With the onset of the pandemic and the shift in workplace behaviors, there was a sudden need to facilitate collaboration and digitization to enhance productivity and maintain consistency between team members across different locations and time zones.
Satya Nadella and Bill Gates wanted to bid 8 billion USD to acquire Slack, the team chat SaaS company. Their meeting had an extraordinary turn of events, and 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 team chat and multiple productivity tools. At first glance, Teams and Slack are pretty similar, but they differ a lot 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. On the other hand, 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 first-hand experience.
If this review still does not convince you with either Slack or Teams, you can always try Chanty – it’s a fast, powerful, user-friendly team chat and collaboration app, that offers an unlimited message history even in the free plan.
These platforms are absolute leaders in this space, and while both offer chat, notifications, and multiple other productivity integrations, there are a few clear differences.
Here we’ll compare features, pricing, and much more to help you decide which tool is best 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 plan, 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 organizations. Hence, the set-up is more complex and secure. It also offers additional integrations with Office 365 applications. However, slack allows a whopping 2000+ integrations, including essential apps, brilliant bots, and the best CRM software.
We also have a full detailed review of Slack on our blog post as well.
Pro $6.67 user/month (billed annually)
Business+ $12.50 user/month (billed annually)
Microsoft Teams Essentials
$4 per user/month
Microsoft 365 Business Basic
$5 per user/month
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
$12.50 per user/month
|Message history limit||10K messages in Free plan, unlimited in Pro and Business+ plans||Unlimited in all plans|
|Audio/video calls||Unlimited 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.|
|Integrations||10 integrations limit in Free plan, 2000+ integrations in paid plans||472 apps to choose from|
|File storage limit||Free plan: 5GB file storage for a team|
Pro plan: 10GB per user
Business+ plan: 20GB per user
|Free plan: 5 GB/user and 10GB of shared storage|
Paid plans: 1 TB per organization
|Screen sharing||Unavailable in Free version, available in Pro and Business+ versions||Available in all plans|
|Interface color options||Custom sidebar themes||3 themes (light, dark, high contrast)|
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 one of the paid plans. The least expensive Office 365 plan that comes with Teams is called Microsoft Office Essentials. It costs $4 per user per month, and has to be paid annually to get started.
Slack’s lowest priced plan i.e., Pro plan costs $6.67 per user per month, which is also billed annually. If you consider Microsoft Teams, you spend $4 that also gives you access to Office 365, which makes the value proposition much 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 Business Standard plan costs $12.50 per user per month (billed annually) and the maximum number of users on this plan can be 10,000. 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, which offers 1TB of storage for each user, but for the exact pricing you’ll need to contact Slack’s support.
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, as well as both audio and video calls. This makes it a far more affordable option 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 very base, with no Office 365 subscription.
We began with 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 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 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 panel
Finally, you will get to the Microsoft Teams app, and you can start communicating and collaborating.
Microsoft Teams workspace
On the other hand, getting started with Slack is much faster and extremely convenient. The registration requires no personal details, no you are 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 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 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 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 account is created, they can then be added to the Microsoft Teams application.
Adding members to a team in the Microsoft Teams app
Our colleagues who tried Microsoft Teams mentioned that it took really long to register on the platform.
My 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.
On that note, a tool like Chanty could be a smart choice, it’s extremely easy to register, 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:
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 box
Slack has more options in terms of design 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 Slack
Microsoft Teams has only three themes that you can use to customize the interface.
Options for customizing your workplace in MT
Slack vs Microsoft Teams: messaging
Both Slack and Teams offer 1:1 messaging, which is a fairly basic functionality. Moving on to the interesting features, both these tools offer group chat with threads. It allows the users to edit, delete, pin and react to the messages, as well as mention another user with an “@”. Users can very conveniently start a new thread, share files, and integrate other apps to help increase productivity.
The biggest difference between these platforms is that Microsoft Teams has advanced options to format any text sent in messages, which allows the users to create bullet lists, change colours, and also change fonts.
Formatting 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 will get multiple matching results.
Emoji search by name in MT
Alternatively, Slack also allows you to react to messages in threads with different emojis and not just a simple like. It also allows the users to mark messages as reminders and set alarms for them. Below is a simple comparison of the messaging capabilities of both tools.
Slack 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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Communication issues at work?
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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 organized communication.
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 marking it with the “star”.
In Teams, the only limitations are that you can only use threads in channels and not in private conversations, and they cannot be turned off.
Using 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 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 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 to not just watch videos, but also comment on them at the same time. You can also collaborate on MS Office and OneDrive documents with Teams, without leaving the App.
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, so we were delighted with the video calls on Teams.
Chanty 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 MT
Additionally, we tried to record video calls. Once you hit the record button it instantly starts recording, and a few minutes after the call ends the video shows up in the chat window. It’s actually pretty impressive.
With Slack’s 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 seamlessly with Office 365 being a Microsoft product. If you use SharePoint, OneNote, PowerBI, or Planner, it will be very convenient for you with Teams. It also supports many third party integrations such as Trello. Teams currently supports 472 external integrations.
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” feature which can be used to create, allocate and work on tasks without getting out of the App. However, this functionality can only be used through integrations. Similarly, Teams has a “Planner” option 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 its 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 allows you to find words and phrases 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.
A 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 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 you 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 provides constant support for Teams.
You log into the app called T-Bot where you will find a chats tab. You simply type “Delete a channel” and get very useful instructions.
Sections 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 Slack
However, if you want an immediate answer, searching the problem on google would be an even better idea.
Price: Both Teams and Slack have free plans. Regarding the paid plans, the cheapest Teams plan is less than Slack’s cheapest plan. Teams definitely wins this round.
Getting started: Slack is very convenient to get started with, in contrast to Microsoft Teams which 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 on improving their interface. Slack also has more personalization options 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 while 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, and it would be a great choice for companies that already pay for Office 365.
Teams could be a better option if you have a dedicated IT team that can install the app for all team members.
Teams also helps to reduce language barriers, considering it comes with a real time translation functionality (supported languages below), while Slack is only available in English.
Additionally, if you’re looking for a team communication 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 tool. It’s extremely easy to set up and use. If you’re interested in Chanty, you can sign up today or book a free demo!