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Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Which Tool is Ahead of the Game?

Slack vs Microsoft Teams
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With the onset of the pandemic and shift in the workplace behaviours, there was a sudden need to facilitate collaboration and digitization to enhance productivity and maintain consistency between team members across locations and time zones. 

Satya Nadella and Bill Gate wanted to bid 8 billion USD to acquire Slack, the team chat SaaS company. Their meeting had an extraordinary solution, that was instead of buying Slack, they decided to create their own app. 

Microsoft Teams was officially launched in November of 2016. This online collaboration platform consolidates Microsoft office 365 with the chat and multiple productivity tools. From the face of it, Teams and Slack are pretty similar, but they differ greatly in terms of functionalities.

Microsoft Teams daily active users have increased by 2x in the past year from 75 Million users in April 2020 to 145 Million users as of April 2021. Whereas Slack has more than 12 million daily active users, out of which 9 million users take advantage of the free platform.

As we are building Chanty, we have actively used both platforms to understand their pros and cons. Here’s our review, based on our team’s real-world use. 

If this review still does not convince you for either Slack or Teams, you can always try Chanty – it’s a team chat and collaboration app, that is easy to use, fast, and stores unlimited message history even in the free plan. 

These platforms are absolute leaders in this space, while both offer chat, notifications, and multiple other productivity integrations, there are a few clear differences. 

Here we’ll compare features, pricing, and more to help you decide which tool is right for your business.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: fast facts

If you are looking for a brief overview, here are all the facts that you need to be aware of, to make that decision. 

The biggest difference initially was that Teams didn’t have a free platform, but in July 2018, Microsoft introduced a free alternative plan that reinforced its position as a Slack competitor. 

Slack is comparatively easier to sign up for and use, whereas Microsoft Teams is designed for larger enterprises and organisations. Hence, the set-up is more complex and secure. It also offers additional integration with Office 365 applications. However slack allows 2000+ integrations if that is something that excites you. 

We also have a full detailed review of Slack on our blog as well.

SlackMicrosoft Teams
Pricing modelFreemium

Standard $6.67 user/month (billed annually)

Plus $12.50 user/month (billed annually)

Freemium

Office 365 Business Essentials

$5 per user/month

(billed annually)

Office 365 Business Premium

$12.50 per user/month

(billed annually)

You can try both paid plans for free for 30 days

Message history limit10K messages in Free plan, unlimited in Standard and Plus plansUnlimited in all plans
Audio/video callsUnlimited 1:1 voice and video calls in Free plan

Conference calls for up to 15 participants in Paid plans

Voice/video calls with up to 250 people in a meeting.
Integrations10 integrations limit in Free plan, 2000+ integrations in paid plans472 apps to choose from
File storage limitFree plan: 5GB file storage for a team

Standard plan: 10GB per user

Plus plan: 20GB per user

Free plan: 2 GB/user and 10GB of shared storage

Paid plans: 1 TB per organization

Screen sharingUnavailable in Free version, available in Standard and Plus versionsAvailable in all plans
Interface color optionsCustom sidebar themes3 themes (light, dark, high contrast)
Conversation threadsYesYes

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: pricing

Both platforms have free plans. Nonetheless, to get the most out of Microsoft Teams and Slack, it is better to opt for a paid plan. The least expensive Office 365 plan that comes with Teams is called Business Essentials. It costs $5 per user per month, and has to be paid annually to get started. 

Slack’s lowest priced plan i.e., Standard plan costs $6.67 per user per month, which is also billed annually. If you consider Microsoft Teams, you spend $5 that also gives you access to Office 365, which makes the value proposition more attractive. 

For the upgrade of both plans, Slack or Microsoft Teams, they both cost the same $12.50 per user per month, but Teams comes with Office 365 included.

Additionally, the Office 365 E3 enterprise plan costs $20 per user per month (billed annually) and the maximum number of users on this plan can be 500,000. This plan also offers online event hosting for 10,000 users, file attachments and unlimited cloud space. This makes it an ideal option for enterprises and larger organisations. 

Slack offers an enterprise plan too, that offers 1TB of storage for each user, but for the pricing the Slack’s support has to be contacted. 

If the price is the concerning factor for you, you may want to consider exploring Chanty as an alternative. It is priced at $3 per user per month, with advanced features like unlimited message history, and both audio and video calls. This makes it a far more affordable option as compared to Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: getting started

Getting started with Microsoft Teams requires lots of time and patience. In our experience, the set up itself is quite intimidating. We started out from the base, with no Office 365 subscription.

