Slack users will soon be able access simple shared documents from within the messaging app, now that its new Canvas feature has been made generally available.
Slack unveiled Canvas at parent company Salesforce’s Dreamforce event in September, promising a new way for users to create and share information from within a Slack workspace. Canvas documents can contain a variety of information, such as text, files, apps and rich media that’s all searchable like other content within Slack. These documents can be paired with a specific channel or conversation to provide easy access to important information on a certain topic.
For example, users can create a document that tracks action items or logs meeting notes, the company said in a blog post announcing plans to roll out the feature. It will also be possible to add no-code automations to a canvas document, such as an embedded button to create an IT request.
The addition of Canvas could help build out Slack’s capabilities as a work hub, according to one analyst.
While messaging is a core part of a team collaboration app, a survey of 424 companies by analyst firm Metrigy in its Workplace Collaboration: 2021-22 report indicated that the majority (57.1%) view these platforms as a “hub for work and collaboration ” as opposed to “just a messaging app” (21.2%).
“Team collaboration apps have provided measurable value by enabling persistent and contextual conversations as an alternative to email," said Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst at Metrigy, in a research note last September when Canvas was first announced (client account access required). "But at most companies, even as they move toward using team apps as a work hub, users must still move between different apps to manage workflows and edit content."
The ability to bring a wider variety of information contained in documents directly into team channels “provides the opportunity to further improve productivity and speed of engagement by centralising content and chat collaboration within a team space,” Lazar said.
He added Slack Canvas is similar in some respects to Microsoft's recently launched Loop app, as well as Notion’s collaborative document creation tool, and even Salesforce’s own Quip app.
Slack Canvas is being rolled out to users now and is slated to be made available to all users within a few months, the company said in a blog post. Slack’s free tier users will be restricted to use of Slack Canvas in channels and direct messages, while paid customers can access canvas documents in standalone mode.