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How to Use Trello in 2024 – A Complete Step by Step Guide

Abhishek Agrawal
By Abhishek A Agrawal
April 11, 2024
Table of Contents

    In this guide, we will be having a complete walk through of Trello terms and steps to use Trello effectively in order to improve the efficiency of your work. 

    Trello is a systematic and organised approach to Project management. It can work as your team collaboration tool or personal To-do list. 

    It won’t be the fastest process as you begin, but it will help you fasten the process gradually. You will be able to lighten the workflow and save time to be more productive. 

    That is also because we as a business have been through the phase. And we know the value an effective project management can provide. However, there are only a few such tools that make collaboration easy and effective. 

    For that matter, thanks to Trello for stepping in and offering its best.

    What Is Trello?

    Trello is an incredible project management or collaboration tool that contributes to business’ success and smooth workflow.

    It assists you in organising your tasks into boards. You can create a board and assign tasks to each member of your team. 

    Let’s say you have three projects to manage at a time. Then trello lets you create a board for each project. You can add teammates and assign them tasks accordingly. 

    Because all your three projects will be in process at the same time, you will be able to manage them well and keep an eye on your team’s working stage. 

    Trello has a wide range of elements and they immensely contribute to your projects. If you make the utmost use of them, they will assist in better collaboration.

    Following are some of the examples.

    • Create boards

    • Assign tasks using cards

    • Allows commenting

    • You can highlight important tasks

    • Add due date and calendar view

    Once you realise the extent to which a tool can simplify your work, you would love to automate every project and task in your business. 

    Glossary of Trello Terms

    Trello works on certain terms that help organise the workflow of a business. You can say it offers elements that you can use to simplify your to-do list.

    A business cannot work effectively without enough tasks. But how do you manage those tasks if they are in large numbers and need good cooperation?

    For that matter, Trello helps collaborate effectively with its wide range of elements.

    Following are the Trello Terms – 

    1. Boards

    2. Cards

    3. Lists

    4. PowerUps

    5. Automation

    Let’s dive into the ways of getting started with trello and use it to its full potential.

    Boards

    The collaboration tool provides you a space called boards, where you can organise all your tasks. You can create a board for each project and assign tasks to your teammates. 

    Each board consists of cards and lists. They are all about the assigned tasks that work in a process like step after step. 

    For example if you created a board to plan out blogs for a month, you can organise the steps as, ‘assigned the topic’, ‘working on’, ‘revision status’, ‘final draft’, ‘completed’, and ‘published’. Isn’t that quite very productive?

    Plus, It is highly recommended if you create a separate board for each project as you can view one board at a time.

    How to Create a Board in Trello

    Follow the instructions to create a Board in Trello!

    1. Firstly, create a Trello Account (Sign Up for Free)

    2. As you login to your Trello account, you will see a trello home screen like this

      Sign-in process to Trello home screen and creation of boards.

    3. Can you see the section “YOUR WORKSPACES” in the above image?

    4. Yes, right there you will see a rectangle shaped box named as “Create new board”

      Something like this ↓

      Trello tutorial to create a board and manage projects

    5. Click on “Create new board” 

    6. As you click on “Create new board”, you will see an image like this ↓

      Create Workspace and Boards to collaborate among the team member

    7. Name your board using “Board Title”. Keep it specific and clarify the project.

    8. Now under “Visibility”, click on “Workspace”. You will see options as such ↓

      How to use Trello and Create private and public Workspaces.

    9. You can select one Option that is convenient for your business and projects.

    10. Now click “Create” and boom!

      Board creation steps

    11. You will be redirected to a dashboard that looks like this ↓

      Board is ready. You can assign tasks to the team

    12. 12. Well done! You have successfully created a Board. Now you can start to assign tasks in trello.

    Lists

    When you think of different stages of a process within a board, it is called a list. You can fill up those lists with cards. 

    For example when a card is being moved, they are moved to a different list. Like moving a card of a particular blog topic to working, in progress, or completed list. 

    Each card can have tasks assigned to a specific team member. So when they complete one stage of a process, they can move the card to the next list (stage of a process). 

    Everytime a card is moved to a left or right list, the members added will know the status of the project. 

