Workstream collaboration products have revolutionized the way we work, especially in a remote-first world. At the forefront of this digital transformation are two powerhouse platforms: Slack and Microsoft Teams. Here, we delve into a comprehensive comparison of both, exploring their popularity, features, pricing, user interface, and much more.
What is the difference between Slack and Microsoft Teams?
While Slack and Microsoft Teams are both chat-based collaboration platforms, they differ in their approach to collaboration, feature set, and integration capabilities. Microsoft Teams, as part of the Microsoft 365 suite, offers seamless integration with other Microsoft applications and more advanced video conferencing features. On the other hand, Slack is renowned for its simplicity, user-friendly interface, and broad third-party integrations.
Microsoft Teams vs Slack — Features Overview
Both platforms offer direct messaging, team channels, voice and video conferencing, file sharing, screen sharing, and integration with a multitude of applications. However, Microsoft Teams goes a step further with its integration with Microsoft 365, offering collaborative editing of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. In contrast, Slack's standout feature is its advanced search capabilities, allowing users to search within files, conversations, and shared links.
Microsoft Teams vs Slack — User Interface
Microsoft Teams — User Interface
Microsoft Teams features a clean and organized interface, built on a model that will be familiar to anyone who's used Microsoft Office apps. The left sidebar consists of a navigation menu with options such as Activity, Chat, Teams, Assignments, Calendar, Calls, and Files. This sidebar provides quick access to all the features and settings you need to manage your team communication and collaborations.
One of the highlights of the Teams interface is the integration with other Microsoft applications. If your team relies heavily on the Microsoft Office suite, you will appreciate being able to edit Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or PowerPoint presentations directly within the app.
Microsoft Teams also provides a more thread-focused approach to conversations, which can be beneficial for maintaining context and keeping track of discussions. However, this can also lead to a cluttered view if many threads are active simultaneously.
Slack — User Interface
On the other hand, Slack is renowned for its intuitive, user-friendly interface. The platform is designed around Channels (which can be organized by team, project, client, or whatever else is relevant to your organization) and Direct Messages to encourage easy communication. The left sidebar, similar to Teams, contains a navigation panel where you can access channels, direct messages, and other Slack features.
Slack's user interface is notably more flexible and customizable than Teams. Users can adjust the sidebar's color, choose when and how they receive notifications, and even add custom emoji reactions.
One of the main differentiators of Slack's interface is its emphasis on searchability. The platform's search function is powerful and user-friendly, allowing users to find specific messages, files, or users quickly.
Microsoft Teams vs Slack — Comparing Free Plans
Both platforms offer free plans, with Slack's allowing up to 10,000 searchable messages, 10 integrations, 1-to-1 video calls, and two-factor authentication. Microsoft Teams' free plan, on the other hand, provides unlimited searchable messages, unlimited app integrations, and group video calls for up to 100 participants, offering more value for larger teams.
Slack Vs Teams Channels and Meetings
Microsoft Teams enables channels within channels, known as private channels, while Slack users opts for threads for in-depth conversations. Both platforms support meetings, but Teams incorporates an in-built meeting scheduler, whereas Slack relies on third-party integrations.
Slack — Channels and Meetings
In Slack, Channels are the primary places for team communication. They can be public (open to everyone in the workspace) or private (invite-only), and they're typically organized around a specific topic, project, team, or department.
One distinguishing feature of Slack channels is the ability to create shared channels, which allow users from different organizations to collaborate in the same channel, enhancing cross-organizational communication.
As for meetings, Slack provides audio and video conferencing features. Slack's free plan supports one-to-one audio and video calls only, while the paid plans support group video calls for up to 15 participants. Slack also has screen sharing functionality, useful for presentations or collaborative work.
Microsoft Teams — Channels and Meetings
Microsoft Teams uses a slightly different structure. Each 'Team' in the application can have multiple 'Channels'. Like Slack, channels in Teams can be public or private, and are usually created around specific topics or projects.
A distinguishing feature in Teams is the ability to create 'Tabs' within Channels, offering a place to access shared files, apps, or websites, directly from within the channel, enhancing productivity.
