Overview of New Slack User Interface

On November 14, 2023, Slack will release their new user interface to the University of Michigan Slack environment. The new interface includes several notable updates, which are detailed in the documentation below.

Note: You may need to refresh Slack twice on November 14 for your desktop and mobile apps to update. To refresh your apps:
- Mac: Cmd + Shift + R
- Windows: Ctrl + Shift + R
- Mobile: Close and reopen the app

Related: You can learn more about everything that’s changing in U-M Slack and check out both the U-M Slack FAQ page and Slack's Help Center FAQ to get answers to common questions. It may also be a good time to review Slack’s updated Quick Start Guide, which details each section of the Slack interface, new and old.

New Unified “Home” View

All channels, direct messages, and apps from every U-M workspace you're a member of are now viewable from one location called “Home.” However, you can filter Home to view specific U-M workspaces and their content as needed.

To switch to external (non-UM) Slack workspaces of which you’re a member, click the U-M logo in the top left corner to find and navigate to the one you’d like to open. You can also open and use the new workspace switcher to keep them persistent on the left side of your app (as they were before the change).

Screenshot of new Slack UI in the University of Michigan instance of Slack.

It’s recommended to create and use custom sections to organize your channels into groups by topic, team, project, etc., and tailor their ordering to what works best for you.

Tip: If you stay in the “All workspaces” channel view, turning the Unreads section on can be incredibly useful to stay on top of new messages across your workspaces. You can adjust the top of your sidebar to browse Unreads, Threads, and Drafts & sent in your Preferences.

Filter channels by specific workspace

By default, your sidebar will now show “All workspaces” when listing your channels. However, you can filter the sidebar to view specific U-M workspaces and their channels, DMs, and apps individually. To filter channels by specific workspace, click the “All workspaces” drop-down at the top of your sidebar under “University of Michigan” and select the workspace name you want to view.

Note: You cannot select multiple workspaces to view at once. It’s either all workspaces or one at a time.

Zoom in on new Slack workspace filter, red box around the "All workspaces" drop-down with a list of all workspaces a member is a part of

Edit and reorder workspaces in your workspace filter

You can edit and reorder the workspaces in your workspace filter drop-down. This can help you list certain workspaces above others and remove workspaces you’re a member of and no longer want to view/be notified of in your Slack app.

Important: This is not the same as signing in/out of and reordering your external workspaces listed in the workspace switcher.

To reorder the workspace filter:

  1. Click the “All workspaces” drop-down under “University of Michigan.”
  2. Select Edit and reorder workspaces from the menu.
  3. Click, drag, and drop a workspace name to reorder it in the list.
  4. Click Save & Reload when done.

To remove workspaces from the filter:

  1. Click the “All workspaces” drop-down under “University of Michigan.”
  2. Select Edit and reorder workspaces from the menu.
  3. Hover over a workspace name and click Remove to remove it from the list.
  4. Click Save & Reload when done.

Find and view external (non-UM) workspaces

Note: The new interface is rolling out gradually to every Slack workspace. Some of your external workspaces may not have the new experience yet, making switching between them clunky. Slack anticipates most workspaces to be transitioned by the end of 2023.

There are a few ways to find and navigate to your external (non-UM) workspaces:

  • Click the U-M logo in the top left corner and click the one you’d like to open from the list.
  • Click the U-M logo in the top left corner and select Show workspace switcher.
    • You can keep the workspace switcher open to always have your external workspaces listed on the left side of your app (as they were before the change).
    • If you don’t want it open all the time, click the Hide workspace switcher icon to close it.
  • Use keyboard shortcuts.
    • Press Ctrl/Cmd + [number] to jump between your external workspaces in the list. (The number to press corresponds with the order of workspaces in the external workspace list. For example, if the workspace is third in the list, you’d press Ctrl/Cmd + 3.)
    • Press Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + S to open and close the workspace switcher.

Learn more about the new Slack workspace switcher.

Zoom in on new Slack workspace switcher found under the U-M logo in the top left corner of your Slack app, red box around "Show workspace switcher" option

Determine a channel’s workspace

In the “All workspaces” channel view of your sidebar, you’ll notice a (potentially) long list of channels from every workspace of which you’re a member. There are two ways to determine which workspace(s) a specific channel belongs to:

  • For channels with duplicate names (e.g., #general), the workspace name will appear beside the channel name in your channel sidebar.

List of channels in Slack, three "general" duplicate name channels, red box around the workspace names that correspond to each channel found next to each channel name in the list

  • For channels with no duplicate names (e.g., #proj-uniq-2023), you need to navigate to the channel’s details to find the workspace(s) it belongs to.
    1. Click the name at the top of the channel feed.
    2. Find the channel’s workspace(s) under About > Workspaces with access to this channel.

Channel details dialog box is open, red box and the number 1 around the channel name drop-down at the top and a second red box with a number 2 around the workspace name the channel is a part of

Updated Left Sidebar

Instead of showing the workspace switcher by default, which has moved locations, you will now find new views for Direct Messages, Activity, Later, and More, a Create (+) button, and your profile to the far left of your sidebar.

Most noticeable is your profile and status have moved to the bottom left corner from where they used to sit in the top right corner of your app.

You can peek into a view by hovering over it or open it to reveal a full view of your conversations and action items. Visit Slack’s updated Quick Start Guide to find more details about each new view.

DMs view

Direct messages have their own dedicated view, so you can view them all at once in a more organized way.

Activity view

The Activity view centralizes your mentions, threads, reactions, invitations, and app notifications so you can quickly identify the conversations and notifications that require your immediate attention.

Tip: Toggle “Unreads” at the top of your Activity view to only show unread messages and notifications.

Later view

You can find messages and files you’ve stored for later and reminders you’ve set in the Later view. Learn more about using Later and saving content in Slack.

More section

The More section is the new location for all of Slack's collaboration tools. Under More, you can find dedicated views for:

  • Canvases
  • Workflows and connected apps (under “Automations”)
  • Channels, people, files, and clips (under “Your organization”)
  • External connections in Slack Connect (under “External connections”)

Note: You may notice a blue message at the top of this section stating, “Slack Connect is disabled.” However, this is not 100% true and is missing additional context.

Create (+) button

The Create (+) button is the new universal starting point for creating DMs, channels, huddles, and canvases, as well as inviting new members to your workspaces.

Updated Theme Customization

Slack has removed a significant portion of their granular customization options that were previously available for themes. If you had customized your theme prior to the rollout, you may have noticed that the theme is now gone. Moving forward, you can only choose from a selection of color swatches or custom, pre-made themes.

Additionally, you can no longer customize a different theme for each U-M Slack workspace of which you’re a member. You can choose only one theme to use across all of your U-M workspaces. However, you can still customize different themes for external (non-UM) workspaces.

To choose a new theme, click your profile picture in the bottom left corner, select Preferences, and click Themes. Learn more about customizing your Slack theme.

New Slack theme customization options in Preferences

Last Updated: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2023