Search in Slack

By using Search on our desktop apps, you can come back to the right messages and files when you need to. Learn the ins and outs of how to search in Slack — one of its core features!

How to search in Slack

Searching in Slack is quite easy. Here's how to do it from your desktop:

  1. Click the search box and we'll suggest modifiers to help you narrow your results.


  2. Start typing a search term – Slack will show you related channels, members, and search history.
  3. Hit Enter to view your search results.


Use Search modifiers

Search modifiers help you to narrow your results to specific channels, members, files, and so on. Browse the list of modifiers below to learn how to hone in on your search targets. 






Searches just the messages and files in a specific channel.

in:@[display name]         

Searches your direct messages with a specific member.


Searches all direct messages that have been sent to you.

from:@[display name]      

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


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


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.)


Searches pinned items in public channels and your own DMs.


Limits your search to messages that contain a URL.


Searches messages and files that have received a reaction

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




Note: The following date format is not supported: DD-MM-YYYY

Multiple modifiers

You can combine modifiers to search for something in a few different places.

Let's say you're looking for a file, and it was either @andrea or @sandra who uploaded it. You can search from:@andrea @sandra, and then click the Files tab to see files uploaded by either person.



Understand search results

Search results are adaptive to help you find what you’re looking for. For example, searching for a word like "report" may show results for related terms like "reporting" or "reports".

Keep reading to learn how to how to read, sort, and filter your results so you can find what you need, fast.

How to read your results




The All tab summarizes all the results from your search. 

🙋 People & Channels: If your workspace is on a paid plan, you’ll see which members most frequently discuss your search term and in which channels. Click the arrow on the right to see where discussions are taking place and who you can possible talk to for more info.

📂  Top Files: A list of files that best match your search and that are most likely to matter to you.

💌  Top Messages: A list of messages that best match your search and that are most likely to matter to you.

The Messages tab will list all messages that fit your search criteria. Each result will include the date and time the message was posted, and in which channel.

To get a preview of the original conversation, click Expand. To open a search result in its original channel, click Jump

Under the Files tab, you’ll find a simple list of all the files that fit your search terms. Once you've located your file, simply hover over it for more options.  

Tip: When you search in Slack, your results will include messages or files that contain all of your keywords.

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

Tips for sorting and filtering your results

Knowing how to filter and sort your search results in Slack can help you find exactly what you're looking for. Below are some tips to help you navigate your results – give them a try!

  • Toggle between Messages and Files to only browse results of either type — or select All to see a summary of all results.
  • Under Include, you can choose whether files from integrations & bots or files from channels you don't have open are included in your search.
  • Under the Files tab, you can specify the file type you're looking for: click All File Types to choose.
  • Under the Messages tab, sort by the most Recent or the most Relevant.



Exclude channels from search

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

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left to open the menu.
  2. Choose Preferences.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Under Don't search these channels, click the box to pick channels to exclude.


Use keyboard shortcuts

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

  Mac Windows
Search message history in the current channel or direct message


Ctrl F

Navigate suggested searches 






Submit your search query 



Advanced search

Now that we've covered the basics, check out Advanced search in Slack for even more tips. 🔍 

Who can use this feature?
  • All members and Guests can use this feature. 
  • Available on free and paid plans.

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