When it comes to meetings, Microsoft Teams shines with its robust features. Teams supports audio and video conferencing with up to 10,000 participants (with a Microsoft 365 subscription), vastly surpassing Slack's limit. Additionally, Teams has a deeper integration with Outlook, making scheduling and joining meetings more seamless.
Microsoft Teams also offers advanced features like background blur or replacement, live captions, meeting recording, and the ability to direct a meeting to specific channels or individuals.
Microsoft Teams vs Slack — Bots and Workflows
Both platforms support bots and workflows, automating routine tasks. Teams' bots are more business-focused, offering customizable templates, while Slack's bots are renowned for their diversity and fun interactions.
Microsoft Teams — Bots and Workflows
Microsoft Teams boasts a variety of bots available through the Teams store. These bots can be added to channels or used in individual chats, performing tasks such as answering queries, setting reminders, or automating other routine tasks.
In terms of workflows, Teams has a strong advantage due to its deep integration with Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow). This tool allows users to create complex workflows that automate processes across multiple Microsoft and third-party apps. Users can set up triggers, conditions, and actions to manage tasks like data collection, file management, and notifications.
Slack — Bots and Workflows
Slack, on the other hand, is renowned for its app directory, which includes numerous bots designed to streamline workflows and increase productivity. These bots can automate tasks like scheduling meetings, tracking tasks, or providing analytics.
Slack's workflows are managed through Slack's Workflow Builder, a visual tool that allows users to automate routine processes. With Workflow Builder, users can create custom workflows that automate tasks like collecting information, sending reminders, and routing messages.
While not as comprehensive as Teams' integration with Power Automate, Workflow Builder is user-friendly and capable of automating many common tasks.
Microsoft Teams vs Slack — Integrations
Slack outshines Teams in third-party integrations, supporting over 2000 apps, while Teams supports around 600. However, Teams boasts native integration with Office 365 suite, a game-changer for many businesses.
Microsoft Teams — Integrations
Microsoft Teams benefits significantly from being a part of the Microsoft family. It offers seamless integration with other Microsoft apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Power BI, and more.
This allows users to create, share, and collaborate on documents directly within the Teams platform, without the need to switch between other apps.
In addition to Microsoft apps, Teams also supports integration with a variety of third-party apps. These range from project management tools like Asana and Trello to developer tools like GitHub and Jira, making it possible to bring various work tools into one centralized platform.
Teams' integrations are accessed through "Tabs" at the top of each channel, providing quick access to different tools and files directly from within Teams.
Slack — Integrations
Slack is widely recognized for its robust integration capabilities. It offers over 2,200 apps in its directory, allowing users to integrate a wide array of services, including Google Drive, Zoom, Asana, Trello, and many more. This makes Slack an extremely versatile platform that can be tailored to the specific needs of different teams.
Slack integrations work a little differently than Teams'. They often operate through slash commands or bots, meaning you can interact with an integrated app directly through the chat interface.
Microsoft Teams vs Slack — Security & Compliance
Microsoft Teams edges out Slack in security and compliance, offering data loss prevention, information barriers, and more robust compliance certifications, making it a preferable choice for highly regulated industries.
Microsoft Teams — Security & Compliance
As a part of the Microsoft 365 suite, Teams inherits Microsoft's extensive security measures and compliance certifications. Microsoft Teams provides features like data loss prevention, information barriers, communication compliance, and more.
Additionally, Teams offers advanced threat protection, which uses machine learning to automatically detect and defend against cyber threats.
In terms of compliance, Microsoft Teams complies with over 90 regulations and standards globally, including GDPR, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and SOC 2. This makes Teams a good fit for organizations operating in regulated industries like healthcare, finance, or government.
Slack — Security & Compliance
Slack also offers robust security features. Slack provides enterprise-grade data protection, with features like enterprise key management, which gives organizations control over their encryption keys. Like Teams, Slack also uses machine learning to detect threats and suspicious activity.
In terms of compliance, Slack holds several certifications, including GDPR, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and SOC 2, similar to Teams. However, Slack also offers a unique compliance feature: the ability to export all messages, including direct messages and private channel conversations, in the enterprise grid plan.
