What is Slack and how does it work: all you need to know about the software

Slack: what it is, how does it work, how to use the software and how much does it cost
5 min. read

If your job involves communicating with people on the Internet, there is a pretty good chance you work with Slack. In the last 3 years, we have almost said goodbye to emails, except for external business communications. Our business partners, freelancers, clients — everyone is in the Slack workspaces nowadays. The popularity of this service is quite explainable: it is faster, better organized, and more secure than many other communication services.

What is Slack?

Slack is a messaging app for businesses that helps teams get work done more quickly, more accurately, and with more focus. It was created to solve the problems that people face at work every day, by making it easier to communicate across offices, projects, and geographies. With Slack, you can organize your company’s conversations around projects, run virtual conferences, share documents, and simply stay in touch with everyone you need to, from staff to customers and partners. Its features include private channels for personal interactions, voice calls, video conferencing, transfer of files, and notifications from other people within your team. unnamed-10.png

How does Slack work?

In Slack, users communicate in organized spaces called channels. Each channel is dedicated to a specific project, topic, department, or team. Users can communicate with the whole team or certain team members.

There are two types of channels in Slack:

  • Private — available by invitation only. They are designed to discuss work or personal issues within a limited circle of people.
  • Public — open to all members of your workspace. Any of your colleagues can join them and access the same shared information.

Let us consider the key elements of the app’s interface.

Left sidebar From here, you can access your channels and conversations. By default, all new users of the app are automatically added to two channels: #general and #random. Further, when you join other channels, they are added to this panel, too. The channel name starts with #. When you type # Slack offers the list of your channels to choose from.

Top menu bar It includes the following sections:

  • search bar;
  • user data: name and status;
  • the button for quick access to a specific conversation date;
  • preferences;
  • settings, and more.

How to use Slack in your business

The interface of the messenger is intuitive, so it will not take you much time to start working there.

How to sign up and get started

To become the administrator of your Slack team, do the following:

  1. Download the app or go to Slack.com to register your account.
  2. Enter your email address to sign up.
  3. Select a name for your team.
  4. Edit the URL if necessary.
  5. Specify your username.
  6. Enter the emails of users you’d like to add to your Slack team. unnamed-11.png Signing to a workspace

How to use the workspace

To join an existing channel, click the Plus symbol and then select the necessary channel from the list.

To write a direct message, find the colleague you want to chat with, click his name and add your text. If you need to discuss something in a small team (up to 9 people), use group direct messages. To do this, click the Plus symbol next to “Direct Messages” and add the colleagues. Each of them will receive a corresponding notification.

In a message, you can write text, attach files, or add emojis. You can mention a public channel by typing # followed by its name; all the members of the chat will be able to join the mentioned channel by clicking on its link.

To reply to messages use the Reply function. The chains of messages with their replies are displayed in the Thread section. You can store all the important messages and threads. Add the necessary item to Favorites by clicking on the star next to it.

How to format text in messages

Use the following shortcuts:

  • For bold: select the text and press Ctrl + B or put asterisks before and after your text;
  • For italics: select the text and press Ctrl + I or put underscores before and after your text;
  • For strikethrough text: select the text and press Ctrl + Shift + X or put tildes before and after your text;
  • For quoting: select the text and press Ctrl + Shift + > or add angled brackets before the message you want to quote;
  • To insert the code: press Ctrl + Shift + C or add three backticks symbols before and after your text.

How to make video and audio calls

To communicate face to face with remote colleagues, clients, or partners, you can call them. Video conferencing in Slack allows a meeting of up to 15 people. Besides, you can broadcast your screen to every member of the conference. For a video call, open the messages with the user you want to video chat with, click on the “Call” icon, and press Start.

To start an audio call, open a channel, tap its name at the top of the screen, and click Start a call. Give a name to your call and press Start. Slack will send a message in the channel informing other members that you’ve started a call.

How to search

In Slack, you can search through channels, messages, chats, files, and members in one window. Use the following shortcuts:

  • Quotation marks for a keyword with an exact match: “word”.
  • An asterisk for part of a word: word*.
  • A dash in front of a word to omit it in the search: -word.
  • To find messages from a certain participant enter from:@[user name].
  • To find messages in a certain channel enter in:#[channel name].
  • To find all the messages addressed to you enter to me.
  • To find messages by date: before/after:[enter date], on:[date], [month], or [year].

unnamed-12.png Search options

Other features and commands


One of the important advantages of this messenger is the availability of integrations with multiple services, such as Dropbox, Gmail, Jira, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Trello, etc. Read how to connect Slack to Albato and how to create Facebook and Slack automation scenario.

Good manners in Slack

  • Always strictly adhere to the topic of the channel. Do not send messages about unrelated matters in the work chats.
  • If a colleague has mentioned you in a conversation, be sure to respond. If you cannot answer right away, write about it.
  • Do not overuse the @here function, which allows notifying all the channel members, who are online.
  • Use message threads to simplify communication and not disturb other chat participants.
  • Do not forget to update your status. If you go on a vacation or take time off, write about it so that colleagues do not expect a quick response from you.


Statuses available in Slack

Tariffs and prices

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Where is Slack available?

The messenger can be accessed through the web and its native applications. If you use Slack for everyday work, it is more convenient to install the app on your computer. There, you can add multiple workspaces and switch seamlessly between them. The app is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. Besides, Slack is available as an app for smartphones and tablets. You can download the messenger for Android and IOS. In some countries, the functionality of the messenger is limited.


  • Slack is a corporate messenger that differs from other services in an expanded set of tools for team communication and collaboration.
  • Its main features are the system of private and public channels, direct messages with a variety of text formatting tools, voice and video calls with the function of screen sharing, and a well-implemented search system.
  • Slack can be integrated with other instruments and services, such as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Trello, and dozens of others.

To see the Quick ChatGPT Setup in action and explore a real-life use case with Slack, head over to our YouTube channel.

Watch the video tutorial for a step-by-step guide on creating an intelligent chatbot using ChatGPT and Albato. Discover how to integrate OpenAI with Slack and automate workflows without writing a single line of code.

Expand your knowledge and gain practical insights by checking out the video today!