Search for messages and files

With Search, 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!

Search in Slack

Searching in Slack is quite easy:

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

  2. Simply start typing a search term – Slack will show you related channels, team members, and search history.

  3. Hit Enter to view your search results.


Search Modifiers

Search modifiers help you to narrow your results to specific channels, team 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.


Searches your direct messages with a specific team member.


Searches all direct messages that have been sent to you.


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


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


Limits your search to messages that contain a URL.


Searches messages you've starred. (You can also click the star icon in the top-right corner to view items you've starred.)


Searches messages which have the emoji added as 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 @emilie or @kathryn who uploaded it. You could search from:emilie from:kathryn, and then click the Files tab to see files uploaded by either person.


Search results

Search results are adaptive to help you find what you’re looking for. Searching for a word like "slack" may show results for related terms such as "slacking" or "slacked".

Messages vs. Files


Each result will include the date and time the message was posted, and in what channel. To get a preview of the original conversation, click Expand. To open a search result in its original channel, click Jump in the right corner.


Files will be presented in a simple list. Once you've located your file, simply hover over it for more options. 

Top Results

Some of your searches may show you Top Results. This feature automatically ranks and prioritizes search results based on a number of signals, including how relevant and recent a search result is, as well as how you work in Slack.

You’re able to mark Top Results as useful or not useful to help improve your searches over time.


Sort and filter search 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!

Tips for sorting and filtering 

  • Toggle between Messages and Files to only browse results of either type.
  • If searching for a file, specify the file type you're looking for.

  • Sort by the most Recent or the most Relevant messages and files.
  • Click Include to choose which options should be included in your results.


Exclude channels from search

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

  1. Click your team name to open the Team Menu.
  2. Choose Preferences.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Under Don't search these channels, click the box to pick channels to exclude.


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 to teams on free and paid plans.

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