Import from Slack

You can import your current workspace into a Zulip organization. It's a great way to preserve your workspace history when you migrate to Zulip, and to make the transition easy for the members of your organization.

The import will include your organization's:

  • Name and Logo
  • Message history, including attachments and emoji reactions
  • Users, including names, emails, roles, avatars, time zones, and custom profile fields
  • Channels, including all user subscriptions
  • Custom emoji

Import process overview

To import your Slack organization into Zulip, you will need to take the following steps, which are described in more detail below:

Import your organization from Slack into Zulip

Export your Slack data

Slack's data export service allows you to export all public channel messages, including older messages that may no longer be searchable under your Slack plan.

Unfortunately, Slack only allows workspaces that are on the Business+ or Enterprise Grid plans to export private channels and direct messages. Slack's support has confirmed this policy as of August 2022.

Owners of Business+ or Enterprise Grid workspaces can request special access in order to export direct message data.

  1. Make sure that you are an owner or admin of your Slack workspace. If you are one, the Slack web application will display that in your profile, in a banner covering the bottom of your avatar.

  2. Export your Slack message history. You should be able to download a zip file with your data a few minutes after you start the export process.

  3. You will also need to export your workspace's user data and custom emoji. To do so, start by creating a new Slack app. Choose the "From scratch" creation option.

  4. Create a bot user, following the instructions to add the following OAuth scopes to your bot:

    • emoji:read
    • users:read
    • team:read
  5. Install your new app to your Slack workspace.

  6. You will immediately see a Bot User OAuth Token, which is a long string of numbers and characters starting with xoxb-. Copy this token. You will use it to download user and emoji data from your Slack workspace.

You may also come across a token starting with xoxe-. This token cannot be used for the Slack export process.

Import your data into Zulip

To start using Zulip, you will need to choose between Zulip Cloud and self-hosting Zulip. For a simple managed solution, with no setup or maintenance overhead, you can sign up for Zulip Cloud with just a few clicks. Alternatively, you can self-host your Zulip organization. See here to learn more.

You can only import a workspace as a new Zulip organization. Your imported message history cannot be added into an existing Zulip organization.

Import into a Zulip Cloud organization

If you are using Zulip Cloud, we'll take it from here! Please email with the following information:

  1. The subdomain you would like to use for your organization. Your Zulip chat will be hosted at <subdomain>

  2. The exported data file containing your workspace message history export.

  3. Your Slack Bot User OAuth Token, which will be a long string of numbers and characters starting with xoxb-.

If the organization already exists, the import process will overwrite all data that's already there. If needed, we're happy to preserve your data by moving an organization you've already created to a new subdomain prior to running the import process.

Import into a self-hosted Zulip server

Zulip's import tools are robust, and have been used to import workspaces with 10,000 members and millions of messages. If you're planning on doing an import much larger than that, or run into performance issues when importing, contact us for help.

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 of the guide for installing a new Zulip server.

  2. Copy the exported data file containing your workspace message history export onto your Zulip server, and put it in /tmp/.

  3. Log in to a shell on your Zulip server as the zulip user.

  4. To import into an organization hosted on the root domain (EXTERNAL_HOST) of the Zulip installation, run the following commands, replacing <token> with your Slack Bot User OAuth Token.

    • The import could take several minutes to run, depending on how much data you're importing.

    • The server stop/restart commands are only necessary when importing on a server with minimal RAM, where an OOM kill might otherwise occur.

    cd /home/zulip/deployments/current
    ./ convert_slack_data /tmp/ --token <token> --output /tmp/converted_slack_data
    ./ import '' /tmp/converted_slack_data

    Alternatively, to import into a custom subdomain, run:

    cd /home/zulip/deployments/current
    ./ convert_slack_data /tmp/ --token <token> --output /tmp/converted_slack_data
    ./ import <subdomain> /tmp/converted_slack_data
  5. Follow step 4 of the guide for installing a new Zulip server.

Import details

Whether you are using Zulip Cloud or self-hosting Zulip, here are few notes to keep in mind about the import process:

Slack role Zulip role
Workspace Primary Owner Owner
Workspace Owner Owner
Workspace Admin Administrator
Member Member
Single Channel Guest Guest
Multi Channel Guest Guest
Channel creator none
  • Slack threads are imported as topics with names like "2023-05-30 Slack thread 1".

  • Message edit history and @user joined #channel_name messages are not imported.

Clean up after the Slack export

Once your organization has been successfully imported in to Zulip, you should delete the Slack app that you created in order to export your Slack data. This will prevent the OAuth token from being used to access your Slack workspace in the future.

Get your organization started with Zulip

Once the import process is completed, you will need to:

  1. Configure the settings for your organization, which are not exported. This includes settings like email visibility, message editing permissions, and how users can join your organization.

  2. All users from your previous workspace will have accounts in your new Zulip organization. However, you will need to let users know about their new accounts, and decide how they will log in for the first time.

  3. Share the URL for your new Zulip organization, and (recommended) the Getting started with Zulip guide.

  4. Migrate any integrations.

Zulip's Slack-compatible incoming webhook makes it easy to migrate integrations.

Decide how users will log in

When user accounts are imported, users initially do not have passwords configured. There are a few options for how users can log in for the first time.

For security reasons, passwords are never exported.

Allow users to log in with non-password authentication

When you create your organization, users will immediately be able to log in with authentication methods that do not require a password. Zulip offers a variety of authentication methods, including Google, GitHub, GitLab, Apple, LDAP and SAML.

Send password reset emails to all users

You can send password reset emails to all users in your organization, which will allow them to set an initial password.

If you imported your organization into Zulip Cloud, simply email to request this.

To avoid confusion, first make sure that the users in your organization are aware that their account has been moved to Zulip, and are expecting to receive a password reset email.

Send password reset emails (self-hosted organization)

  1. To test the process, start by sending yourself a password reset email by using the following command:

    ./ send_password_reset_email -u
  2. When ready, send password reset emails to all users by using the following command:

    ./ send_password_reset_email -r '' --all-users

  1. To test the process, start by sending yourself a password reset email by using the following command:

    ./ send_password_reset_email -u
  2. When ready, send password reset emails to all users by using the following command:

    ./ send_password_reset_email -r <subdomain> --all-users

If you would like to only send emails to users who have not logged in yet, you can use the following variant instead:

 ./ send_password_reset_email -r <subdomain> --all-users --only-never-logged-in

Manual password resets

Alternatively, users can reset their own passwords by following the instructions on your Zulip organization's login page.