Organize and name channels
Creating guidelines for naming channels is one of the best ways to keep conversations on your team organized. In this guide, we'll go over the basics:
- Start with broad channel topics, then drill down.
- Create a guide for naming channels.
- Share the guide with your team.
- Encourage everyone to stay on-topic.
By using clear, predictable naming guidelines, people are more likely to ask questions in the right places, troubleshoot their own issues, and connect with the right people to get work done efficiently in Slack.
☝🏽 First, a word about #general and #random
Every new Slack team starts you off with two channels: #general and #random, which you can rename to your liking.
The #general channel is the only one all team members are required to be in, so we recommend only having conversations here that are relevant to everyone in your company. Some teams rename it to #announcements for this very purpose!
The #random channel is simply that. Use it for anything you’d like!
Note: Visit Rename a channel for more on changing a channel's name.
Establish channel naming guidelines
Start with the basics and add new channels around major topics:
- departments (e.g. #design, #marketing, #sales, #finance, etc.)
- office locations (e.g. #sf, #mel, #paris, #tokyo, etc.)
Individual channels for regional offices or project teams are a great way to share relevant information and start conversations with the right people. Use a calendar app to automate recurring event reminders!
Next, consider using a set of standard prefixes to keep channel names organized and descriptive. Here are a few of our favorites:
|help-||Ask questions or find information about a topic.
Example: #help-benefits, #help-finance, #help-it
|team-||A place for groups to coordinate team-related topics and activities.
Example: #team-design, #team-support, #team-ops, #team-sales
|feat- or proj-||For cross-functional teams working together.
Example: #feat-mobileapp, #proj-café-rebuild, #proj-logo-rebrand
Build and expand
If your broad department channels (e.g. #sales) are for general conversations or functions, create more specific channels so the team can keep their work focused and organized: #sales-smb, #sales-leads, #sales-ops, #sales-training, and beyond!
Tip: Add a channel topic and purpose to quickly share what information members can expect to find in a channel.
Another benefit of prefixes is that they help group channels that you've starred together in your channel list.
Document the guidelines
Now that you’ve designed a channel naming guideline tailored to your organization, document it and share it with your members to encourage channel naming consistency and predictability. 📝
Creating a post in Slack is a great format for this type of information:
- Share the post in a channel where people can go to learn about your Slack team, like #help-slack or #new-hires.
- Pin the post in appropriate channels for future reference and easy access.
- Send the post to specific people (e.g. new hires), so they understand how channels are named on your team.
- Let others edit the post so anyone can add new prefixes and guidelines.
Keep conversations relevant
To keep a channel’s flow focused and productive, it’s important to encourage members to have conversations in the appropriate places. (Remember: it’s alright to have channels specifically for fun or social topics!)
Note: Messages can’t be moved from one channel to another. As an alternative, visit Share messages in Slack.
How to redirect
What is the most courteous way of telling your fellow team members that their conversation is best had in a different channel? We suggest choosing an emoji (or creating a special custom emoji) for this purpose.
Whenever conversation in a channel veers off-topic, use your designated emoji to politely signal that the conversation belongs in a different channel. Here's an example using the 🔀 twisted arrows emoji to redirect the conversation.
Manage existing channels
Things change: a project could be renamed, shelved for another day, or cancelled completely. Here are some ways you can keep your channels organized after they've been created.
- Delete a channel
Deleting a channel will remove the channel and all of its contents. Read more.
- Archive a channel
Archiving a channel removes it from the list of active channels. Read more.
- Rename a channel
Renaming a channel to something more appropriate. Read more.
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.
Channels are where the magic happens in Slack. These tips for organizing and naming channels will go a long way in making sure you and your team get off to a great start. Here are some additional resources: