Tips and tricks to increase productivity in Mattermost

Our customers are always looking for ways to work faster and more effectively inside Mattermost.

As a remote-first company, we spend most of our time collaborating inside Mattermost, and we’d like to think we’ve learned a thing or two about how to use Mattermost productively over the years.

Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for getting things done on Mattermost. We hope these examples help your team achieve similar productivity gains.

Keyboard shortcuts

You can do a lot in Mattermost without leaving your keyboard. 

If you only learn one Mattermost keyboard shortcut, let it be the shortcut to the list of shortcuts: CTRL + / (CMD + / on Mac and also accessible using /shortcuts).

Keyboard shortcuts

While there are a ton of shortcuts, you’ll likely find yourself using some more than others. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Switch between channels: For faster navigation, you can switch between channels using CTRL + K or CMD + K on Mac. Once you hit the shortcut, you can either search channels by name or toggle between them using the up and down arrows.
  • Switch between channels and direct messages: You can also use ALT + Up and ALT + Down to quickly move between channels and direct messages on the Left-Hand Sidebar (LHS). 
  • Filter to unread only: When you apply the Show Unread filter to the LHS, you can use ALT + Up and ALT + Down to jump between unread channels and direct messages. It’s a great way to quickly triage your Mattermost inbox and get caught up with everything.
  • Respond to threads: For faster threaded replies, hit SHIFT + Up in a channel or direct message, and the Right-Hand Sidebar (RHS) will automatically render with your cursor inside it.
  • Switch between teams and servers: If you’re on multiple teams, you can move between them by hitting CTRL + ALT + the number of the team you want to move to. And if you’re on multiple servers, you can use CTRL + TAB to jump between them.

Learn more about keyboard shortcuts in Mattermost.

Review recent mentions

You come back from vacation and log into Mattermost. There are so many messages, notifications, and unread channels to deal with. Where do you begin?

Click the @ button in the top right-hand corner of the Mattermost interface next to the search bar. A list of Recent Mentions will pop up, enabling you to quickly see when your teammates @mentioned you when you were away.

When you find messages that require your immediate attention, just click Jump next to the result to jump the center pane to the location of that message for more context.

Learn more about Mattermost mentions.

Modify search parameters

Maybe you forgot where you read an important message. Maybe you need information from a project that wrapped up six months ago. Or maybe you’re looking for a document that your colleague Susan sent you at some point in time.

Whatever the case may be, you can find the information you’re looking for faster by mastering the Mattermost search bar and memorizing the available search modifiers.

Search filters

Learn more about searching on Mattermost.

Format messages with Markdown

One of the hardest parts about communicating via text is that it can be difficult to effectively convey emotions and intentions due to an absence of vocal tone and inflection.

Since 2015, Mattermost has supported Markdown, a lightweight markup language that makes it easy to write richly formatted text online. 

Using Markdown helps you communicate more effectively on Mattermost—and might save you from having to jump on video calls or pick up the phone to clarify yourself further.

There are a ton of things you can do with Markdown; here’s a brief list of some of the capabilities you might end up using most often:

InputOutput
*Mattermost*Mattermost
**DevOps**DevOps
[Mattermost](https://mattermost.com)Mattermost
## Large Heading

Large Heading

### Smaller Heading

Smaller Heading

`code snippets`code snippets
* Open source
  • Open source
  • You can also use Markdown to type emojis:

    Emojis

    Learn more about Markdown on Mattermost.

    Create message templates

    Let’s say you lead a standup meeting every week, and you use the same richly formatted Markdown message to provide helpful links, share meeting information, and post an agenda.

    Instead of writing the same message from scratch every week, you can create a template and send it as a direct message to yourself. Then you can copy that template and paste it into the appropriate channel before each meeting, updating it with that week’s information.

    Copy a template

    Write to yourself

    Speaking of writing to yourself, did you know that you could send yourself direct messages? This community-requested feature shipped with Mattermost v4.5 in December 2017.

    You can use this functionality to prepare and test lengthy, informative messages before you post them publicly to make sure they’re crisp and contain the right links. You can also use it like a sticky note for your computer to store information you’ll need later. 

