Scraping Slack emojis for fun and profit

I recently wanted to grab around 8,000 emojis from one instance of Slack and add them into a second instance of Slack.

To achieve this, I pieced together various old sets of instructions across the web with varying degrees of success. Here’s the final process that what worked for me, and the low quality code I wrote to make it happen.

Step 1: Extract the emojis

I found a bunch of places suggesting that using an extension to download all page resources was the best way to go here. Don’t bother.

Turns out, there’s a Slack API called emojis.list which can give you a bunch of URLs if you call it with the right authentication. I don’t like reading API documentation, so I assumed that my account had access to call this API. To authenticate with this API as myself, I used the network inspector to grab my auth token from the HTTP request made when loading a Slack page which lists all emoji.

  • Open the Slack custom emoji page
  • Open the Devtools with F12
  • Change to the network inspector
  • Find the request to /token
  • Under Params, find the token parameter.
  • It should start with xoxs - this is your auth token.

Finding the auth token

Now that we have a token, we can simple drop it into the API method tester and we’ll get back the names and URLs for all emojis defined in the workspace.

All the emoji URLs

I saved the output of this as a JSON file called out.json.

Step 2: Download the images

Now we have a massive list of URLs, it’s time to download the files. To do this, I wrote some janky code to iterate over all the files and write them to disk. Here’s that code, in a file called download.js:

// npm install got tiny-async-pool
const got = require("got");
const asyncPool = require("tiny-async-pool");

// The rest are native to Node
const stream = require("stream");
const { promisify } = require("util");
const fs = require("fs");
const pipeline = promisify(stream.pipeline);

const { emoji: rawEmoji } = require("./out.json");

const emoji = Object.entries(rawEmoji)
  // Convert our object of {name:url} to an array
  // of objects {name, url}.
  .map(([filename, url]) => ({ filename, url }))
  // To keep things simple, ignore aliases.
  .filter(({ url }) => !url.startsWith("alias:"));

// Pipe the contents of the URL to disk under a given filename.
// Luckily our URL has the right filetype (png,jpg,gif).
const download = async ({ url, filename }) => {
  const filetype = url.split(".").pop();
  const file = `images/${filename}.${filetype}`;
  return pipeline(, fs.createWriteStream(file));

async function main() {
  // So that I'm not sitting around for ages, run 10 of these
  // in parallel.
  const results = await asyncPool(10, emoji, download);


Cool, so let’s run that:

$ node download.js

And see what we got:

$ ls images | wc -l

Sounds about right.

Step three: Organise the emoji

I tried a few solutions to upload the files, most of which were malware abandoned legacy Chrome extensions, but luckily I found smashwilson/slack-emojinator which appears to do exactly what I want:

Want to create a custom Slack emoji for every pokemon? Slack doesn’t currently expose an API endpoint for creating emoji, probably to prevent users from doing exactly what I’m doing, but here’s a way to do it anyway.

Sounds good. After a quick once-over to check it’s not stealing my authentication information, let’s clone it and give it a spin:

$ git clone
$ cd slack-emojinator

The instructions say to run pipenv install - I don’t know what that is, so I did pip install -r requirements.txt which worked.

$ pip install -r requirements.txt
# Lots and lots of Python stuff and something about wheels?

There’s other bits in the README for setting up the project - grab your SLACK_TEAM and SLACK_COOKIE following the steps listed in the setup guide. None of the other variables seem to do anything.

It looks like it needs the list of files as a parameter to upload. I then copied my images file into the current directory. Let’s give it a go:

$ source .env
$ python images/*
# python: Argument list too long

Update, July 2020: It looks like the function to read the API token out of the page has broken in this python script. To work around this, you can yolo it and replace the function. You should then get the Argument list error above.

def _fetch_api_token(session):
    return "xoxs-..." # The same API token as earlier

OK, that didn’t work. I guess either this script or python itself has an upper limit on arguments - either way, it’s relatively straightforward to just move each file into a directory based on the first character of the name.

First, let’s make the directories:

$ mkdir images/{a..z}

And here’s some more dodgy code to move the files into each directory:

const fs = require("fs");

fs.readdirSync("./images").forEach((file) => {
  // There's definitely a better way to do this, but
  // it's late and this will work fine.
  const isFile = file.includes(".");
  if (!isFile) return;

  const [firstChar] = file;

  try {
    fs.renameSync(`images/${file}`, `images/${firstChar}/${file}`);
    console.log(`images/${file}`, `images/${firstChar}/${file}`);
  } catch (e) {
    console.log(`Skipped ${file}`);

Let’s run that:

$ node move.js
images/allo.png images/a/allo.png
images/alfred.png images/a/alfred.png
images/boop.png images/b/boop.png
# Etc etc.

If you’ve got any non-alphabetical emoji that weren’t moved, such as :100:, you can move these into a directory of your choosing. It doesn’t matter, it’s just a way to split them up.

Step 4: Upload the emoji

Now we can try the script again:

$ source .env
$ python images/a/*
Processing images/a/allo.png.
Skipping allo. Emoji already exists
Processing images/a/alfred.png.
Skipping alfred. Emoji already exists
# Etc

In my case these emojis already exist, because I’ve already done it, but you’ll see the emojis being uploaded. Pretty soon, you’ll see HTTP 429 Too Many Requests. This is fine - the script waits a few seconds then tries again.

Due to the emojis being split into folders, I needed to run this script once for each letter of the alphabet. There’s probably a nice bash one-liner but I just did this instead, because being efficient is for chumps when you can copy and paste:

$ python images/a/*; python images/b/*; python images/c/*; python images/d/*; python images/e/*; python images/f/*; python images/g/*; python images/h/*; python images/i/*; python images/j/*; python images/k/*; python images/l/*; python images/m/*; python images/n/*; python images/o/*; python images/p/*; python images/q/*; python images/r/*; python images/s/*; python images/t/*; python images/u/*; python images/v/*; python images/w/*; python images/x/*; python images/y/*; python images/z/*

I left this cooking overnight. It took about 6 hours, because it had to wait around three seconds between each upload to keep the Slack API gods happy.

Step 5: Bask in the glory and adoration of your co-Slackers

All uploaded

Alternatively, shitpost in the #watercooler channel with all your new fancy emojis.

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