How to start using Asana

Welcome to Asana!

PHOTOGRAPH of real Asana customers with colorful Asana tasks floating around them showing what they've achieved with the product There’s a lot our customers can achieve with Asana, but here’s a quick rundown of the most important things to know when you’re just getting started.

Quick Asana demo walkthrough

Asana’s look and features are ever-evolving—your screen probably looks different than this video—but the key concepts remain the same.

1. How to create a task

GIF of how to create a task in an Asana project

Tasks represent actionable steps or to-do’s, approvals, or serve as a milestone you need to hit. They can also store important reference information in a project (like the project brief or the presentation template) so it’s easy to find.

To create a task, start in a project, type a task name, then press enter to keep adding more.

Task best practices

  • Make task names specific and action-based so it’s clear what you need to do.
  • Set realistic due dates for your teammates as soon as they are known, or with your best guess so they’re on the radar. You can even add a start date to show a range.
  • Attach files when referencing a document.
  • Add teammates as collaborators so they can stay up to date on task progress.
  • Link to relevant work or ping a teammate in the task description by @mentioning related tasks, projects, or people.
  • Comment on a task—You can comment on a task to ask questions, respond to teammates, or offer information and insight.

2. How to create your first project

Projects are how you organize and plan all of the tasks related to a specific initiative, goal, or big piece of work. You can visualize projects as a list, board, calendar, or timeline.

A GIF showing different project views in Asana, including list, board, Timeline, and calendar

Types of projects you can manage in Asana

You can plan and manage almost any project or process in Asana, but here are the most common examples:

Types of Asana projects

See more use cases in our ways to use Asana section or get started with a pre-made project in our templates library.

3. Organize your project

Group related tasks together with sections or columns

Example of sections in an Asana list view

Sections (in list layout) or columns (in board layout) group your tasks. They’re most helpful for categories that won’t change as work moves forward. For example, you could create sections by timeframe (like quarters or month), project phase, or a Kanban style “to do,” “doing,” and “done.”

To create sections, type Tab + N. In board projects, just click Add column.

Sort and filter tasks in projects with custom fields

How to sort tasks by custom field in Asana

Custom fields are like column headers to help you filter and sort tasks in your project by things like priority, task status, cost, or approval. Group your project by clicking any header and using the filter and sort buttons.

4. How to find your work and updates about it

As projects move forward, and new work comes your way, Asana gives you lots of options to stay on top of it. Open the sidebar to quickly see:

My Tasks

GIF of prioritizing a new Asana task from My Tasks so you remember to do it later in the week My Tasks shows only the tasks assigned to you and when they’re due. Come back to My Tasks throughout the day to check off tasks you’ve completed, see any new work that’s come in, and get started on your next task.

Inbox

GIF of customer viewing and sorting their Asana inbox by work directly assigned to them versus general updatess Inbox is a filtered news feed of updates, but only for the work you’re following. You can also respond to things right from Inbox and quickly navigate to your work.

5. How Asana’s organized

Projects and tasks are the most fundamental building blocks of Asana.

Overview of Asana structure

  1. Organizations are based on your company’s shared email domain, and connect everybody within your company that uses Asana.
  2. Teams are functional groups in an Organization that likely correspond to general teams, like marketing or sales, or functional groups like “NYC Office.”
  3. Projects are stored in Teams (and Portfolios) to track all the actionable steps, information, and communications towards achieving a goal, initiative, or objective.
  4. Tasks are stored in projects and make it clear who’s responsible for what by when. Tasks store all the files, conversations, and instructions related to it so they’re easy to find in one place.
  5. Portfolios store groups of projects. You can use them to see all the projects and status updates towards an initiative or objective in one place.

More resources to help you learn Asana

ILLUSTRATION of an inspired woman feeling creative and curious

Once you master the basics, you can keep building on them, and the Asana team will too. We have all different kinds of getting started resources so anyone can learn how they like.

I want to… Resources
Watch quick videos Watch How to Asana or click through Asana Lessons
Get training Register for a live training or live feature demo; enroll in Asana Academy
Skim tips articles Asana Guide or Asana Blog
Talk to someone Sign up for Asana Community Forum or hire an Asana trainer

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Asana Lessons

Learn the Asana basics in less than 15 minutes with these quick lessons

Tasks

Tasks Lessons

Track all of your work

3 Minutes

My Tasks

My Tasks Lessons

Always know what to do next

3 Minutes

Projects

Projects Lessons

Work with teammates

3 Minutes

Inbox

Inbox Lessons

Communicate even faster

3 Minutes

You can use tasks to track, collaborate on, and organize all your work.

