As a person who spends a majority of my workday creating and managing processes (and working with people who sometimes follow those processes and others who sometimes deviate), it’s really helpful to have standardization.
Imagine being able to make every card on your Trello board fit the same mold and have all the information it needs. That’s the beauty of Trello templates.
A few months ago, Trello announced this new feature for making card and board templates, and the community responded with joy as this was a much-awaited feature. Previously, you could make a copy of your board to keep its format (and you still can) but it wasn’t the perfect solution, especially for Trello users who work collaboratively on teams and need more structure for their processes.
I started using Trello board and card templates since the moment the feature dropped and am excited to share some of my favorite aspects of them with you.
How To Perfect Your Processes With Trello Templates
Templates (for both boards and cards) can help clear up confusion.
Trello is a simple yet powerful tool, and even newbies can quickly get on board and start using the tool with their team. But when you’re introducing others to a new way of doing something (whether it’s trip planning or publishing news articles on a daily basis), there’s no room for error when there’s a clear template.
Instead of saying “Add a card to this list and fill in the details”, you can easily direct anyone involved in a project plan to a Trello card template that specifies exactly what they need to do with it and what details you want filled in!
Lastly, templates help all users be consistent on a project, because everyone is starting with the same criteria and information so you don’t have to worry about some people not knowing what to do once they arrive on a board!
Forget having to write a SOP (standard operating procedure) for ‘How to use this Trello board’... users can just create a board from a template or card.
It’s preset perfection!
6 Different Ways To Use Card And Board Templates
Since it’s easy to set up, I decided to explore how I can use templates to improve my Trello boards, and I quickly found several ways:
- Request Management
- Habit Tracking
- Team Sprints
- Side Hustle Management
- Gift Giving Organization
- CRM Pipeline Management
ℹ️One thing to note is that creating private and team-visible templates are a paid Trello feature. Free users can always create public templates!
1.) Request Management
A great way to use Trello is for managing requests from others—whether they are requests from a client, product feature requests, or even requests from other teams within your company. A Trello board is a great place to organize actions that you and your team need to tackle and prioritize.
Card templates is the perfect way to keep all of those requests wrangled together.
Use markdown to format the card description with any questions you want to know in order to act on and prioritize the request. For instance, you can ask for a description, people who need to be involved or review the request, and ask for the requestor to attach any relevant files.
Gone are the days of having to send emails back and forth when you need something. You don’t have to keep asking for assets or other follow up questions — you can get everything you need right from the start thanks to card templates!
You can also add checklists to the card so that once a request is made, your team can quickly see the next steps and check them off as they go. It’s an easy way for the requestor to be able to see progress.
2.) Habit Tracker And Journal
Last year, I wrote about how to build a habit tracker on Trello, and this year with card templates, it’s getting an upgrade.
Part of that Trello board included a list called “journal” where I created a daily card with custom fields to update metadata about my day, and I used a checklist to track which habits I accomplished. It worked great, but every week I’d have to make new cards by copying the old ones and unchecking the boxes and cleaning out the custom fields.
Now, all I have to do is build a template that has the custom fields and checklist items that I want, and I can create a new card from scratch, every week!
Notice how I can update the custom fields for a day, and then instead of copying this card and clearing out the values, now I can just create a new card that has all the fields and checklist items I need whenever I’m ready to master a new habit.
3.) Team Sprints
Many teams use Trello to keep track of their work by using an agile methodology like Scrum or Kanban. Since Trello is a perfect tool for keeping tabs on everything you need to accomplish while also breaking it down into smaller projects, templates can make this even easier.
Many Kanban/Scrum boards follow a similar format for planning each sprint (a set period of time that a team works on predetermined tasks).
You can use Trello templates to make a templated sprint board that sets up all the right lists you need (such as To Do, Doing, Done) and has all the appropriate members on the board right from the get-go.
You can also use Trello templates for the cards to ensure each task you work on during your sprint has exactly what you need. Add pre-templated instructions, questions, checklists, labels, and more! If you’re in software development, you can have multiple templates available to create different cards depending on if you’re adding a new feature or fixing a bug.
Do you always need somebody to sign off on a task before it’s officially done?
You can bake that right into your templates with the Approvals Power-Up! Just add members who will need to sign off on the card and you can see if they’ve approved it or not.
4.) Side Hustle Management
I like to practice my skills, and I also like to make money, so I’ve found side projects are a great way to do just that. If you have multiple projects or clients, you’ve probably discovered that they all have a similar flow, just different details.
(P.S. Those words “similar flow but different details” should be a trigger for you to create a Trello template!)
You can easily create a board template for side projects that have a standard layout where a client can request something (ahem - see the section above on using templates for requests), a list for showing what is currently being worked on and what’s been done, and even a list to share reporting and updates!
I can use templates to create a “Reporting card” where each week I show the details of the previous week’s campaign. Since it’s Trello, you can also easily attach screenshots/files/links to a card so that your client can see everything they need to get the whole picture.
5.) Gift Giving
‘Tis better to give than to receive right? If you don’t believe it, then you’ve never used Trello to manage your shopping!
During the holidays (or for birthdays throughout the year) buying gifts is a lot to keep up with. Use Trello templates to build a board for gift-giving occasions and you’ll find it much less stressful.
We’ve got you covered with a Christmas Planner Template, but don’t stop there!
Why not make one for all the birthdays in your life? Create a card template for anyone you want to buy a gift for and use the description to add in details about ideas you have for the person. Add a checklist to the template to help you remember to buy it, wrap it, and give it to the recipient!
6.) Build A CRM And Find A New Career
If you’re in any sort of sales role, you (hopefully) have many leads and prospects that you have to keep track of. Although you might not have thought about it at first, it’s easy to use Trello as a CRM (customer relationship management) tool.
Using card templates is easy because each contact will likely have a similar format. You can use a template to define a checklist of things you need to do with each lead. Use custom fields to store details about each prospect, such as phone and email. You can use comments on a card to document any notes from calls or for follow-up.
Just like sales, finding a job is a bit like “selling” yourself to a bunch of companies. You can use this same approach to manage all the job leads you find and keep track of where you’re at for each position.
How To Set Up Trello Templates
Not only are there a myriad of benefits to using Trello templates, they are also incredibly easy to get started with.
Creating A Trello Card Template:
To create a card template, all you have to do is create the card in the format you want… like this below! You can set it up with as much or as little detail as you’d like, such as labels, text in the description, members, and even a checklist!
Now, anytime you (or anyone else!) wants to make a new card with the same format, you can quickly do so by clicking the “Create A New Template” icon at the bottom of any list.
Just select the template you want and then boom! The new card is generated and ready to be filled out.
It’s really that easy (and powerful)!
Creating A Trello Board Template:
Just set the board up with your preferences, such as list names and order, any specific cards, descriptions, members, and Power-Ups. Then hop on over to the “Menu” on the board and click “More”. You’ll see the option for “Make Template”.
Now you (or others) can create a board that’s set up just like the one you created! Simply click the button in the banner that says “Create board from template.”
Note: By default, even if it’s a public board, the new copy from the template will be set to private unless you specify otherwise.
Now It’s Your Turn—How Will You Use Trello Card And Board Templates?
Hopefully, this gives you some ideas of how to use Trello to keep your life even more organized and consistent by ensuring boards and cards can be structured the same way without causing any additional work!
You can access all the templates mentioned in this blog post here:
You can find more ideas for templates in our Trello community Template gallery and if you’ve got some of your own, we’d love to learn about them! Show the world how you Trello by submitting your template here.
Good or bad, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)!