    That means, each member including you will stay updated and won’t have to manually communicate regarding each task. You can always comment within cards and describe the task for better communication.

    How to Create Lists in Trello

    Once you have successfully created a board, now you can get started with your lists. 

    Let’s see how can you create lists in Trello –

    1. You can see a box that says “Enter List Title”

      Steps to create lists in Trello - a project management tool

    2. You can title the list according to your Project like, ‘To-do list’ or ‘Blog Topic’ and hit the button “Add List”.

    3. As you will keep adding lists, you will see your board like this ↓

      project management tool, trello step by step guide

      You can also give your lists some actions that will help you run a smooth workflow. I will show you how. 

    4. Look at the three dots on the right of each list. Example ↓

      Collaborate effectively with your team and simplify workflow.

    5. When you click on these dots, you will see a few actions like adding a new card, creating automation, moving and archiving cards, just for an effective collaboration among your team.

      Edit List details within the board

    Cards

    So what is a trello card?

    Basically, Trello let’s you understand the working of each project by adding cards to the list. You can create different cards under a single project. It enables you to control each step of a project without manually communicating with your team.

    For example, you created a card that includes the topic of your blog. You can assign the card to a teammate, who will be responsible for completing the task. As they move cards to various lists within a board, you will be able to track the progress of your project.

    In  other words, you will stay updated with what your team is working on, what work is completed and what work is in progress.

    How to Create Cards in Trello

    A trello card is an important feature and you must know the steps to create one.

    Let me walk you through the steps!

    1. Can you see the “Add a Card” option in the below image?

      How to create a card and assign tasks in trello

    2. Click on that button and you will see a window like this ↓

      Add card, assign tasks to team members, edit card details

    3. Enter a Title, which will be the task topic for your team. For example – Write a blog on….

    4. After you enter the title, hit the button Add Card.

      Step to add a card. Trello tutorial 2022

    5. Similarly, you can create cards once previous card tasks are completed.

      Lists and cards help manage projects effectively.

    Each card offers actions like assigning tasks, commenting, adding members, labelling, calendar view etc. You can choose an action you would want for your cards.

    How to Assign Cards in Trello and Give Them Due Dates

    1. Once you add a card in the list, click here

      Create tasks easily and automate the process

    2. Now you will see a pop-up with actions like these ↓

      Add cards, edit card details, add comments, attach files within the Trello board

    3. Click on the “Open Card” button as mentioned above. 

    4. As you click on the “Open Card” button, you will be redirected to a screen as such ↓

      Assign members in Trello card

    5. You can click on the tab “Members” to add members with ease. 

      It will require the email address of your teammate and they must be on Trello to be able to add them. 

    6. Similarly, as you can see in the above image, you can add a detailed description of your card Title. Why? So the members assigned to the card can understand the task well and clearly.

      If you want to add a new member after the card is being moved to another list, you can add the member during that stage of the process similarly. 

    7. Within the “Open Card” section, you will find a tab named “Dates”.

      Ways to assign due dates within cards

    8. Hit the “Dates” button to see a Calendar View. 

      The Calendar will allow you to assign a due date. 

    9. Once redirected to a Calendar View, add a “Start Date” and “Due Date” Accordingly. 

      You can see an example below ↓

      Add a reminder date to remind your teammates of dues

    10. Once selected the “Start Date” and “Due Date”, add a reminder Date.

      Set a due date and reminder date for effective collaboration

      You will see a few options of reminder you can choose to notify the member

    11. Select a duration as convenient to you.

    12. And boom! You are ready to save the process. Just hit the button “Save” below “Set Due Date Reminder”

      Save the due date with ease.

    Cards also provide you with numerous other features. You can add attachments, comment, mention members, add checklists, add labels, use Power-ups and also move cards to various lists within the board.

    As you explore the “Open Card” section, you will find them all at one place.

    How to Add Labels to Cards in Trello

    Trello provides so much flexibility to your project that it enables you to use different colour labels to determine urgency, on time completion, and other similar labels.

