Understanding Trello: A Comprehensive Guide

Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Trello Feature Image

Without question, having efficient Workflow and Timelines for projects can be the difference between your team feeling overworked and overwhelmed to being sustainable and scalable. In this guide, you’ll learn to create effective business operations and processes with Trello.

Trello is a visual, Web-based Project Management Tool that helps individuals and teams plan projects. It is a highly adaptable platform for remote teams to manage Workflow and projects. Even if you have never used it before, this comprehensive guide will cover all the basics.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Trello

Trello Logo
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Trello is a Kanban-based visual collaboration tool that enables individuals, freelancers, and Project Managers to organize projects and prioritize tasks flexibly. You can create Boards which are essentially a series of lists with Cards packed with powerful features and automation.

It is an exciting way of keeping track of your progress. Trello was developed by Toyota in Japan, the home of elegant simplicity. You move Cards in a horizontal axis to keep track of complicated projects such as car manufacturing or editorial calendars.

3 Main Elements of Trello

Let’s dig into its main elements and how they can improve your Workflow. The ease of working with this platform comes from its three-tier information system:

The projects are organized into Boards, which would contain lists. All Lists will have their Cards, which are the basic unit of a Trello Board. Users can create multiple Boards, drag and drop different lists on Boards, and add/complete tasks on these Lists. 

A) Boards

Trello Board
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Boards represent a concept in planning or a project under development. It can be a process that requires organizing or a continuous Workflow such as Ad Management or Content Creation or Promotion. You can either create a new Board or select one from the various default templates. 

While creating a new Board, the default setting is ‘Workspace Visible,’ meaning any member from your workspace can view, join, and edit Cards. You can change the setting to Private if you don’t want other members to see your Board. You can also give all your projects a unique look by uploading a personal image, choosing a picture from Unsplash, or selecting a solid colour as your background.

B) Lists

Trello List
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Once you have set up a Board, the next step is to add lists to the blank canvas. The Board can be arranged either horizontally or vertically using lists that are again organized vertically with Cards. Lists and Cards are independent of each other, allowing you to edit or move any one of them freely without affecting the other. 

Lists allow users to divide their Board into different Workflow stages/categories to populate the related Cards of the same category or stage. 

C) Cards

Trello Card
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For beginners, let’s understand Cards as representing tasks that you or your team members will work on. You can keep all the tasks (Cards) under a To-Do, Done, or Doing List option. Since Cards are independent of the Lists, you can move them under different categories as your work progresses. 

Card Description
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For more advanced tasks, it allows users to dive deeper into Cards. Click on a Card, and you will have access to features like adding a description, comments, members, labels, checklists, attachments, due dates, power-ups, etc. The Add to Card section makes your work-life easier by adding filters when you have hundreds of them floating on different Lists. You can also change the Card’s cover, so they are easier to spot on the Board. 

4 Key Features of Trello

Boards, Cards, and Lists have some of the most intuitive features which help to organize and manage work easily. Let’s discuss the following Top 4 features:

A) Labels

Trello Labels
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Labels are customizable elements that allow users to add Clarity, Pop of Color, and Structure to their Boards. These can be used to organize Cards by teams, catalogue a repository by subject, or prioritize tasks. You can add labels to categorize different aspects of the process, which you can also use to do a more refined search.

Depending on your requirement, labels can be Tagged Keywords on a Card or Color-Coded. Managers also use labels to designate priority levels so team members know which tasks require immediate attention. Labels are also a great way of differentiating between tasks if you use Boards to keep track of multiple projects. 

B) Power-Ups

Power-ups are a feature that sets this software apart from other Kanban-based collaboration tools. They bring integrations and additional functionality to your Boards. You can connect as many apps as you require (out of 100+ available) to power your productivity. Here are a few of the top Power-ups you can start with: 

  • Custom Fields: This allows you to add information like Costs, Time Estimates, Phone Numbers, and more to Cards. You can add custom fields on the front and back of the Cards.
  • Planyway: This Power-up allows you to see all the tasks on one Master Calendar. You can also see a Team Timeline, Task’s Start and End Dates, and a lot more. 
  • Card Repeater: You can now automate Card creation for repeated tasks. All you have to do is set the schedule, and the Power-up will automatically create the Card at the scheduled time. It can copy Checklists, Advanced Checklist Features, Descriptions, and much more from the Parent Card. 
  • List Limits: To ensure everyone is completing tasks on time, you can limit the number of Cards allowed within a List. Whenever the number of Cards exceeds the limit set by you, this power-up will highlight the List. It is an excellent way of knowing that your team is at its full capacity or if you’ve added extra Cards to a List. 
  • Butler: Once you create a Board, start your Workflow, and add Power-ups, it’s time to automate the process with Butler. It is Trello’s robotic sidekick that automates all the tedious work. You can simply click the Butler Icon in the Board menu, tell it the things you want to automate, and Butler will bring everything to speed. You can create the following types of automation:
    • Rules that are instantly triggered by a set action.
    • Buttons that run an action on a Card or across an entire Board in a single click.
    • Commands that run about approaching or past due dates.
    • Commands that run at set calendar intervals.