This feature may be essential for some organizations that need to maintain comprehensive communication records for compliance reasons.
Slack vs. Teams: Microsoft Teams video call features are much more powerful
Teams' video call features are superior, allowing up to 10,000 attendees, background blur, live captions, and meeting recording. Slack offers video calls but is limited to 15 participants and lacks advanced features.
Microsoft Teams — Video Call Features
Microsoft Teams offers robust and advanced video call features, giving it an edge for larger or more formal meetings. Teams supports video meetings with up to 10,000 participants with a Microsoft 365 subscription, far exceeding Slack's capacity.
Furthermore, Microsoft Teams supports full meeting recording, transcriptions, and live captions, enhancing accessibility and making it easier for participants to follow along.
Teams also offers features such as background blur and custom backgrounds, breakout rooms for smaller group discussions within a larger meeting, and a hand-raise function for participants to indicate they have something to say.
Teams' video meetings also integrate smoothly with the Microsoft Office suite, enabling users to schedule meetings directly from Outlook and collaborate on Office documents during meetings.
Moreover, Teams recently introduced a new feature called "Together Mode," which uses AI to place all participants in a shared virtual background, aiming to create a more engaging and connected meeting experience.
Slack — Video Call Features
On the other hand, Slack offers more straightforward video call capabilities. The platform supports one-to-one video calls on the free plan and group calls for up to 15 participants on paid plans.
During these calls, users can share their screen and even draw on the shared screen to illustrate their points, which can be particularly useful during presentations or demonstrations.
However, Slack does not currently support features such as meeting recording, transcriptions, or live captions. Neither does it offer the ability to create breakout rooms or a hand-raise function.
Slack vs. Teams: Slack's slash commands are more advanced
Slack's slash commands allow users to perform tasks quickly by typing commands into the chat bar, providing more in-app productivity features. Although Teams has similar functionality, Slack's slash commands are more comprehensive and user-friendly.
Slack — Slash Commands
Slack's slash commands are a core part of its user experience. By typing "/" followed by a command in the chat box, users can perform various actions. These commands range from basic actions like setting a status or opening the help center to more complex tasks like starting a call, creating a reminder, or even interacting with integrated apps.
One of the distinguishing aspects of Slack's slash commands is their extensibility. Developers can create custom slash commands that interact with their own services or third-party applications. This provides teams with the flexibility to tailor their Slack messages and workspace to their specific needs and workflows.
Microsoft Teams — Slash Commands
Microsoft Teams also offers slash commands as a part of its interface. By typing "/" in the command box at the top of the Teams interface, users can access a variety of commands. These commands allow users to perform tasks such as changing their status, starting a call, or searching for a specific item.
However, Teams' slash commands are not as extensive as Slack's, and they lack the ability to interact with integrated apps or to be customized with developer-created commands. This makes Teams' slash commands a bit less versatile compared to Slack's.
Meetings in Slack
Slack supports audio and video conferencing but relies heavily on integrations, like Zoom and Google Meet, for large-scale meetings.
Slack vs Microsoft Teams: emojis, memes, and stickers
Both platforms support emojis, memes, and stickers, but Slack offers more customization options, allowing users to create their own emojis. Teams, however, has a more business-like approach, limiting customization.
Slack — Emojis, Memes, and Stickers
Slack is well known for its fun and flexible use of emojis. Users can react to messages using a wide range of emojis, and the platform also allows teams to create and use custom emojis. This can be particularly useful for creating unique reactions that reflect a company's culture or in-jokes.
While Slack does not natively support memes or stickers, it can integrate with apps like Giphy, allowing users to search for and share GIFs directly within the chat. Additionally, users can upload images and add annotations or drawings to them, which can function similarly to stickers.
Microsoft Teams — Emojis, Memes, and Stickers
Microsoft Teams also supports the use of emojis in its chat. However, unlike Slack, Teams goes a step further by offering a broader range of expressiveness tools. It has a dedicated "praise" feature, which enables users to send customized badges to colleagues, fostering a positive work environment.
