1 hour

To exit Do Not Disturb manually, type /dnd off. You'll then receive any notifications and @mentions that have accumulated.

/me your text

The text appended to this slash command is posted in italics to the current channel; it’s a shortcut for selecting the italics styling from the message formatting toolbar. You might want to italicize your reply to indicate an action – e.g., does a double-take – or, sparingly, for emphasis: Sorry but this is urgent, everyone.

/shrug your text

One last fun one: This command appends the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ symbol to the end of your message. Because why not?

Read this next: 20 Slack tips, tricks and hacks for power users

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