Mattermost Platform

Dev Sneak Peek: Custom categories, drag-and-drop, unread channel filtering & more

Mattermost now gives users flexibility to organize channels and direct messages into custom, collapsible sidebar categories. Users gain full personalization of their sidebar to improve productivity, reduce clutter, and focus on what matters. Today, we’re excited to share a preview of some of the experimental sidebar features that the Mattermost team has been working on.

Join us in testing this experimental feature set under an opt-in config setting that can be enabled by System Admins: Experimental Sidebar Features. We are excited to share these powerful features with you and look forward to your feedback as we iterate on the user experience. 

Experimental Sidebar Features: Highlights

Collapsible Custom Categories

  • Create custom categories in your sidebar and group channels together for easier navigation. 
  • Spend less time scrolling by collapsing categories to hide channels that are read. 
  • Mute entire categories to control the noise and focus on what matters. 

Drag & Drop Channels and Categories

  • Drag channels in your sidebar to move them between categories or reorder channels within a category. 
  • Drag to reorder entire categories so you can prioritize the channels most important to you.

Filter Unread Channels

  • Focus your view and see only unread channels in your sidebar with one click. 
  • When you’re all caught up, turn off the filter and your sidebar goes back to normal. 

Quick Access Menus

  • Be more productive by accessing common actions on any channels directly in your sidebar.

Recent Direct Messages

  • Choose to sort Direct Messages by recent activity or alphabetically.

Experimental Sidebar Features: FAQs

When will the sidebar features be generally available? 

We are aiming to release these features as generally available in January 2021, including mobile support. 

How do I enable the experimental feature set and configure defaults for users?

In v5.26 (August 16, 2020) or later, System Admins can enable these features in System Console > Experimental > Features > Experimental Sidebar Features. If “default_on” is selected, the new features appear by default for all users on the server. Users can disable the features in Account Settings > Sidebar > Experimental Sidebar Features. If “default_off” is selected, users must enable the experimental sidebar features in Account Settings. 

How do I provide feedback?

We would love to hear feedback in the comments here or by completing this feedback survey if you’re currently using the experimental feature set. You can also join us on our community daily build server where we have the features enabled by default and are actively discussing development in the Channel Sidebar Organization channel.

Will Mattermost provide support for this experimental feature?

Yes. Mattermost will offer support for the experimental feature set and provide bug fix releases for severe bugs or security issues according to our usual process

How do I disable the new feature set for my account? 

As an end user, you can disable the new sidebar features in Account Settings > Sidebar > Experimental Sidebar Features. Disabling the experimental feature will return the sidebar to its previous state, including for users who may have been using the experimental channel grouping and sorting options.    

If you choose to disable these features, please help us improve and tell us why by submitting a feedback survey.

Stay up to date with upcoming Mattermost features

We aim to release these sidebar features as generally available in January 2021. We would love to hear feedback, so please consider completing this feedback survey or joining us in the Development channel after testing these features.


Eric Sethna is a Senior Product Manager at Mattermost, Inc. Prior to joining Mattermost, he worked as a Product Manager for SpinPunch, Inc., a Y Combinator-backed online gaming startup. Eric earned a bachelor of applied science degree in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo.