Have you just started a new gig and you need to learn how to use Trello? Or maybe you’ve been on pen and paper until now, and you know you need a change? For many, Trello is the first work management tool they’re exposed to. That may just be because of its popularity, but for many, it’s the most user-friendly tool they’ve used. That’s why many will recommend Trello for beginners.
In this guide, we’ll give you a primer on Trello, teach you the interface, and show you how to create boards and cards.
How Trello works for beginners
Trello follows the Kanban methodology, in which each task is represented by a card on a board — think Post-Its on a whiteboard. These cards are organized in columns to track progress. While these columns can be customized, they usually follow this pattern:
So when a task first comes in, it’ll get a card in the To-do column. When work begins, it’s moved to the Doing column. And well it’s done — well, you get the idea.
Think of Trello like a digital whiteboard. It has boards to represent that whiteboard, and cards to represent tasks. A Trello board for a busy team might look something like this:
Now that you understand the methodology behind the Trello board, let’s dive into the tool itself.
How to use Trello’s interface
The first step in this guide for Trello beginners is familiarizing yourself with the interface. There are three main parts you should get used to: the workspace, the top menu, and the right-hand menu.
Here’s what you’ll find on the workspace screen:
- The top menu: This menu will follow you no matter where you go in Trello. More on it in a minute.
- Boards: This will show you all boards you’re a contributor to, whether they’re in your workspace or not.
- Templates: Takes you to Trello’s template library.
- Home: Jump back to Trello’s main screen.
- Workspaces: Lists all workspaces you’re part of, each their own dropdown.
- Workspace dropdown: Access a workspace’s boards, get just a few highlights, or customize workspace settings.
- Onboarding: When you first sign up, Trello will guide you through its onboarding process with easy-to-follow steps.
- Members: Track your workspace’s members here and invite new ones.
Now let’s cover the top menu.
The top menu
- Atlassian dropdown: If you’re using multiple Atlassian apps, you can switch between them here.
- Home: Go back to Trello’s main screen.
- Boards: A dropdown used to switch between Trello boards.
- Search bar: Search up Trello boards, individual cards, and more.
- Create: Need a new board? A new workspace? Do it all here.
- Information: Get quick access Trello tips and tricks for beginners, the Trello blog, pricing, and more.
- Notifications: Your notifications will all be collected here, whether that’s direct mentions or updates to cards you’re a contributor for.
- Account: Add other Trello accounts, change account settings, log out, and so on.
Alright, now that you’ve been through Trello’s main screen, let’s look at the right-hand menu you’ll find once you’ve created a Trello board.
Once you’re in a Trello board, you’ll access this menu by clicking Show menu on the right-hand side.
- About this board: This will show a list of board admins, the board’s description, and permissions.
- Change background: Give your board a fresh coat of paint.
- Search cards: Find a specific card here.
- Stickers: Drag and drop stickers onto your cards to give them a bit more pep.
- More: This will open in-depth board settings, let you customize labels, and close the board.
- Automation: Here you can set up automations for recurring cards, create custom buttons, and more.
- Power-Ups: With Power-Ups, you can add integrations and extra features to your board.
- Activity: Your board’s most recent updates will show up in a feed here.
Alright, enough with the menus. Time to create your first board.
Creating your first Trello board
Remember this screen?
You can create your first board a few different ways, but since the folks at Trello are kind enough to onboard you, click on Add a board to your Workspace.
You’ll find two rows. One holds popular templates, while the other is a big empty space for your Workspace boards. Let’s start a board from scratch by clicking on Create new board.
In this pop-up, you can give your board a name and choose a theme. You could even go back to picking a template if you wanted. For now, just add a name, pick a theme, and click on Create board.
And, just like that, you’ve created your first board.
Note that you’ll have three columns automatically created: To Do, Doing, and Done. Now what if you wanted to use a template?
Trello templates for beginners
Templates are one of the best things Trello has for beginners. Start by clicking on the Home button in the top menu. This will take you back to your workspace.
Click on Boards in your workspace.
You’ll get the two same rows as before. Pick a template from the top row and click on it. Like, say, Remote Team Hub.
This will take you to a public board showing you the template in action. Click on the blue Create board from template button.
Give your new board a name, make sure it’s in the right workspace, then click Create.
And just like that, you’ve created a board from a template! Time to fill it with cards.
A guide to Trello cards for beginners
Let’s go back to that empty board from before.
It’s time to add some cards and get work done. Mouse over to the To Do column and click on + Add a card.
Give your card a title and click Add card.
Congratulations! You now have a Trello board and you’ve populated it with your first card. Let’s take a look at it.
A Trello card can be used to track every aspect of an individual task. You can use the Description field to describe the task in detail, as well as providing updates along the way. Below the description, you can add comments as work goes on. Collaborators can ask questions, get their answers, and more from here.
On the right, you’ll see a host of actions you can take to help track your work. Add Members to a card so they’re kept updated as you work. Use Labels to categorize and organize your cards. Checklists can track the small rocks that make up a bigger task, while Dates help you stick to your deadlines. Finally, add documents, deliverables, and other files with Attachments.
That’s just a brief overview of the things you can do with a Trello card.
It’s time to get on board
Trello may be one of the best tools for beginners, but it also has its die-hard fans. Its simple Kanban methodology is flexible enough to manage a wide variety of projects, and the tool has enough customization to keep even the most technical users happy. Once you’ve used it for a while, you’ll start seeing Trello boards in every project.