How to upload and download files in Slack

Sometimes you need to upload or download a file to a Slack community or contact. Find out how.

How to upload and download files in Slack

Slack is one of the most widely used collaboration tools in business today. What was once considered nothing more than a means of messaging, has become a platform for so much more. With Slack, you can chat with teams, use plug-ins for just about any type of feature, integrate services, manage content, and more.

Of course, you can also upload and download files to either individual members or entire teams. If you happen to have a service like Google Drive associated with your Slack account, you can even upload files to your Drive directory.

Let's take a look at the process of uploading and downloading files from both the mobile and desktop version of Slack.

SEE: 10 Slack tips: A how-to guide (TechRepublic download)

What you'll need

  • A Slack account that is associated with a workspace or two

  • Either the mobile or desktop app (platform does not matter)

How to upload files in Slack

We'll first deal with uploading files. Let's start with the mobile app. In order to upload a file from the mobile app, open Slack and then navigate to the workspace you want to upload the file to. From that window, tap the attach button at the bottom right corner (Figure A).

Figure A

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Uploading a file to a workspace in Slack.

Once you tap that button, you'll see the files that are already available to Slack (Figure B). If the file you're looking for isn't listed, tap the blue button in the bottom-right corner.

Figure B

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Files immediately available for uploading in Slack.

In the resulting window, you can then select from any file on your device's internal storage--so long as said file is available to you (Figure C).

Figure C

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All of the files that are available for uploading on my Google Pixel 4.

Locate the file to be uploaded, tap it, add a message (if necessary), and tap the Send button (Figure D).

Figure D

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Uploading an image file from my Google Pixel 4 to a Slack community.

Uploading a file to a specific user is done in the same manner, only from within the message thread, not a workspace.

Let's now do the same thing from the desktop version of Slack.

Locate the workspace to which you want to upload the file and click on the paperclip icon in the bottom left (Figure E).

Figure E

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Getting ready to upload a file to a workspace in the desktop version of Slack.

From the resulting popup, select the location housing the file (Figure F).

Figure F

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The file location popup can include the likes of Google Drive and Dropbox.

If you haven't added any apps to extend the feature set of Slack, such as those that connect your Slack account to your Dropbox or Google accounts, you'll only see Your Computer listed.

Select the location housing the file, locate and double-click the file to be shared. In the resulting window, you can add a message to the file and, from the bottom drop-down, select the target for the file (Figure G).

Figure G

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The upload file window on the Slack desktop app.

From that Share With drop-down, you can select from workspaces, teammates, or integrated apps (Figure H).

Figure H

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Select who you want to share the file with in Slack.

Once you've selected the target, click Upload and your file will be uploaded.

How to download files in Slack

Downloading files in slack is actually quite simple. Let's take a look at the steps in the mobile app first.

Locate and tap the file you want to download. In the resulting window, tap the menu button in the upper right corner (Figure I).

Figure I

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The image viewer window in the mobile version of Slack.

From the menu, tap Download (Figure J).

Figure J

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Downloading the file from Slack on the Android version of the app.

Where the file downloads to will depend on the platform you use. For instance, on Android the downloaded files will be saved to the Downloads directory within your local storage.

From the desktop app, the process is even easier. Locate the file to be downloaded, hover your mouse over it, and click the resultant download button (Figure K). 

Figure K

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Downloading a file from the Slack desktop client.

At this point, the download will show up in the Downloads pane on the ride side of the Slack client (Figure L).

Figure L

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The Slack Downloads pane is the key to your newly-downloaded file.

The file can also be found in the default Downloads folder on your computer's local storage. You can configure that in Slack by clicking File | Preferences. From within that window, click Advanced and then customize your Downloads Location (Figure M).

Figure M

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Customizing the default download folder in the Slack desktop client.

And that's all there is to uploading and downloading files in both the Slack mobile and desktop applications. Just remember, if you're uploading files to a workspace, follow the guidelines for attachments per your Slack admin and/or your company policy.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/oatawa