Slack Hacks for Academic Lab Groups – please add to the list!

Our lab group – 3 faculty and 8-15 students, postdocs, and visitors – is starting to use Slack for internal communication.  This list is a growing compendium of hacks to enhance its functionality, with examples tailored towards academic labs and the way we could use it. Much of it is links to lists, but then again we saved you the trouble of hunting for them yourself:


From “27 Productivity Tips and Hacks Every Slack User Should Know (Tom Ewer @ wpmudev)”

  1. Linking to Google Drive
  2. Trigger Words (not what you think): Slack can give an audio cue when certain words are used in a message (e.g., “Heliconia”, “herbivory”, “lab meting”, “today”, “beer”)
  3. Some channels or chats are more important than others (e.g., say the one for an grant proposal due next week). Star them to put in a special list in the sidebar. Note this takes them out of the ordinary channel menu.
  4. Set up automated reminders to post to the list (“lab meeting is tomorrow – don’t forget to read the paper!”).
  5. Integrate with google calendar.  Depending on your OS you may be able to sync Outlook and Google Calendars.
  6. Integrate with email (say if you get an email everryone should know about or if you want group subscription to a blog).
  7. Send a message to everyone with @everyone
  8. Key files can be ‘pinned’ to a channel so they always appear in the channel info (e.g., the grant proposal, the lab safety manual, the lab emergency contact list).

From “21 Productivity Hacks Every Slack User Should Know” by Nicole Nguyen @ Buzzfeed)

  1. Post Tweets to a slack channel (might be useful for classes that use hashtags or meetings?
  2. Use IFTTT to post reminders
  3. Share articles with this IFTTT recipe (Pocket an article and tag it “#slack”).
  4. Set up Slackbot to respond to frequently asked questions like, “What’s the WiFi password?”
  5. Create bulleted lists by typing option + 8 on Mac or alt + 0149 on Windows.

From F Rodriguez-Sanchez:

  1. The R package slackr by Bob Rudis & Jay Jacobs will send output from R directly to your team.

Other Lists

  1. Owen Williams @ TNW News: link
  2. How-To Geek: link

So what do you think?

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