Helpful Asana FAQs from a Community expert


#1

You asked for it, @Alex_K! I’ve exported this directly from our FAQs project and tried to quickly reformat it, so apologies if I’ve missed things. Also, I haven’t been able to include any of the supporting screenshots or attachments.

This might end up being a huge, monstrous post, @Alexis, so please feel free to slap my wrist and delete it if it’s too unwieldy!

Thrown together in no particular order, here are our FAQs and hints and tips:

How to simply view a full list of projects
Sometimes, it’s a bit of a faff scrolling down the projects, clicking on ‘Show more’ and scrolling down the narrow list of projects in the sidebar. If you want a full list in a couple of clicks, select ‘Team Conversations’ and you get a much neater list down the right-hand side.

What if I delete something by mistake?
A notification bar will pop up at the bottom-left of the screen with an ‘undo’ option. Also, the task or project owner will get a notification.
Or . . .

Near the top of the sidebar is ‘Show Recents and more…’. Click to expand that and you’ll see ‘Deleted Items’. Deleted tasks are stored in there until permanently deleted.

Copy and paste from Excel/Word to Asana
Select a column of cells and copy. Then click ‘Add Task’ in Asana. Instead of typing a title in the task, click paste or type ctrl+V. All of the items in that list should now import as separate tasks. You can also copy and paste from Asana to Work/Excel using the same method.

Private conversations within sub-teams
Asana has been designed with transparency in mind, so conversations can be linked to whole teams or projects, but not individuals. However, there are times when you might want to email others in your sub-team without clogging up everyone else’s inboxes.

To make this easier, you can set up a sub-team project, private to just your members. You can then start conversations relevant only to that sub-team, and only those members will see it. You could also use the project for workload catch-ups.

Similarly, you might want to have a 1-to-1 project set up between you and your manager. That way, you can have private conversations when necessary, without having to use Outlook.

Create Asana conversations from Outlook
You can create conversations in Asana for the whole team or for a specific project. It’s possible to create conversations directly from Outlook, using your work email address.

The email address for any project Conversation is [ProjectName]@mail.asana.com. You can also CC in other people who aren’t part of the project, which adds them as followers.

The email address for any Team Conversation is [TeamName]@mail.asana.com. Again, you can CC in others to add them as followers.

If you want to read up on the basics of conversations, go here: https://asana.com/guide/help/conversations/basics

Create Asana tasks from Outlook
Tasks emailed to x@mail.asana.com will appear in your My Tasks list.
The subject line will be the task name
The body will be the task description
All email attachments will be attached to the task
You can CC teammates to add them as task followers

Hacks
Advanced users should check out the hacks section for extra, experimental features (they are not supported features and may change, break, or disappear at any time). They’re a bit like Gmail labs, if you’re familiar with those.

Just click on your initials at the top-right of the screen, select ‘My profile settings…’ and click on the hacks section. (Try Tab+B - you’ll be pleasantly surprised!)

Creating reports
Reports can be created in 2 ways:

Advanced searches
Click on the search bar at the top (TAB + / for any shortcut fans), then select ‘ADVANCED SEARCH’. You can search anything in Asana (people, projects, conversations, tasks, etc). Select ‘Add Filter’ to open up even more options, including custom fields.

Searches can be saved as Reports, which will appear on your sidebar. This is great for recurring searches, which can be edited anytime.

Google Sheets
You can create a report from your dashboard by clicking on ‘Open Report in Google Sheets’ at the top-right. Note: Make sure you set up a separate work Google account for this purpose, rather than using your personal one.

Instructions and further info can be found here: https://asana.com/guide/help/api/google-sheets-reporting

Is Asana acting a bit weird?
Asana is optimised to work with Chrome, so it might be a bit buggy in Internet Explorer. Try it in Chrome first to eliminate that possibility.

Sharing a task across multiple projects
A task can sit in multiple projects at once, meaning you don’t have to manually copy or duplicate it. For example, I have tasks that sit in my main development project and also in my team workload project.

To add a task to another project, hover over the area above the task’s title and click on the plus sign. Start typing the title of the other project in which you want the task to sit, then select it from the suggested list.

The task will now sit in both projects, and any changes in either version will be reflected in the other.

Use workspaces to collaborate with external contractors
A workspace is a separate space within Asana where you can collaborate with people outside of our organisation. This might be useful for organising remote development work or keeping EQAs updated on a project.