    Here’s how you can add labels to Cards –

    1. Go to “Open Card” section

    2. Find a tab that says “Labels” on the right side below the tab “Members”

      What are labels in Trello

    3. Click on the tab “Labels” to explore the colours.

      Trello tutorial and steps to create labels

    4. Click on the “Create a new label” button and your label will be added to the card.

      If you want, you can also enable colour blind friendly mode for certain teammates. You can find the tab just below the “Create a new label” tab.

      Once all actions are saved on the card, it will be visible to your members like this ↓

      Label examples and their importance.

    How to Search in Trello with Shortcuts?

    We are all well aware of the fact that sometimes we are too busy to even scroll through apps, and for that matter smart work indeed helps. 

    Trello also lets you search through the app using shortcuts.

    Here are the following shortcuts you can use to search in Trello –

    ShortCuts

    Operation

    b

    Search for boards

    ‘w’ or ‘]’

    Expand board menu

    ‘right’ or ‘left’ arrow keys

    Open adjacent cards in a list

    ‘[‘

    Open and close the boards navigation sidebar menu

    ‘/’

    Search through bar

    ‘c’

    Archive a card

    ‘d’

    Pick the due date picker for a card

    ‘-’

    Add a checklist

    Control+V

    Paste links in cards

    ‘e’

    Edit cards

    ‘esc’ 

    Exit editing mode

    Control+enter

    Save any writing – editing comments, editing card title, description, etc.

    ‘f’

    Open card filter menu

    ‘l’

    Open the Label pop-up

    ‘;’

    Show or hide names on the label

    ‘m

    Open add/remove members menu

    ‘n’

    Add a new card in an empty list or after a selected card

    ‘,’ or ‘.’

    Move card to the bottom of the adjacent left or right list

    <’ and ‘>’ 

    Move card to the top of the adjacent left or right list

    ‘q’

    Check the cards assigned to you

    ‘s’

    Watch and unwatch a card

    space

    Assigning or unassigning oneself from card

    t’

    Edit the title within the card 

    ‘x’

    Remove all filters from active cards

    ‘?

    Open shortcut page

    @

    autocomplete member’s name while commenting

    Control + ‘C’ or ‘V’

    Copy and paste card 

    ‘Z’

    undo the action performed last card

    ‘r’

    repeat the action performed on previous card in current card

    PowerUps

    With an incredible tool, comes incredible power ups.

    Trello offers add ons within each board. These add ons are special features you can utilise to manage projects effectively, and give your team members an opportunity to work in a well organised workflow.

    There are amazing power ups that can be used for your projects like you can add a calendar view that shows the due date in cards or you can add a team chat box that lets you communicate with the entire team in one place.

    In fact, you can also add a back-up powerup to have your data backup in Trello for safe side.

    View Your Trello Tasks On a Calendar (Or Use Other Power-Ups)

    Other than assigning due dates to cards, you can also view the Calendar with all dues at one place. 

    Now a Calendar view is an add on feature (Power-up). With a free Trello account you can add any one power up. And in that case, a Calendar can be a useful feature.

    But how to add a Calendar View or other Power-ups?

    Don’t worry, I will guide you through the steps. 

    1. Sign in to your trello account

    2. Head to a board

    3. Once you land up in your board, you will see a Power-up tab on the right side as shown below ↓

      What are powerups and ways to add them within Trello boards

    4. Click on the ‘Power-ups’ button to add one, and follow the instructions shown here ↓

      Add Calendar View, Add powerups,

    5. Once you click on the add button under the Power-up, you are ready to use the feature.

    6. Now you can successfully view the calendar with all due dates in one place.

    Isn’t that amazing already? You would be able to make the most out of your Trello account even with a free Signup until you need premium features and more than 10 boards.

    Automation

    Since the aim is to simplify your workflow and work efficiently, Trello allows users to automate the process. It offers the flexibility to set your own rules, buttons and email reports. 

    It allows you to integrate applications that will contribute to better collaboration of your projects. 

    Trello has a few supporting apps that work well with the project management tool. You can integrate them with Trello and automate the workflow.

    For instance, if you want to communicate with your team without browsing through the Trello board, you can connect Trello with Slack and collaborate effectively.

    You can also alert your members via email every time they are being assigned a task in the Trello board. Similarly, every time they move, comment, label or complete the task, you can be notified via email. 

