Slack is known for its ability to quickly create pipelines for all kinds of work decisions, from team brainstorming to scheduling client meetings. But sometimes Slack channels don’t need to be public, and users may want to have private conversations that aren’t as easy for others to see. That could be a place to discuss sensitive business information or even air any issues you’re having with Slack.
For times like these, it’s best to make a private channel. If you have the proper permissions in a Slack workspace, you can make a channel private at any time. Here’s how to do it and what you need to know about making the switch.
Make a channel private in Slack
Before you begin, keep in mind that making a channel private is a permanent step. It will always be private afterwards, with no way to change it back to public. Make sure the channel never needs to be public again before you start.
Step 1: Make sure you have the correct permissions. Not all Slack users can implement a privacy setting. By default, only owners and admins can convert channels like this. Owners also have the option to further limit private channels if they wish. If necessary, contact the Workspace Owner or Org Owner for more information.
Step 2: Open Slack and navigate to the channel you want to convert. Look at the top of the channel, above the discussion thread, and you’ll see the current name of the channel. Select the Arrow next to this name to open the channel menu.
Step 3: In the Channel menu, select the Settings tab.
Step 4: Scroll until you reach the option Switch to a private channel. Select it. Confirm that you want to convert the channel and it will immediately be made private. Everyone currently on the channel will receive a message that the channel has been made private. Now only members can see the channel, and an existing member has to invite new members to join.
Step 5: If you don’t want the channel to be permanently private, you still have options to control some types of access. Under Publishing permissionsYou can choose Edit and choose who can post to the channel, and you can also decide whether channel-wide chat options are enabled or not. That gives you a little extra customization if you want to keep the channel public but want to stop certain practices.
How to make a new Slack channel private
If you’re creating a new channel, you can set it to private right away. When choosing the channel name, change the option to make it private. You can then invite members one at a time to the channel. This may work better for some types of discussions.
Additional tips for making a Slack channel private
Each Slack workspace has a main general channel used for public discussions. This channel cannot be made into a private channel. Even with the correct permissions, you won’t see the private option in the channel settings.
Converting channels to private can be a bit confusing if people from multiple organizations are in the same channel. Only members of the organization where the channel is set to private by the owner/admin will (or won’t) see it as private. Members of other organizations will still see you as public. That may mean coordinating a plan for all organizations to make one channel private at the same time.
Making a channel private does not automatically make any files or documents posted to it private. However, messages and files posted after a channel is made private can only be searched by other members of that specific channel, not the entire workspace.
Want to learn more about customizing Slack the way you want? Check out our Slack tips and tricks guide to help you create discussions faster, share a wide variety of content, and more.