As you can read in our full Trello review, there’s a lot to like about this excellent kanban app. It has a great free plan, is easy to use and it’s highly customizable. However, to make the most of its flexibility, you need to use add-ons — called “power-ups” by Trello. In this article, we go over some of the best Trello power-ups that will help you make the most of your project management.
- Trello may be a great kanban board, but that’s all it is; power-ups let you add some more diverse functionality.
- Not all power-ups are created equal. Some are more useful than others, and some may even need you to sign up or pay to use them.
- As useful as they are, you shouldn’t go overboard with add-ons as they don’t always play nice together and can clutter up your board.
We’ve put together this list assuming you’re on the free plan — as we explain in our guide to Trello pricing, we’re not sure how good a deal the upgrade is. It’s also geared toward small teams with modest needs. That said, there’s a little something for everybody here, and we’ve tried to make sure there’s a range of different add-ons.
With that in mind, though, it should be said that even fully kitted-out, Trello is no match for the leaders in our best project management software ranking. As a kanban tool, it’s without equal, but all the power-ups in the world won’t make it a fully fledged task management tool. We’ll go over why that is before we get to our list.
Power-ups are what Trello calls add-ons, which let you add some functionality to your boards that’s not included in the base program.
Yes and no; while there’s no limit to how many power-ups you can add to boards even on the free plan, not all the available power-ups themselves are free to use. Some will require signup or even a fee being paid.
You can use as many power-ups as you’d like: Trello recently removed the cap for free users. Using too many may break your board, though, so don’t go too crazy.
Adding power-ups is as easy as hitting the right buttons, but how each one handles depends very much on who designed it.
What Are Trello Power-Ups & How Do They Work?
As a stand-alone piece of software, Trello is fairly sparse, especially on the free plan. It’s a kanban board first and foremost and what little other functionality it has — which requires a paid upgrade — feels a little tacked-on, at best. It makes up for this by letting you add power-ups to each of your boards and stands out by letting you choose from the biggest library we’ve seen.
Some of these add-ons have been made or at least curated by Atlassian, Trello’s parent company, while others have been developed by other companies. In this last case, this usually means that the power-up serves as an insert of that company’s product into Trello and you need to sign up separately to that company’s app; in some cases, you may even need to pay for it.
Also, there’s no guarantee that the power-up will work as desired as there doesn’t seem to be very strict QA testing before it’s added to the library. Even if they work with Trello, many power-ups will have conflicts with each other that may or may not break your board. The risk is entirely yours.
As a result, we recommend that you don’t go hog wild adding power-ups to your Trello boards. Instead, have a good think about what you do and don’t need and test each add-on before adding any others. Do that, and there’s a good chance you can tailor a great project management tool to fit your needs, maybe even for free.
The 15 Best Trello Power-Ups
With the disclaimer out of the way, let’s take a look at some of our favorite add-ons. As you can imagine, digging through a library as massive as Trello’s is an impossible task, so by no means do we claim this list is exhaustive. It’s just some of the best stuff we’ve come across as we tested the program.
In each case, we took the board as a baseline and figured out how to make the most out of it; after all, what’s the point of having the best kanban board out there and then not using it? If your project management strategy doesn’t use a board as its baseline, then this may not be the guide for you.
Timekeeping, Calendar & Timeline Power-Up Options
We’ll kick off with a few power-ups that you can use to manage your time better.
Probably the first thing you should add to your Trello board is a calendar. If you’re on the Premium plan you get one included — and a really good one at that — but free users need to tack one on themselves. Thankfully, Trello has a decent one in its add-on library that works without any fuss using Trello’s built-in due dates.
This calendar gets the job done, but it’s not great if you need to track tasks across time. For that, you can check out the Planyway calendar add-on, which has a timeline as well. Alternatively, you can take a look at Gantt charts and their timelines too.
2. Gantt Chart
Gantt charts are a great tool for planning dependent tasks, when you need to finish one before starting another. They’re a pretty popular type of tool, and as such you have a few add-ons to choose from. The one we had the best results with was the one supplied by TeamGantt, one of our favorite project management tools for small business.
As integrations go, this one is pretty basic, but it gets the job done. Read our full TeamGantt review to see how this program works, but in short you can assign specific Trello cards to your chart so you can track them. It’s a flexible, though slightly cumbersome system, but it works like a charm.
