Advanced search in Slack

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

Why learn advanced search techniques?

  • Find specific words and phrases, or search for only part of a word
  • Search for emoji or reactions
  • Use the search slash command shortcut 


Find specific words and phrases

Use quotation marks to search for a specific word or phrase. If you search for “a hot potato”, you’ll only see messages or files containing that exact phrase.

Tip: When part of a phrase, words that are usually ignored by search (such as "a") will be included in the results.


Partial word searches

Enter an asterisk (*) after a partial word to see all instances of it in Slack. Sometimes you only have bits and pieces of information, and that's ok – you can still find what you need! For example, a search for pot* would not only show results with the word potato – words like potable, potent, and potpourri would also be included.

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


Exclude words or phrases

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 messages or files that contain the word hot but not the word potato.



Emoji search

Type the emoji code to see all messages containing that emoji. You can also see all messages and files that have been reacted to with an emoji by using the modifier has: before the emoji. In this case, has:👀


The slash command

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

  1. Type /s into the message box followed by your search term.
  2. Press Enter.

For example, let's say you're looking for information about the upcoming annual meeting. You can enter /s annual meeting to search your entire Slack workspace for the words “annual” and “meeting”.


Deep search

When you search for files in Slack, we look for more than just a title that matches your keywords. Even the content within shared files is scanned. This is true for direct uploads and files shared using an app like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Tip: Although an entire file is searchable, you'll only see highlighted search terms in your results if they appear in a file's title.


Fuzzy search

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. 🔮


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