Slack is a powerful desktop and web collaboration platform for PC and Mac.
The Slack desktop app is free to use and basically has the same features as the Slack browser version. But what are the differences between the desktop version that make it stand out?
There are some differences, of course, but are the benefits of using the Slack desktop app enough to navigate? We will explain everything you need to know, because everything is not immediately clear.
Desktop Notifications is the reason why you should use Slack Desktop
We say â€œbetter desktop notificationsâ€ because you can set up notifications through the browser, but it’s not that good. The main reason is simple – if you close the Slack workspace tab, you will no longer receive notifications. You must have an active tab open.
In the Slack desktop app, you can close the window and by default it will be minimized to your tray, at which point any notifications you might receive will still be displayed. This lets you get Slack out of the way without missing out on anything important.
As far as the actual functions of notifications are concerned, they are very similar on both the computer and the browser. On both platforms, you can change notification sounds and set notification preferences for the threads you follow. You can set up notifications for all messages, or only for messages containing @mention or a keyword that you have included in the keyword list on the notification settings page.
Two additional desktop functions allow you to set how notifications are delivered. You can choose to deliver notifications through Slack’s built-in notification system, through the Windows Action Center, or abbreviated notification also through the Windows Action Center. For browser notifications, you are forced to use Windows Support Center.
You can also set your browser icon to flash when you receive a notification, so you don’t forget about it. With these minor changes to the Slack desktop app, it’s much easier to capture every important message or conversation.
More keyboard shortcuts
Using the Slack desktop app also gives you a wider selection of keyboard shortcuts. Many keyboard shortcuts have been moved from the browser, but additional ones have been added. This is because there are many shortcuts reserved for the browser that are freed up with a standalone desktop application.
Below we’ve provided an overview of what keyboard shortcuts are only available in the Slack desktop app.
Ctrl + F – Use Slack Search
Ctrl + Shift + M – open the action panel
Ctrl + Shift + I – open the channel details panel
Ctrl + J – jump to unread messages
It might not sound like a lot, but these few extra shortcuts help improve usability. For example, we all know that Slack has one of the most powerful search engines in collaboration software, so being able to quickly navigate there with Ctrl + F so we don’t have to take our hands off the keyboard is definitely a time saver. life with Slack.
Launch Slack More Easily
You can configure it so that Slack starts up as soon as you turn on your system. On top of that, when Slack is open, it will minimize every time you press the window’s close button, which means it is always in the background and ready to be accessed at any time.
The Slack desktop app is a great alternative for those who need Slack at their fingertips. Of course, you can also quickly access Slack in your browser, but the PC app just makes it a little more usable.
Easy to switch between Slack Teams
The browser functionality for switching between Slack commands works like this: you enter multiple commands and use Ctrl + 1-9 to switch between workspaces. The problem is that the browser often overrides this command to switch you between different tabs.
The solution might be to open multiple tabs in the browser and one tab for each workspace, but it gets messy and overwhelming if you need to quickly browse multiple workspaces.
On the desktop, Ctrl + 1-9 commands will work without any problems, but you can also see your workspaces in the upper left corner – there is a small panel where all the workspace icons are visible. At any time you can click the + button to add more here.
Summary: Slack Desktop is not required but it is useful
The great thing about Slack is that all the features are already available in the browser, but the added convenience of using a desktop application cannot be ignored. It’s as easy as freeing up more keyboard shortcuts, more freedom to manage and track your notifications, and more convenience to switch between different workspaces.
You may also like that using the Slack desktop app allows you to resize the window, which is useful when working with a small display. It is possible in the browser as well, but then you have to deal with reducing the size of all other tabs in the browser. You can open another browser window, but then it will break your workflow as you are constantly switching between two browser windows.
Thus, the benefits are small, but convenient enough to be seriously considered. What do you think of Slack? Should you use a desktop app, or do you prefer other collaboration software? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.