Trello is a powerful tool for managing a project, allowing you to form teams that take ownership of their projects or tasks in a more visual way. Whilst many people think of Trello as a business tool, it has many uses for home users as well. If you’ve been dabbling with the idea of creating a Trello Board for you and your friends or family, or if you’re just curious as to how to use Trello better, this is a full tutorial on all of the main functions Trello has.
Those of you who are well versed in this website will know that I like to do cosplay, where I really enjoy making my own costumes, or at least bits and pieces towards them. I recently started to show Kim from Later Levels the perks of listing out everything that’s needed to make a costume successful; but one of the talking points was motivation. As such, I set out to set up a cosplay Board for the two of us, to help with our cosplays as we march towards Kitacon Quest.
Trello Front Page
Welcome to the front page of Trello. Yours won’t look like this – This is just a quick snippet of how it looks for me! You’ll see there are three big buttons, one of which is just an introductory Welcome Board and the other two are more specific. One is actually to do with what we do here at GeekOut South-West, called GeekOut Media as it encapsulates all of our projects.
The GeekOut Media section is a ‘Team’ view – Within teams, you are able to set it up so only members of that team can participate in your Boards, as well as add in teams specifically for your group. For instance, if you work on many projects at home, perhaps you’re a developer, or perhaps you want to do some work from home as a team, but you also want a team for your house, you can set them up by pressing the Create a new team button. There are many settings and as you can see, you can even give your team a logo. Moving on, we’re going to look at our Cosplay Progress Board.
*NOTE: If you click on the Boards button on the left hand corner of the taskbar at the top, you will be given a drop down list of all of the Boards you’ve been added into/made for yourself. Handy if you use many Boards for many different projects, as this appears even on the Board View.
Trello Board View
I wrote this article as a way to introduce people to Trello and since Kim was new to it at the time, I thought it’d be of interest to share with everyone. Welcome to our humble little Cosplay Progress Board! As I had only just set it up, literally two days before writing this article, there are only a few Cards and Lists from me. Trello is all about a really basic core terminology, of which I’ve created a really simple summary at the end of the article.
Within Boards, there are Lists and within Lists there are Cards. Within Cards, there are snippets of information, of which you fill out yourself. Information doesn’t necessarily have to be text; they can be images, checklists, markdown formatted descriptions, labels and even adding in due dates. We’ll cover all of these later, but first you need to know what’s going on. So this whole web-page is called a Board. Inside, you’ll see five Lists. Inside of the first List, you can visibly see three Cards. You can add a new List by clicking the Add a List… button to the right of the last created List.
Trello Board Menu & Settings
The other thing worth noting on a Trello Board is on the right hand side, where the menu is sat. At the top of the menu you can see the users who are on your Board, followed by a button to add more Members in. Although you can make a completely open and public Board, Trello Boards are typically private by default – You can change the settings of Boards when you first make them, or by clicking on the visibility indicator as you can see above.
Another point of the Menu on the right hand side is the Activities section, which is effectively like a log of all that has happened on the Board. Back to the top of the Menu, you have the Filter Cards button, where you can specifically seek out all Cards that have certain Labels that you set up (more on this later), or Cards that have been created by specific people, or Members who are at least set to be looking after a specific Card. There are a number of different ways you can set this up, so if your Board gets massive, this is a quick way to look through them.
Lastly, there are “Power-Ups” on Trello, which I used to be under the impression were a paid feature, but apparently are not! A Power-Up is similar to an add-on for Trello; an app, or a service, that you can connect to your Trello Board. A really good example of this is the Twitter Power-Up, in case you want to attach a Tweet to a Card. If you’ve got an app you use regularly, or want to add to your Board, activate the Power-Up and the ability to use their features are added into your Trello Cards.
Lists are simply what we call these named areas within a Board – They are a place where Cards sit peacefully, waiting for people to interact with them. If you click and drag around the name area of a List, you can move them around to change the order in which they appear, like you see in the image above. As well as this, you can move Cards between them by simply click and dragging the Card around the place. This is especially useful if you have a List for “completed” Cards – As an example, you can create a fairly reliable issue/bug tracking ticketing system this way.
This is the real meat of the article; Trello Cards are where your content goes and this is where you’ll spend most of your time on the website. You’ll often be looking to add content, so once you hit the Add a Card… button at the bottom of a List, you will be prompted to name your brand new Card immediately. Click Add or hit the enter button on your keyboard and you’ll create the Card. We’ll now follow the process of setting up a Card, adding content to it and then finally looking at what else you can do with the Card afterwards.
Welcome to this brand new Card View of the Card we’ve just set up. At the moment, there’s basically nothing on here. First things first, a Description is useful to add, so let’s actually explain what the purpose of the Card is. For the above, I simply typed in “LED Shoes, add update pictures in the comments.” I can add Markdown to make the description prettier, but I’ve not done that for now. If you’d like to know more about Markdown, I’d recommend jumping to the end of this article.
Next, I might decide that this is a Card only for me to use. I can add myself in – As Kim will be a Team viewer of the Board, she will be able to view it as well, but adding myself on the Card will tell me if there have been any updates. Typically this is better for bigger teams, but this also adds a layer of filtering as we’ve mentioned previously in this article. Please note: If you want a cover image for your Card, just simply attach an image and it’ll automatically become the cover image. You can remove this as the cover image if you’d prefer it to not be the cover image, but still attach the image to the Card.
