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Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Which is best for YOU?

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Business often weight up Slack vs Microsoft Teams - but they could be using both interoperably
Dominic Kent

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Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Which is best for YOU?

Slack vs Microsoft Teams

Comparing Slack vs Microsoft Teams is one of the biggest IT decisions you’ll make this year. And actually, for the next 10 years.

In this post, we document the following to help you get the answers to these questions and find out if Slack or Microsoft Teams (or both) is best for your business.

  1. What is the difference between Slack and Microsoft Teams?
  2. Slack vs Microsoft Teams pricing
  3. Interfaces available in Slack and Microsoft Teams
  4. Audio and video conferencing in Slack and Microsoft Teams
  5. Using existing software with Slack and Microsoft Teams
  6. Inviting users to Slack and Microsoft Teams

Is Slack better than Teams?

Slack is better than Teams for some users. But Teams is better than Slack for some users.

In over 60% of cases, both apps are used in the same business.

While personal preference and company direction come into deciding whether Slack is better than Teams (or vice versa), this article aims to help you make your own decision.

We’ll start by highlighting the difference between Slack and Microsoft Teams.

What is the difference between Slack and Microsoft Teams?

If you ask ten different people, you’ll get ten different answers.

Slack and Microsoft Teams are similar tools so finding the difference looks like arduous work on the face of it.

Sure, they both offer a way for people to collaborate and communicate. But, there are some subtle and some glaring differences between Slack and Microsoft Teams.

For many companies Slack is easier to administer. Slack also comes with a wider selection of integrations and add-ons than Teams. 

Microsoft offers things like direct routing with Teams for business voice. Microsoft Teams also integrates with the Microsoft 365 productivity suite.

Let’s look at some of the main differences between the basic features of Slack and Microsoft Teams.

FeatureSlackMicrosoft Teams
Message history limits10,000 messages in free plan. 
Unlimited in Plus or Standard. 
Unlimited in all plans.
Audio/video callsUnlimited 1:1 voice or video in free plan. Conference calls for up to 15 people in paid plans. 
External calling via AWS.
Unlimited online calls and meetings.
External calling available via Microsoft Voice or Direct routing. Voice and video support up to 250 people in Microsoft Teams meetings
Integrations800+ apps available. Maximum of 10 allowed in free plan.600+ apps available
File storage limit (per user)Free: 5GB 
Standard: 10GB
Plus: 20GB
Free: 2GB
Paid: 1TB per organization. 
Screen and file sharingAvailable in all free and paid plans. Available in all free and paid plans. 
Message threadingYesYes
Group chatsYesYes
Private messagingYesYes
Quick commands/ commands available/ commands available
Content sharing and editingEasily share files with drag-and-drop functionality. No in-app editing. Share files directly from the Microsoft 365 tools and edit them in Teams. 
Mobile, web, and desktop versionsYesYes
Data protection Encryption for files, messages, and data. Access to 2 factor authentication.Encryption for files, messages and data. Data loss prevention, Microsoft admin controls, 2 factor authentication. 

Pricing: Slack vs Microsoft Teams

Slack and Microsoft Teams both have free versions available, however, paid plans offer more functionality.

The table below documents some examples of these.

 FreePaid
SlackSearch through up to 10,000 messages
Up to 10 integrations with other tools
1:1 video calling
5GB storage capacity
Unlimited users
Screen sharing
Unlimited search for all information
Slack shared channels
Unlimited integrations
Workflow builder
SSO
Auto-provisioning and deprovisioning
HIPAA support and e-discovery
Corporate exports

Group video conferencing
Up to 20GB of storage per user
Microsoft Teams300 users per organization
1GB storage per user
10 GB shared storage
Unlimited chat messages and search
Background blur and meeting backgrounds
Calling and group audio/video meetings
Screen sharing
Microsoft 365 integrations and apps 
Unlimited with Enterprise license
1TB of storage per user
Scheduled meetings
Recordings
Online and video meetings for up to 250 people

Online events for up to 10,000 people
Unlimited chat and search
Microsoft 365 subscriptions and apps

Microsoft Teams paid plans come as part of the Microsoft 365 productivity suite.

