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 took an extraordinary turn, 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 team chat and multiple productivity tools. At first glance, Teams and Slack are pretty similar, but they differ a lot in terms of functionalities.
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 neither Slack nor Teams convince you, you can always try Chanty, a 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 setup 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 as well.
Pro plan offers $7.25 per person/month, when billed yearly and $8.75 per person/month when billed monthly
Business+ plan offers $12.50 per person/month, when billed yearly and $15 per person/month when billed monthly
Enterprise Grid plan offers a customizable plan upon contact to the sales team
Microsoft Teams Essentials offers $4.00 per person/month paid annually
Microsoft 365 Business Basic offers $6.00 per person/month paid annually
Microsoft 365 Business Standard offers $12.50 per person/month paid annually
|Message history limit||90-day message and data history in the free plan|
Unlimited message and data history in Pro, Business+ and Enterprise Grid plans
|Unlimited in all plans|
|Audio/video calls||Unlimited 1:1 voice and video calls in Free plan|
Conference calls for up to 50 participants in Paid plans
|Voice or video calls with up to 250 people in a meeting.|
|Integrations||10 integrations limit in free plan|
2400+ integrations in paid plans
|Over 250 integrated apps and services for Busines Basic and Business Standard plans|
|File storage limit||5GB file storage for a team in the free plan (only for 90-days)|
10GB per person in the Pro plan
20GB per person in the Business+ plan
|5GB across all teams in the free plan|
2GB of cloud storage per person on Microsoft Teams Essentials plan
1 TB cloud storage per person in Business Basic and Business Standard plan
|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)|
|Conversation threads||Available on all plans||Available on all plans|
Slack vs 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., the Pro plan, costs $7.25 per user per month, which is also billed annually. If you consider Microsoft Teams, you spend $4, which 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. However, with Miocrosoft a third plan has been introduced under the name of Microsoft 365 Business Basic where you can upgrade with only $6 per user per month (billed annually). This makes Microsoft Teams a better option price vice.
Slack offers an enterprise plan too, which offers 1 TB of storage for each user, but for the exact pricing you’ll need to contact Slack’s support.
If the price is a concern for you, you might want to look into 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 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 at the very bottom, 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 Standard registration
On completing the registration for the free trial or paid plan, you are given access to the Team workspace where you can invite your teammates and start collaborating.
Microsoft Teams workspace
On the other hand, getting started with Slack is much faster. 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 Slack
In total, registering and getting started with Slack took nearly 7 minutes, in comparison to the hour spent on Microsoft Teams.
Slack vs Teams: inviting users
It is pretty straightforward to invite users to Slack. Once you are done registering, the platform prompts you to invite people to your workspace. Alternatively, you can send them an invite using the “invite people” option.
Whereas, adding new users and guests to the Team platform is slightly more complicated. They have to be added to the Office 365 admin portal from the office page first.
Once they are added to the admin portal, they will receive an email with the invite. On accepting the invitation, they log on and create a password. Once the user account is created, they can then be added to the Microsoft Teams application.
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 being designated to the IT administrator as opposed to the team leader or 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 Teams: layout and design
The layout, design, and feel of the two platforms are 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 personalizing the design of the app, as you can change the theme and color of the interface based on your preferences.
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 Teams: messaging
Both Slack and Teams offer 1:1 messaging, which is a fairly basic functionality. Moving on to the interesting features, both of 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 colors, and also change fonts.
Formatting options in MT
One of the many fun features of Microsoft Teams is that it allows users to send gifs. Finding the right emoji is also incredibly easy because all you have to do is type the right word into the search bar and you’ll get a slew of 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 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 personalized based on the preferences of the user. But neither of these apps has a central notification hub, similar to what Stride used to have.
Slack vs 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 a “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 speak with them simultaneously; unfortunately, this 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 Teams: video calls
Here are some screenshots of video calls from Microsoft Teams. We were pleased with the video calls on Teams because the audio and video quality were excellent.
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 300 participants in group video calls with their paid plans.
Slack vs 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 250+ external integrations.
That sounds amazing, until we realise that Slack supports 2400+ integrations. Companies are trying to constantly come up with Slack integrations and the number of supported apps are increasing daily.
Slack vs 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 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 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 300 users in a single call on paid plans, as compared to 15 people on Slack.
Integrations: Teams comes bundled with Office 365 apps and 250+ third party applications. Slack is a clear winner here with 2400+ 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!
Great review! Thanks. Do you have any experience on adding members, like consultants (at enterprise without company email) to Teams?
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.
Can you also compare teams and convo ?
Thank you for an idea. We’ll put it to our backlog.
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.
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.
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.
$8 billion – not million – was the price for Slack in 2016
Thank you for pointing out the typo. We corrected the number.
Have a great day!
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.
What about backup and restore functionalities?
Hi Gabby, we’ll explore these topics in our updated review. Have a great day!
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.
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 Alex, thank you for such detailed review! Do you have that text in russian?
Have a nice day!
Hi Pavel. Thanks for the feedback. The text was originally written in English, so no Russian version – alas! Have a great day!
Slack does let you play and watch videos within the chat without downloading them. Just wanted to update that
Good point, Ryan. Thank you. Have a great day!
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…
Thanks for your questions. MS Teams is now available for Linux https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Microsoft-Teams-is-now-available-on-Linux/ba-p/1056267, the desktop version for MacOS has been available for years. As for integrations with Libre/ OpenOffice – there are no integrations with these tools and chances are Microsoft won’t make it happen as they are competing apps to Microsoft Office. You can take a look at the MS Teams integrations here: https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-US/marketplace/apps?product=teams&src=wnblogmar2018. Hope that was helpful!
If you have Teams (which I don’t) then you may already have Office 365, which works in the browser (like Google Docs), as full desktop programs for Windows and Mac (like LibreOffice, only better) and as smartphone apps on iOS and Android. That covers the vast majority of the market.
Even old versions of Office (eg 2010) can also save files in Open Document formats.
There’s no accounting for taste, but it seems rather odd to want to use LibreOffice instead 😉
Thanks for the suggestion. MS Teams is offered as a standalone product and there are situations when no one is using Office, going with an alternative.
“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?
Nice suggestion! Let’s see what MS Teams and Slack are up to this year around.
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?
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