Let's say we are in a private conversation and we have a public channel (#public) and a private channel (#private). If I type in

Hey, this is a #public channel.

the "#public" is linked to the appropriated channel. If I type in however

Hey, this is a #private channel

the "#private" is not linked to the appropriated channel.

Can I achieve this? And if no, is there a reason why not?

  • 2
    My guess would be that it would reveal whether the channel exists.
    – user1686
    Jul 29, 2016 at 9:09
  • 6
    @grawity Good point! But you could just restrict the linkable private channels to those the user is able to see.
    – OddDev
    Jul 29, 2016 at 9:58
  • You could, but consider that the place where you place this cross-reference might be public, or even if private, might not also be able to restrict visibility to people who are members of both private channels. I would have thought that merely mentioning "#private" would be revelatory anyway, so this is needless optimization, but I guess the Slack folk thought that someone just mentioning #private isn't quite the same as the system proving it's there by a link/mention. Aug 3, 2017 at 14:52
  • Sending <#nonexistingroup> via API returns #deleted-channel on screen (even if it was never created) so you could potentially detect which groups exist or not.
    – kursus
    Sep 3, 2017 at 22:00

4 Answers 4


Slack now allows referencing private channels the same way you're used to do with public ones: by preceding the channel name with #. The channel name will be formatted in the final message to include a lock icon indicating it is private.

picture showing how slack formats links to private channels with a preceding lock icon to indicate the channel visibility If one does not have access to the private channel its name is hidden:picture showing slack omitting the channel name and just showing a "private channel" placeholder instead

The Official Slack Changelog states that this functionality was introduced in August 2021 and points to a guideline on how to use it.

  • Since this answer was written, I think the changelog has been updated to include this work - see August 2021 -> Other News "When writing messages in Slack, you can now link private channel names just like public channels. People can only see and click names of private channels they've joined." Includes a link to slack.com/help/articles/…
    – spirulence
    Mar 8, 2022 at 2:51
  • Thanks, @spirulence! I've updated the answer to reflect that. Mar 9, 2022 at 14:15
  1. In the sidebar, you can right click on the #private channel you want to reference, and select the option to copy the link:

Slack channel copy link

  1. Then in your message where you want to reference the private channel (and make it look just like when you reference a public channel), type a hashtag and the channel name (e.g. #private) and then select that text:

Slack select channel name text

  1. Now click the hyperlink button or press Ctrl + Shift + U, to make a link of the text you just selected, and paste that link you copied as the URL and click the [Save] button:

Slack insert link dialog

Now your private channel is linked just like if it was a public channel. Hooray!

Slack message with private channel linked

  • This should be an accepted answer Mar 19, 2021 at 15:14

Linking private channels like you can do with public channels is not supported in Slack.

My guess is it has to do with the security architecture of Slack, where private channels are completely invisible to all users (including admins and owners), which are not a member of that channel. Being able to post a direct link to a private channel would violate that security feature.

  • 5
    It's frustrating that even in messages to users in the channel you can't reference said channel. :( Apr 9, 2020 at 17:54
  • 1
    @DavidRoundy Yes, Slack's "features" are beyond frustrating.
    – jrw32982
    Nov 9, 2020 at 21:45

Yes. there does not seem to be a simple and easy way to reference private channels in slack.

Perhaps they can use other character notations like $private or %private as a way to indicate the private channels.

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