Advanced search in Slack

Search is a powerful Slack feature: You can go back to just the right file or conversation in an instant. If you’ve mastered the basics of searching in Slack, here are some more advanced tips to focus your searches.

About search results

Search results show messages and files containing any of your keywords. For example, if you search for a hot potato the results will show messages and files that include:

  • just the word hot
  • just the word potato
  • both words

The word “a” is usually ignored by search, along with other common, short words.

The complete list of words ignored by search:
a, 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


Find specific phrases

Using quotation marks allows you to search for a certain phrase. If you search for “a hot potato”, you’ll only see messages or files that contain the exact phrase.

Words that are usually ignored by search will be included when they’re part of a phrase.


Partial-word searches

You can use an asterisk (*) as a search wildcard to replace the end of a word.

For example, a search for pot* would not only show messages and files with the word potato, but also include words like potable, potent, and potpourri.

Note: You can only put the asterisk at the end of a word, and you must use at least three letters.


The search slash command

You can start a new search directly from the message box using the /s slash command. Simply type /s followed by your search term and press Enter.

 For example, you can enter /s annual meeting to search your entire Slack team for the words “annual” and “meeting”.


Deep search

You can use Slack search to find content within documents your team has shared in Slack. This works both for direct uploads and files shared using an app like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Although an entire document is searchable, you’ll only see highlighted search terms in the search results when they appear in a document’s title. If a search term only appears in a document’s main body and not its title, the file will still be listed in the search results, but without highlighted search terms.


Fuzzy search

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

More about search

If you'd like more info about the basics of Slack search, check out our introductory article, Search for messages and files.