    Some of the Native Integrations are as follow – 

    • Jira 

    • Google Sheets 

    • Slack 

    • Gmail

    Doesn’t that sound too organised already? Exactly! That’s how easy the workflow gets with Trello – Project Management Tool.

    How to Set Automation in Trello?

    Follow the instructions to set your own rules, button and email reports to automate the workflow. 

    1. Sign in to your Trello account

    2. Head to a board you are currently working on.

    3. On the top right, below the search bar, you will see a tab ‘Automation’.

      Trello Automation

    4. Click on the tab to see a few options like these

    5. Click on the Rules to create automations that will automatically react to actions, due dates, schedules, etc.

      Here are some examples

      Automation Rules

    6. You can use the button shown in the below image to start creating your own rules.

      Create Rules

    7. Similarly, go to the ‘Buttons’ tab to create a custom button at the back of each card or on the top of the board.

      Here are some of the examples

      Create Custom Button

    8. Click on the create button tab to start creating. 

    9. You will be redirected to another page where you can set buttons. It will look something like this

      Create Card Button

    10. Click on the ‘Add Action’ button to see all actions that can help you automate your workflow. 

    11. Once you create your own button, just save the automation and you are ready to go!

      For setting up automatic email reports, go to the ‘Email reports’ tab.

    12. You will see a pop-up like this

      Email Report Pop-up

      This will help you determine what all kinds of reports you can send your teammates automatically. Just click on the options shown to start scheduling reports.

      Here’s an example with an email preview

      Trello Email Preview

      Similarly, you can set email reports for alerting members of dues, a new assignment/task, etc. 

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    Even as Trello offers native some integrations to work with, what about any other applications that you wish to integrate with Trello? Do you go looking for a developer to help you? Absolutely not!

    Instead, what you need is a tool that will help you integrate Trello with other applications, even if you have no technical skills – an automation tool! This tool will help you connect Trello with other apps and sync data between them. 

    There are quite a few automation tools available in the market, but if you are looking for the best and affordable, Integrately is it for you. 

    Integrately is a platform that offers ready to use Automations so a business can manage projects with ease. With 8 Million+ ready automations for 700+ apps, Integrately has made an initiative to support businesses in improving their efficiency and productivity.

    In fact, it has an integration page dedicated especially to Trello. You can select the applications you want to integrate with Trello and set rules accordingly.

    For instance, if you want to sync Trello and Google Sheets, you can select the rules you would like to set for triggers. Like every time a card is added in Trello, a new row will be created in Google Sheets.

    Trello Notifications

    Sometimes we do miss on tasks and actions being performed on the board. That is why Trello lets you set desktop and email notifications. That means every time an action is performed on the board or card, you will be notified. 

    You can also go to the ‘Bell icon’ on the top right corner of your board to check the history of actions performed. It will always keep you updated.

    Trello Notifications

    Additionally, you can change the email notification frequency using the below steps.

    • Click on the bell icon

    • Scroll down to see a button ‘Change notifications email frequency’

    • Click on the button and it will give you a few options. 

    • Now select the most convenient option to receive email notifications for actions performed on the board. Here’s an example

      Email Notification On Board

    Avoid these Trello Mistakes

    Since you are into business and it requires an effective project management system, you may do certain things wrong while using Trello. 

    That can somewhere affect your business and its growth. I mean it can take-up more of your time and offer a little less efficiency in coordination. Which is why it is critical to avoid those mistakes to achieve the utmost growth in your business. 

    If you understand, follow and implement, you can use Trello efficiently.

    Not Considering the use of Labels

    As a project management tool, Trello offers the maximum features to make it easier for you. But, are you utilising them all? 

    Labels are one way to communicate with your teammates. You can literally name the colours and add them in cards. You can also use the single colour for multiple labels, but at least make a use of them. 

    Like you can use colours to determine level of  urgency in your project or you can use a colour to determine pause and resume of tasks. 

    It will help you and your members coordinate effectively and won’t require much manual communication. That will save so much of your time and the work will always be in action.

    Lack of Member Training

    Although Trello is an easy to use tool, it requires a lot of attention. 