The basics of workspaces: https://asana.com/guide/help/workspaces/basics
How to create one: https://asana.com/guide/help/workspaces/create

Note: Though it’s possible to share documents through workspaces by attaching them to comments, it might not be the quickest or most efficient way of doing this. Check with IT to see what other options might be available, especially for commercially sensitive documents.

The difference between project members and task followers
Project members will get updates when new tasks are added to the project and when new progress updates or conversations are posted.

Task followers will get updates when changes are made to that particular task (task gets completed, comment posted, etc.).

So, if you want specific people to get updates about changes made to specific tasks in a project, you would need to add them as followers of the tasks. You can do this in bulk by multi-selecting (clicking the first, holding shift and clicking the last) and then adding the followers to all of them.

Converting mindmaps to Asana projects
For those who like to use mindmaps for planning, here’s some information on how to transform them into Asana projects: From Mindmap to Asana

Using @ mentions
Linking to background information: @mention another task, project, or conversation so their previous work history and context are immediately accessible. Your teammates won’t have to search for this information either.

Related tasks: If one task is related to another, you can @mention the other task in a comment or task description so teammates are aware of other relevant work that is happening.

Address a comment to a specific teammate: @mention your teammate in a task or conversation to add them as a follower. They’ll get a notification and can direct their attention to your comment.

Syncing Asana project calendars with Outlook/iOS/Google
It’s possible to sync your projects with external calendars, though it is slightly limited. Here are the instructions for how to do it: https://asana.com/guide/help/api/calendar-sync#gl-outlook

The main limitations are:

• The updates aren’t real-time and can take up to a day.
• The sync is one way. Tasks from Asana will appear in your calendar app, but events from your calendar app will not appear in Asana.
• Tasks must have a due date to sync.
• Due times do not sync. Tasks will appear in your calendar app as “all-day” events.
• Completed tasks do not appear in your calendar app. When the sync updates, completed tasks will be removed from your calendar app.
• Synced tasks in your calendar app cannot be edited.

Using Asana to prep for 1-2-1s
Instead of trawling back through your Outlook calendar, trying to remember what you’ve done in the blur between the last 1-2-1 and the next, run an advanced search for all tasks that you’ve completed in the last x days.

This was Simon’s excellent idea, which I’ll be copying. :smile:

Dragging tasks from one project to another
If you want a quick way to move tasks between projects, you can just drag them straight over. Multi-select tasks using Shift, then grab the 6 dots next to any of the tasks (see attached) and drag all of the tasks into the other project in the sidebar. Done!

This also works between lists and boards.

Tags
In most cases, custom fields are the best way to track something in a project. However, you may also want to use tags to categorise certain tasks. For example, you could set up a private 121 project and use tags to record examples of when you’ve demonstrated certain behaviours.

If you click on a tag within the task pane, you’ll get a list of all tasks associated with that tag. You can also favourite this view, and it will stay in your favourites list as a constantly updated report.

For more info on tags and how they work, go here: https://asana.com/guide/help/tasks/fields#gl-tags

Linking projects by URL
If you want an easy way to link 2 projects, you can copy the URL of one and paste it into a task description in another. When pasted, the URL is automatically converted into the original qual’s title, rather than a long hyperlink. The really clever thing is that if you change the title of the original project, the URL updates too. How cool is that?

Tracking your own time in Asana
If you’re interested in using Asana to track the time you generally spend on tasks, you should check out this video: https://asana.com/guide/resources/customer-interviews/customer-trainings/tracking-time

The relevant section begins at 35:47.

Tip for writing progress updates
When writing status updates, you can keep information about relevant work organised by @-mentioning the appropriate tasks. This allows you to reference the work, and if your team needs more context, they can easily click on the task to see more.

How can I tidy up my sidebar clutter?
This has been one of the most frequently-asked questions. Because most projects are open to the whole team, everyone can see everyone else’s in a list on the sidebar. By default, Asana displays the 5 at the top, and you can expand for the rest.

To narrow this down to just the projects in which you’re interested, add each one to your favourites, which moves them up to the top-left of the sidebar. You can then collapse the lower bit (little triangle next to ‘Product Development’) so you don’t have to see everyone else’s stuff.

You can favourite a project through the 3 dots next to the title in the sidebar, or by clicking the little star next to the title in the project itself.

Note: Each sub-team has been allocated a highlight colour, which makes it easier to spot your team’s projects in the long list.