We start from the Tools page on the Microsoft website, where there is a sign up form to download the app. It doesn’t matter if you’re signing up for a trial or paid plan, it still asks you to share a lot of personal information, including a credit card, phone number and business email – personal emails don’t work!

Office 365 Business Premium registrationOffice 365 Business Premium registration

On completing the registration for the free trial or paid plan, you are given access to the Team deployment portal. This includes multiple tools, and it is mandatory to go through all of it to get started with the application.

Team Deployment Advisor in Microsoft TeamsTeam Deployment Advisor in Microsoft Teams

Post which, you reach the Admin Panel. It is here that you actually launch the app. The screen is pretty cluttered, and you might be tempted to check random options, but stick to the launch, because that itself is taking a lot of your time.

Office 365 Admin panelOffice 365 Admin panel

Finally, you will get to the Microsoft Teams app, and you can start communicating and collaborating.

Microsoft Teams workspaceMicrosoft Teams workspace

Whereas getting started with slack is so much faster and extremely convenient. The registration requires no personal details and you are not asked to share any payment details unless you are signing up for the paid plan. The sign up process is easy and includes 7-8 steps.

A registration modal box in SlackA registration modal box in Slack

In totality, registering and getting started with slack took nearly 7 minutes, in comparison to the hour spent on Microsoft Teams.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: inviting users

It is pretty straightforward to invite users to slack. Once you are done registering, the platform prompts to invite people to your workspace. Alternatively, you can send them an invite using the “invite people” option.

Modal box for inviting new members in SlackModal box for inviting new members in Slack

Whereas, adding new users and guests to the Team platform is slightly more complicated. They have to be first added to the Office 365 Admin portal, from the office page, as shown below:

Adding a user in Admin PanelAdding a user in Admin Panel

Once they are added to the admin portal, they will receive an email with the invite. On accepting the invite they log on and create a password. Once the user is created, they can then be added to Microsoft Teams application.

Adding members to a team in Microsoft Teams appAdding members to a team in Microsoft Teams app

Our colleagues who tried Microsoft Teams mentioned that it took really long to register at the platform.

My colleague sent me a screenshot arguing that getting MT started takes too much timeMy colleague sent me a screenshot arguing that getting MT started takes too much time

Getting started by inviting new users and guests doesn’t have to be so time consuming. This job is better off designated to the IT admin, as compared to the team leader/executive doing it. 

Also, a tool like Chanty could be a smart choice, it’s extremely easy to register for, set up and use.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: layout and design

The layout, design and feel of the two platforms is fairly similar. Both have a vertical panel for your contacts and settings, along with a larger panel for the conversations and threads. 

Slack’s layout vs. Microsoft Teams layout:

Layout and designImage source                                                                 Image source

On the extreme left, Teams has an extra panel with other features like Activity, Chat, Meetings, Files etc. Additionally the Teams search bar offers many different functionalities as compared to Slack.

Microsoft Teams search boxMicrosoft Teams search box

Slack has more options in terms of design for personalisation of the app, as you can change the theme and colour of the interface based on your preference.

Options for customizing your workplace in SlackOptions for customizing your workplace in Slack

Microsoft Teams has only three themes that you can use to customize the interface.

Options for customizing your workplace in MTOptions for customizing your workplace in MT

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: messaging

Both Slack and Teams offer 1:1 messaging, that is a fairly basic functionality. Moving on to the interesting details, both these tools offer group chat with threads. It allows the users to edit, delete, pin and react to the messages, mentioning another user with an “@” is also possible. Users can very conveniently start a new thread, share files and integrate other apps to help increase productivity.

The biggest difference in both these platforms is that Microsoft Teams has advanced options to format any text sent in the message. Which allows the users to create bullet lists, change colours, and also change fonts.

Formatting options in MTFormatting options in MT

One of the many fun features of Microsoft Teams is that it allows the users to send .gifs. Finding the right emoji is incredibly convenient too because all you have to do is type the right word in the search and you get multiple matching results.

Emoji search by name in MTEmoji search by name in MT

Alternatively, Slack also allows you to react to messages in threads with different emojis and not just a like. It also allows the users to mark messages as reminders and set alarms for the same. Below is an easy comparison of what the possibilities are with both the tools.

Message optionsSlack                                          Microsoft Teams

In terms of notifications, both tools have advanced systems that can be personalised based on the liking of the user. But neither of these apps have a central notification hub, similar to what Stride used to have.