I can add in various different ‘things’: I can add an attachment from my computer, or from a URL of my choice. I can also add a Due Date, I.E when the actions on the Card should be completed by. As well as this, we can create Checklists, Labels and more. Instead of showing everything, I’d like to draw your attention to the Labels section – You can rename these Labels, add more Labels, delete Labels and much more. Again, this helps with filtering; but it can also be useful if you’re creating a sort of “stop-start” system as well.
Lastly, perhaps you’d like to leave a comment on a Card; you might be asking other members of your team a question, or perhaps you just want to tell yourself what’s going on with the Card. Commenting is a powerful way to know what stage you’re up to and that you’ve not abandoned the Card, especially if you are doing something large with it. Think of this as a way to add status updates! You can add pictures to your comments, which are really useful as a visual aid for how far you’ve come on the actions on the Card.
Deleting A Trello Card, List or Board
Your Trello Board, List or Card has run it’s purpose and is now useless to you? Perhaps you instead created it by mistake and you don’t want it any more. You can remove Cards, Lists and Board, however it’s not always intuitive on how to do this. Starting off with a Card, you can delete this by clicking on the Card, clicking the Share and More… button at the bottom right hand corner of the Card and then clicking Delete at the very bottom of the dialogue box. If you’re not sure if you would like to come back to the Card some day, you can instead archive it, by hovering over the Card when you’re in the Board view, clicking the pencil icon at the top right and then clicking Archive.
Lists can be archived by clicking on the … button at the top right hand corner of the List itself and then clicking Archive This List. It’ll prompt you, warning that you’ll be archiving all of the Cards that are on the List as well. This is important, as if you don’t want to be able to get these Cards ever again, then you might want to delete those Cards separately instead. Consider where your content ends up!
Lastly then, the Trello Board itself can be deleted, but you first have to close it by going to the Board Menu on the right hand side. This is important, as once you’ve closed the Board, you will be able to reopen it, but you also needless to say never need to actually go back to the Board ever again. You can also click the Permanently Delete Board… button and away it goes, never to be seen again!
Here are some useful hints to help you with understanding Trello’s terminology.
Boards :- Boards are the general pages where information sits. Board Settings allow you to change things, such as the background image and much more. For those wondering, the background image for our Board here was a stock image found through Trello to represent cosplay. You can subscribe to a Board for a high-level view of what’s happened on your Board via email.
Board View :- When you click into a Board, this is where you see all of the Lists, the Cards inside of the Lists and the settings.
Lists :- Lists are simply just a place where you put Cards. You can subscribe specifically to a List and be updated via email whenever something new happens to the List since you last looked.
Cards :- Cards are where information is held. Add pictures, descriptions, attachments and much more this way. Yes, you can even attach emails and yes, much like Cards and Lists, you can subscribe to them to find out when something happens on a specific Card.
Card View :- This is when you click on a Card and you can see all of the content within it.
Members :- People who have been added into the Board. These are people who can typically edit the Board. If it’s a private Board, only the Members of the Board can view it.
Team :- A bunch of Members who have been added into a group together; You can add people into a Team and if someone creates a Board for the Team, you will automatically be able to jump into it.
Archive :- Remove a Board, List or Card from view, however keep them available to be brought back.
Delete :- Permanently remove a Board, List or Card from Trello.
All Trello Markdown
The below is a quick cheat sheet for all Markdown in Trello. Useful, for if you want to format your data better.
Markdown for formatting Card descriptions, comments, checklist items
Bold: **Word** :- creates a Bold word.
Italic: *Word* :- creates an Italic word.
Strikethrough: ~~Word~~ :- creates a strikethrough on the word.
Inline Code: ‘These words are code formatted’ :- creates a formatted section, most commonly associated with coding.
Links: [Word](http://geekoutsw.com) :- creates a hyperlink on the word in the square brackets.
Mentions: @person will mention a Member of the board called person.
Markdown for formatting Card descriptions and comments only
Horizontal Rule: — :- creates a horizontal rule across the description/comment.
Code Block: ‘’’ Insert Words Here ‘’’ :- This creates a block of text which is formatted as it is between the three “ticks”. This includes new lines.
Indent: > Word :- will indent the words in a description/comment.
Bullet Points: – Word :- will create a bullet point in a description/comment.
Numbered List: 1. Word :- will create a numbered list in a description/comment. NOTE: You can ‘escape’ the numbered list, by placing a slash before the dot. For instance: 5\. will force it to be point 5.
Markdown for formatting Card descriptions only
Headers: #Header 1 :- for the largest header size. You can do ##Header 2 for a size down or ###Header 3 for the smallest header size on a Card description only.
Embedded Images: ![alt text](URL of image) :- Unfortunately, you must have the image hosted somewhere for this to work. Where it says [alt text], you can make this say whatever you want, in case the image doesn’t load. Only works in a Card description.
Wow, this article was a lot more in depth than it was originally going to be, but without the Business Class or Gold Member features being included, this is effectively all that you’d likely care about within Trello. What did you think of this comprehensive guide? Did we cover everything you’d like to see? Don’t forget, Trello has an Android and iPhone app, so you can do all of this on your phone/tablet as well. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on our Facebook, Twitter or Reddit pages.