Searching tips for Slack

Searching tips for Slack
Userlevel 2
Badge +1

Topics covered in this article:

  • Basic channel searching

  • Basic user searching

  • Find conversations between multiple users

  • Find conversations within specific date ranges

  • Find edits or deletions

  • Search for users that joined or left channels

This guide will provide you with helpful tips for searching your Slack data source.


Basic channel searching

To search for a specific channel, surround your channel search with double quotes ("). For example, searching for "Channel #news" will return conversations from the #news Slack channel. Likewise, a private channel querying "Private channel #name" returns conversations from the specified private channel.


Basic user searching

To find conversations related to specific users, try the @ symbol to query a user name. For example, if you need all resources associated with John Smith, you can use @"John Smith"

Another option is to use the discussion filter and select a participant. To do so, click on the filter toggle on the top right corner of the page:

This opens the filter panel on the left side of the page. Next, click the gear at the bottom of the filter panel to customize your filters:

This displays the options to include in your filter panel. For Slack Enterprise searching, select *Participants, Channels, Slack Workspaces (if you have multiple workspaces). Next, click save, and then you can filter based on these fields.

*Note: Users selected in the Participants filter will be considered active users in your conversation results. Note, active user participants are defined as users who have sent a message, posted a reaction, or joined the channel.


Find conversations between multiple users

If you need to find conversations between multiple users, utilize the @user search with the keyword "Direct message". Here is an example that finds messages between John, Jane, and Onna:

Additionally, conversation names will always be formatted the same when collected. So in this example, the wording "Direct message" will always be the start of the conversation name, followed by the names of the users in alphabetical order. So another method to find conversations between these three users is:

Note: Multi-party message searching in Onna is overly inclusive. This means there may be multi-party messages that include other users that were not part of your search parameters.


Find conversations within specific date ranges

When attempting to find conversations within specific date ranges, you can use the filter functionality to specify a range for creation dates. If you open the filter option you will find you can pick Creation Dates:

This will include conversations that happened between Dec 2nd, 2019, and Dec 10th, 2019. If you want to filter this down further and specify a user, you can make the following addition:

Now we have conversations between those dates where Slack user John Smith was involved.


Find edits or deletions

Slack channels in Onna have the labels "Has Edits" or "Has Deletions" if a user edited or deleted text/attachments in a conversation. These labels provide an easy way to find the conversations that have edited or deleted information:

In the basic search bar, you can use the syntax has:edits or has:deletions to show resulting conversations that contain edits or deletions. Using the query has:edits OR has:deletions will provide all conversations that have both modifications. To narrow it down to edited conversations associated with a specific user, you can include @username to the query - @"John Smith" AND has:edits OR has:deletions.

Modified or deleted messages and images can easily be seen by viewing the conversation and looking for green/red highlights and the edit/delete icons next to the message:

Search for users that joined or left channels

Before you search for users that joined or left channels, you need to determine if this data is available within your Slack account. More information can be found on Slack's Workspace Administration guide.

  • If you are on a Free, Standard, or Plus plan, then these messages are available depending on the administration settings.

  • On Enterprise Grid, it's not possible to manage join and leave messages. Messages will only show when someone joins a channel — leave messages will not display at any time.

Note: By default, messages are shown when someone joins or leaves a channel. Smaller groups might find these messages helpful, but larger groups might prefer to hide them.


If these messages are available to you they will be in the following format:


  • private channel - @User has left the group

  • public channel - @User has left the channel


  • private channel - @User has joined the group

  • public channel - @User has joined the channel

By replacing @User with the person's username you can easily do basic searches using the formats above:


Want to learn more best practices for searching your Slack data source in Onna? Watch “Best practices for searching your Slack data source.”

0 replies

Be the first to reply!