How to create a custom sidebar section in Slack

Learn how to make Slack collaboration even more efficient by creating custom sidebar sections.

How to create a custom sidebar section in Slack

If you fancy yourself a Slack power user, you probably do everything you can to make interacting with the software a thing of optimized and efficient beauty. Given that so many people are now working from home, fast and efficient communication and collaboration is key to getting things done.

To that end, you probably rely on customizations to help make a piece of software work exactly how you need it. That's one aspect of Slack that helps place it above the competition—it offers a seemingly endless array of customizations. One such customization is the ability to create new sidebar sections. With this, you can create a special section in the Slack sidebar for things like:

  • Announcements

  • Team channels

  • Prioritized conversations

  • Specific collaborators

  • Projects

For example, say you have been assigned a specific project at work. With regards to Slack, there's a channel in your workspace related to that project as well as direct message (DM) threads with collaborators. Instead of having to jump around from channel to DM, why not house all of it in one convenient location? That would make for much more efficient collaboration.

With the Slack desktop app, that you can use at either your desktop or while on the go with your laptop, this is not only possible, it's quite easy. 

Let me show you how. 

The good news is, once you get this set up, it'll appear in the mobile version of the app, so you can use this customization while mobilized.

SEE: The tech pro's guide to video conferencing (TechRepublic download)

What you'll need

The one caveat to this feature is that it does not work on the free version of Slack--you must have a paid account in order to create custom sidebar sections. Other than that, the only things you'll need are:

  • The Slack desktop app installed

  • An assigned workspace

How to create a custom sidebar section

Open your Slack application and navigate to the workspace in question. Once there, click File | Preferences. In the resulting window, click Sidebar in the left navigation. Within the Sidebar section, click Create Section (Figure A). 

Figure A


The Slack preferences window is where you create the custom sidebar section.

In the resulting window, give your new section a name (say, for instance, after the project you are involved in) and click Create (Figure B).

Figure B


Naming your new custom sidebar section in Slack.

Now that you have your new section created, it'll show up in the sidebar (Figure C).

Figure C


My new Tutorials sidebar section in Slack.

How to add threads and channels to your section

Now that you've created your new section, it's time to add various bits and pieces to it. Let's say, for example, you have a specific channel you want to add to your new section. To do that, locate and right-click the channel in question.

From the popup menu, select Move Channel | Name (Figure D).

Figure D


Moving a channel to the new sidebar section.

Where NAME is the name of the new channel you've created.

The channel will now appear in your new section.

To add a DM thread, locate the thread in question, right-click it, select Move Conversation | Name.

Where NAME is the name of the new sidebar section.

Continue doing that until you have everything related to that project housed in the new section. You should now have quick access to everything you need to more efficiently collaborate on the project at hand.

And that's all there is to creating custom sidebar sections in the Slack desktop application. Help make your Slack project work considerably more efficient with this handy feature.

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Image: iStockphoto/oatawa