How to make Slack’s new design better

Slack is in the midst of rolling out a new design and let’s just say it’s not pleased everyone.

As we’ve discussed previously, there’s no way to revert to the old Slack design. But there are ways to make Slack’s new design better. Here are our tips on how to make the app fit for work again.

Show all Slack workspaces

One of the most controversial aspects of the new Slack design was the way in which the workplace switcher was hidden, making it impossible to get an at-a-glance view of how many notifications you had pending in a different workspace. Thankfully, Slack has seen sense and backed down on this, but you still need to flick a switch to reveal all of your workspaces again. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press CTRL + R on Windows or Command + R on Mac to refresh a workspace that has the new design
  2. Click the workspace’s icon in the top-left corner of the screen
  3. Select the option to Show workspace switcher, as shown below
Slack's new design - showing different workspaces

Once you’ve done that, you should find all of your workspaces now appear in a pane on the far left of the screen, just as they did with the old design.

Change your Slack theme

The new Slack interface has retired some of the “legacy” themes, meaning that your app might have a very different look and colour scheme to what it had previously.

There’s no way to get those old themes back, but you can effectively create a custom theme that gets you close to how it looked previously.

The option for editing themes has moved. On any workspace with the new design, you must now click on your profile icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen and select Preferences. You’ll find Themes is an option in the pop-up window that appears.

make Slack's new design better with options

Slack’s new preset themes include options such as Aubergine and Banana, or perhaps you’d prefer the sombre Gray. There are also some “vision assistive” themes. These avoid clashes for people who suffer from colour blindness or other visual impairments.

At the top of that menu, a Customize option lets you select the individual colours you want to use for the Slack window, highlighted items and other elements of the interface. It’s not a completely free rein, as it was before, where you could specify the exact hex colours you wanted, but it does at least give you some creative control.

Irritatingly, there doesn’t appear to be any way to go back to a solid colour for the Slack window instead of the background gradient that’s applied in the new Slack interface.

Make text bigger in the new Slack design

On today’s high-resolution screens, text can be small and hard to read. Especially for those of us old enough to remember when Slack was a sackable offence, not a piece of productivity software.

If you want to make the text easier to read in the new design, click on your profile icon, select Preferences and this time choose Accessibility. Here you should find a range of zoom options, the most extreme of which allows you to double the size of text in Slack. At the other extreme, if you have 20/20 vision and want to cram more text on screen, you can reduce the text size to 75%.

Pressing CTRL and + or – simultaneously (Command and + or – on Mac) also adjusts the zoom level.

Hopefully, all these tips will have helped make Slack’s new design better for you. And if you’re wondering why Slack made all these changes in the first place, its blog about the move makes interesting reading.

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Barry Collins

Barry has 20 years of experience working on national newspapers, websites and magazines. He was editor of PC Pro and is co-editor and co-owner of He has published a number of articles on TechFinitive covering data, innovation and cybersecurity.