How to set up Slack keyword alerts

Make your Slack life a bit more efficient with the help of keyword alerts.

How to set up Slack keyword alerts

Slack has become the de facto standard communication tool for teams. With that popularity comes a significant rise in usage. You might find yourself on an incredibly busy workspace, where your team is in constant communication. That means it might be challenging to find particular posts on a particular subject.

Fortunately, Slack allows you to configure keyword alerts, such that particular words will trigger notifications (with the associated channel name), where the configured keyword is mentioned. Any keyword will be highlighted in yellow, making it even easier for you to locate the topic in question.

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What you'll need

The only things you'll need to make this work are:

  • The mobile Slack app
  • A slack account
  • Access to a Slack workspace

How to set a keyword alert in Slack

In order to set a keyword, do the following:

  1. Open Slack.
  2. Go to the workspace for which you want to associate keywords.
  3. Within the workspace, tap the menu button in the top right corner (three vertical buttons).
  4. Tap Settings.
  5. Tap Notifications.
  6. Tap My Keywords (Figure A).
  7. In the resulting popup (Figure B), type as many comma-delimited keywords as needed.
  8. When finished, tap Save.

Figure A


The My Keywords entry in the Slack Notification settings.

Figure B


The keyword entry window.

Your keywords are now ready. You should start immediately seeing those words highlighted in yellow (Figure C).

Figure C


Keywords are automatically highlighted for you.

How to receive Slack notifications quicker

Also found in the notifications settings is the delay setting. By default, Slack notifications are set to delay for two minutes. If you want those notifications to appear as they happen, go back to Workspace | Settings | Notification Settings | Notify Me On Mobile, select As Quickly As Possible in the resulting popup (Figure D), and tap Save.

Figure D


Getting notification alerts as they happen

Finally, you'll want to be notified when keywords are tagged. For this, you must select Direct Messages, Mentions & Keywords (Figure D) from the On Mobile, Notify Me About… section of the Notifications options.

Figure D


Getting notified of keyword alerts.

The caveat

You knew it was coming, right? Of course you did. There is one caveat to this: If you find keyword alerts aren't working on Android, this is a known issue. If, after restarting your device, you still do not see keyword notifications, you'll need to ensure the Adaptive Battery feature isn't preventing Slack from notifying you. For example, in Android 9, do the following:

  1. From the app drawer, tap Settings.
  2. Select Battery.
  3. Choose Adaptive Battery.
  4. Tap Restricted Apps, and make sure Slack is not listed.

Note: The Slack keyword notifications feature does not currently work with Android 10. 

Crossing boundaries

One of the nice things about the keywords setting is that they cross the boundary between mobile and desktop. In other words, once you set keywords on the mobile app, they will also take effect on the desktop client as well.

Slack keywords will make your collaboration efforts so much more efficient. When you're trying to hunt for specific messages on certain topics, the last thing you want is to have to read through every line in a very busy workspace. Give keywords a try and see if they don't ease your busy time on Slack.

Also see


Image: Slack

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....