You’ll need either a Business Premium or Essentials plan for Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Teams pricing

Below, we outline the pricing options available for Microsoft Teams:

Microsoft Teams Free

  • 300 users per organization
  • 1GB storage per user
  • 10 GB shared storage
  • Unlimited chat messages and search
  • Background blur and virtual backgrounds
  • 1:1 Calling and group audio/video meetings
  • Screen sharing
  • Office 365 integrations and apps

Microsoft 365 Business Essentials ($5 per user/month)

  • Unlimited search and chat
  • Online video callings and meetings
  • Personal file and team storage
  • Up to 500k users
  • Screen Sharing
  • Background blur and virtual backgrounds
  • Guest access
  • Co-authoring
  • Integration access
  • Encryption at rest and in-transit

Microsoft 365 Business Standard ($12.50 per user/month)

  • All features of free
  • 50GB email inbox
  • Access to web versions of Microsoft 365 apps
  • Store and share files with up to 1TB of data
  • Host online meetings with conferencing for up to 250 users
  • Around-the-clock support 

Microsoft 365 E3 ($20 per user/month)

  • All features of free
  • Cloud-based suite
  • Desktop versions of Microsoft 365 apps
  • Host email with custom domain and mailbox
  • Cover up to five PCs/Macs per user
  • eDiscovery and mailbox hold

Slack pricing

Like Microsoft Teams, Slack offers many different pricing tiers:

Slack Free

  • 10k of searchable messages
  • 10 integrations or apps
  • Two-factor authentication
  • #General posting permissions
  • One-to-one voice and video
  • Channel suggestions
  • Search messages and files
  • Basic analytics
  • 5GB of storage per workspace.

Slack Standard ($6.67 per user/month)

  • Everything in free
  • Unlimited searchable messages
  • Unlimited integrations
  • Single and multi-channel guests
  • Shared channels
  • Manage member names and email addresses
  • G Suite SSO
  • Custom message and file retention
  • User groups
  • Voice and video for up to 15 users
  • Priority support

Slack Plus ($12.50 per user/month)

  • Everything in Standard
  • SAML-based SSO
  • Corporate export
  • Permissions for any channel
  • Workflow builder
  • Complete analytics
  • 20GB of storage per user
  • 24/7 support
  • 99.99% uptime guarantee

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Interface

At first glance, Slack and Microsoft Teams have a similar interface. But, if you ask anyone who uses both on a regular basis, they will tell you these are completely different.

On both, you have a vertical left-hand panel for contacts, channels, and teams. The right-hand larger panel is where you see your conversations.

Here is the Slack interface below.

Slack interface

On the left, Microsoft has an extra panel with features like Files, Meetings, and Activity.

Microsoft Teams interface

Both Slack and Microsoft Teams have a search function. With Slack and Microsoft Teams you can send text, files, and emojis or gifs to contacts.  

Slack has more customization options. You can change the color of your Slack workspace. Microsoft only has three themes. 

Both Slack and Microsoft Teams have one-on-one and group messaging. You click a contact in the left-hand bar to start a conversation. Both tools also support threaded messaging

With Slack and Microsoft Teams you can edit, delete, and pin messages. There’s also the option to @mention someone 

and share files. Microsoft Teams has more advanced formatting options. With Microsoft Teams you can change font color, create bullet lists, and bold or italic words. 

You can “like” someone’s message and leave emoji reactions on Slack and Teams content. You can also set reminders on Slack messages. Slack users can add message actions or mark messages as unread. 

When messaging is not enough, the next level of conversation is naturally audio or video conferencing.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Audio and Video Conferencing

Meetings in Slack

Slack’s free plan offers unlimited one-to-one calls. If you upgrade to a paid plan, you can support up to 15 people in a conference. 

To start a call in Slack:

  • Open your chosen channel or direct message
  • Click on the (i) icon in the top right
  • Select Call then Start call

If you’re in a channel, Slack will post a message allowing people to join. If you have a paid account, you can click the camera icon to switch to video. There’s also an option to share a screen once the call starts. 

Typing /call in your DM or channel can also start a call. 

If you want to invite other people to a call click the invite icon in the top left of the screen. Type a name into the search bar to find who you want to add. You can also click Copy Link to get a link to your conversation. 

To Join a Slack call click Join when your invitation pops up. Use the camera icon to switch on your camera. 

Slack call

Remember that if you want to record a call with Slack you need a third-party app

You can look for recording options on the Slack marketplace.

Meeting in Microsoft Teams

To start a call in Microsoft Teams go to your chat list and click New chat to start a conversation. You can type the name of the person you want to call into the field. Then click Video or Audio call in the top right to start the discussion. 

Once the call opens, you can turn your camera on or off. There’s also the option to meet now or schedule a meeting. Clicking meet now starts the conversation immediately. Clicking schedule a meeting will take you to a calendar. 

Microsoft Teams meeting scheduling

Microsoft customers can also start meetings from their Outlook calendar. The Outlook calendar syncs with Teams. 

Microsoft also gives users support for up to 250 people in a conference. You can even record calls with Teams without a third-party app. To record click the three dots for more options. Scroll down and click Start recording. Microsoft will inform users that you’re recording.

When you’re done go back into more options and click Stop recording. 

With a link to your meeting you can add guests to a call from outside of your organization. There’s also the option to blur your Microsoft Teams background or add a virtual background. 

Click on the three dots under your icon in the video call. Tap Show background effects. Here you’ll see the blur option and your background options. Click an image then Apply. 