    Save posts to address them later

    Someone sends you an important message or mentions you in a channel but you’re busy and can’t get to it right now. You read the message, get sucked back into your work, forget about the message, and keep plugging away. This happens all the time.

    There’s an easy fix: Hover over the message in question and click the Save icon, which is wedged between the Add Reaction button and the Reply arrow. 

    Once you’ve saved a message, just click the Save icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Mattermost interface near the search bar. All of your saved messages will appear in the Right-Hand Sidebar.

    After you’ve addressed the message, click the Save icon again to remove it from that list.

    Configure notifications

    No two people work the exact same way. 

    If you’re someone who uses Mattermost sparingly, you may want to configure Mattermost so that you get notifications for all activity. 

    If you’re someone who uses Mattermost extensively, you might want to configure Mattermost so that you only get notifications when someone direct messages or mentions you in a channel so you’re not flooded with notifications.

    In addition to applying your notification preferences across the entire platform, you can also configure them on a channel-by-channel level.

    Notification preferences

    Figure out how to make notifications work best for you, and get more done.

    Learn more about configuring notifications in Mattermost.

    Configure webhooks

    Mattermost supports both incoming webhooks and outgoing webhooks, which enable you to easily integrate external applications into the server (assuming your admin allows this functionality).

    Developers can configure Slack-compatible incoming webhooks to have external systems post content into Mattermost channels (e.g., tweets from a competitor going to a Compete channel). 

    They can also use outgoing webhooks to post messages to external systems based on trigger words (e.g., every post tagged #securityincident can be automatically routed to your ticketing system). 

    As a result, you’ll have to jump between platforms less frequently to fetch or post information. Since context switching can eat up as much as 80 percent of your productive time, this is no small feat.

    Learn more about incoming webhooks and outgoing webhooks.

    Use slash commands

    Slash commands are similar to outgoing webhooks and are triggered by end users via text. There’s a slew of slash commands built into Mattermost, including:

    Slash commandsDescription
    /awaySet your status to away
    /offlineSet your status to offline
    /dndSet your status to Do Not Disturb
    /collapseTurn on auto-collapsing of image previews
    /expandTurn off auto-collapsing of image previews
    /invite @{user} ~{channel-name}Invite a user to a channel
    /leaveLeave the current channel
    /mute ~{channel}Turn off notifications for the current channel or channel specified

    You can also extend Mattermost with integrations and/or create custom slash commands to give end users additional functionality. For example, the Mattermost Jira Plugin enables end users to transition Jira issues using slash commands (e.g., /jira assign EXT-20 john). 

    Learn more about Mattermost slash commands.

    Extend the platform with plugins and integrations

    Since Mattermost is an open source solution, you can easily extend the platform with server-side and client-side plugins and integrations to unlock additional capabilities and drive productivity gains.

    Plugins enable you to do everything from customizing the user interface and launching tightly integrated services to automatically linking certain text and even intercepting and modifying text in flight to protect users from posting sensitive information (e.g., for PCI compliance purposes).

    Mattermost GitHub plugin
    The Mattermost GitHub plugin.

    Learn more about Mattermost plugins, check out the Mattermost Integrations Directory to see what’s already available, and find out how to create plugins of your own.

    Automate workflows with bots

    Bots can also help you be more productive in Mattermost. From welcoming new users automatically and connecting two colleagues for a virtual coffee chat for team-building to taking actions on your behalf and monitoring and debugging Kubernetes resources, there’s no end to the number of ways you can use bots to work faster in Mattermost.

    Hubot

    Learn more about bots and bot accounts in Mattermost.

    Share your favorite Mattermost productivity tips!

    Do you have a favorite shortcut, plugin, or workflow hack that makes your life in Mattermost a little easier? We’d love to hear it! Share your favorite productivity tips on the Mattermost Community server or on Twitter.

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    Stu Doherty

    Stu Doherty is a Senior Customer Success Manager at Mattermost, Inc. Prior to joining Mattermost, Stu held several different customer success and software engineering roles. Most recently, he worked as a customer success and growth consultant at Meya.ai, a senior manager of technology delivery and partner management at TD, and a VP of customer success at Nulogy. Stu holds a bachelor of science degree in systems design engineering from the University of Waterloo.

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