Great ideas, born of tweets: try these novel Slack tips

Users share their favorite time-savers, including keystrokes, RSS and Reacji Channeler

Image Credit: Pete Ryan

The best advice you’ll ever get about a product is from people who have used it for years. And if you don’t have a friend or coworker who fits that description, you may turn to social media for those ideas instead.

We scoured Twitter for clever uses of and interesting tips about Slack and rounded up a few favorites here. Most of these will likely be new to you, but if they’re old news and you’ve got your own smart tips for Slack, feel free to tweet them to us at @SlackHQ.

Build a newsletter with emoji

A valuable add-on to Slack is the Reacji Channeler app. Once it’s installed, whenever someone reacts to a message using a specific emoji, it will copy that message automatically to a designated channel. Say you create #applause for any message that gets a 👏 or #lovingit for messages that get a 😍.

But there are business uses for it too. For example, the team at Write the Docs uses the Reacji Channeler to compile the best messages from its Slack workspace for the company newsletter.

This way, finding all the news that’s fit to publish doesn’t fall on one writer or editor. Instead, anyone on the team can push highlight-worthy messages to a channel for review.

Other helpful ideas for the Reacji Channeler include:

  1. Whenever you spot good ideas or problems to be fixed, reroute those messages to department or team channels (give each team its own custom emoji)
  2. Tag good advice and use it to create new-employee handbooks
  3. Nominate celebratory messages worthy of mention in your next company all-hands meeting

Route RSS feeds into Slack

RSS is the syndication format behind podcasts and blogs. If you subscribe to RSS feeds in a Slack channel (using the /feed slash command), new posts will automatically appear as new messages whenever sites update.

You can create a #blogs channel like Luke in the example above and add any and all RSS feeds pertinent to your industry for your team to read. If there’s a vital GitHub project you don’t want to miss updates on, you can subscribe to the feed for those as well, per Andrew’s instructions below.

We’ve heard from many legal firms using Slack to track all sorts of RSS updates, including pending bills and legislation, court cases and rulings, and news from around the industry.

Bonus tip: You can share many Mailchimp newsletters via RSS in Slack. Open an email newsletter in a web browser, and copy the RSS link in the upper right corner of the top bar.

Then, in a #newsletters channel, type /feed subscribe followed by the link. Your team will get an update for every new issue.

Fast keyboard shortcuts for message formatting

Message formatting in Slack helps you communicate your points and helps readers parse longer messages, and keyboard shortcuts like the one Matt mentions above make them easy to do as you’re typing.

Try these out. Highlight text and then tap the following combos:

  • bold: ⌘+b on Mac; ctrl+b on PC/Linux
  • italic: ⌘+i on Mac; ctrl+i on PC/Linux
  • strikethrough: ⌘+shift+x on Mac; ctrl+shift+x on PC/Linux
  • code format:⌘+shift+c on Mac; ctrl+shift+c on PC/Linux

Slack also senses when you’re typing a list in a message. Start a line with a bullet (·) (⌘+shift+8 on Mac; alt+7 on PC/Linux) or a hyphen (-), and when you hit shift+return for a new line, you’ll see your next list item ready to share. If you start a message with 1. or 1) you’ll also get an automatic new list item when you enter a new line.

Search Dropbox Paper right inside Slack

If your team collaborates on documents using Dropbox Paper and you install the Dropbox Paper app for Slack, you can now search for documents in Slack using a slash command.

Just type /paper keyword and it’ll return any Dropbox Paper files with your keyword contained in it. By the way, Paper isn’t the only app with this feature in Slack: Guru and Trello also let you search from a slash command.

Let’s do lunch

Lunch Train is a handy app that makes it easier to round up everyone for a midday meal. After installing it in your Slack workspace, suggest a restaurant and meeting time, and it’ll post to a channel of your choice. Anyone who sees the message can click a button to join in, and the host will get updates from Slackbot showing a roster of everyone who’s coming. The group will also get a reminder a few minutes ahead of time to go meet up for lunch.

It’s especially useful for teams that work in different buildings where planning anything face-to-face is difficult, or in coworking spaces where an open invitation to lunch means getting the chance to meet all the busy strangers around you.

Another clever lunch tip: Write a note to yourself in your own direct-message channel as a reminder of whose turn it is to pay for lunch next time, and then pin it to your channel so you can check your pins the next time the bill arrives.

Tools like Lunch Train not only give you a good excuse for some off-campus team building; they also make a routine process more efficient—the common thread among all these Twitter-sourced tips.

In the meantime, be sure to check out our Slack Tips library, which is home to more than 30 step-by-step guides and tips to get more out of Slack.

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Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.