Teams also has a meme generator built directly into the chat, allowing users to create and share custom memes on the fly. In addition to this, Teams has a sticker gallery with a wide array of stickers to choose from. Like Slack, Teams also supports GIFs through an integrated Giphy search.
Microsoft Teams market share statistics
As of 2023, Microsoft Teams has significantly more users than Slack, mostly due to its bundling with Office 365.
Slack vs Teams: Bots and Task Management
While both platforms offer bots and task management features, Teams' integration with Microsoft Planner and To-Do provides more structured project and task management. Slack, however, is compatible with more project management tools via integrations.
Slack — Bots and Task Management
Slack has a strong focus on bot integrations. Slackbot is Slack's built-in personal assistant, which can answer questions about how to use Slack, set reminders, and even respond to custom commands and triggers.
Additionally, Slack's App Directory features a plethora of bots designed to assist with a variety of tasks. For example, bots like Trello for Slack can help manage tasks, while Polly can run polls within your channels, and there are numerous bots for scheduling, project management, customer support, and more.
Microsoft Teams — Bots and Task Management
Microsoft Teams also offers bots and task management capabilities, with a bit more integration with its existing suite of services. Microsoft's personal assistant, Cortana, is integrated into Teams, allowing users to schedule meetings, send messages, and more using voice commands.
Teams also incorporates Planner, Microsoft's task management tool, allowing users to create, assign, and manage tasks without leaving Teams. Furthermore, Teams has a built-in approvals process, where users can send and receive approval requests in the app.
Like Slack, Teams also supports a range of bots from its app store. However, where Teams shines is the deep integration with other Microsoft services. Bots can interact with services like Power BI, SharePoint, and more, making it a powerful tool for organizations already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.
Audio and video conferencing
Teams offers high-quality audio and video conferencing with more features, while Slack is more suited to small-scale, casual conferencing but can integrate with other tools for larger meetings.
Collaboration with external teams
Both platforms support collaboration with external teams, but Teams provides more control over guest access and permissions, making it ideal for cross-organizational collaborations.
Slack — External Collaboration
In Slack, external collaboration is facilitated through Shared Channels and Guest Accounts. Shared Channels can be created between different organizations, allowing members of both organizations to join the same channel and collaborate.
This feature is especially useful for project-based work with external partners.
Guest Accounts in Slack come in two types: Single-Channel and Multi-Channel. Single-Channel Guests have access to one channel only and are ideal for involving external collaborators on a specific project.
Multi-Channel Guests have access to multiple channels and are useful for contractors or freelancers who work with different teams.
Microsoft Teams — External Collaboration
Microsoft Teams allows for external collaboration through Guest Access and External Access. With Guest Access, users from outside your organization can fully participate in Teams' channels, meetings, and document sharing, just like internal team members.
External Access, on the other hand, is designed for cross-organizational collaboration. This feature allows Teams users from different organizations to participate in one-on-one chats and calls, provided that the organizations have allowed external access between them.
Microsoft Teams also offers Shared Channels feature, similar to Slack, that allows for collaboration between multiple organizations in the same channel.
Which Workstream Collaboration Product Is Best For Your Business?
Deciding between Microsoft Teams and Slack ultimately depends on your business needs. If your organization already uses Office 365, Teams is a natural choice for its seamless integration. However, if your team values a user-friendly interface and extensive third-party integrations, Slack could be the better option.
In conclusion, both Teams and Slack have their strengths and are continually evolving, making the workstream collaboration space a competitive and innovative one to watch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Slack better than Teams?
Whether Slack is better than Teams depends on your business needs. Slack offers a user-friendly interface, advanced slash commands, extensive third-party integrations, and a robust search bar.
However, if your organization relies heavily on Microsoft Office apps and needs advanced video conferencing features, Teams would be a better fit.
Why is Slack losing to Teams?
Microsoft Teams has been growing in popularity mainly due to its seamless integration with Microsoft Office apps and its advanced features like video conferencing and task management. The inclusion of Teams in the Microsoft 365 subscription also adds to its growing user base.
How do Teams beat Slack?