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Slack vs Microsoft Teams: threads

If you prefer regularity in the conversation, you might really like threads. They allow us to maintain more structured and organised communications.

To create a thread in Microsoft Teams all you have to do is select the reply option on a message. There is an “All Threads” tab, where you can view all your opened threads. Additionally, you can also do that by pinning a message or marketing it with the “star”.

 In Teams, the only limitation is that you can only use threads in channels and not in private conversations, and they cannot be turned off.

Using Threads in SlackUsing Threads in Slack

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: file sharing and collaboration

Slack’s storage limit for uploading is 1 GB, while Teams is capped at 15 GB. 

We were very interested in understanding how seamless collaboration could be on these platforms. We decided to try uploading an 800 MB video file to Microsoft Teams. It was pleasantly surprising to see that the file opened, and played within seconds in Microsoft Teams – Very impressive.

Watching a video within MT workspace without downloading itWatching a video within MT workspace without downloading it

On the contrary, you would have to download the video file to be able to play it on Slack.

Experiencing some troubles with uploaded videoExperiencing some troubles with uploaded video

Our idea of healthy collaboration is being able to watch the video together with the team, and speaking with them simultaneously – This unfortunately is not possible in Slack. The fact that Microsoft Teams supports it, definitely makes it a stronger competitor. 

It allows you not just to watch videos, but also comment on it at the same time. You can also collaborate on MS Office and OneDrive documents with Teams, without leaving the App.

Collaborating on Microsoft Word documentImage source

In terms of storage limits, Slack provides 5 GB in the free plan and up to 20 GB in the paid plans, per user whereas, Microsoft Teams provides 1TB per organization.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: video calls

Here are some screenshots of video calls from Microsoft Teams. The audio and video quality were pretty great, and we were happy with the video calls on Teams.

Chanty team is exploring video calls in Microsoft TeamsChanty team is exploring video calls in Microsoft Teams

If we wanted to, we could switch from instant messaging to video or audio calling by pushing a single button.

Video calls features in MTVideo calls features in MT

Additionally, we tried to record video calls. Once you hit the record button it starts recording and, a few minutes after the call ends the video shows up in the chat window. It’s actually pretty seamless.

Video calls features in MT

With Slack, on the free plan you can only talk to one person at a time. If you have opted for the paid plan, you can add up to 15 users.

Microsoft allows adding 250 participants in group video calls with their paid plans.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: integrations

Teams integrates with Office 365 seamlessly being a Microsoft product. If you use SharePoint, OneNote, PowerBI, or Planner, it will be very convenient to you with Teams. It also supports many third party integrations such as Trello. Teams currently support 472 external integrations (2021).

That sounds amazing, until we realise that Slack supports 2000+ integrations. Companies are trying to constantly come up with Slack integrations and the number of supported apps are increasing daily.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: task management 

Neither of the two apps have a built-in task management feature. 

Slack has an “Actions”, this option can be used to allot, create, and finish tasks without getting out of the App. However this functionality can only be used through integrations. Similarly, Teams has “Planner” that can be used to manage and plan your tasks. 

If you need a team communication and collaboration app that supports task management functionalities, give Chanty a try. The built in task management feature can easily help turn messages into tasks. It also has a Kanban board that helps to filter tasks by status, people and deadlines. 

If you’d like to learn more about Chanty and it’s functionalities, sign up for a demo today!

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: search

The “search” option in Slack is very convenient. It can easily help sort through messages, contacts and files. Slack also has a capability to search for content within other documents. This helps to find terms within Google Docs and Dropbox files. 

We searched for the phrase “celebrating workplace diversity” which was in one of the PDF’s. – Of course, Slack search was able to find it.

SearchA snippet of the book                                                   Slack found it!

We tried the same with Microsoft Teams, it worked just as nicely (screenshot below).

Microsoft Teams searches the content within filesMicrosoft Teams searches the content within files

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: help and support

Both Microsoft Teams and Slack claim to provide 24 x 7 support. 

We made up a scenario – If we wanted to delete a channel in Slack or Teams, what would you do? You would first look for help.

T-Bot is answering questions in MT T-Bot is answering questions in MT

T-Bot provides constant support for Teams. 

You log into the app called T-Bot, on logging in, you see a chats tab. You simply type “Delete a channel” and get very useful instructions.

Sections within a bot to browse “Help” content in MTSections within a bot to browse “Help” content in MT

On the other hand, it is easier to get help in Slack, by directly going to their Help Centre. You just type the keyword “Delete” and the answer is right in front of you.

