What is Slack?

Slack is an instant messaging service. You can talk to one person or have discussions in large groups. You can easily share links, images, and documents. It’s great for keeping in touch with co-workers in other locations and for sharing ideas in a more conversational way, outside of email.

Sign up for the OSUwebcomm Workspace

What is a workspace? Think of it as a digital space for conversations to live. It’s the big umbrella for everything else: channels, direct messages, and threads. (We’ll get to those in a second.) You can join multiple workspaces in Slack. OSUwebcomm is a community for anyone (staff, faculty, students) who manages a website. Anyone with an "@oregonstate.edu" email address can sign up for OSUwebcomm.

Sign Up for OSUwebcomm 

Slack will prompt you to create an account after clicking the link. You have to create an account for each Slack workspace. So, even if you have another Slack workspace that you've logged into, you will still need to create an account for OSUwebcomm. You can use the same email address for each Slack account. 

Install the Slack Application

You can use Slack in your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge), but using the Slack application has advantages over the web browser version:

  1. Desktop notifications for new messages (similar to Outlook).

  2. Starts when your computer does and runs in the background so that you don’t have to remember to log in.

Install Slack

For Windows: install the 32-bit application if you’re not sure you can use the 64 bit.

Sign Into Your Workspace(s)

Sign into your workspace in the application, using the email and password that you set when you signed up.

You can also sign into multiple workspaces and will have a separate account for each workspace. You can’t have just one Slack account that you use for all workspaces. However, you can use the same username and password for each one so there’s less to remember.

Here’s what multiple workspaces look like:

In this screenshot, I am currently in the top workspace, University Relations and Marketing, but have unread messages in the lowest workspace with the icon “Write the Docs.”

I am a part of 4 workspaces for my Slack. The current workspace you are in will have a white bar next to it. When there are unread messages, a white dot will appear next to the workspace icon.

To sign into another workspace, click on the + symbol at the end of the vertical row:

Start Chatting

There are a lot of things you can use Slack for besides messaging, like creating a to-do list, or integrating with other services like Box, Evernote, or Google Drive.


Think of these as themed conversations—whether it’s around a particular subject, project, or department.

You can join any channel by clicking on the title Channels.

Which will bring you to a list of all the channels that you can join:

Click on the one that you’d like to join, which will take you to the channel. But wait, there's more! You haven’t signed up for it yet.

Click the Join Channel button to add it to the list in the sidebar.


The General and Random channel are automatically added when you sign up, so join other channels that are relevant to your work and introduce yourself.


You can directly respond to a message in a channel to create a side conversation, called a thread. Threads are useful for topics that won’t be helpful or interesting to the rest of the channel at large. Hover on the message that you want to respond to and click on the text bubble icon.

Type out your reply and click Send. If one of your thread replies will be helpful to the rest of the channel, click the box next to Also Send to #general.

All Thread replies can be viewed under All Threads

Direct Messages

These can either be private 1 on 1 conversations or for small groups, up to 8 people.

To create your first direct message, click on the + symbol next to Direct Messages and select the person you’d like to message.

Add a Profile Picture and Description

Click on your name in the upper left-hand corner.

Click on Profile & Account.

Click on Edit Profile

From there, you can add...

  • a photo
  • contact information
  • a bit about yourself

Congrats! You're all ready to go with Slack

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