Slack Guides

Slack Message Formatting: Guide to Becoming a Pro

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Slack Guides
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Teams across the globe use Slack to streamline communication and collaboration. But sometimes, sending plain text messages just doesn't cut it. You need to emphasize certain words or phrases, make a list, or add some flair to your messages. That's when Slack message formatting becomes a need. 

You can format Slack messages through several means, including the built-in formatting toolbar, markdown, or automation tools (such as Zapier) capabilities. The guide below will show you several Slack message formatting examples. 

How to Format Slack Messages Through the Toolbar 

Slack's message composer has a formatting toolbar that lets you format your message's text. It appears when you click on the ''Aa'' button. You'll see the option to do the following: 

  • Bold text 
  • Italicize text
  • Add bullets or numbering 
  • Add a link 
  • Strikethrough text 
  • Use inline code 

You can create both ordered and unordered lists in the Slack composer. There's also an option for blockquotes. 

A screenshot of Slack’s message composer showing the formatting options 

As evident, it's quite a simple process to format text using the toolbar. However, there are a few limitations; for instance, you cannot change the font or font size. 

If you need more message formatting options, you can use Slack markdown. 

Slack Message Formatting: Markdown and Its Uses 

First, let's learn what Markdown is. It's a lightweight markup language that helps format text in various applications. Slack supports a subset of Markdown, which means it won't work with all syntaxes. But that's alright since you don't need all of them anyway.

Markdown is a popular formatting language for text-based documents and messages.

Using Markdown to Format Slack Messages 

If you prefer markdown over the default toolbar, you can remove the latter altogether. To do that: 

  • Go to Preferences. 
  • Select Advanced
  • Click on Input Options. 
  • Select ''Format messages with markup.'' 
Turn on ‘’format messages with markup’’ in Slack 

There you have it; the formatting toolbar will now be hidden when you're composing a message. Now, you can just use Markdown to format your message. 

However, when you select ''format messages with markup,'' the text you write in the text box will not immediately turn into formatted text.

We'll explain this with an example. Suppose you want to bold a certain word. You'll write it like *word* in the text box. But you'll still see *word* instead of word. Turning on the "format messages with markup" option will only make the formatting active when you hit enter or send. That means no real-time conversion. 

If you want real-time markdown conversion, don't turn on the "format messages with markup" option. Just type in your formatting syntax and see the real-time conversion. 

Markdown Formatting Options in Slack 

Remember how we mentioned that not all formatting syntaxes work in Slack? Here's a list of the ones that do. Just a heads-up that these options are only available when you have enabled the formatting toolbar. 

Lists 

You have two options when it comes to creating lists: use numbers or bullets. It works just like MS Word or Google Docs. 

For example, if you want to create a numbered list, write ''1'' at the beginning of your sentence, add a period, and press space. A numbered list will start. When you press Enter to go to the next line, ''2'' and a period will get added automatically, and so on. 

List in Slack messages with markdown

For a bulleted list, add an asterisk behind the text where you want the list to start. When you press space, a bullet will appear automatically. For example, if you want to list fruits, you'll write *apple and press space. As you go to the next line, the bullet will appear with pear, banana, etc.

Strikethrough

You might want to strike through a word or phrase for emphasis. You can do that by adding two tildes (~) at the beginning and end of your text, like ~this~. A strikethrough is also useful if you want to show changes or corrections in a document.

Strikethrough in Slack messages with markdown 

Bold and Italicise 

You can add emphasis to your text by bolding and italicizing it. Just add two asterisks (*) or underscores (_) in front of and behind the text you want to highlight. 

For example, if you want to make a word bold, write *bold*, and it will appear bold. If you want to italicize a word, write _italic_, and it will be italic.

Block Quote and Code Block

A code block means displaying a code or programming language in your document without it being interpreted. You can do that by using three backticks (```) in front of the code. 

Here's an example: 

Code block in Slack messages with markdown 

A block quote is used when you want to include text from another source, like an article or interview. To create a block quote, add a greater than sign (>) at the beginning of each line you want to include. 

Block quote in Slack messages with markdown 

For instance, if you want to add a quote from a recent webinar, you would add > at the beginning of the text, like > Our company has seen a 20% increase in sales this quarter.

Markdown Formatting Options in Slack With Formatting Preferences On

If you have formatting preferences enabled in Slack, you won't see the text formatting toolbar anymore. The following additional markdown syntaxes are supported in Slack with formatting preferences on. 

Links

You can also add links to your content now. Here's how to add a hyperlink: 

Put brackets around the linked text and follow it immediately with parentheses containing your link. Let's say you want to add a link to the word ''customer support software.'' It will look like this: 

[customer support software](https://www.justreply.ai/)

Hyperlinks in Slack messages with markdown

Adding Emojis in Slack

Besides formatting, you can add emojis to your messages.  Slack has a collection of emojis that you can add by typing a colon (:), followed by the emoji's name.

Emojis in Slack

Examples:

  • :thinking_face: for when you're deep in thought
  • :fire: to show excitement or enthusiasm
  • :raised_hands: to celebrate success or achievement.

Additionally, Slack supports custom emojis that you can create for your team.

Slack Message Formatting: Table Creation

Although there's no support for the table markdown in Slack, you can create a table-like structure with a code block. 

For example, if you have a table, you can add three backticks (`) above and below your table's content. It will turn into a code block. While that's not a proper table, it creates spacing so your content will look like a table on Slack. 

If you've already made a table elsewhere, you can take a screenshot of it and add it as an attachment or image in your Slack message. 

Slack Message Formatting Cheat Sheet

Here's a quick cheat sheet of all the Markdown formatting you can use in Slack. 

  • Bold: Surround text with an asterisk (*) on each side.
  • Italic: Surround text with an underscore ( _ ) on each side. 
  • Strikethrough: Use a tilde (~) on each side of the text you want to strike through.
  • Code: Surround text with backticks (`) on each side.
  • Links: Put brackets around the linked text and follow it immediately with your link in parentheses.
  • Block Quote: Add an angled bracket (>) at the beginning of your line.
  • Code Block: Add three backticks (`) before your text. 
  • Ordered List: Write ''1,'' add a period, and press space.
  • Bulleted List: Write an asterisk and press space before writing your text.  
  • Level One Heading: Add one hashtag (#) before your text.
  • Level Two Heading: Add two hashtags (##) before your text.

Tips for Zapier Slack Message Formatting 

Zapier Slack message formatting works just as we've explained above. When you use Zapier, you'll notice that the tool's editor does not have any formatting tools. But that's nothing to worry about.

You can use markdown syntaxes to format your text and make it more readable. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when formatting messages on Zapier:

  • Use bold or italic fonts to highlight important information.
  • Add bulleted or numbered lists for step-by-step instructions.
  • Use block quotes to highlight quotes or important information from outside sources.
  • Add code blocks for detailed instructions or explanations that require specific formatting.
  • Don't forget to add links where necessary. They help readers access relevant information. 

Format Your Customer Support Messages Through Slack 

Sometimes, a plain-text message doesn't get your point across effectively. In such cases, formatting can make a huge difference, especially when communicating with customers. 

A customer support tool like JustReply that lets you manage your customer support through Slack is just what you need to leverage Slack's formatting options to give a ''human'' touch to your messages. 

You can format your support messages on Slack using the same markdown syntaxes we've discussed above while using JustReply's text editor and simplified inbox to manage all your customer service communications in one place. Check out JustReply in action. 

Experience magic with JustReply.

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