How to add apps to Slack

Learn how to extend the feature set of your Slack workspace with the addition of Slack apps.

How to add apps to Slack
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Did you know that Slack includes the ability to add apps to the platform that can extend the feature set? That's right. With a few quick clicks, you can install the likes of Google Calendar or Drive, Giphy, Trello, Simple Poll, Twitter, IFTTT, RSS, Outlook Calendar, Zoom, Bitbucket Cloud, and much more to your busy workspaces. Many of these apps really only serve as a means to integrate accounts or allow Slack to get reminders to you via your various accounts (such as Google Calendar). On the other hand, some offer just the right feature addition to make Slack even more productive.

Note: Not every workspace allows you to add apps. This will depend on how tightly your Slack admin has the workspace locked down. But for those workspaces that allow apps, this feature should not be overlooked. 

A second caveat is that you can only add apps from the desktop or web-based client. Even so, once installed, the apps don't ignore the mobile client—so you will get those Google Calendar or RSS notifications in the Android and iOS versions of Slack. 

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What you'll need

The only things you'll need to make Slack apps happen, are:

  • A Slack account
  • The Slack Desktop client
  • A workspace that allows the installation of apps

How to install apps from the sidebar

You'll know immediately if a workspace allows the installation of apps from the sidebar. If you see the Apps section (Figure A), then you can install away.

Figure A

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The Apps section in the Slack sidebar.

Click the + button to the right of the Apps listing in the sidebar. In the resulting window (Figure B) you can browse the available apps.

Figure B

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Browsing the available Slack apps.

To install an app, locate the app in question and click the Install button. This will open your default web browser to the app's page. Click the Add To Slack button (Figure C) and, depending on the app, it'll be immediately installed. 

Figure C

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Adding Simple Polls to Slack.

Some workspaces might allow the installation of apps, but will require the permission of the workspace manager to do this. If, when attempting to install an app, you see the Request Configuration button (Figure D), you'll know your workspace manager must approve the installation. Once your manager has approved, the app will install and be ready for you to use.

Figure D

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Requesting permission to install an app.

For workspaces that are open to the installation of apps, you'll find plenty to help make your Slack experience much more productive. For those workspaces that are limiting, you can either request the manager allow app installation or do without this feature. Hopefully your workspace manager is amenable to the installation of apps.

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Image: iStockphoto/oatawa