Slack Markdown: Message Formatting Made Easy

Content Writer
January 24, 2024

Slack messages are a convenient and fast way to communicate any type of information to your teams and customers, covering anything from daily check-ins to casual chat, request management, and organizational announcements.

You can make your messages more precise and effective with the help of Slack markdown. Markdown is a basic computing language that helps users format Slack messages within their Slack desktop app's conversational window quickly. It enables users to add different formatting styles and elements such as bold, italic, bullet points, and more to create more engaging content on Slack.

Utilizing Slack markdown can significantly speed up formatting processes within Slack, increasing productivity and saving precious time. In this article, you’ll learn how to use Slack message formatting to achieve the best results. Let's begin!

Slack markdown: where to start?

The first thing to note when discussing Slack markdown is that you can only use this functionality when you are on Slack's desktop interface. The basic markdown feature is enabled when the formatting options are visible within the text box.

Slack formatting can be achieved by inserting special characters before and/or after your selected text. We created a handy Slack markdown cheat sheet below for your convenience.

  • Bold: To make your text bold, insert asterisks (*) directly before and after your chosen segment without any space. - see: text
  • Italic: To achieve a more cursive look, insert underscores (_) before and after your words - see: text
  • Strikethrough: Are you editing some content? Trying to make a joke? Strikethrough your text with tildes (~) - see: ~text~
  • Create a numbered list: Numbering headlines or bullet points can help your audience digest your content easier and faster. By adding a number and pressing space in front of your text, you can create a numbered list within your Slack message.
  • Bulleted list: Do you prefer some bullet points? No problem at all! Add an asterisk (*) before your sentence and press space to create your desired Slack formatting.
  • Mark a block quote: Do you want to highlight an important quote in your announcement? You can quickly achieve this by adding a closing angle bracket (>) to the beginning of your quote.

Top Slack Post and Message Markdown Support

FeaturePost SupportMessage Support
BoldYes (#text or text)Yes
ItalicsYes (#text or text)Yes
Code BlocksYesYes

Slack markdown: level up 

So now you've got the basics sorted. Are you ready to level up? Setting up markup as your default Slack message formatting preference allows you to explore even more comprehensive Slack markdown options to make your content pop.

You can do this by following the steps below:

Step 1: Click on your workspace name and select ‘Preferences' from the dropdown menu.

Step 2: Scroll down to access ‘Advanced’ on the left sidebar, where you can find the ‘Format messages with markup’ option. With a simple tick, you will disable your formatting toolbar and open up a new world of Slack formatting.

What now?

Now, don’t get scared. Just because you stepped up to the next stage, it doesn’t mean it will get highly complicated! Slack markdown is a relatively straightforward language, and with a bit of practice, you will whizz through Slack message formatting like a pro.

It is important to note that as the formatting bar has been removed from your text box, Slack message formatting will only be visible once you press enter. So don’t panic; you haven’t done it wrong! In addition to the shortcuts mentioned above, you can also use some other added options: 

  • Add hyperlinks: You can easily link to external materials by simply surrounding your text with brackets and then adding your chosen link in parentheses. [your brand name](your website).

Add headings: Headings can come especially handy when writing a longer text or a significant announcement with many different parts to highlight. You can achieve level-one and level-two headings by adding a single-pound sign (#) and a space in front of your text for a level-one heading or a two-pound sign (##) and a space for level-two headings. This will be one good-looking message!

Slack markdown use cases

There are a bunch of scenarios where you can use Slack markdown in your organization. For instance:

Announcements: Emphasize key points with bold or italics, e.g., Deadline: March 30th or Mandatory meeting on Friday.

Employee onboarding: Use numbered lists for procedural steps:

  • Complete HR paperwork
  • Set up your work email
  • Attend an orientation session.

Client onboarding messages: Outline services or project phases with bullet points:

  • Initial consultation
  • Strategy development
  • Implementation phase.

Meeting agendas: Organize topics in a clear, numbered format for easy follow-up.

Training materials: Use block quotes to highlight important instructions or tips.

In essence, any time you want parts of your message to pop, use Slack markdown.

Slack Markdown: Top 25 Features with Shortcodes

Bold TextEmphasize important text*bold text* or _bold text_
Italic TextSlant text for emphasis or titles*italic text* or _italic text_
Code BlockDisplay code snippets with proper formattingcode` Your code here
Preformatted TextPreserve whitespace and formattingtext` Your preformatted text here
LinksCreate hyperlinks to websitesLink text: URL address
ImagesEmbed images directly into messagesImage alt text: URL image address
QuotesIndent text for quotations> quoted text
Bulleted ListsCreate bulleted lists* Item 1
* Item 2
* Item 3
Numbered ListsCreate numbered lists1. Item 1
2. Item 2
3. Item 3
EmojisAdd emojis to your messages:emoji_name: (e.g., :smile:)
Code SnippetsShare code snippets with syntax highlightingUse a third-party integration like Prism (````python`)
HeadersCreate headings for organization# Heading 1 ## Heading 2### Heading 3
DividersSeparate sections of text visually---
MentionsMention specific users or channels@username or #channel_name
ReactionsAdd emoji reactions to messagesClick the emoji icon below a message
Pin MessagesPin important messages for easy accessClick the "..." menu on a message, then select "Pin to channel"
Starred MessagesStar important messages for personal referenceClick the star icon next to a message
ThreadsCreate conversations within channelsReply to a message with a threaded reply
File SharingShare files directly within SlackDrag and drop files or use the file sharing menu
Polls & VotesCreate polls and collect votes from team membersUse third-party integrations like Polly or Donut
Custom FieldsAdd custom fields to messages for better data organizationUse third-party integrations like Formstack or Unito
SearchSearch for messages, files, and people in SlackUse the search bar at the top of the workspace
IntegrationsExtend Slack's functionality with external appsBrowse the Slack App Directory
WorkspacesOrganize teams and projects into separate workspacesCreate or join workspaces as needed
Slack CallsMake voice and video calls with team membersClick the phone or video call icon next to a user