Tasks can be to-dos, ideas, notes, or reminders.

Assign a task to yourself or a teammate.

Press Tab+M to quickly assign a task to yourself.

Add a due date so your deadline is clear.

Add instructions and expectations in the task description field.

Type @ to link to other tasks, people, conversations, or projects.

When you @mention someone, they’ll be added to your task as a follower.

Followers get notified when new comments or attachments are added.

Add anyone who needs to stay up to date on your task as a follower.

They can always unfollow to stop getting notifications on your task.

Add comments to ask questions or give followers updates.

Heart a comment to let followers know you’ve seen it.

Add relevant files or irrelevant GIFs as attachments.

You can also attach directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box.

Create subtasks to break your task into smaller steps.

When you’ve added a subtask, press enter to add another.

Subtasks can contain all the same details as regular tasks.

Click the comment bubble to add comments or attachments to a subtask.

You can create tasks from any screen using your top bar.

Every Task has a unique URL to easily copy and share.

Congrats! Looks like you’re up to the task.

On to the next lesson!

Always know what to do next with My Tasks.

My Tasks is a list of every task assigned to you.

It makes managing your work simple.

Click on your My Tasks list and start typing to add tasks.

Like a text document, add a new line for each new task or paste in any list.

Forward to x@mail.asana.com to turn your emails into tasks.

Asana will translate your email into a task, including your attachments.

New tasks will appear at the top of your list in Recently Assigned.

Tasks you add to My Tasks are private to you.

Click Make Public to share them with your team.

Prioritize tasks as Today, Upcoming, or Later.

Click on the blue dot next to the task, to quickly sort it.

Mark the tasks you’ll have time for Today.

Teammates can view your My Tasks list to see what you’re up to.

They’ll only see tasks you’ve made public or shared in a project (more on projects later).

Mark tasks due within a week as Upcoming so you can see what will be due soon.

On its due date, your task will move from Upcoming to Today.

Just like magic.

Mark tasks due in more than a week for Later.

They’ll be out of your way until their due date approaches.

Your tasks will move from Later to Upcoming a week before they’re due.

Keep My Tasks prioritized to always know what to work on and what’s coming next.

Now you know how to track and plan your work!

Next, learn how to work with your team in Asana.

Work together on groups of tasks with projects.

Projects help you track and organize the steps in a process or initiative.

Like an event plan, product launch, or editorial calendar.

Like My Tasks, simply click and type to add tasks to your project.

If you have your steps in a document or email already, paste in that list.

Add tasks to your project from email.

View your project’s unique email address from the project dropdown menu.

Add your tasks to other related projects.

Tasks can be included in multiple projects.

Add sections to organize tasks in a list project.

Type Tab+N in any task row to create a new section.

Or, add columns to organize tasks in a boards project.

Drag and drop tasks between or within columns to reorder.

Assign your tasks and set due dates.

Never miss a deadline with your project calendar.

Drag and drop tasks on your calendar to change their due dates.

Add everyone who needs to stay updated on your project as members.

Project members will get notified of new conversations, statuses, and tasks.

Post conversations to make announcements or start discussions.

Your post will be sent to all project members.

Use Progress to see how your project is moving forward.

Set a project status to update your team on how it’s going.

The Project Owner will be reminded to set a status once a week.

Open and organize projects from your sidebar.

Favorite projects to pin them to the top of your sidebar.

Click the star button on the left of your project name to favorite it.

Create new projects from any screen using your top bar.

Now you can move projects forward with your team.

Just one more lesson before you dive in.

Communicate and coordinate faster with Inbox.

Check Inbox to quickly read and respond to your latest updates.

Inbox will notify you when you have a task due…

and when teammates update tasks, conversations, and projects you follow.

Open and respond to updates without leaving Inbox.

Click an update and you’ll have all the context you need to respond.

Archive updates you’re ready to dismiss.

Click the X that appears on the right of an update to archive it.

Open Archive to move dismissed updates back to your Inbox.

Click the arrow that appears on the right of an archived update to move it back to Inbox.

Unfollow tasks or projects to stop receiving updates about them.

In the end, you have control over the updates you receive (or choose not to receive)

When you’re ready, you can turn Asana’s Email notifications off.

Most communication with your team can be more easily managed from Inbox. Just remember to check it often.

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to have a great work day with Asana.