Slack rolls out major update as coronavirus forces more to work from home

You'll finally be able to organize your channels and chats into customizable sections.

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Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome
2 min read

A major Slack update is being rolled out just in time for us all to work from home.

Slack/Screenshot by CNET

Slack, the workplace chat and productivity platform used daily by 12 million people, is getting a major upgrade in the coming weeks that will make it more simple and organized, the company said in a Tuesday blog post. The news comes as more people are practicing social distancing and working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic

Here are the biggest changes Slack users will see with the update. All of these will begin rolling out to the desktop version Wednesday, and will continue over the next several weeks, the post said. The company will also redesign its mobile app in the coming weeks as well.

Read more: 7 free video chat apps to use while you're social distancing 

Organize your channels into customizable sections

If you use a paid version of Slack, you'll soon be able to organize your channels, direct messages and apps into customizable sections within your sidebar, to help you prioritize. You can name your section (including with emoji), drag and drop channels and conversations in, and order them as you like. Each section can collapse like a folder. 

Navigation bar

Users will see a new navigation bar, allowing you to more easily find channels, search across your organization, and toggle between recent conversations. Information like mentions, reactions to messages, files, people and apps will also be found on top of your sidebar for easier referencing. 

Compose button

With a new compose button, you can begin drafting a message before deciding which person or channel to send it to. You can save messages as a draft and come back to them later. 

Better tool integration

Slack integrates with lots of different work tools (like Cisco WebEx and Simple Poll). With the update, you'll be able to click on a lightning bolt icon next to the message input field and see all of the different options you have, like starting a meeting with Cisco WebEx, creating a Simple Poll or creating a customer support ticket with Freshdesk. More app shortcuts will be coming, the post said. 

For more, check out all of the Slack tricks you didn't know about, and how to set Slack to dark mode on desktop

Watch this: Janelle Monáe talks tech and her love for Slack