Top 20 Ways to Leverage Slack Markdown in Your B2B Enterprise

Slack markdown simplifies text formatting, boosting your team's info-sharing game. Check out these 20 savvy ways to spice up your Slack chats:

  1. Agendas & Notes: Use headings and bullets for structure. Highlight main points in bold in the summary.
  2. Updates: Break down progress with sections - "Completed Tasks," "Challenges," "Future Steps."
  3. Tech Docs: Code snippets and API info go in code blocks for easy reading.
  4. Feedback: Be precise. Use bold or italics for focus and quote comments.
  5. Knowledge Base: Make Slack knowledge articles with headings, bullets, and links.
  6. Brainstorming: Use bullet points to jot down ideas fast.
  7. Tasks: Create checklists with bullet points and checkboxes to monitor tasks.
  8. Decisions: Lay out options with headings and highlight key points in bold.
  9. FAQs: For easy access, format FAQs in Slack with headings and bullets.
  10. User Stories: Format user stories neatly with markdown.
  11. Bug Reports: Describe bugs clearly, include reproduction steps and code in blocks.
  12. Content Calendars: Organize calendars with headings for dates, types, and content links.
  13. Internal Marketing: Use markdown for a polished touch in marketing materials.
  14. Sales Tools: Craft playbooks and battlecards with clear headings, bullet points, and tables.
  15. Customer Support: Guide with step-by-step instructions and FAQs, formatted for clarity.
  16. Interview Prep: Organize questions and notes with headings and bullet points.
  17. Onboarding Docs: Welcome new hires with structured documents, using bold for emphasis.
  18. Team Activities: Plan activities with markdown instructions.
  19. Wins & Recognition: Celebrate with bold text, italics for emphasis, and emojis.
  20. Humor & Culture: Lighten the mood with formatted jokes or memes in markdown.

By effectively using markdown formatting, you can significantly enhance the readability, organization, and overall professionalism of your B2B communication within Slack.

Examples of Canned Responses with Markdown:

Slack markdown lets you polish your canned responses, making them clearer and more professional. Here's your quick guide to using markdown in your pre-crafted messages:

Formatting for Clarity:

Structure Your Response

Title Your Sections

  • Use # for main headings like "# Welcome to [Company Name]!".
  • Apply ## for details with "## How can I assist?"

List Your Points

  • List items using - for clarity in options or steps.

Highlight Important Info

  • Bold (text) for emphasis.
  • Italics (text) for nuance.

Guide with Links

  • Embed links (Text: URL) to lead to more info.

Welcome Message:

# Welcome to [Company Name], [Customer Name]!

We're happy to assist you.  What can we help you with today?

* Browse our Help Center: [link to Help Center]
* Search our Knowledge Base: [link to Knowledge Base]
* Chat with a support agent (during business hours): [link to chat support]

Order Confirmation:

## Thanks for your order, [Customer Name]!  

Your order # [order number] has been confirmed.

You'll receive a shipping notification with tracking details shortly to [email address].

In the meantime, you can view your order details here: [link to order details]

Troubleshooting Steps:

## Having trouble with [issue]?

Here are a few steps you can try:

1. **[Step 1]:**  *This step uses bold for emphasis*
2. **[Step 2]:** - This step uses a bullet point
3. **[Step 3]:** If the issue persists, please refer to our troubleshooting guide: [link to guide]

If you're still facing issues, feel free to reply to this message for further assistance.

Create a next-generation Slack experience with Thena

Creating a clear and compelling message is the cornerstone of successful communication. By leveraging Slack markdown, you can format Slack messages faster and more effectively, writing more persuasive content so your audience can understand your content better.

Thena can help you bring out the most of your Slack communication strategy by utilizing intelligent workflows and a conversational ticketing system so your teams can focus on what really matters. Our award-winning solution enhances Slack’s functionality by bringing order to the chaos with intelligent tagging and grouping to tame chaos across your outstanding customer tickets.

Thena can help customer communication teams create a unified hub for pending tickets across different channels like emails and Slack messages. With automation processes, you can remove the monotonous tasks, creating a more efficient operation and more time to focus on the important stuff.

Our solution can help you assign tickets automatically based on specialty or service teams, sending instant request acknowledgment messages to end-users and AI-powered responses from the integrated knowledge base so you can look after your customers around the clock.

Turn your organization into a customer communication powerhouse with Thena. Try it at no cost today.

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