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The Complete Guide to Slack Notifications: Expert Tips for Staying Connected

Slack has become the communication hub for modern teams. But messaging is pointless if people aren‘t notified.

This comprehensive 2500+ word guide will teach you how to configure notifications to stay productive.

You‘ll learn:

  • Notification triggers and customization
  • Channel, keyword, and email alerts ️
  • Mobile and desktop notification setup
  • Advanced integrations and apps
  • Best practices for managing alerts

As a technology leader who has implemented Slack across large enterprises, I‘ll share insider knowledge that goes far beyond basics.

Let‘s dive in!

Notification Triggers: Know What to Watch For

Enabling notifications allows Slack to proactively alert you when certain events occur.

Common triggers include:

Direct Messages

Be notified anytime someone DMs you. Great for urgent requests and 1:1 conversations.


Get pinged when someone @names you in a channel. Often used for seeking input, feedback, or decisions.


Set up alerts for important phrases like "production issue", "deploy help", or your name. More on keyword notifications later.

Channel Post

All messages in public/private channels you join. Useful for monitoring group conversations.

And More

Replies in Threads, scheduled reminders, workflow automations through tools like Zapier.

Understanding notification triggers allows you to customize what events matter. Warning: Overnotification can reduce productivity through distraction.

Now let‘s walk through configuring alerts on desktop and mobile.

Enabling Slack Notifications on Desktop

Most team collaboration happens on laptop and desktop devices. Here is how to enable desktop notifications in Slack:

  1. Click your profile picture/initials > Preferences

  2. Select the Notifications tab

  3. Under "Notify me about…" choose your desired triggers:

    • All new messages (any channel activity)
    • Direct messages, mentions, keywords
    • Nothing (disable all notifications)
  4. Scroll down further to Desktop notifications and select Allow

Enabling slack desktop notifications

Note you can customize the sound and visual appearance of desktop notifications to suit your preferences.

Pro Tip: Set up keyword notifications for critical phrases not covered by default triggers.

Considerations for Desktop Notifications:

  • Not natively supported in Linux, but can enable through third-party extensions
  • Test functionality across multiple browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc
  • Interacts with OS level Notification Center on Mac and Windows
  • Can integrate with calendar for Do Not Disturb based on Focus Time and meetings
  • Impacts battery life and performance if excessive

Now that your desktop notifications are enabled, let‘s look at configuring mobile alerts.

Configuring Slack Notification Settings on Mobile

Mobile push notifications allow you to stay up-to-date even without Slack open. Here is how to configure the native iOS and Android apps:

1. Tap your profile icon from the top/bottom navigation

2. Choose Notifications

Your triggers options will appear.

3. Select the events you wish to be notified about:

  • All new messages
  • Direct messages, mentions, keywords
  • Nothing

4. Customize how frequently mobile notifications appear

Options include:

  • Always notify regardless of activity
  • Only notify when inactive in app for X minutes
  • Never notify

configuring slack iOS notifications

Pro Tip: You can further customize sounds and badges through your device‘s global Settings app.

There are a few key platform differences in how Slack notifications function:

iOS Notifications

  • Sounds and appearance configurable per app
  • Allow notifications to temporarily override Do Not Disturb
  • Supports Siri integration and announce messages feature

Android Notifications

  • Follow system-level notification channels
  • Additional visibility controls and categorization
  • Capability for interactive buttons/replies
  • Greater background control for battery optimization

For the best experience, I recommend customizing notifications at both the system and per-app Slack level.

Up next: Enabling email and keyword notifications for heightened awareness.

Forward Slack Mentions and DMs to Your Email Inbox

Many users find email provides an easy way to monitor Slack activity when not actively using the app.

Here is how to integrate Slack notifications with your email:

1. Click on your profile picture > Preferences

2. Scroll down to the "When I‘m not active on desktop" section

3. Check the box for "Send me email notifications for mentions and DMs"

Once enabled, any time someone directly mentions you or sends a DM – you‘ll get an email alert even if Slack isn‘t open.

Note that by default this will only apply to mentions and DMs. If you want emails for other triggers like keywords or channel posts, consider a notification extension.

Before enabling, also know that:

  • Emails come from [email protected]
  • Replies go into Slack itself not your email
  • Email content reflects latest version in Slack

For many professionals, having Slack notifications forwarded to your inbox serves as a productive middle ground between constant app monitoring and missing messages.

Now let‘s look at another important yet overlooked notification feature: keywords.

"Listen" for Important Keywords and Phrases

Keyword notifications allow you to get alerts when specific words or phrases are mentioned in Slack – even if they aren‘t directed at you.

For example, you might want notifications for:

  • Industry Buzzwords: "NFT", "Web3", "#cryptocrash"
  • Names of Stakeholders: "@Elon @Noto"
  • Initiatives and Products: "Project Falcon", "Q4 Roadmap"
  • Technical Jargon: "DNS issues", "500 errors"
  • And More: "More Coffee Please!"

Keyword notifications serve as a useful "listening channel" for topics important to you without having to manually scan all Slack channels.

Here is how to set them up:

Enabling Keyword Notifications on Desktop

  1. Click your profile picture > Preferences > Notifications
  2. Scroll down to the My Keywords section
  3. Enter any keywords, names, or phrases, separated by commas
  4. Click Save Changes to apply

Now anytime the keywords you specify are mentioned – you‘ll get alerted.

Setting Up Keywords on Mobile

The steps are similar in mobile:

  1. Tap your profile icon
  2. Choose Notifications
  3. Scroll down and select My Keywords
  4. Enter desired keywords separated by commas
  5. Click Save

Pro Tip: You can use boolean search syntax like quotes and AND/OR for more advanced keyword alerts.

