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Types of tokens

There are more than a few things called "tokens" in the Slack platform. It's easy to conflate them for each other or not understand the deep, almost spiritual purpose of each type.

Meet the tokens

User tokens allow you to work directly on behalf of users, based on the OAuth scopes they award to your app.

Workspace tokens are part of our team-based Slack apps developer preview. They are agents for everything your app can do for a particular team.

Verification tokens aren't like other tokens. Use them to validate requests coming from Slack.

User tokens

User tokens represent workspace members. They are issued for the user who installed the app and for users who authenticate the app. When your app asks for OAuth scopes, they are applied to user tokens. You can use these tokens to take actions on behalf of users.

  • User token strings begin with xoxp-
  • User tokens gain the "old world" resource-based OAuth scopes requested in the installation process (example: asking for channels:history grants access a user token access to channels.history for any public channel)
  • User tokens represent the same access a user has to a workspace -- the channels, conversations, users, reactions, etc. they can see
  • Write actions with user tokens are performed as if by the user themselves

API methods, Events, and other platform features that work with user-based tokens are marked with icons like:

Bot user tokens

Bot user tokens represent a bot associated with the app installed in a workspace. Bot user tokens are provided only if the app includes a bot user and explicitly asks for the bot OAuth scope during installation. Bots are generally associated with conversational apps but they can do more than that (and bot-less apps can be conversational, too).

  • Bot user token strings begin with xoxb-
  • Bot user tokens have a broad set of permissions that cannot be modified
  • Bot user tokens can't have resource-based OAuth scopes added to them, any scopes other than bot requested during the OAuth installation flow have no effect on the bot user token
  • "Bots" typically switch between using both a bot user token and any number of user tokens to complete their operations

Workspace tokens

The new world is made possible with a single kind of token that represents all of your app's interactions, bot or otherwise, with a single team.

Developer preview

This feature only applies to the workspace token-based Slack app developer preview, currently under active development.

  • Workspace token strings begin with xoxa-.
  • Workspace tokens are the only tokens your app needs in the new world
  • Bot users and bot user tokens are not part of the new world; their capabilities are smooshed into the workspace tokens
  • No requests are made on behalf of users with workspace tokens, everything originates from your app
  • OAuth scopes negotiated during the OAuth installation process or through the Permissions API are applied directly to your workspace token
  • Whatever your app can do with a workspace, your workspace token makes possible

See working with workspace tokens and the Permissions API to learn more.

Legacy tokens

These tokens are typically associated with custom integrations and early Slack integrations requiring an ambiguous "API token." They are generated using the legacy token generator and we discourage their use for much of anything beyond testing. They take on the full operational scope of the user that created them. If you’re building a tool for your own team, we encourage creating an internal integration with only the scopes it needs to work.

Verification tokens

Slash commands, Events API deliveries, and interactive messages all have one thing in common:

Slack dispatches a request that lands on your server. You need a way to identify that it really came from Slack. So every Slack app has a verification token that acts as a shared secret between your app and Slack. This verification token has nothing to do with any other kind of token on Slack. It's never needed for any API operations your app sends to Slack. It's only use case is to securely identify traffic coming from Slack.

Don't confuse verification tokens with an OAuth token, user token (xoxp), bot user token (xoxb), gossip girl token (xoxo), or workspace token (xoxa). The only relation is that token word "token."