7 Essential Slack Shortcuts

Use these keys to be a faster Slacker.

Slack for Desktop

Teamwork made easy


Slack is an easy way for friends, family, and work teams to efficiently chat, share files, and more. Learn these easy keyboard shortcuts to do it all even more quickly.

1. Switch quick

The Quick Switcher is one of Slack’s most useful features (especially if you belong to many channels). It lets you hop to any channel or conversation by typing part of its name. After you enable the Quick Switcher in Slack’s preferences, it’ll appear at the top of the Workspace menu. The shortcut: Press Command-K to bring up the Quick Switcher. Start typing a channel or person’s name to select it. If multiple matches come up, use the arrow keys to pick one.

The Quick Switcher in action.

2. Edit a message

Unlike emails, Slack messages aren’t set in stone; you can always go back and fix a typo, correct a misstatement, or expand on an idea. (Some companies disable message editing for record retention.) The shortcut: To edit the most recent message you posted in a channel or conversation, just press the Up Arrow key. This works in both channels and direct-message conversations.

3. Move among your channels

Part of Slack’s appeal is that it allows you to join only those channels that are important to you. But laboriously clicking each one in the Workspace sidebar to browse all your messages is still a drag. Thankfully, there’s a faster way! The shortcut: Press Option-Up Arrow or Option-Down Arrow to move through channels, starred conversations, and direct messages. Even more convenient, add the Shift key to these shortcuts to go only to conversations with unread messages.

If you belong to more than one workspace, use Command-Shift-[ and Command-Shift-] to cycle through them. Or press Command-1 for the first workspace in your list, Command-2 for the second, and so on.

4. Jump to a previous chat

Sometimes you just want to go to a recent conversation. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a back button? There is! The shortcut: Press Command-[ to jump to the channel or conversation you just visited. Press this shortcut repeatedly to step back through your conversation history. (Command-] jumps forward, of course.)

Want to jump to channels and conversations with unread messages? Remember these three keys: Shift-Option-Arrow (up or down).

5. Mark as read

Each time you return to Slack, the app highlights the unread messages that have accumulated. After reading what you need to, you can mark everything else as read with a few keystrokes. The shortcut: Press Escape to mark everything in the current channel as read. Or go nuclear and mark every channel and direct-message conversation as read by pressing Shift-Escape.

6. Style your text

Many people don’t realize you can add rich-text styles to Slack messages using Markdown-like syntax For example, surround text with asterisks *like this* to italicize it. The shortcut: Select text and use the standard Mac shortcuts for bold (Command-B) and italics (Command-I) to add the respective Markdown syntax.

Also handy: Command-Shift-C formats text as code, Command-Shift-8 converts text into a bulleted list, and Command-Shift-7 formats it as a numbered list.

7. Use the shortcut for learning shortcuts

Can’t get enough Slack keyboard shortcuts? Press Command-/ to bring up the full list.

    Slack for Desktop

    Teamwork made easy