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How to Keep Your Slack Conversations Private

Slack is widely known for its ability to create channels for various work-related discussions, such as team brainstorming sessions and client meetings. However, there are instances when you might need to have private conversations that are not easily accessible to others. This could involve discussing sensitive business information or addressing any issues you may have with the Slack platform itself. In such cases, it’s best to convert the channel to private. If you have the necessary permissions in your Slack workspace, you can make this transition at any time. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it and what you should know about this process.

Converting a Channel to Private in Slack

Before you begin, it’s crucial to note that converting a channel to private is a permanent action. Once you make the switch, the channel will always remain private, and you won’t be able to revert it to a public state. Therefore, ensure that you no longer require the channel to be public before proceeding.

Step 1: Confirm that you possess the appropriate permissions. Not every Slack user can modify privacy settings. By default, only owners and admins have the ability to convert channels. Moreover, owners can further restrict access to private channels if desired. If necessary, reach out to the Workspace Owner or Org Owner for more information.

Step 2: Open Slack and navigate to the channel that you wish to convert. Look at the top of the channel, above the discussion thread, where you’ll find the channel’s current name. Click on the arrow next to the name to access the channel menu.

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Choose the Slack Channel Menu arrow.

Step 3: In the channel menu, select the “Settings” tab.

Choose Settings in the Channel Menu.

Step 4: Scroll down until you find the option to “Change to a private channel.” Choose this option and confirm your decision. The channel will immediately become private. All current members of the channel will receive a notification stating that the channel has been made private. From that point onwards, only members can view the channel, and existing members must invite new ones for them to join.

Step 5: If you prefer to maintain some level of flexibility and not make the channel completely private, there are still additional options available. Under “Posting permissions,” you can select the “Edit” option and determine who can post within the channel. Additionally, you can enable or disable channel-wide chat options as per your preference. This feature allows for a certain degree of customization, permitting you to keep the channel public while preventing specific practices.

Slack Posting Permissions.

Creating a New Private Slack Channel

If you’re creating a new channel, you can set its privacy settings right from the start. While choosing the channel name, simply toggle the “Make private” option. Then, you can subsequently invite members one by one to join the channel. This approach may be more suitable for certain types of discussions.

Create a channel menu in Slack.

Additional Tips for Ensuring Channel Privacy

  • Every Slack workspace has a primary General channel designated for public discussions. This channel cannot be converted to a private channel. Even with the appropriate permissions, you won’t find the private option in the channel settings for the General channel.

  • Converting channels to private can become slightly confusing when multiple organizations share the same channel. Only members from the organization where the owner/admin set the channel to private will perceive it as private (or not see it at all). Members from other organizations will continue to view it as public. It may be necessary to coordinate with other organizations to collectively make the channel private.

  • Making a channel private does not automatically render any files or documents posted within it private. Nevertheless, messages and files posted after the channel’s privacy conversion can only be searched by members within that specific channel, rather than the entire workspace.

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If you’re interested in learning more about customizing your Slack experience to suit your preferences, check out our comprehensive guide to Slack tips and tricks. Discover how to engage in discussions more efficiently, share diverse content, and unlock a myriad of other useful features.

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OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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