Guide to search in Slack

Using search in Slack, it's easy to come back to the right messages and files when you need to. You can even discover new information while you’re at it! We’ll cover how to filter and refine your searches to find what you need, fast.

An overview of search:

Start a new search




  1. Start typing a search term. Slack will show you related channels, members, and search suggestions. You can also choose from your recent searches.
  2. Press Enter to view your search results, or jump to a channel or direct message.
  1. Tap the  magnifying glass icon in the top right.
  2. Type your search terms.
  3. Tap Messages or Files. (You'll be able to toggle between the two even after you’ve run your search).
  4. You’ll see suggestions on how to format your search terms and narrow your results. Select any recommendations you’d like.
  5. Tap Search.
  1. Tap the  magnifying glass icon in the top right.
  2. Type your search terms.
  3. Tap Messages or Files. (You'll be able to toggle between the two even after you’ve run your search).
  4. You’ll see suggestions on how to format your search terms and narrow your results. Select any recommendations you’d like.
  5. Tap the  magnifying glass icon on your device's keyboard to run your search.

Tip: You can start a new search directly from the message box using the /s slash command.

View and share 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".

Your search results will be separated into two categories: messages and files.



This tab will list all messages that fit your search criteria. By default, results are sorted by relevancy, but you can also sort messages by when they were sent:

  1. Click the  downward caret next to Most relevant.
  2. Select Most recent from the menu.

Hover over a message result to get more context or share it with others:

  • Click the   link icon in the top right to copy a link to the message.
  • Click View in channel to jump to the original message.

The Files tab will list all the files that fit your search terms. Slack scans the content of all files shared in your workspace, so you'll find matches beyond a file's title. Click the file to open it, or hover over a result to share it with others:

  • Click the   arrow icon to share the file. Choose the channel or person to share it with and include a message, if you'd like.
  • Click the   More actions icon to copy a link to the file, star the file, or open the original file.

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, that, the, their, then, there, these, they, this, to, was, will, with.

Tip: If you click away from your current search, don't worry — all your results and scroll position are saved and immediately viewable! Just press CtrlG (Windows and Linux) or G (Mac) to reopen your search results from the last five minutes.

Filter search results

On desktop, you can sort your results by relevant people, dates, and conversations using the Filter by section. On desktop and mobile, you can use search modifiers to narrow your results from the search field.

Note: Don't see clickable filters? Fear not! We're rolling out full-screen search gradually, so it may be a little while before you see it for yourself. You can continue using search modifiers to filter your results.

Here are some tips to help you find exactly what you're looking for:




Filter results by People:

  1. Check the box next to a suggested member's name.
  2. Or, click More and enter a teammate's name.

Search within specific Channels & direct messages:

  1. Check the box next to a suggested channel.
  2. Or, click More and enter the name of a channel or name(s) of member(s) in a direct message.

Search within a Date range:

  1. Click Starting and select a date to display messages and files sent on or after that day.
  2. Click Ending and select a date to display messages and files sent on or before that day.

Expand your search with Include results from:

  • Apps and bots
    If you have any integrations installed on your workspace, check the box next to Apps and bots to search those DMs and files.
  • Public channels
    Check the box next to Channels I'm not a member of to view results from public channels you haven't joined.
  • Enterprise Grid Orgs
    If you have multiple workspaces connected by Enterprise Grid, check the box next to Other [org name] workspaces to search all workspaces.

Exclude channels from search

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

  1. From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
  2. Choose Preferences from the menu.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Under Don't search these channels, click the box to pick channels to exclude.
  • Toggle between Messages and Files to browse results of either type.
  • Swipe down to apply additional modifiers to your search results.
  • Toggle between Messages and Files to browse results of either type.
  • Tap the back button to apply a different search modifier.

Tip: To begin your search from a particular conversation, open the channel or DM and press CmdF (Mac) or CtrlF (Windows) to begin a new search. Find more in Keyboard shortcuts.

Apply search modifiers

Search modifiers help you to narrow your results from the search field. Simply type the modifier as part of your search. These modifiers are also listed in the Filter by section on desktop, except for has:.

Search modifiers


Channels & DMs



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 in a specific channel.

in:@[display name]         

Searches direct messages with a specific member.


Searches all direct messages that have been sent to you.

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





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 direct messages.


Limits your search to messages that contain a URL.


Searches messages and files that have received this emoji as a reaction.

Tip: If you use the has:[:emoji_code:] search modifier, you'll see all messages with that specific emoji reaction.

Note: You can combine modifiers to search in different places. For example, search from: a member in: a channel.

Find specific words and phrases

Use quotation marks to search for a specific word or phrase. You’ll only see messages or files containing that exact phrase.


Enter an asterisk (*) after a partial word to see all instances of it in Slack. For example, a search for pot* will include results with words that contain "pot". Your search must be at least three letters.


Put a minus sign in front of words or phrases you want to exclude from search. If you search for hot -potato, you’ll only see results that contain the word hot but not the word potato.


Use keyboard shortcuts

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


Action Shortcut
Search the current channel or conversation


and Linux)

Open a new search, or
reopen search results from the last five minutes


and Linux)

Navigate search results or
Move focus to the next element F6
(Desktop app)


Move focus to the previous element ShiftF6
Submit your search query Enter


Note: Slack doesn’t support fuzzy search, so misspelled search terms won’t return the correctly-spelled alternative. This may be something we add in the future. 🔮


Who can use this feature?
  • All members and guests 
  • Free, Standard, Plus, and Enterprise Grid plans

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