Help Centre in SlackHelp Centre in Slack

However, if you want an immediate answer, searching the problem on google would be a better idea.

Wrapping up

Price: Both Teams and Slack have free plans. With paid plans, the cheapest Teams plan is less than Slack’s cheapest plans. Teams definitely wins this round. 

Getting started: Slack is very convenient to get started with, in contrast Microsoft Teams takes a lot of time to initiate, administrate and onboard new users. 

Layout and design: Microsoft Teams has multiple options and tabs. On the other hand, there are limited options in Slack, and they are constantly working to improve their interface. Slack also has more personalisation options as compared to Teams. 

Messaging: Slack and Teams have multiple ways to send and receive messages, Including threads. Microsoft Teams allows the users to format the text and Slack comes with the functionality to set reminders on individual messages. 

File sharing and collaboration: Teams allows you to share Office 365 files and work on them together on the workspace. On the other hand, Slack does not come with that option, so in order to edit documents, you have to download them and share them again. 

Video calls: Both these platforms allow video calls and the functionality works very well.
Teams allows video recording as well, which is extremely helpful if you want to look back at the discussion. It also allows up to 250 users in a single call on paid plans, as compared to 15 people on Slack. 

Integrations: Teams comes bundled with Office 365 apps and 472 third party applications. Slack is a clear winner here with 2000+ application integrations. 

Task management: Both platforms need external integrations to support task management. In Slack you can assign and manage them using “Actions” and in Teams the same can be done with the “Planner” tool. 

Search. Teams and Slack allow you to search through the chat history, contracts and even the documents that are shared on the app.  

Help and Support: Both platforms provide seamless support via Bots and FAQs. 

Summary: Both these apps provide great functionality, but they are built to serve different needs. If you require lots of integrations and customisation Slack is a great option. Whereas, Teams works well for larger enterprises, it could be a great idea for companies that already pay for Office 365.
Teams could be a better option if you have a dedicated IT team. 

Teams also helps to reduce language barriers, because it comes with real time translation functionality (supported languages below), while slack is only available in English. 

supported languages in MS Teams

Additionally, if you’re looking for a communication team app that is easy to set up, you should try Chanty! It comes equipped with audio and video calls, screen sharing and a built in task management platform. It’s extremely convenient to set up and easy to use. If you’re interested in Chanty, you can sign up today or book a free demo!

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Mile Živković

Mile Živković is a content writer and work-life balance expert at Chanty – a simple and easy to use Slack alternative. When Mile isn't busy writing epic posts on productivity, work-life balance and time management for Chanty blog, he's probably driving somewhere. His hobbies include cars (huge fan of Alfa Romeo), photography and collecting pocket knives. You can catch him on LinkedIn.

36 comments

  • Great review! Thanks. Do you have any experience on adding members, like consultants (at enterprise without company email) to Teams?

    • Hi Marco
      Thank you for the feedback.
      That’s the interesting question you are asking.
      It seems like you can’t add guest members to Teams in the Freemium version.
      I tried to do it and got the message that I’m not authorized to do it. MT tips on how to add guests to a team didn’t help much.

      Apparently, you can lift this restriction via Admin Panel in Office 365 if you purchase or request the Free trial of Office 365 Business Premium or Office 365 Business Essentials.

  • Thank you for this review!

    One aspect I would like to put on my wishlist is better linking to documents. In order to have a most useful link it should be:
    – human readable (rather than the cryptic stuff generated by MT
    – expose the structure where to find the document
    – subject to referential integrity, i.e. don’t break when the document is moved some place else.

    Working with teams as a novice i often encounter broken links, cause someone re-organized structures and moved documents from one place to another.

    I never worked with slack, so I have no comparison, but this is something I would like to have to improve collaboration in larger teams.

    • Hi Bernd.
      Thank you for the feedback!
      In my experience, linking documents is a feature many tools should work on. I hope MT will fix the issues you are talking about. Have you tried to reach support with your complaint?
      We could definitely explore document sharing in MT and other tools in our next Chanty reviews.

  • I am certain that Chanty does not integrate with Office 365 or other MS products (correct me if I am wrong), thus it would be helpful if you made it clear up front that Chanty is not for large organizations using Microsoft products unless they plan to make a drastic change from MS to G Suite, for example.

    • Hi Larry, thank you for your comment. Currently, Chanty doesn’t integrate with Office 365 however, it’s on our roadmap and the integrations will be definitely shipped in 2019 making Chanty a good fit for organizations using Microsoft products. Please, feel free to reach out in case you have more questions.

