Slack vs. Microsoft Teams; the battle of the messaging apps rages on. If you have used Slack and Microsoft Teams, it’s natural to wonder which is better for your needs. Both apps have a lot in common, but they also have unique features that set them apart.
As the debate between the two apps has grown fierce, both apps have continued to improve and innovate. If one app has a feature lacking in the other, there’s a good chance it will be added in a future update. While this is great news for users, deciding which app is right for you can be challenging. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between Slack and Microsoft Teams, so you can make an informed decision based on what matters most.
Slack vs. Microsoft Teams: Must-Know Facts
- Both Slack and Microsoft Teams are team collaboration and communication tools. Slack is primarily focused on messaging and chat, while Teams also includes video conferencing, file storage, and integration with other Microsoft apps.
- Slack was founded in 2013 and is based in San Francisco, while Teams is a part of Microsoft and was launched in 2016.
- Slack is more user-friendly and customizable, while Teams is more geared towards enterprise users and integrating other Microsoft products.
- Slack offers a free version with limited features and paid plans for advanced features, while Teams is included in most Office 365 subscriptions.
- Slack has a larger user base and is more popular with smaller businesses and startups. Teams is more commonly used by larger organizations and those already using other Microsoft products.
Slack vs. Microsoft Teams: Side By Side Comparison
|Message history limits||The free plan allows you up to 10,000 messages. Unlimited access whether you choose Plus or Standard.||Unlimited message storage space on every plan.|
|Audio/video calls||The free plan includes unlimited voice or video calls between any two users. Paid subscriptions allow for conference calls with up to 15 participants. Calls made from the outside using AWS.Audio calls that come and go (Slack Huddles)||Calls and meetings held online are unrestricted. Direct route and Microsoft Voice are options for making calls to the outside world. In Microsoft Teams meetings, voice and video assistance is available for up to 250 participants.|
|Integrations||800+ apps are accessible. The free plan only allows for a maximum of 10 users.||More than 600 apps can be accessed.|
|File storage limit (per user)||No cost: 5GB-10GB as standard; 20GB as plus||Free of charge: 2GB-1TB per paid-for company.|
|Screen and file sharing||Offered in all unrestricted and paid campaigns.||Accessible in all unrestricted and paid campaigns.|
|Rapid commands||Commands are accessible||Commands are accessible|
Slack vs. Microsoft Teams: Key Differences
Microsoft Teams was made an alternative to Slack from the start, whether Microsoft confesses it or not. On the surface, Microsoft Teams looks and feels a lot like Slack. So what are the real-world differences?
At the moment, you can download Slack on Windows (32-bit, 64-bit, and Microsoft Store), MacOS (Mac App Store), Linux (DEB, RPM, and Snap Store), and Android and iOS. And Microsoft Teams? It’s also available on all of these platforms.
Now, here’s where things get interesting. Microsoft doesn’t have a native Windows app for Teams; instead, it offers a conventional desktop client for Windows, Apple macOS, and Linux (DEB and RPM). It is also available for Android and iOS.
But wait, there’s more! Slack and Teams are also available as web-based applications that can be accessed from any modern web browser. So, no matter what platform you’re on, you’ll have access to the communication tool of your choice.
The Microsoft Teams app has a menu on the left side of the screen that includes options for Activity, Chat, Teams, Messages, and Files. The Activity dashboard, similar to Yammer, gives you an overview of recent events in your organization. If someone mentions your name in a HipChat message, you’ll see a warning symbol or exclamation point next to the message, just like in Slack.
The Chat and Teams tabs also have this feature for direct messages. You can also talk with other users in the chat bar and send messages, emojis, stickers, memes, or files.
Slack has a variety of themes that you can use to personalize your interface. Microsoft Teams is not as advanced in this department yet, but you can choose from 3 different themes in the settings. These include the default “bright” theme, a “dark” theme, and a “high-contrast” theme for users with poor vision.
With its many emoticons and extra casual design, Slack almost encourages people to talk about things not related to work.
Microsoft Teams, on the other hand, restricts some of these “fun” components of the design, making it easier to pay more attention to the task at hand.
People can get distracted from their work in Teams, just like they can do so in Slack. It just seems to happen a little less often overall, possibly because of how Teams is set up and used.
If you are only interested in essential features of Teams or Slack, you will get more for your money with Microsoft Teams. You will get basic features similar to Slack’s for a few dollars.
Also, with Teams, if you subscribe to one of the higher tiers, you will have access to the Microsoft 365 apps, which is something Slack can’t do.
Microsoft Teams is also a better alternative to Slack if you want to host large video conferences for your company. You can host or participate in live or video conferences with up to 300 guests.
In the paid versions of Slack, only 15 people can be on a video call simultaneously. This limitation makes Teams a clear winner in this category.
Both apps can be so intrusive if you give them permission. So, it’s good to have control over when, how, and how often they let you know about things.
Microsoft gives you fine-grained control over the types of notifications that come to you through Teams. These include conversations, mentions, replies, likes, reactions, missed calls, and voicemails, among other things. In the desktop app, you can choose how you want to be notified, such as by a banner or an email. Using the desktop application, you can also read messages before sending them.
Slack doesn’t have quite as many ways to change how notifications are sent. But we love that you can set up different notifications for your mobile device and desktop and choose to be notified when someone uses a certain keyword. Both of these things are helpful.
Do Not Disturb controls is where Slack shines, especially if you need things done immediately. Simply turn on Do Not Disturb and focus on your work undistracted. You can mute incoming alerts for the next 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, until tomorrow, until next week, or for a different amount of time you choose.
You can also set a notification schedule limiting your notifications to certain times and days of the week.
Controls and Measures
With its new product, Microsoft wants to stand out by giving administrators more control and ensuring data is safe. Microsoft Teams and Slack encrypt users’ data, messages, and files while in transit or stored.
Also, they require everyone in the organization and the team to use two-factor authentication.
When Microsoft Teams and the Microsoft Office 365 Admin Center are put together, you will also have access to even more administrative controls. Through the Microsoft Office 365 Admin Center, IT administrators can get a wide range of controls for Microsoft Teams. Among these controls are the options to:
- Set whether Microsoft Teams is available or not available for the whole organization.
- You can set up the user profiles and decide what information is shown.
- Stop showing other people what’s on your screen and video while on a call or meeting.
- You can decide whether certain kinds of content, like animated photos, memes, and stickers, are allowed.
- Animated movies should have rules based on their content rating.
- Turn off support for tabs made by Microsoft partners and applications side-loaded from other sources.
- It’s up to the organization to decide if it will help users with bots or connect to other apps (this does not turn off the T-bot in Microsoft Teams)
- Notifications should be given to industries like healthcare that are more important.
Slack vs. Microsoft Teams: Pros and Cons
- Integrates well with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365 and SharePoint, making it easy for users to access and share files within the app.
- It has built-in video conferencing and meeting capabilities, making it ideal for remote teams.
- It offers robust security and compliance features, making it a great option for organizations with strict data regulations.
- Steeper learning curve than Slack, so it’ll take longer to fully know and use all its features.
- Some users have reported that the app can sometimes be slow and buggy.
- Free version is more limited than Slack’s free version and may require a paid subscription to unlock all features.
- Simple and user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate.
- Wide variety of integrations with other apps and services
- A large and active community of users and developers, making it easy to find support and resources.
- It doesn’t integrate as well with Microsoft products as Teams does.
- Limited built-in video conferencing and meeting capabilities, making it less ideal for remote teams.
- Security features are not as robust as Teams and may not be suitable for organizations with strict data regulations.
Slack vs. Microsoft Teams: Choosing the Best
The choice between Slack and Microsoft Teams ultimately comes down to your organization’s specific needs and preferences. Both platforms offer a wide range of features with unique pros and cons.
Slack is known for its user-friendly interface, easy integration with third-party apps, and advanced search functionality. On the other hand, Microsoft Teams offers robust video conferencing capabilities, tight integration with other Microsoft apps and services, and the ability to create and manage virtual workspaces.
Teams may be the better choice for seamless integration and workflow if your organization uses other Microsoft products. However, Slack may be the better option if you prioritize a sleek, intuitive interface and integrations with various third-party apps. Ultimately, it’s worth taking the time to test both platforms and see which best fits your team’s needs.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©rafapress/Shutterstock.com.