Harry R. Schwartz

Code writer, sometime Internet enthusiast, attractive nuisance.

The author at the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris, November 2022. hacker news gitlab sourcehut pinboard librarything 1B41 8F2C 23DE DD9C 807E A74F 841B 3DAE 25AE 721B


British Columbia



Removing the “New Messages” Badge from Slack


Published .
Tags: unix, web.

I need a quiet space to concentrate. No distractions. Not too much motion around my peripheral vision. That’s an inconvenient way to work, especially in a world of open offices, but that’s kinda just how I am.

I disable pretty much all notifications, of course. Unless someone directly messages me, it can probably wait.

Unfortunately, Slack doesn’t really encourage that way of working. In particular, when anyone writes anything that I haven’t yet read, it’ll add a little badge to my taskbar icon:

slack unread badge

I can’t not see this, and, having seen it, I can’t not clear it. It’s a compulsion. And as soon as anyone on any Slack account says anything, it’s back. This is infinitely distracting for me.

Slack, as far as I can tell, doesn’t provide an option to disable this. However, since it’s an Electron application, we can just break it ourselves:

$ cd /usr/lib/slack/resources/app.asar.unpacked/src/static
$ sudo mv slack-taskbar-unread.png slack-taskbar-unread-backup.png
$ sudo cp slack-taskbar-rest.png slack-taskbar-unread.png

Run those commands, restart Slack, and you’ll find that the little blue gem has been removed for good. O frabjous day!

The red badge indicating direct messages will still appear. I want that one, personally, since I do care about direct messages, but you can remove it if you’d like:

$ cd /usr/lib/slack/resources/app.asar.unpacked/src/static
$ sudo mv slack-taskbar-highlight.png slack-taskbar-highlight-backup.png
$ sudo cp slack-taskbar-rest.png slack-taskbar-highlight.png

Note that updating the Slack application will probably revert these changes. I’ve copied these commands into a shell script so I can easily re-run them when I update.

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