Teams offers more advanced features, such as comprehensive video meetings, integrations with Microsoft apps, extensive collaboration tools, and robust security and compliance measures.
Additionally, Teams' free plan offers more features than Slack's free plan.
Is Teams cheaper than Slack?
Comparing Slack and Teams, both offer free versions, but Microsoft Teams offers more features in its free and paid plan both. On the paid plans side, pricing is quite competitive, and the best fit would depend on your specific needs and team size.
Why prefer Slack over Teams?
Some users prefer Slack over Teams due to its clean, user-friendly interface, advanced search functionality, and extensive third-party app integration. It's a robust team chat app and collaboration tool that works well for both small teams and large organizations.
Why do people use Slack?
People use Slack for its ease of use, extensive third-party app integrations, advanced search functionality, and customizable notifications. It's an excellent tool for team communication, collaboration, and productivity.
What's the difference between Slack and Teams?
The main difference between Slack and Teams lies in their integration capabilities, user interface, and feature set. Teams seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Office apps, offers advanced video meetings, and has more robust security measures.
In contrast, Slack offers a user-friendly interface, advanced search functionality, and more extensive third-party app integration.
Is Slack losing to Teams?
While Slack remains a popular choice for many businesses, Microsoft Teams' user base has grown significantly, mainly due to its integration with Microsoft Office apps and the robust feature set it offers.
Is Microsoft Teams better than Slack?
Whether Teams is better than Slack depends on your business needs. Teams is a robust collaboration platform with advanced features and seamless integration with Microsoft Office apps.
However, if your team values user-friendly interfaces and extensive third-party integrations, Slack may be the better choice.
Is Teams more expensive than Slack?
Both Teams and Slack offer free and paid plans. While the pricing between two apps is competitive, Teams' free version offers more features, making it a more cost-effective choice for many businesses.
What is the difference between Slack and Workplace vs Teams?
Slack, Workplace (by Facebook), and Teams are all collaboration tools, but they differ in their features and integrations. While Slack integrates and offers extensive third-party integrations, Teams integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office apps. Workplace combines features of both and adds a social element, integrating with Facebook's suite of tools.
Is Slack an alternative to Teams?
Yes, Slack is a viable alternative to Teams. It offers a user-friendly interface, advanced search functionality, and extensive third-party app integrations, making it a robust tool for team communication and collaboration.
What do Teams use Slack for?
Teams use Slack for a variety of purposes, including direct messaging, team chat, file sharing, video conferencing, task management, and third-party collaboration app and integrations.
Why do people prefer Slack over Teams?
Some people prefer Slack over Teams due to its user-friendly interface, advanced search functionality, extensive third-party app integrations, and more customizable notifications. The Slack workspace is also perceived as more fun and engaging, with options for custom emojis and themes.
Is Teams better than Slack?
Whether Teams is better than Slack depends on your business needs. Teams offers advanced features such as comprehensive video meetings and seamless integration with Microsoft Office apps. However, if your team values a user-friendly interface and extensive third-party integrations, Slack might be the better choice.
Does anyone use Slack?
Yes, Slack is used by millions of people worldwide for team communication, collaboration, and productivity. It's popular among both small teams and large organizations.
Is teams cheaper than Slack?
Both Teams and Slack offer free and paid plans. While the pricing is competitive, Teams' free version offers more features, making it a more cost-effective choice for many businesses.
Is Slack comparable to teams?
Yes, Slack and Teams are comparable as they are both top-tier collaboration tools. They each offer a range of features, including direct messaging, channel conversations, file sharing, video conferencing, and third-party integrations.
What are the downsides of Slack?
One downside of Slack is its limited features in the free version, which only allows viewing and searching the most recent 10,000 messages. Slack's video conferencing feature is also less advanced compared to Teams.
What makes Slack different?
Slack stands out with its user-friendly interface, advanced search bar functionality, extensive third-party integrations, and customizable notifications. It's also known for its vibrant workspace, with options for custom emojis and themes.
Why does everyone use Slack?
Slack is popular due to its ease of use, extensive third-party integrations, and robust search functionality. It's a versatile tool that caters to diverse team communication and collaboration needs.