How to create custom Slack Emojis?

Before leaving for some extended time off, I wanted to share how to create custom Slack animated emojis with my colleagues and also open-source this super scientific creative process.

Why Slack Emojis?

I’m a big fan of Slack, it empowers our global team to communicate asynchronously and share one team culture. It is part of our daily job so why not make it more fun.

Over the past 4 years, I have created many animated custom Slack emojis for my colleagues.
We use Slack emojis for all kinds of reactions: celebrate achievements, friendships, anniversaries and more.


Duration: ~4 min per emoji
Skill needed: creativity
Required tools: Adobe Photoshop or similar tool to create an image file (.gif or .png)

If this already sounds complicated.
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Step 1: Choose your best colleague picture

How to choose the best picture for your new emoji? Follow these guidelines:something funny is preferred

  • something funny is preferred
  • a background easy to remove
  • good light
  • not offensive

Let’s take my favorite profile picture as an example:

Lucas Chevillard

Step 2: Import it in Photoshop

Create a new file with the following dimensions: 128px width and 128px height.

Custom file size to create Slack Emojis

Drop the picture you previously selected into this new file.

Resize the picture you imported so it fits in the 128px square.

Make it a big face as emojis on Slack are pretty small. To get a preview you can zoom out and see how it looks.

If you don’t want to make an animated emoji you can stop here and jump to step 4 to export the image file.

Step 3: Create frames and animation

Once you have the picture ready, it’s time to create the animation.

Open the window tab and click Timeline.

Timeline view in Photoshop for creating Slack Emojis

Then, think about how you want to animate the image.
In my example, I’ll zoom on my face.

Create a new frame for each move.
3 to 5 frames are usually a good number of frames for an animation.

Frame by frame animation to create an animated Slack Emojis

Now it’s time to get creative and make it happen.
Click on a frame and move the layer for this specific frame.

Move the layer for the Slack Emojis

Then click on the next frame and do the same until you are done.

If you need to turn or resize make a copy of the layer. Or it will change for all frames.

Copy layers for your slack emojis

In the end, you should have something like this in the timeline:

Feeling comfortable with the process above? Make it a better emoji with combining more than one picture. Like this one:

Step 4: Export file

Now that your creation is ready, it is time to export the file as .gif for an animated file and .png for a static image

Go to Save for the Web

Save for web format your Slack Emojis

Size requirement: not more than 64kb and 128px width or height.

Here is the exported gif for my creation:

Step 5: Import to Slack

Now you need to upload to this emoji to Slack. Go to Customize Slack and click Emoji.

Choose your newly exported file, give it a name and save!

Import your Slack Emojis in Slack

If you need more help for this step, please use this help page from Slack: Create custom emoji

Step 7: Use it wisely

Thank you to my teammates.❤

Note that this works for custom Discord Emojis as well. Here is a comparison of Discord vs Slack.
The main difference being that Slack doesn’t support a gif as a profile picture. Discord does with a Nitro Subscription.