I am using the first-party Slack desktop client for Windows.

Other systems, like Lync (Skype for Business), Skype, all the way back to MSN Messenger, allowed me to receive notifications when contacts came online.

As Slack works on a disconnected model across all of a users' devices the concept of "coming online" or "going offline" / "signing out" doesn't really apply to Slack, but Slack does still classify users as being online/available, idle, away and sleeping. And to my surprise, there doesn't seem to be a way to tell Slack to notify me if a particular contact changes status, or specifically, is no-longer marked as away or not-signed-in-on-any-device.

Searching online for "slack notify when someone comes online" just yields irrelevant articles listing UI features of Slack that I was already aware of.

Interestingly, Slack's own API does expose presence events, e.g. https://api.slack.com/events/presence_change - I'm just surprised the official client won't let me as a user subscribe to them.


I suppose this is intentional - it isn't Slack-like to require these notifications: the scenario is that you want to be notified so that you know you can talk to someone - because if they're not online you cannot send them messages (Offline Messaging support in MSN Messenger and Skype notwithstanding). Given that Slack will deliver the message to their client software, especially mobile devices, regardless, it means all you need to do is send the message you want to send them anyway and wait for your recipient to reply... eventually. The problem with this approach is that sometimes you want to talk to someone without wanting to seem like you want to - there's also the problem of decorum: I could send my boss a message at 3am and wait for his reply at 9am - but I don't want him to think I'm up on SuperUser.com at 3am...

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    Just adding some additional thoughts on your update... I want to know when someone is in the office. I don't even want to slack them. I need to have a face to face but my office is really far from his. It would be nice if slack could let me know he's available. Jul 24, 2019 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


I use Spybot for this functionality: https://hub.zenbot.org/spybot

I mostly use this to keep track of when some colleagues halfway around the world start logging in and when contractors/hourly people are available, so I can start sending them tickets/issues.

See http://www.ilovefreesoftware.com/14/tutorial/how-to-get-notification-when-someone-comes-online-on-slack.html for detailed, if spammy, instructions.

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    Unfortunately spybot seems to no longer be alive. Adding to slack gives an error, and the company twitter page looks abandoned
    – Gareth
    May 17, 2019 at 12:19
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    The spybot is back online again but I noticed when adding it will expose all your information and messages to spybot...this may be of concern to some.
    – user36058
    Mar 18, 2020 at 11:15
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    seem no longer available -- hub.zenbot.org/spybot domain has only a domain-placeholder-like page Jan 25, 2022 at 16:08
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    Checking in the spybot link in 2023 and it does not seem to be alive.. I got a Secure Connection Failed due to an error code: SSL_ERROR_RX_RECORD_TOO_LONG Jan 30, 2023 at 4:06

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