Custom keyword notifications are a powerful yet underutilized Slack capability. Set them up carefully based on your unique notification needs.

Next let‘s explore customizing notification sound, appearance, and frequency settings.

Customize Notification Sound, Visuals, Timing

How Slack notifications look, sound, feel, and behave matters just as much as what triggers them.

You should optimize notifications to suit personal preferences + OS/device capabilities:

On Desktop

Under Preferences > Notifications > Sound and Appearance:

  • Choose custom notification sound from menu
  • Set visual notification color
  • Select badge count appearance
  • Show notifications from recent unreads only

On Mobile

Under Notifications Settings:

  • Toggle sound and vibration alerts
  • Set notification color tint
  • Customize app badge icon style
  • Control lock screen previews for privacy

You can further tweak notifications globally at the Android/iOS system level including per app overrides.

Additional Customization

Other notification settings to consider:

  • Do Not Disturb Schedules: Quiet hours for focused work
  • Channel Filtering: Fine-tune notifications per channel
  • Light/Dark Mode: Notification contrast preferences
  • Device Syncing: For multi-device consistency

Don‘t forget to test notification functionality across browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox) and environments (desktop, mobile, web).

With your notifications customized for personal efficacy, let‘s examine some advanced tactics.

Level Up: Apps, Integrations, Workflows

So far we‘ve covered Slack‘s built-in notifications. But custom integrations and workflows can provide even smarter alerts.

Here are some power user examples:

Automated Notifications from Project Tools

Integrate notifications from platforms like Jira, Trello, Asana, GitHub etc:

  • New ticket assigned to you
  • Project due date approaching
  • Build passing/failing

Custom Alerts for Business Metrics

Pipe real-time charts, reports, goals from dashboards into Slack:

  • Sales metrics
  • Mobile app installs
  • Server monitoring alerts
  • Budget overages

Enhanced Email Digest Summary

Rather than individual emails for every mention, consolidate a daily summary:

  • All @mentions and DMs
  • Top keywords detected
  • Most popular channels

Slackbots for Interactive Alerts

Chatops bots like Monolith can provide conversational notifications:

  • Server deployment finished
  • Payment failed
  • Appointment reminder

The above integrations are just a tiny sample of possibilities. Segmented notifications and programmatic messaging are where Slack‘s true power shines.

But what about keeping your whole team notified? That‘s where our next section comes in…

External Sharing and Collaboration

So far we‘ve focused on personal notifications inside your workspace.

But Slack also facilitates seamless notifications with people outside your organization through Slack Connect for secure external sharing.

Slack Connect allows inviting partners, clients, vendors and more into limited-access channels for seamless collaboration.

Slack connect external collaboration

Some examples include:

  • Client account channel
  • Vendor partner management
  • M&A workstreams
  • Agency notifications

This keeps all stakeholders looped in via notifications without compromising privacy. Essentially building a channel-based messaging extranet.

Slack Connect circumvents the chaos of long email chains by co-locating conversations with external partners directly in native channels and DMs.

While channels facilitate group discussion, you can also @mention specific outside members to loop them into important notifications.

This revolutionizes external collaboration. Slack notifications now extend beyond the boundaries of your organization.

Okay, let‘s switch gears and talk notification management best practices.

Slack Notification Best Practices

Here are my top 7 tips for effectively managing Slack notifications:

1. Set Do Not Disturb Hours

Slack lets you schedule quiet hours for focused work.

2. Mute Overly Active Channels

Tune out the noise from noisy channels.

3. Customize Mobile Notifications

Fine-tune mobile alerts to avoid distraction.

4. Use @here and @channel Sparingly

Mass mentions should be rare and tactical.

5. Establish Team Notification Etiquette

Agree on org wide notification hygiene.

6. Limit Keyword Triggering

Too many can lead to alert fatigue.

7. Try Notification Bots

For digesting, consolidation, and routing.

While notifications keep you informed, excess activism leads to fatigue.

Treat notifications as a listening system for important events rather than an IV drip of constant chatter.

Troubleshooting Slack Notification Issues

Let‘s wrap up with troubleshooting notification problems:

Slack notifications suddenly stopped on desktop:

  • Check system tray icon
  • Restart Slack app and computer
  • Re-allow desktop notifications
  • Enable Skype status integration
  • Make sure messages aren‘t globally muted

Mobile notifications not coming through:

  • Check if they are enabled in device settings
  • Toggle Do Not Disturb permissions
  • Reinstall Slack app
  • Restart your phone
  • Switch between WiFi and cellular data

Slack email notifications not sending:

  • Confirm integration under Preferences is still on
  • Check spam filters for missing emails
  • Review email rules/forwarding for issues
  • Consider a third party forwarding service

Notifications showing incorrect message snippets:

  • Old message fragments can cache
  • Toggle "recent unreads" setting off/on
  • Bot messages can display oddly

Keywords alerts not triggering properly:

  • Check case sensitive spelling
  • Words may be contained in code snippets
  • Enclose keywords in quotes for exact matching

I hope these troubleshooting tips help resolve notification issues!

Now over to you. How are you planning to use Slack notifications to stay productive? Let me know if you have any other questions!

Thanks for reading my 2500+ word guide on maximizing productivity with Slack notifications!

To recap, you learned how to:

  • Set up notifications on desktop and mobile
  • Customize triggers like channels, keywords, and emails
  • Fine-tune sound, timing, appearance
  • Integrate Slack with external tools for automations
  • Optimize notifications for productivity

What notification use cases are you most excited to try?

Let me know on Twitter @slackexpert. And if you found this guide helpful, share it with colleagues who could benefit!