Slack allows archiving channels. We currently have around 50 channels that are no longer active with 0 users.

How can I efficiently archive these channels without having to join and archive them one by one?

  • According to the tag you have chosen, this question is off topic here. I have voted to have it migrated to Web Applications. – CharlieRB Aug 23 '16 at 20:39

To actually "slack-archive" the channels, ie the equivalent of running "/archive" within each channel, you'll need some API magic.

First, set up an API token for your user in the relevant team on https://api.slack.com/custom-integrations/legacy-tokens, then go to https://api.slack.com/methods/channels.list/test to get a json-listing of your channels together with the channel ids.

Then use these channel ids to run https://api.slack.com/methods/channels.archive/test for the channels you want to archive.

Here is a quick and dirty bash script (which uses jq) I recently ran on my Mac in order to archive the hundreds of channels that contained "sk-" in the channel name:

curl "https://slack.com/api/channels.list?token=$TOKEN&exclude_archived=true&pretty=1" > /tmp/channels.list
IDS=$(cat /tmp/channels.list | jq '.channels[] | select(.name | contains("sk-")) | .id' | sed -e 's/"//g')
for ID in $IDS; do
    echo $URL
    curl "$URL"

It got the job done, archiving about 2-3 channels per second.

| improve this answer | |
  • @pnuts Only briefly now since you linked to them, but I found none that were related to this post? – Motin Oct 17 '17 at 23:23
  • I wanted to archive private conversations, so I needed to switch from legacy channels.list to the newer conversations.list and used the param &types=private_channel. Ditto changing channels.archive to conversations.archive – Carl Walsh Jun 12 '19 at 23:59

Go into Team Settings > Message Archives. Select the "Export" tab, then "start export." Per the information on this page, this will create a file that will consist of "a series of JSON files: one per channel per day with activity, plus a file containing information about all members of your team."

It will take Slack some time to prepare this export, especially if you have a lot of message traffic and media in the channels (it also exports images). After some time, it will e-mail you to let you know the export is ready for download.

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  • 1
    Sounds like the question is about another kind of archiving (as in putting the channel away)? – user1686 Aug 23 '16 at 22:28
  • In the context of Slack this is what I'd expect a person to mean by "archive." Storing the existing chatlog in that channel away and putting it into cold storage. If you delete the channel later, I suppose that'd be a different operation. – Bradley Evans Aug 23 '16 at 22:31
  • For reference, on individual channels this help page ( get.slack.help/hc/en-us/articles/213185307-Deleting-a-channel ) shows archiving and deleting to be seperate operations, not a single "save and close" operation. – Bradley Evans Aug 23 '16 at 22:32

Here is my quick PHP script that i use to clear all sk channels

$json_url = "https://slack.com/api/channels.list?token=YOURTOKEN&pretty=1";
$json = file_get_contents($json_url);

$data = json_decode($json);
echo "total channels:".$m."<br>";


for($i=0; $i<$m; $i++) {

//echo $data->channels[$i]->name."<br>";

if (strpos($cn, 'sk-') !== false and $cn2==0) {
   echo $data->channels[$i]->name."(".$cn2.") (id=";
   echo $cid.');<br>';

$json_url2 = "https://slack.com/api/channels.archive?token=YOURTOKEN&channel=".$cid."&pretty=1";
$json2 = file_get_contents($json_url2);

echo "total sk channels archived:".$k."<br>";

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Here is a kotlin script I wrote recently to archive all channels that hadn't had a new message in them in 3 months.

Note: If you hit the API limit in the logs, wait 2 minutes and run it again.

import com.squareup.moshi.Moshi
import khttp.get
import java.time.ZonedDateTime

data class JsonChannelsList(
        val channels: List<JsonChannel>

data class JsonChannel(
        val id: String,
        val name_normalized: String,
        val is_archived: Boolean,
        val is_private: Boolean

data class JsonMessages(
        val messages: List<JsonMessage>

data class JsonMessage(
        val username: String,
        val text: String,
        val ts: String

data class ArchiveableChannel(
        val id: String,
        val name: String

 * Arg 0 is your slack api token with user access (to be able to read channels)
fun main(args: Array<String>) {
    val moshi = Moshi.Builder().build()
    val jsonChannelsAdapter = moshi.adapter(JsonChannelsList::class.java)
    val jsonMessagesAdapter = moshi.adapter(JsonMessages::class.java)

    val slackToken = args[0]

    val list = get("https://slack.com/api/channels.list?token=$slackToken&exclude_archived=true&pretty=1")

    val jsonChannelsList: JsonChannelsList = jsonChannelsAdapter.fromJson(list.jsonObject.toString()) as JsonChannelsList;
    println("${list.statusCode} - ${list.jsonObject}")
    val channels = jsonChannelsList.channels
    val archivable = arrayListOf<ArchiveableChannel>()

    println("Finding Archiveable Channels")
    for (c in channels) {
        println("Channel ${c.name_normalized} ")
        if (c.is_private) {
            println("private, skipped.")
        if (c.is_archived) {
            println("archived already.")
        val channelId = c.id;
        val THREE_MONTHS_AGO = ZonedDateTime.now().minusMonths(3).toEpochSecond()
        val msgs = get("https://slack.com/api/channels.history?token=$slackToken&channel=$channelId&oldest=$THREE_MONTHS_AGO&count=1")
//        print("messages ")
//        println(msgs.jsonObject)

        val jsonMessages: JsonMessages = jsonMessagesAdapter.fromJson(msgs.jsonObject.toString()) as JsonMessages
        if (jsonMessages.messages.isEmpty()) {
            archivable.add(ArchiveableChannel(c.id, c.name_normalized))

    println("Archive Channels")
    for (archiveChannel in archivable) {
        val archivedResult = get("https://slack.com/api/channels.archive?token=$slackToken&channel=${archiveChannel.id}&pretty=1")
        print("${archivedResult.statusCode} ")
        print("${archiveChannel.name} ")
    println("Archived ${archivable.size} channels.")
    println("Archived $archivable")

Dependencies needed:

compile "org.jetbrains.kotlin:kotlin-stdlib:1.0.3"
compile 'khttp:khttp:0.1.0'

Source project here: https://github.com/novoda/spikes/tree/master/slackdeath

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You can use spri.me (shameless plug) for this. Login, select the channels and "Archive".

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