Guide to search in Slack

Using search in Slack makes it easy to go back to the right messages and files whenever you need to. You might even come across new information while you’re at it! We’ll cover how to filter and refine your searches to find what you need, fast.

An overview of search:


Start a new search

Desktop

iOS

Android

  1. Start typing a search term. Slack will show you related channels, members and search suggestions. You can also choose from your recent searches.
    new_search.png 
  2. Press Enter to view your search results or jump to a channel or direct message.
  1. Tap the   magnifying glass icon in the top right.
  2. Type your search terms.
  3. Tap Messages or Files. (You’ll be able to toggle between the two even after you’ve run your search).
  4. You’ll see suggestions on how to format your search terms and narrow your results. Select any recommendations you want to use.
  5. Tap Search.
  1. Tap the   magnifying glass icon in the top right.
  2. Type your search terms.
  3. Tap Messages or Files. (You’ll be able to toggle between the two even after you’ve run your search).
  4. You’ll see suggestions on how to format your search terms and narrow your results. Select any recommendations you want to use.
  5. Tap the   magnifying glass icon on your device’s keyboard to run your search.

Tip: You can start a new search directly from the message box using the /s slash command.

View and share search results

Search results are adaptive to help you find what you’re looking for. So if, for example, you search for a word like “report”, you may see results for related terms such as “reporting” or ”reports”.

Your search results will be separated into two categories: messages and files

Messages

Files

This tab will list all the messages that match your search criteria. Results are sorted by relevancy by default, but you can also sort messages by when they were sent:

  1. Click the  downward caret next to Most relevant.
  2. Select Most recent from the menu.

Hover over a message result to get more context or share it with other people:

  • Click the   link icon in the top right to copy a link to the message.
  • Click View in channel to jump to the original message.

The Files tab will list all the files that match your search terms. Slack scans the content of all files shared in your workspace, so you’ll find matches beyond the name of a file. Click the file to open it or hover over a result to share it with other people:

  • Click the   arrow icon to share the file. Choose the channel or person to share it with and include a message if you like.
  • Click the   More actions icon to copy a link to the file, star the file or open the original file.

Note: The word “a” is ignored by search, as are these other common words: an, and, are, as, at, be, but, by, for, if, in, into, is, it, no, not, of, on, or, s, such, that, the, their, then, there, these, they, this, to, was, will, with. 

Tip: If you click away from your current search, don’t worry – all your results and your scroll position are saved and immediately viewable! Just press CtrlG (Windows and Linux) or G (Mac) to reopen your search results from the last five minutes.


Filter search results

On desktop, you can sort your results by relevant people, dates and conversations using the Filter by section. On desktop and mobile, you can use search modifiers to narrow your results from the search field.

Note: Can’t see clickable filters? There’s no need to worry! We’re rolling out full-screen search gradually, so it may take a while before you can see it for yourself. You can keep using search modifiers to filter your results.

Here are some tips to help you find exactly what you’re looking for:

Desktop

iOS

Android

Filter results by People:

  1. Tick the box next to a suggested member’s name.
  2. Or click More… and enter a teammate’s name.

Search within specific Channels & direct messages:

  1. Tick the box next to a suggested channel.
  2. Or click More… and enter the name of a channel or name(s) of member(s) in a direct message.

Search within a Date range:

  1. Click Starting on and select a date to display messages and files sent on or after that day.
  2. Click Ending on and select a date to display messages and files sent on or before that day.

Expand your search with Include results from…:

  • Apps and bots
    If you have any integrations installed on your workspace, tick the box next to Apps and bots to search those DMs and files.

  • Public channels
    Tick the box next to Channels I’m not a member of to view results from public channels you haven’t joined.

  • Enterprise Grid orgs
    If you have multiple workspaces connected by Enterprise Grid, tick the box next to Other [org name] workspaces to search all workspaces.


Exclude channels from search

If you have some noisy public channels in your workspace, you can exclude them from your desktop searches to help keep your search results relevant.

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
     Team_Menu.png
  2. Choose Preferences from the menu.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Under Don’t search these channels, click the box to pick channels to exclude.
  • Toggle between Messages and Files to browse results of either type.
  • Swipe down to apply additional modifiers to your search results.
  • Toggle between Messages and Files to browse results of either type.
  • Tap the back button to apply a different search modifier.

Tip: To begin your search from a particular conversation, open the channel or DM and press CmdF (Mac) or CtrlF (Windows) to begin a new search. Find more in Keyboard shortcuts

Apply search modifiers

Search modifiers help you to narrow your results from the search field. Simply type the modifier as part of your search. These modifiers are also listed in the Filter by section on desktop, except for has:.

Search modifiers

People

Channels & DMs

Date

Things

from:@[display name]      

Limits your search to messages from a specific person in any channel or direct message.

from:me

Searches only messages you’ve sent, anywhere in Slack.

in:[channel] 

Searches messages and files in a specific channel.

in:@[display name]         

Searches direct messages with a specific member.

to:me

Searches all direct messages that have been sent to you.

before:[date] Searches messages or files before a specified date.
after:[date] Searches messages and files after a specified date.
on:[date], [month]
or [year]
Searches messages and files on a specific date.
during:[date] Searches messages and files during a certain month or year. 

Tip: Use these flexible keywords to make searching by date even simpler: yesterday, today, week, month or year. Week, month and year refer to this week, month and year.


To enter specific dates, use the following formats:

United States

MM/DD/YYYY
MM-DD-YYYY

International

YYYY-MM-DD
YYYY/MM/DD

has:star

Searches messages and files you’ve starred. (You can also click the star icon in the top right corner to view items you’ve starred.)

has:pin

Searches pinned items in public channels and your own direct messages.

has:link

Limits your search to messages that contain a URL.

has:[:emoji_code:]

Searches messages and files that have received this emoji as a reaction

Tip: If you use the has:[:emoji_code:] search modifier, you’ll see all messages with that specific emoji reaction.

Note: You can combine modifiers to search in different places, e.g. search from: a member in: a channel. 

Find specific words and phrases

_hc_article_attachments_115013291503_Adv_Search_-_Omit.png
Use quotation marks to search for a specific word or phrase. You’ll only see messages or files containing that exact phrase.

 

_hc_en-us_article_attachments_115000596628_Screen_Shot_2016-12-21_at_3.48.08_PM.png
Enter an asterisk (*) after the first few letters of a word to see all instances of it in Slack. A search for pot*, for example, will include results with words that contain “pot”. Your search must contain at least three letters.

 

_hc_article_attachments_115013291503_Adv_Search_-_Omit.png__alt__Adv_Search_-_Omit.png
Put a minus sign in front of words or phrases you want to exclude from search. If you search for hot -potato, you’ll only see results that contain the word “hot” but not the word “potato”.

 


Use keyboard shortcuts

You can use the following keyboard shortcuts on your desktop to help you search and navigate more efficiently. 

 

Action Shortcut
Search the current channel or conversation

F
(Mac)

CtrlF
(Windows
and Linux)

Open a new search or
reopen search results from the last five minutes

G
(Mac)

CtrlG
(Windows
and Linux)

Navigate search results or
Move focus to the next element F6
Move focus to the previous element ShiftF6
Submit your search query Enter

  

Note: Slack doesn’t support fuzzy search, so misspelt search terms won’t return the correctly-spelled alternative. We might add this feature in the future. 🔮

 

Who can use this feature?
  • All members and guests 
  • Free, Standard, Plus and Enterprise Grid subscriptions

Related articles

Recently viewed articles