      Best,
      Olga

  • My company is going to move to Teams as a complete replacement to our on-premise phone system, so that might be another advantage for MT (adding PSTN support via voice services – we’re planning to use a 3rd-party telecom for the backend PSTN).

    • Hey Matt, thanks for your comment, you are right, this is another benefit of MT. At Chanty, we also have PSTN support on our roadmap. Cheers, Olga.

  • the biggest problem with Teams is the inability to create a private chanell. you have to create a new team if you want to invite people from outside of your team. right now, any member in your team, including guests have access to all the channels. that is a problem. slack let’s you assign membership at the channel level while Teams does not so you have to create a private team and then a public team. a bit annoying.

    • Hi, cesar de la garza.
      Thanks for sharing your take on Teams! The inability to create a private channel is certainly one of the biggest setbacks of the tool.
      Microsoft developers claim they are working on the feature, but who knows how much time it will take to implement it. Have a great day!

    • Not true. You can create team add members and guest the. Create channels in private mode And in private mode you have complete control who has what access.

  • It sounds childish but it is not, party parrots and possibility to upload your own emojis is such a missing feature in MT.

    Slack is about the fun. These tools work because you can make friends at work.

    Having worked with both, no one enjoys MT. Also gifs aren’t played automatically in MT on my version at least. You need to click a play button.

    • Hi Nicolas.
      Nice point! At Chanty, we also believe communication should be fun and uplifting. The smooth user experience when it comes to emojis and GIFs is important.
      We’ll address the issue in the next review of the article. Regards!

  • After using both MS Teams (+1 year) and Slack (+2 years) there are a few things that is just brilliant in MS Teams that I miss in Slack to make sales people move from Emails:
    – make posts with a title (not possible with Slack)
    – make hyperlinks with words (in slack you have to show the whole hideous hyperlink)
    – the same features in threads as regular post (not in slack)
    – Post inline pictures in posts (in slack you upload individual and attach…)

    MS Teams has come out with a number of improvements over the last year to play catch up but Slack has been very inactive in improving it’s core features, hopefully they are rising to the challenge

    • Hi Erik. Thanks for dropping your comment! I’ll take in the accounts your thoughts when updating the article. Have a great day!

    • Hi Pavel. Thanks for the feedback. The text was originally written in English, so no Russian version – alas! Have a great day!

  • Hi Aleksey,

    I recently compared MST to several competitors and what turned my team off is that, free or paid, you need a Microsoft account. Sure, the free version can be joined with a free MS account, but the paid version as far as I can tell requires an O365 or Azure account. For people who distrust MS, or can’t afford the O365/Azure account, this is a no go.

    • Hi Glenn. I joined Teams Freemium a while ago with my work e-mail – didn’t need Microsoft account for that. Yet, when I subscribed for a trial paid version, I actually had to set up a Microsoft account. In this case, if you distrust MS, Teams is not an option, for sure.
      Have a great day!

  • Excellent review folks, THX!
    Curious about some stuff that wasn’t in the write up though.

    Our teams are quite “diverse” what OS is concerned. And with MS’s cure and new found love from previous “diseases”:
    ## What about the use of MT for people on non-MS environments (Mac, Linux)?
    ## The review highlights the integration with O365. That’s nice, but also kind of a lock in. Again, there are people using other solutions, which makes me curious how MTs integration is with e.g. Libre/ OpenOffice?
    ## I suppose my questions above can also be extended to other non-MS software…

  • “At the moment of writing this article, Microsoft Teams has over 13 million daily active users, which is a sign that Microsoft management made the right move”

    Bit of a strange conclusion. How much did they spend to develop Teams? How many users would Slack have now if they’d acquired that instead? How much money is Teams making compared to Slack?

  • Hi, thanks for the review.

    I plan a webinar for my team and external participants next week. Participants should be about 5000 (we had 3000 last year). Webinar will last for 3 days with three equal sessions of about 2 hours each.

    Based on the review above which will you advice between slack and Microsoft team or zoom?

    • Hi Ify!
      If you plan a webinar with 1-2 speakers and all the rest 3000-5000 participants will be listening, we recommend you to use special webinar services like WEBINARJAM, DEMIO or CLICKMEETING.

  • When you say Teams is for enterprise companies what you really mean is that Teams is for older enterprise companies who are stuck in the Microsoft ecosystem. Not all enterprise companies are completely bought into Microsoft. I’ve worked for several enterprise level companies who have 8k+ users in slack and the company that I was at with Teams had about 4k

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