    If you organise a board, assign a new member to cards, and due to lack of training they mess up, wouldn’t that need more of your time that could have been saved through a teaching-learning process?

    So ensure you invest some time to charge-up your teammates about a new tool you are going to use in business. 

    No Trello Back-up Plan

    Back-up is like a Plan B. You never know when things go wrong. It is technology after all. Even if Trello is the best app for your business, something somewhere could go wrong. 

    That is why you need a Back-up plan. No back-up could result in a huge mess and loss of data. 

    So how do you have a back-up of your Trello account?

    • Simply go to “Power-ups”

    • Click “Add Power-ups”, 

    • Search for “Back-up”

    • and add the “Back-ups for Trello” Power-up

    • Boom! You are ready to back-up your data

    Creating Individual Name Lists 

    Lists are a great way to organise your Trello boards. It simplifies tasks and workflows. 

    However, you may create some extra lists with member names other than lists with stages of a process. 

    Those lists could be to determine individual tasks after moving a card to those lists. But it can create a mess on the board. It is better if you assign the members in cards itself. 

    You can also automate the process like notifying when a card is moved to a list. So the list that is supposed to be worked on by a specific member, they will receive the notification. 

    Otherwise, you can use ‘@’ to mention the member after moving the card to the list. 

    Not Assigning Due Dates

    Due dates are a way to say you have an organised and controlled workflow. With great flexibility in work comes a good control as well, and Trello offers this feature cost free.

    However, many don’t consider using this feature. The possibility is your teammates can forget completing important tasks. They can also take advantage of ‘No due dates’ and offer leniency. 

    That is why I would recommend you make use of this feature. Trello anyway provides it under a free account so why not benefit from it?

    Trying to Assign Tasks without Adding the Member

    Most people are unaware that, unless you add a member to a card, they will not receive a notification even if they are tagged in comments within cards.This will eventually result in lack of coordination and delay in the entire process. 

    Trello is a tool that ensures a better workflow and management system. If you use it in limits, it will offer less efficiency. So make sure you add members you want for your projects. Only then they will receive a notification to join the board and will be notified of all tasks assigned to them.

    To Sum Up

    Isn’t it amazing that you can fully benefit from an effective project management tool?

    Because who thought the technology would come so far that it would simplify our workflow. 

    No doubt, you can always take advantage of these useful features of Trello for absolutely Free –

    • Create different Boards for Different Projects

    • Keep a watch on your team

    • Add up special features using Power-ups

    • Label your cards to promote priority

    • Have lists of the process

    • Tag members under comment sections

    • Give them due dates 

    • Use shortcuts, etc.

    FAQs about how to use Trello

    What is Trello used for?

    Trello is used for project management and collaboration among the team. It offers an efficient workflow and task management system.

    How many Trello boards can I have?

    You can have 10 Trello Boards if you start with a free account. You can utilise the free account for sometime and analyse the growth of your business before going for a premium.

    How can I archive cards in Trello?

    You can archive cards in Trello using the shortcut key ‘c’.

    Where can I find archived cards in Trello?

    You can find the archived cards in Trello by following the below steps -

    • Go to the “Show Menu” tab at the top right corner of your board.

    • After clicking, scroll down to see a tab named “More”.

    • Under “More” click on the first option “Archived items”

    • Now you can click “Send to board” or “Delete” accordingly.

    What does watch mean in Trello?

    ‘Watch’ in Trello means you get notified for all comments, links, updates and changes made by another user in cards, lists and boards.

    Where is data stored in Trello?

    The Trello data is stored within Google Cloud Storage ("GCS") and US regions of AWS. You can also find the Trello contents in Trello Back-ups, stored in S3, AWS EC2, GCS, and Glacier.

    Is Trello free to use?

    Yes, Trello is free to use. It allows you to use its free version and make the most out of the Project management tool. You get the opportunity to use boards, cards, lists and everything that is most needed for collaboration.
    Abhishek Agrawal
    Author - Abhishek A Agrawal
    Abhishek is the founder of Integrately, CompanyHub, and Dreamwares. He is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship. He is always looking to leverage technology for the growth of the business. He has a deep understanding of how businesses work and uses this knowledge to build products that help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
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