Slack: Getting Started

Objectives and Overview

This lesson introduces Slack, a powerful and flexible communication tool, and provides resources for getting started.

Lesson Objectives

  • Be able to sign up for a Slack account
  • Be able to download the Slack app
  • (Optional) Be able to download and install the Slack mobile app

What is Slack?

Slack is an online tool for communication that DHF has been using since 2016. Slack can be thought of as a chat room where you’re able to connect with teams. Teams are the primary way that Slack is structured, and you’re able to join multiple teams. You may have a work team made up of coworkers, and you can also have a team of friends that you use to stay in touch. One of Slack’s main purposes is to “replace email,” but the purposes are different. Slack is great for quick, somewhat informal communication whereas email is for more “official” communication. You’re able to message groups of folks as well as individuals through direct messages.

Slack saw a massive increase in users during the social distancing and distance learning/remote work boom in Spring 2020. Now is a great time to begin practicing Slack as it’s going to continue to be an essential tool for workplace communication. Let’s get started!

Using Slack

There are two ways to use Slack: through their website and as a standalone app. There are benefits to both methods, although we definitely recommend downloading the app.

Slack on the Web

Knowing how to navigate the Slack web experience is useful for a few reasons. First, you may need to hop on Slack to check something when you don’t have your phone or laptop with the app. Second, often when you join a new team you need to log in and add it through the website. The functionality is essentially the same so you don’t need to worry about learning two different things. Let’s dive in!

Navigate to to pull up the main page. You won’t be spending a lot of time on this page, but it’s good to know how to load it.

Logging in For the First Time

If you’re not logged in, you’ll see the Sign in and Get Started buttons:

Slack homepage with a box drawn around the "Sign in" and "Get Started" buttons.

Start by clicking the Get Started button:

Steps for getting started and signing up for a Slack account.

After clicking, you’ll have two options: create a new workspace or sign in. Go ahead and select the Sign in to Slack option:

Slack's "Get Started" page with a box drawn around the "Sign in to Slack" section.

You can either sign in with your email (as your username) or click the Continue with Google button. This example shows the Google login. To start, click the Continue with Google button:

The "Let's find your team" section on the Slack "Get Started" page.

A window pops up asking for your email address. If you’re a DHF youth employee, enter your DHF youth email. Otherwise, enter the email you’re using for your organization. Enter those details and click the Next button:

Slack "Sign in" screen with an email address entered into the "Email or phone" input.

Next, you’ll need to enter your password. Enter the password for your Gmail account and click the Next button:

Password entered into the "Enter your password" input and an arrow pointing to the "Next" button.

If you have the Slack app installed, a window pops up asking you to Open Slack. Click this button to open the Slack app:

The "Open Slack?" alert open with an arrow pointing to the "Open Slack" button.

Now you’ll see your available workspaces. Remember, workspaces are your organization’s Slack hub. If you’re a DHF youth employee, you’ll see the DHF slack:

Slack "Your workspaces" page with an arrow pointing to the "Launch" button.

You’re now logged in and can start using Slack!

After Logging In

Once you log in, you’ll see the Launch Slack button:

Slack homepage view when signed in to an account.

You’re able to directly open Slack from the website. To do this, click the Launch Slack button in the top right corner:

Slack homepage when signed in and an arrow pointing to the "Launch Slack" button.

After clicking that button, a menu pops up with some useful information. You can choose which workspace to open. You’re also able to create a new workspace or sign in to another workspace from this menu.

Slack homepage when signed in and a rectangle drawn around the workspaces menu.

Slack Desktop App

Slack’s web version has the same functionality as the desktop app, but we recommend downloading the app as soon as possible. In our experience, using the app helps new users get up and running faster. Slack has an app for Windows, Mac, and Linux. These examples show the Mac download, but the process is the same for any OS (operating system). Slack’s webpage detects what OS you’re using and suggests the correct download.

Click the Resources menu and then click Download. Here’s a gif showing the steps:

Steps showing how to download the Slack Mac app.

First, click the Resources menu:

Slack homepage with an arrow pointing to the "Resources" menu item.

Next, click Download. This opens up the download page:

Slack homepage with an arrow pointing to the "Download" item in the "Resources" menu.

Slack automatically detects what OS you’re using and opens the correct download page. Slack sent me to the Mac download page since i’m using a Mac. Don’t worry if you’re using a Windows or Linux computer, the download process is the same.

Once the page loads, click the Download button:

Slack download page with an arrow pointing to the "Download" button.

Once Slack finishes downloading, open the download to install it!

Slack Mobile App

Slack has a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. While you don’t need to install Slack on your device, it is helpful. If you have an iOS or Android phone, open the iOS App Store or on Google Play.

If you’re unable to access the App Store or Google Play directly, you can head to these links on your device:

iPhone App Download:

Android App Download:

Click on either of those links and then the download will start. Sign in to your account once the app is downloaded on your phone.

Moving Forward

Once you’ve signed in and downloaded Slack, you’re ready for the next lesson. You should have completed the following before moving on:

  • Sign in to your Slack account in the browser
  • Install the Slack desktop app on your computer
  • (Recommended) Install the Slack mobile app on your phone – if you have one