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The Ultimate Guide to Trello: An Introduction

Have you been looking for the perfect program to help you organize everything you have going on? Have you gone through a lot of different apps, and they have some of the features you’re looking for, but they never cover everything?

I spent years looking for the program that fit exactly what I was looking for. And then I discovered Trello.

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I am seriously in love with this program.

But I’ve read a ton of mixed reviews about it. And I think that’s because a lot of people aren’t aware of all the amazing things Trello can do for you! I wasn’t at first, but once I started figuring out how multifunctional it is, I kicked myself for not figuring it out sooner!

So to help you get the full use out of Trello, I am going to be publishing a five-part series.

This first article is going to be a basic introduction. I’m going to walk you through the basics of how to set up and organize your boards, and then talk about some of the features that make me swoon.

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Getting Started – Create Your First Board

While Trello is most definitely an effective tool to manage your tasks, getting it set up is a little different.

For one, you aren’t going to be making a list from the start; you are going to be creating boards. And these different boards are where you will house your different lists.

So think of these as your big things. You don’t want to have boards for everything, because then you will be switching back and forth between them, and it’s easier to move things around inside of a board than between them.

So, if you’ve just set up a Trello account, this is what your homepage will look like (on the desktop):

Trello Homepage

Now, you need to create your first board. One of the things that I like to do in Trello is plan out my week, so I’m going to label it that:

New Trello Board

(To get rid of the Welcome Board that comes with Trello, open the board, in the upper right-hand corner click on Show Menu, click on Close Board, Close. You can then permanently delete the board if you want, or click on Trello on the top of your screen to go back to your homepage.)

Starring Your Most Used Boards

The boards on your home screen will be arranged alphabetically. To stick your most used boards to the top of the screen, hover your mouse over the top right corner of the board, and a star will appear. Click on the star and your board will be pinned to the top.

Pinning a Trello Board to the Top of the Screen

Create Your First List

Once your board is set up, it’s time to create your lists. You can add multiple cards (items, tasks, etc.) to each list.

So I went ahead and added a list to the weekly scheduling board for a general to-do list:

Trello Blank Weekly Schedule


From there we can start putting tasks on the to-do list:

Trello Weekly Schedule General To-Do List

Creating Labels

Once I add tasks to my lists, I like to label them by category so that I know generally what they are at a glance.

So the three tasks that I added to the general to-do list were pay the car insurance, edit a first draft, and make your son’s doctor’s appointment. Let’s label the car insurance as bills, the first draft as work, and the doctor’s appointment as personal.

To create new labels, you click on Show Menu, More, Labels. You will then see the different colors. To add a name to the label, you just click on it and start typing!

Trello Labels

Next, we need to label each task. To do this, you click on the pencil that shows up on the far right end of the card when you hover over it.

Select Edit Labels, and then select the label you want to use. For this one, we are going to select bills. You will then see that the task has been marked with a green line indicating the label.

Trello Labels - Add New

You could also do this by clicking on the task card anywhere, which will open up the card allowing you to edit any aspect of it.

Trello Edit Card

Adding a Due Date

Trello also allows you the ability to add due dates to the task cards. To do this, you would either click on the pencil icon and select Assign Due Date or by selecting the card itself and opening it.

So let’s say that the car insurance needs to be paid on June 15 at 8:00 AM. This is what that would look like.

Trello Add a Due Date

Adding Other People

You can also add other people to the Trello board (they have to have a Trello account). This will allow you to assign tasks to them as well.

This first thing you need to do is open the board menu by click Show Menu, select Add Members, and then enter the email address associated with their Trello account.

To assign them to the task you can either click on the pencil icon and select Change Members or open the card by clicking on it.

Here you will select Members and then click on the board member you want to assign the task to.

Trello Assign Members

The other person will get a notification that they have been added to the board and assigned the task.

Trello Notifications

Using Power-Ups

To take Trello a step further, you need to take full advantage of their power ups. With the free version, you can only unlock one. I use the Calendar power up so that I can visually see my editorial calendar and weekly schedule.

You do this by opening the board menu by clicking Show Menu and then selecting Power Ups. You can see that there are a lot of different power-ups available.

I’m going to go ahead and click on the Enable button next to Calendar.

Then, to see this board as a calendar, you will click on Calendar in the upper right corner, next to Show Menu. This wasn’t there before you enabled the calendar.

And here’s what it looks like! The card to pay the car insurance is now sitting on the 15th. If you needed to change it to another day, all you would need to do is click on it and then drag it to where you want it to be. It changes the date in the card for you! This is the easiest way I have found to be able to manage my calendar without having to go in and manually change something whenever something changes! It is by far my favorite feature of Trello.

Trello Calendar

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Okay, so we now have a basic understanding of how to set up your Trello account. In the upcoming articles, I am going to go over setting up a functional weekly calendar, a family schedule, an editorial calendar, and then how to use Trello to work on group projects.

What’s your favorite thing about Trello? Let us know in the comments!

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