How to use Trello like a pro

This is part of a series on using Trello like a pro. Check out the later installments Using Trello like a Pro: Part 2 and Using Trello like a Pro: Part 3.


Trello is very simple on the surface. It’s just a list of lists. You drag cards to other lists to show progression. Everybody immediately understands the simple, visual metaphor. But underneath, there are all kinds of power features that help you switch boards, edit cards, and upload attachments even faster. Let’s take a look!

Keyboard shortcuts

Trello is loaded with keyboard shortcuts. They let you do everything on a card, from archiving and moving, to changing members and labels, with a click of a key. There’s a complete list on the the shortcuts page. You can press “?” at any time to bring up that page. (A shortcut for shortcuts? Mind blown.) I want to highlight a few of my favorites, though.

My personal favorite is the “b” shortcut which opens the boards menu and lets you search for boards instantly. Press “b”, type the first few letters of the board you’re looking for, press enter, and you’re there. It’s the fastest way to switch boards.

Another favorite is “f” which opens the card filter while on a board. You can instantly start searching for cards by title. The filter will also suggest members and labels, so you can start typing “da” and it will suggest Daniel. Press enter to see cards assigned to him. Press “x” to clear a filter.

Be sure to check them all out on the shortcuts page.

Double click to add list

You can double click any free space on a board to open the add list pop-over. Trello is smart enough to know that you clicked between “Doing” and “Done” and will default to that location. Saves you some mouse moving.

Drag, drop, and paste attachments

You can drag and drop multiple files from your desktop to a card to upload them. This is super handy if you want to share screenshots or pictures of meals or a photo of your cat. You can also drag images from other websites to your cards.

But that’s not all! You can also paste images. Just find an image on the web, right click and select “Copy Image”, open or hover over a card, and press “command + v” (Mac) or “control + v” (Windows). It works with any image on your clipboard. Unfortunately, the only browser that supports this feature is Chrome, but we’ll add support as other browsers do.

Dropbox and Google Drive integration

Speaking of attachments, you can upload files directly from your Dropbox and Google Drive accounts. Open a card, click “Attach file…” in the sidebar, and select “Dropbox” or “Google Drive”. Log into your account if you aren’t already, and select your files. Ta-da! No shuffling or dragging required. Your files are shared with everybody.

Board, List, Card, and Checklist Copy

Got a board or card you want to use as a template? You can copy them. For a board, click the “Options” button, and select “Copy Board…” from the menu. For a list, click the menu in the upper right corner of a list and select “Copy List…”. For a card, open the “More…” menu on the back of the card and select “Copy…”. You can also copy checklist items from other checklists on your board when creating a new checklist. Just click the “Add Checklist…” button in the card sidebar and select an option from “Copy Items From…”.

Drag board to scroll

Scrolling horizontally can be a pain. To make this easier, we added the ability to drag a board to scroll. Just find an open place on the board, click and hold, and drag left or right to scroll the board. That’s much easier than finding a scrollbar and dragging it around.

Bulk list actions

Ever need to move or archive all the cards in a list, like archiving everything in your “Done” list? We made that really easy. Just hover over the list title, click the menu button in the top right corner, and select “Move all Cards in this List…” or “Archive all Cards in this List…”. Does what it says on the tin.

Desktop notifications

Do you keep Trello open in your browser all day? If you’re using Chrome or Safari, your browser can generate desktop notifications, an emerging web standard. Just click the Notifications button in the header, and select “Allow Desktop Notifications…” from the menu. Now when you get a notification, a small window with the notification will show up in the corner of your desktop, no matter if your tab is focused.

Mobile Apps

Every pro should have their Trello boards available in their pocket. We’ve got you covered. We’ve got apps for iPhone, Android, and Windows 8. I used the iPhone app to look up my grocery list while shopping yesterday. Super useful.

@ mentions

Need to get the attention of another board member? You can mention them in a card comment and it will generate a notification for them. It’s got autocomplete, too. Just start typing “@” and their name and you’ll get suggestions.

Trello Resources board

There are tons of usage examples, extensions, bookmarklets and more on the Trello Resources board. Check it out! We’ll keep it updated as we find new stuff.

Drink plenty of water, get eight hours of sleep a night, and have three square meals a day

Not really about Trello. Just some good advice.

There. Now you’re a pro. Head back to trello.com and use what you’ve learned! For more tips, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.