Organize your channels and direct messages

Every Slack team starts with two channels: #general and #random. Adding more channels helps you have more specific and focused conversations — that’s good! But as your team grows, you’ll want to keep your most important conversations just where you need them.

Here are just a few simple ways of filtering the busy hum of productivity in your sidebar:

  • Star channels and direct messages. They’ll instantly rise to the top of the list!
  • Leave channels if you don’t need to be there.
  • Archive channels that aren’t being used anymore.
  • Make sure your notifications are set at the right level. You can revisit your general settings, or set notifications for things like @channel mentions on a channel-by-channel basis.
  • Mute channels if you need to be in a channel, but find it too noisy.

Sidebar preferences

Slack also provides some powerful preferences to help you make the most of your sidebar. Here are two ways to move things around and tidy them up:

Combine or separate your public and private channels

You can easily rearrange your sidebar to keep your public and private discussions separate. 

  1. Click your team name to open the Team Menu.
  2. Next, select Preferences and choose Sidebar.
  3. Under Sidebar Settings, check the box next to List private channels separately.Screen_Shot_2017-07-13_at_3.16.00_PM.png


Hide conversations with no unread activity

To tidy up your sidebar, you can set a preference to only see conversations with messages you haven’t read. This way, channels and direct messages will only pop up when someone speaks.

  1. Click your team name to open the Team Menu.
  2. Next, select Preferences and choose Sidebar
  3. Under Sidebar Settings, select the Just my unread channels and DMs option.

If you have and use starred channels, and often want to get to those even when there’s no new activity, choosing to show My unreads, along with everything I've starred will make everything feel a lot more manageable. Like this:

Note: This is a power move, and can get disorienting fast if you’re used to navigating channels with your mouse. The Quick Switcher is the fastest way to get around when channels are hidden. Press ⌘+K, (Ctrl+K on Windows, or ⌘+T as an alternative in the Mac desktop app) to reach new channels or conversations.

Note: It's not possible to create sub-channels or folders to organize conversations in Slack, but since channels are listed alphabetically, channel pre-fixes can help organize your list.   

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