About channels and direct messages

Your team can talk about a variety of topics in Slack: projects, deals, deliveries, financials, cat GIFs, and more.

Most of this information is useful to everyone, but not every discussion needs to be seen by all your teammates. That's why Slack provides a few different ways to have a conversation: channels, private channels, shared channels (beta) and direct messages.

When to use a channel or direct message

 Public channels are for conversations that are open to all members. Messages posted to channels are archived and searchable by all your teammates.

 Private channels are best used for topics that are sensitive or confidential, or limited to a small group of members. A private channel and its contents are visible and searchable only to the channel members.

 Shared channels (beta) are best used to communicate and collaborate with people outside of your workspace — like your advertising agency, for example. Shared channels are a secure place to communicate and collaborate with external contacts.  

Tip: Learn how to create a channel in Slack. 📺

 Direct messages and group messages (DMs and group DMs) are useful for quick, private conversations between two or more members. They're visible and searchable only to you and the members you DM.


Who can join a channel

Channels can be joined freely by any member of your Slack workspace. See Browse and join channels to learn more about discovering new channels.

Private channels can be joined by invitation only. See Invite members to a channel for more.

Note: Multi-Channel and Single-Channel Guests can only join a channel by invitation, and cannot browse or search other channels.


Channel names

Channel names can be in any language and up to 21 characters in length. They may include lowercase letters, non-Latin characters, numbers, and hyphens (-).

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