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Take Control of Slack Basics: Chapter 3, Master the Interface

This article is a pre-release chapter in the upcoming “Take Control of Slack Basics,” by Glenn Fleishman, scheduled for public release later in 2016. Apart from Chapter 1, Introducing Slack, Chapter 2, Get Started with Slack, and Chapter 12, Start a Slack Team, these chapters are available only to TidBITS members; see “Take Control of Slack Basics” Serialized in TidBITS for details.


Chapter 3: Master the Interface

In this chapter, I cover the many Slack interface controls that you’ll see often. Once you are familiar with what they do, where you find them, and how to use them, you’ll be ready to dive into the next chapters.

Most desktop apps take advantage of interface conventions and system menus provided by the operating system, but for the most part, Slack’s desktop apps don’t: they’re very much like the Web app. Thus, a Control-click or right-click in Slack’s Mac and Windows apps has no real effect—though it may bring up a Back or Copy command, as if you were in a Web browser—and the system menus, such as File and Edit, contain almost nothing. Most of the controls are directly within the Slack window.

The upside of this is more consistency across every platform. The downside comes when you click and stare at interface elements, wondering how you get to options and settings. That’s especially true as you work back and forth between the desktop and mobile apps, since the mobile apps—particularly when viewed on a phone-sized screen—lack the space for the same interface elements. Most of the functionality appears in the mobile apps, but it tends to require an additional tap or swipe to access.

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