How do I control my notifications?
To change your general Asana notifications, click on your initials at the top-right of the screen and select ‘My Profile Settings…’, then ‘To Email’. This controls the type of notifications you receive (or not) via Outlook.

Project owners can change project-specific notifications by clicking the plus sign next to the list of member initials at the top-right. Select ‘Member Notification Settings’ and tick or untick any relevant categories.

You can follow or unfollow any projects or conversations by clicking the ‘Following’ button (has a little alarm icon next to it).

Where do I find the keyboard shortcut list for Asana?
Ctrl + / will display all of the shortcuts.

Most useful ones:
General
Tab+Q: Quick Add Task
Tab+W: Quick Add Conversation
Tab+/: Search for a project, tag, person, or task

Tasks
Tab+BKSP: Delete Selected Task(s) (or: backspace when task name is empty)
Tab+A: Assign Selected Task
Tab+M: Assign to Me
Tab+D: Set Due Date
Tab+F: Add Follower

Text formatting
Ctrl+Shift+7: Numbered List
Ctrl+Shift+8: Bulleted List

Why do projects in the sidebar have colours next to them?
We thought it might be easier to spot projects if we coloured them by sub-team. Each sub-team manager has been allocated a colour. Simply:

  1. Click the 3 dots next to a project’s title
  2. Hover over ‘Set Highlight Colour’
  3. Select the colour.

Can I assign a task to more than one person?
Asana only allows a task to be assigned to one person. That way, it’s clear who’s responsible for completing the task.

However, you can assign copies of a task to as many people as you want. Go here for details: https://asana.com/guide/help/tasks/people#gl-assign-copies

Note: Assigning copies does not assign the original task to multiple people; it creates multiple copies of the task and assigns them to each person. You could do this in a tidier way by using a main task with allocated subtasks.

Can I swap between board and list view?
Not yet, although that feature is hopefully coming soon to Asana.

However, here’s a handy workaround:

  • Create a project as normal, using the ‘list’ template.
  • Create a blank board view project with the same title as the first, and put (board) after it.
  • Go into the list version and select all tasks by clicking the top one, holding down shift and clicking the last one (there should be 28 selected, including section titles).
  • In the task pane (this window), hover over ‘28 tasks selected’ - see attached screenshot - and click on the plus sign. Start typing the title of the board version of your project, then select it from the suggested list.
  • All tasks will now sit in both projects, and any changes you make in one will mirror in the other.

Now for the only fiddly part - go into the board version, manually create all of the columns, then drag all the tasks across into the right places. The section headers are the tasks that end in ‘:’. NOTE: If you delete these in the board version, they’ll disappear from the list version, so you might want to leave them as first tasks in the relevant columns.

It takes about 10-15 mins to set the whole thing up, but once it’s done, you don’t have to do anything else to maintain it.

How do I change my Asana password?
Click your initials in the top-right corner, select ‘My profile settings…’, click ‘Account’, then select ‘Change your password’ (image attached).

If I’ve archived a project, why is it still showing up in My Tasks?
We’ve discovered that when a project is archived, it’s removed from the project list on the left, and no longer available in @ mentions. However, it’s not entirely removed from general circulation. The assigned tasks in that project haven’t actually been marked as complete, so they still show up in the My Tasks list.

There are 2 ways around this:

  1. Unassign all of the tasks (using multi-select) when you archive the project.
  2. In My Tasks, multi-select all of the tasks and mark them as ‘Later’. They’ll be hidden in that collapsible section at the bottom.

When forwarding emails to Asana, how do I get rid of signature images?
If you’ve tried creating a task in Asana from Outlook, you might have noticed that the company logo gets added as an attachment. How annoying.

To fix this, before you send, click on the Format Text option in Outlook (your email has to be in a pop-out window for this to be visible), then change the text from HTML to Plain or Rich Text (see attached). That should sort it.

I can see my private tasks on the team calendar. Can everyone else see them?
No. All tasks from private projects will only be viewable by that project’s members.

And that’s it. The list is still growing. Most of this stuff is directly from Asana’s site or the Community, but it has helped us having it all in one place. Hopefully someone here will find it useful too.

Enjoy!


Asana Implementation Process: Best practices and lessons learned from different companies
#2

Thanks so much @Mark_Hudson! This is very helpful. I’m doing a “tip of the week” for the first 8 weeks of on-boarding and some of your FAQ are perfect for that effort.


#5

Great idea for a thread, @Mark_Hudson! :wink: I think lots of people will find value in this.