To share a screen on Microsoft Teams click on the icon of a screen with an arrow pointing up.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Inviting users

Inviting people to Slack is simple. At the end of your registration process, the app will offer to invite people to your workspace. You can also use the Invite people to [Name] option when you click your workspace name. 

Add the email address of the person you want to add to Slack. Click add many at once to add multiple people. If you want to invite a guest, click Invite people to [Name]. Then:

  • Tap multi-channel or single-channel guests
  • Enter the guest’s email address
  • Choose the channels you want to invite the guest too
  • Add a time limit to their access
  • Click Invite Guests 

To connect with a different company using Slack, you can use Shared Channels.

In your Slack sidebar click on the Shared Channels tab. Click the + button to add a new channel. Then:

  • Choose who you want to access the share channel from your team. 
  • Give the channel a name. 
  • Enter the email address of the other company’s admin. 
  • Add the Slack URL of the workspace
  • Click Create and Invite. 

In Microsoft Teams, to add a member click your team name then More options. Click Add member and start typing a name. It’s also possible to add guests by typing email addresses. 

If you want to add someone from an external app, or different Microsoft Teams instance to your team, there’s no native option. You can connect with external contacts using Mio

A universal channel allows you to stay in Microsoft Teams while external contacts use different apps or their own Microsoft Teams instance. You can connect without any need for guest accounts.

Chat with Microsoft Teams and Slack users without leaving Cisco Webex Teams

Existing software

Since publishing this post, Agile IT posted an article titled “Why HipChat Users Should Migrate to Microsoft Teams (Instead of Slack).”

Agile IT makes some good points.

For the price of Slack Plus, you can get an entire Office 365 license. A real eye opener for Slack vs Microsoft Teams comparisons.

But, with the increasing popularity of Google’s productivity suite, how relevant is this?

Businesses that have opted for Google and/or Mac are unlikely to see Office 365 as a pro to purchasing Microsoft Teams over Slack.

Integrations are mentioned next. When we compare Slack vs Microsoft Teams, integrations are usually associated with Slack.

Correctly, Agile IT points out there is a huge amount of integrations associated with both platforms.

Another pro for both platforms and no further clarity choosing between Slack vs Microsoft Teams.

However, the negative associated with Slack only hosting ten integrations on the freemium model isn’t that bad either. If you are running the freemium version, you probably don’t need ten integrations. Slack has thought this through.

Whilst the article points to pros and cons for both platforms when moving away from HipChat, comparing Slack vs Microsoft Teams doesn’t really solve the existing software problem.

All in one

Let’s move outside of Slack vs Microsoft Teams for a moment.

Think about the all-in-one solutions you see in other areas of tech.

Take the laptop – an indisputable game changer in the personal computing world. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • Do they work best when they are left alone?
  • Is the experience enhanced when you plug something else in?
  • Would everyone be productive if they all had the same laptop?

When defining the tools you need to productively conduct a job, it’s easy to opt for an all in one solution.

But, you likely end up with several all-in-one solutions that each does bits of what you were trying to achieve.

Defining what your all in one solution needs to do is part and parcel of collaboration strategy planning. You may have Slack as your all in one messaging app and Microsoft Teams as your all in one communication platform.

According to the Workplace Messaging Report in 2019, 91% of businesses are using more than one messaging app.

Making the list was both Slack and Skype. These are both all in one solutions in their own right. But, ask yourself those three questions again…

  • Do they work best when they are left alone?
  • Is the experienced enhanced when you plug something else in?
  • Would everyone be productive if they all had the same laptop collaboration app?

Comparing Slack vs Microsoft Teams doesn’t really solve the all in one problem.

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Messaging is the core

At the heart of these collaboration apps is messaging.

The most common function of Slack and Microsoft Teams is messaging. Be it direct messages on Microsoft Teams or sharing information on a Slack channel, messaging – in one format or the other- is the core.

The good news?

No longer do you need to compare these services for messaging.

You could spend weeks, months or – let’s be realistic – even years trying to work out which platform suits the messaging needs of your business.

You could. But, when developing a messaging strategy, there is a much simpler solution. Just use Mio.

When multiple messaging platforms exist in your organization, Mio can provide messaging interoperability by connecting the platforms of your old and new employees across the platforms of their choice.

This means you can finally stop comparing Slack vs Microsoft Teams.

Stop comparing Slack vs Microsoft Teams and use Mio

Mio is simple to set up:

  • Sync all the chat apps your teams use by creating your Mio Hub
  • Add all teams, spaces & channels
  • Team members in your Mio Hub can immediately chat in DMs or groups with members on other platforms
  • File sharing, threaded messages, reactions and the ability to edit and delete messages are all supported
  • New channels or spaces are synced in the primary chat platform they prefer to use

If you are interested in exploring these options, we are here to help.

To learn how Mio can sync multiple messaging platforms, check out this demo video of cross-platform messaging.

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