Best Ways to Export Slack Conversations

Content Writer
March 25, 2024

We can all agree that Slack is an indispensable tool for communication in modern workplaces. However, there comes a time when exporting these team or customer conversations is necessary, whether for compliance, record-keeping, or data analysis purposes.

Navigating the best ways to export Slack conversations from your Slack workspace or specific Slack channels can be challenging, given the platform’s varying options and limitations.

Slack’s native export features

Slack offers various options for exporting conversations, but the accessibility of these features largely depends on the type of plan your organization is subscribed to.

Slack's built-in export features

For teams on Slack's free plan, exporting data can be limited. Users can export data from public channels only, which includes messages and links shared among team members. This is generally sufficient for basic record-keeping purposes but may not meet the needs of those requiring comprehensive data backups or detailed conversation histories.

On the other hand, Slack's premium plans, including Business+ and Enterprise Grid, offer extensive export capabilities. These plans allow the export of conversations from both public and private channels, as well as direct messages (DMs), provided the organization's settings permit it. This comprehensive access is particularly valuable for organizations that need to adhere to strict compliance standards or wish to perform in-depth data analysis.

How to export Slack data using Slack

Before exporting channel and conversation data, you must ensure you’re the workspace owner or the admin. Here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1: From your Slack desktop app, click your workspace name in the sidebar.

Step 2: Select “Tools & settings.”

Step 3: Click “Workspace settings.”

Step 4: Select “Import/Export Data” in the top right corner.

Step 5: Choose the date range of the data you want to export.

Step 6: Hit “Start Export.”

Step 7: Wait for an email notifying you that your export file is ready.

Step 8: Open the email and click on the link directing you to your workspace’s export page.

Step 9: Click on “Ready for download” to access the zip file with the requested information.

Remember, the information that you’re able to export will depend on your Slack subscription plan.

Third-party tools

While Slack's built-in export features offer a range of options for data extraction, certain limitations may prompt you to seek out third-party tools and integrations. These external solutions can offer enhanced flexibility, advanced features, and the potential to bypass some of Slack's export restrictions.

There are several reputable third-party tools specifically designed for exporting Slack data. These tools often provide additional functionalities such as the ability to export data from multiple Slack workspaces simultaneously, advanced filtering options to select specific date ranges or channels, and even user-friendly interfaces for non-technical users to navigate easily.

Some well-regarded third-party solutions include:

  • Pro Backup: A tool that offers comprehensive export capabilities, including the ability to restore previous versions or recover messages from channels that were permanently deleted from your Slack account.
  • Backupery for Slack: Designed for regular, automated backups of Slack data, this tool ensures that your workspace's conversations are continuously archived.
  • SysCloud: With a focus on SaaS data, SysCloud allows for detailed exports that can be customized to meet specific organizational needs.

When considering a third-party tool for exporting Slack data, you should compare their features, understand any limitations they may have, and evaluate their cost against your budget.

You'll find that some tools may offer extensive export capabilities, but they come at a higher price. On the other hand, free or low-cost options might have limitations in terms of the amount of data they can process, or they may require more manual effort to set up and maintain.

Tips for ensuring compliance when exporting and sharing data

Before beginning your Slack data export projects, you must have a clear understanding of the potential implications of your actions and establish clear reasons for exporting Slack conversation and channel data.

It's crucial to understand Slack's rules on exporting data, plus the bigger picture around privacy and following the rules. These rules tell you what data you can export and how you must handle it, especially when dealing with private or sensitive information.

Slack takes protecting data seriously and follows laws from around the world, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S. These laws affect how Slack lets you export data, especially when it comes to private messages and personal details.

Follow these tips and best practices to ensure you’re doing it right:

  • Regularly review and update your data retention settings in Slack to align with your organization's data protection policies and legal obligations.
  • Be transparent with your team about data export practices, particularly regarding the types of data being exported and the purposes for which it will be used.
  • Securely store exported data so that only authorized personnel have access and use encryption to protect sensitive information.
  • Consult with legal or compliance experts to understand the implications of exporting and handling Slack data in the context of your organization's operational jurisdiction and industry.

FAQs about Slack data exports

How do I export a Slack DM conversation?

To export a Slack DM conversation, administrative rights are required. Navigate to “Tools & settings” on Slack, then to “Workspace settings.” From there, access “Import/Export Data” to export DMs, adhering to Slack's data policies and your subscription plan's capabilities.

How do I export a Slack conversation without admin?

Exporting Slack conversations without admin rights is limited. You can manually copy and paste messages into a document or take screenshots of the conversation. For a more comprehensive solution, administrative access or third-party tools that comply with Slack's API restrictions might be necessary.

How do I save conversation history in Slack?

Admins can save conversation history in Slack by utilizing the platform's export feature, accessible through “Tools & settings.” Choose “Export” to download your workspace's data, including public channels and, depending on your plan, private channels and DMs.

How do I view Slack exports?

After exporting data from Slack, you'll receive a .zip file containing your workspace's messages and files in JSON format. To view this export, unzip the file and use a JSON viewer or import the data into a database or analysis tool compatible with JSON files.

Can deleted Slack messages be exported?

Deleted Slack messages cannot be exported after they've been removed. Slack's export feature only includes messages that are present at the time of the export. However, some third-party tools claim that they can recover even deleted messages. It’s worth checking out the different solutions available.

Can you migrate Slack channels?

Yes, Slack channels can be migrated, but this feature is only available on the Enterprise Grid subscription.

Can Slack conversations be saved?

Slack conversations can be saved for later reference by using the “Save message” feature within Slack, allowing you to easily access important messages. Additionally, administrators can export conversations for archiving or compliance purposes, depending on the organization's needs and subscription level.

How do I export personal chat in Slack?

Exporting personal chats in Slack, particularly direct messages (DMs), requires administrative access. Additionally, to export private channels and DMs, you must submit a direct request to Slack and have a Business+ or Enterprise Grid subscription.

How do I download a message thread in Slack?

Downloading a message thread in Slack directly isn't a built-in feature. However, admins with the right permissions can export channel data, which includes threads. Alternatively, users can manually copy and paste the thread into a document or use screenshots for record-keeping.

Summing up

Exporting Slack conversations is a multifaceted process that involves understanding Slack's built-in features, leveraging third-party tools for enhanced flexibility, and navigating data export policies for compliance.

For those looking to delve deeper into leveraging communication data on Slack, especially with customers, you might want to consider our tool, Thena.

Thena is a B2B customer engagement platform that enables companies to provide omnichannel support across Slack, email, and the web. It utilizes AI to identify customer requests within Slack Connect channels, turn them into support tickets, and send them to the relevant team members for resolution.

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