C) Advanced Checklists 

Advanced Checklists
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Every Trello Card has checklists that allow users to break down projects into smaller tasks. You can even create more detailed to-do lists. The advanced checklist is a collaborative upgrade available to users of the business class and the enterprise plan. With this feature, you can assign members and a due date to each of the checklist items, allowing you to add more context for list items. 

D) Teams

Users can group Boards into similar categories called Teams. For everything in this platform, users can set up Teams however they like:

  • Individual Clients 
  • All Clients
  • Membership Site 
  • Product Launch Plan

For more tips and information on the features, you can visit Trello Help.

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Key Benefits of using Trello 

While using this Project Management application, you may notice some of the following key advantages:

  • Well-Organized Board & Card System: It uses a unique Board & Card system, which is the most accessible and most User-Friendly Organised Workflow method. You can have a Board for each project, Cards for various tasks that you can assign to team members, and Lists to keep track of progress.
  • Searchable Database: With the focus on security, it is ensured that all the progress is stored and backed up in case of a failure. You can also search Cards and Lists through the search filter to locate the file in no time. 
  • Follow Kanban System: Toyota founded the Kanban system in the 1950s, and it improves task scheduling by reducing them into smaller components. This system uses Boards and Cards to reveal bottlenecks in the development process.
  • Instant Notifications: Users never miss out on a task because of its seamless notifications system. You will receive alerts via email when tasks are Updated, Commented upon, or Removed.
  • Collaborative: Users can invite other people to their personal Boards with a few clicks. It also allows Task Assignment to Members. Alternatively, you can even invite clients to create their Workflow Stage.
  • Flexible: It helps teams to create Workflow while Planning Content or Launching a New campaign.
  • Straightforward Pricing: Compared to other Project Management Tools, the pricing structure is less complex here. There is a Free Version where users can invite an unlimited number of members, create Boards, Cards, and Lists. Next is the Business Class Version, costing $10 per month per user (billed annually), which comes with a horde of features like Google Apps Integration, Easy Bulk Export, and the ability for administrators to access and manage all Boards (including private). You can restrict Board visibility by incorporating the read-only feature for Boards and tasks. The last plan is Enterprise costing $17.50 per month per user, an estimated cost for 25 users. It comes with Unlimited Command Runs, Organization-Wide Permissions, and Mobile Device Management (MDM) Support.
  • Mobile-Friendly: It works efficiently on every platform. Users can access it via any device: computer, tablet, or mobile. Accessibility on multiple platforms ensures all team members can access the data from every device, including Android and iOS. 

Limitations of Trello

Trello is a one-stop Project Management Solution for any enterprise having coordination challenges among various teams. However, there are a few obstacles you might encounter while using this software: 

  • Storage Limit: You can have as many attachments as you want on a Card. However, for basic members, there is a 10 MB file upload limit for each attachment. Gold and Business-Class Members have a 250 MB file upload limit. 
  • Suitable for Smaller Projects: It is an effective tool suitable for simple team projects which don’t require scaling up. You might find it difficult to manage massive projects with multiple remote team members. 
  • Cannot Create/Share Long-Term Plans: The Boards feature is famous for its simplicity and easy-to-use interface. However, it lacks complex road mapping for both small and large projects. You won’t be able to create a roadmap for your project that goes along with Boards and Cards.
  • Commenting Feature Needs Improvement: Unlike other software where users/team members can leave comments and edit them, it only allows commenting but lacks the editing feature. If anyone has left a comment, they can’t edit it. The only way is to create a new comment.
  • Integration with Other Platforms: Linking Trello with other platforms used across your business is important to sync all the data and keep everyone on the same page. Currently, integration capabilities are limited to only a few applications.


In this article, You have learned everything to start building custom Workflow and processes on Trello. Working with this application is a rewarding experience as it improves Workflow and Project Management. With visually stunning and informative Kanban Boards, Cards and Lists, you can stay aware of all the projects, who is working on what, and what are the deadlines. Managing and Designing Workflows based on your style helps you hit all the deadlines making your Project Management much simpler.

Though, when your business grows the number of projects rapidly increases. With that, the data associated with the customers keep on adding up. Handling, Cleaning, Transforming, and Integrating this tremendous amount of Data is a time-consuming task. This requires devoting a part of your engineering bandwidth that otherwise could better be utilized on Data visualization and Analysis. This can be easily solved by a Cloud-based ETL tool like Hevo Data.

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Share with us your experience of learning about Trello. Let us know in the comments section below!

Osheen Jain
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Osheen has extensive experience in freelance writing within the data industry and is passionate about simplifying the complexities of data integration and data analysis through informative content for those delving deeper into these subjects.

No-code Data Pipeline For Trello