Customise message and file retention policies

Slack keeps all your messages and files for the lifetime of your workspace by default. If you like, you can have them deleted after a set amount of time by setting a custom retention policy. 

Custom retention policies can be set up for the entire workspace or configured for specific channels. Retention settings apply to all messages and files, including the ones that have been pinned or starred by members. 

Warning! Message and file deletion is permanent. Please be careful when setting up custom retention policies. ⚠️

Note: Slackbot will notify all workspace owners of changes to retention policies. Setting or changing a policy won’t immediately delete anything – this will occur the next time your policy runs.


Message retention

There are four options when choosing message retention for channels and direct messages:

  • Keep everything
    Slack will keep all messages exchanged in your workspace, as well as logs of each user’s message edits and deletions, found in a data export
  • Keep all messages but don’t track revisions
    Slack will keep all messages, but will not keep logs of what the original text was prior to a user’s message edits and deletions.
  • Delete messages and their revisions after… 
    This setting allows you to determine a period of time after which Slack will permanently delete messages (including message edit and deletion logs) from channels and direct messages. This setting can be as short as one day. 
  • Let workspace members override these settings
    This setting allows members to set their own retention period – making it shorter or longer – for private channels and direct messages. Workspace owners will also be able to adjust this for public channels.


Set a message retention policy

Standard and Plus subscriptions

Enterprise Grid subscription

Here’s how to set a retention policy for channels and direct messages:

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Administration, then Workspace settings from the menu.
  3. Under Settings, expand Message retention & deletion.
  4. Click Save, then Confirm settings.

Remember: If members are allowed to set different retention policies for direct messages and private channels they are a part of, those policies will override the workspace-wide policy.

Note: An org owner must contact Slack to add or change your organisation’s retention policies. 

Org owners can set a message retention policy that applies to every workspace in their organisation. If a policy is set, Slackbot will notify the primary org owner and request approval to apply it. With a policy in place, workspace owners won’t have the option to adjust message retention for their individual workspaces.


Review org-level message retention policies:

  1. From your desktop, sign in to your Slack Enterprise Grid, then click Manage organisation.
  2. Under  Settings, click Messages and files.
  3. View policies for channels and DMs under Message retention policies.

Set workspace-level message retention policies:

With an org-level policy in place, workspace owners won’t be able to set message retention at the workspace level. These settings will be locked and non-adjustable. But if there is no org-level policy, workspace owners can set message retention for their workspace. Here’s how:

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Administration, then Workspace settings from the menu.
  3. Under Settings, expand Message retention & deletion.
  4. Click Save, then Confirm settings.

Remember: If members are allowed to set different retention policies for direct messages and private channels they are a part of, those policies will override the workspace-wide policy.


Configure settings for a specific channel

You can also set a message retention policy for individual channels. Any custom retention settings will override the policy you’ve set in your Workspace settings.

  1. From your desktop, open the channel whose retention settings you want to configure.
  2. Click the cog icon to open the Channel settings menu.
  3. Click Edit message retention.
  4. Select Use custom retention settings for this conversation.
  5. Choose how long you want to save messages for in this channel and click Save.
  6. Tick the box next to Yes, apply these new settings, then click the Apply settings button.


File retention

There are two options to choose from when setting your file retention policy:

  • Keep all files
    Slack will keep all shared files for the lifetime of your workspace.
  • Keep all files, only for a set number of days
    Slack will permanently delete files (snippetsposts, uploaded files and those shared via apps like Dropbox or Google Drive) older than the number of days you choose. 

Note: Files shared via apps like Dropbox or Google Drive remain stored in the service they originate from. So deleting them from Slack won’t affect the original files. 


Set a file retention policy

Standard and Plus subscriptions

Enterprise Grid subscriptions

Here’s how to set a retention policy for files shared in your workspace:

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Administration from the menu.
  3. Choose Settings & permissions
  4. Under Settings, expand the File retention & deletion section.
  5. Click Save, then Confirm settings.

Note: An org owner must contact Slack to add or change your organisation’s retention policies. 

Org owners can set custom file retention policies for the Enterprise Grid org. The primary org owner will receive a Slackbot message with a request to approve or deny the new file retention policy.

With org-level policies in place, individuals won’t be able to modify their own retention settings.


Review file retention policies:

    1. From your desktop, sign in to your Slack Enterprise Grid, then click Manage organisation.
    2. Under  Settings, click Messages and files.
    3. View policy under File retention policies.

Note: There is no option to set channel-by-channel file retention settings at this time.

Who can use this feature?
  • Only workspace owners and org owners can access this feature. 
  • Available on paid subscriptions.

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