Guide to Slack import and export tools

Here’s what you need to know about how content may be accessed using Slack’s import and export tools. For subscription-specific details, jump to Import and export tools by subscription below.

Export overview

As with other workplace tools, Slack customers may need — or be legally compelled — to export content. But they can do so only under limited circumstances. Employment, privacy and other laws, as well as corporate policies, limit the use of these exports. Laws and policies may also require employers to notify employees of their use of export tools. 

Here are a few examples where a customer may need to export content: 

  • A company receives a report of harassment or theft of trade secrets and needs to conduct a workplace investigation.
  • A financial services company is required by a regulation to archive certain communications for a set period of time. 
  • A court order mandates information from Slack must be disclosed due to a lawsuit or investigation. 
  • A former employee requests to be provided with a copy of the information their former employer retained about them, as required by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. 

Our export tools help customers comply with their obligations. These tools, and their requirements for use, help keep Slack a safe and secure place for getting work done. 

Note: The content available for export may be limited depending on your subscription and data retention settings. See Customise message and file retention policies for more information.

 

Import and export tools by subscription

Free or Standard subscription

  • Import: You can use the import tool to pull content from one of these sources: another Slack workspace, a CSV or text file, or data that has been exported from third-party apps (HipChat, Flowdock, Campfire, Chatwork, or others). 

  • Export: Workspace Owners and Admins may use Standard Export to export content from public channels. Standard Exports will include links to files, but not files themselves. If you export data from a workspace containing shared channels, only links to files shared by members of your workspace will be included in your export.

    Workspace Owners must contact Slack and apply to export content from private channels and one to one or group direct messages. We will reject applications unless Workspace Owners show in each instance (a) valid legal process, (b) consent of members or (c) a requirement or right under applicable laws in order to export data.

Plus subscription

  • Import: you can use the import tool to pull content from one of these sources: another Slack workspace, a CSV or text file, or data that has been exported from third-party apps (HipChat, Flowdock, Campfire, Chatwork, or others).

  • Export: Workspace Owners can apply to access Corporate Export, a self-serve export tool that permits a Workspace Owner to export content from private channels and one to one or group direct messages as needed and permitted by law. Each Workspace Owner must make sure that (a) appropriate employment agreements and corporate policies have been implemented and (b) all use of Corporate Export is permitted under applicable law. 

    Workspace Owners and Admins may also use 
    Standard Export to export content from public channels. Both Standard and Corporate Exports will include links to files, but not files themselves.

    When you perform a Corporate Export of a workspace with shared channels, links to files in private shared channels or direct messages between members of two organisations will only be included if they were shared by a member of your workspace. 

Note: if your application to use Corporate Export is approved and you’ve enabled the tool, the option to use Standard Export won’t be available. Additionally, file retention settings will be set to keep all files — which can’t be modified as long as Corporate Export is enabled.

Enterprise Grid subscription

  • Export: at the organisation level, the Discovery API export mechanism is available to Org Owners, allowing customers to use approved third-party apps to export, archive or meet other security and compliance obligations for any organisation content. Each Org Owner must make sure that (a) appropriate employment agreements and corporate policies have been implemented and (b) all use of the Discovery APIs is permitted under applicable law.

    Exports through the Discovery APIs will include files, which are accessible through direct download links. When you perform an export of a workspace with shared channels, files in private shared channels or direct messages between shared channel users will only be included if they were sent by a member of your workspace.

    The Discovery APIs also support eDiscovery and data loss prevention (DLP) solutions that enable customers managing sensitive or regulated data to meet their obligations through routine exports and other management of protected data.

    If workspaces in your Enterprise Grid org contain shared channels, content from those shared channels and direct messages sent between members of two organisations will be included in eDiscovery exports. Messages posted to shared channels will be available via your DLP provider, but only messages sent by members of your workspace can be deleted.

    At the workspace level, individual Workspace Owners and Admins may also use Standard Export to export content from public channels.

Tip: visit Roles in Slack for details on the different types of workspace roles. If you have a Slack account, go to the Workspace Settings tab on the Account page for contact information of the Owner(s) and Admin(s) of your workspace.

Compare export options

Compare all export options and functionality:

 

Standard Export

Available to all workspace owners and admins

Corporate
Export

Available to workspace owners in limited circumstances


Discovery API

Available to org owners

Public channel content
Includes messages, links to files, message edit and deletion logs, and archived public channels
Direct/group message content*
Includes messages and links to files
 
Private channel content*
Includes messages and links to files
 
eDiscovery and DLP functionality
Includes query, access, message edit and deletion logs and links to files through approved third-party apps
    ✓ 


*Workspace Owners on the Free and Standard subscriptions must contact Slack and apply to export content from private channels and one to one and group direct messages. We will reject applications unless Workspace Owners show in each instance (a) valid legal process or (b) consent of members or (c) a requirement or right under applicable laws in order to export data.

Questions? Please contact us at feedback@slack.com.

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