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⌘ + K, the Slack keyboard shortcut that saved my life

⌘ + K, the Slack keyboard shortcut that saved my life

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I hate Slack. Not what it represents: unified, media-rich team communication across time and space. But how it's implemented: a slow, memory-hungry web app that hates my computer. Also, my boss banned novelty status emoji, so I'm still a little salty about that.

But I will admit that Slack has some really nice (non-customizable) keyboard shortcuts that make the whole experience slightly more bearable. A comprehensive list can be found on Slack's help site, but here are the three I use the most:

⌘ + K / Ctrl + K

This is sort of like Spotlight for Slack, and I use it all day, every day. Hit the command, start typing into the search box that appears, and hit enter to jump to that conversation. You can jump to a DM with anybody on your team, or teleport to any channel, and you don't even usually have to type the full name — Slack's smart enough to bubble up people you're more likely to interact with, instead of the seventh Josh at your company who works in an entirely different department.

You can also do ⌘ + Shift + K to pull up the direct messages menu, which allows you to create new multi-person direct message conversations.

↑ (the up arrow)

I don't like to typo in work chat, because it makes me look like a big ol' dummo. If I notice a typo in one of my messages, I can click the little "..." Show Message Actions button to edit it, of course, but did you know that you can press the up arrow in an empty message box to edit your most recent message?

I find this really intuitive, because you use the up arrow to cycle through your most recent commands in a typical command line terminal. I don't know if other people find it intuitive, but I do know that it's basically indispensable for anyone who hates typos.


This one's probably the easiest to discover, because when you hover over the "Mark as read" button in the blue unread message banner, it lets you know about the escape shortcut. One nice way to catch up on a Slack backlog is to using Alt + Shift + ↑ / ↓ to iterate through unread channels and DMs, and then hitting escape once you're sure you have the gist of the room.

There’s also a setting to automatically mark any room as read as soon as you visit it, if you prefer that method:

Also, let's not forget the nuclear option: Shift + Escape, which marks all messages read, in all channels, and is a great gift that I treasure in times of madness.

There are a bunch of Slack things that are so second nature now, or common enough UI paradigms, that I don't think of them as shortcuts anymore. Like tab to complete usernames, ":" to create an emoji, and the always-handy ⌘ + Q to save five hours on my laptop's battery life. There are also some things I'm trying to add to my workflow, like the Open All Unreads view (⌘ + Shift + A / Ctrl + Shift + A). I'm also a neophyte when it comes to the dozen or so bots that are available in my team's Slack, but I'm sure I'll familiarize myself eventually.

Let me know if you have any other favorite Slack moves that you've found helpful.