Manage your sidebar display

Every workspace starts with a #general channel and a #random channel. Your workspace will naturally add more channels to keep discussions focused on specific topics and projects. As your channel list grows, you can manage your sidebar to keep your most important conversations exactly where you need them.

We’ll cover some general tips for managing busy channels and outline the preferences you can use to organise your sidebar.

Tips and preferences

Here are some features you can use when your channel list starts to look crowded:

You also have a few preferences to change what your sidebar looks like:


Sort channels scientifically

Your channels appear in alphabetical order by default. If you’re on a paid subscription, you can choose to sort them scientifically. This will move the channels most relevant to you (based on how you use Slack) to the top of your sidebar. Here’s how to set this preference:

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. From the menu, select Preferences.
  3. Select Sidebar.
  4. Under Sorting and Grouping, choose Sort channels scientifically (based on how you use Slack) from the drop-down menu.

Note: When channels are listed alphabetically, you can use channel prefixes to help organise your sidebar. It’s not currently possible to create sub-channels or folders.

Separate your public and private channels

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Select Preferences from the menu.
  3. Select Sidebar.
  4. Under Sorting and grouping, tick the box next to List private channels separately.

Tip: if you're on the Enterprise Grid subscription, you can choose List organisation channels separately to display public org-wide channels in the sidebar. Please note that private org-wide channels will still be grouped under the Channels category.

Hide conversations with no unread activity

Instead of listing every channel you’ve joined in your sidebar, you can choose to display only the ones with unread activity. This means that channels and direct messages will only appear in your channel list when there is a message you haven’t seen yet.

Choosing to display only unread and starred conversations will make everything feel a lot more manageable:


Here's how to hide channels and DMs that have already been read:

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Next, select Preferences and choose Sidebar.
  3. Under Appearance, choose from one of these two options:

    🌟 Unreads and starred conversations
    Only your unread and any starred conversations will be visible.

    📰 Unreads only
    Only your unread channels, direct messages and apps will be visible.

Note: With this setting, use the Quick Switcher to find channels that are hidden. To reach other channels and conversations, press ⌘ K on Mac or Ctrl K on Windows.

Related articles

Recently viewed articles