3. Deadlines by Elegantt
If you need to track tasks and don’t want to use a timeline or Gantt chart, there’s an interesting doodad called Deadlines you could check out. Basically, it lines up your due dates and then lets you know how much time is left on tasks, as well as who’s supposed to be doing them.
We like Deadlines because it works with Trello’s built-in systems, so there’s no tweaking required to get it to work. If you want a simple tool that can give you a quick overview of what’s what, give it a spin.
4. Chronos Time Tracker
Lastly, we’ll take a look at one of the many time-tracking power-ups Trello has to offer. We especially like Chronos, as it’s very simple to use and works right out of the box; all you need to do is authorize the connection and you’re set.
All recorded times are exported to a handy report sheet, so you get a good overview of the time being spent on tasks. If you’re in a business that requires keeping hours, give Chronos a shot. Alternatively, you can try out TimeCamp, a similar app we also liked.
Messaging & Communication Power-Up Options
Another important part of project management is talking to your team. Thankfully, there are several great power-ups that help you do so in Trello.
There’s a very useful add-on for Slack that lets you create Trello cards — very nice if you need to add a task on the fly — and it also pings Slack if a card is moved somehow. We explain how to set it up and all the ways to use it in our full guide on how to integrate Trello and Slack, but if you use both Trello and Slack, you’ll definitely want to check it out.
Setting up this power-up is a huge time-saver for any team that uses Slack as its communication hub and Trello as a way to track work. Setting it up takes just a minute.
6. Board Chat
If you’d prefer to keep your communication on the Trello board, that’s an option, too. There are a few power-ups that will let you add some kind of general board chat besides the task-specific messaging found on the back of cards.
The conveniently named Board Chat is probably the best option here. So far we’ve had no issues with it and we like how smoothly it runs. However, it does cost money to use, $1 per user per month, so that’s something to keep in mind. You do get a free trial, though.
7. Private Notes
Private Notes is an interesting power-up. It lets you place notes on cards that only you can see, perfect for managers who want to remind themselves what’s going on with a card without the whole team knowing about it.
Though not strictly a communication tool, there’s a lot of interesting uses for this little app. However, there’s a downside: it’s paid. As handy as it is, we’re not entirely sure it’s worth $0.99 per month.
The last entry in this section is Contalist, which is a way to add contact information for clients to cards. It more or less turns Trello into a “CRM light,” and we really like the idea of team members being able to see the client information right there on the task.
All you need to use it is an account with Contalist and you’re off to the races. We have a feeling that teams that do a lot of work for clients will really appreciate this power-up.
File Storage and Management Power-Up Options
Cloudwards wouldn’t be Cloudwards if we didn’t take a look at some ways to integrate the best cloud storage services with Trello. Let’s take a look at some of your options.
9. Google Drive
First up is Google Drive, which has a great add-on for Trello. Not only can you attach files in your Drive to cards, you can also create Google documents, spreadsheets and more right there. If your organization works mainly with Google Drive (read our Google Drive review to see why you may want to), it’s a really great power-up.
Of course, if you’re not a big fan of Google, it loses some utility. Thankfully, there are other ways to integrate file storage and Trello.
Next up is the Dropbox power-up, which is a lot simpler than Google Drive. All it does is let you access files in Dropbox from Trello. It’s nothing amazing, but again can save you a lot of time and annoyance, especially if you’re looking for a particular file and you’re in a hurry.
Besides Google Drive and Dropbox, there are also similar power-ups for OneDrive (read our OneDrive review) and Box (read our Box Business review).
Besides these, there’s also a power-up for the best EFSS provider, Egnyte. Though again it’s a very simple little applet, it can save you a lot of time and headaches — a great reason to use this excellent file management program and Trello in conjunction.
If you’re not sure about what Egnyte is, check out our full Egnyte Connect review; it’s a great option for companies looking to store in bulk.
General Utility Power-Up Options
We’ll finish up this roundup with some handy little power-ups we weren’t sure how to classify. There’s a bit of everything here, and they’re all pretty useful.
12. Card Repeater
First up is Card Repeater, which lets you set tasks to repeat. It’s very simple, but for teams that do the same tasks every day, week, month or year, this little gadget is fantastic as it saves a lot of humdrum copy-pasting.
We like the Card Repeater, as it’s a great example of a power-up that doesn’t do anything big, but is still extremely useful. If you have a lot of repetitive tasks, this is a great add-on.
13. Custom Fields
A big favorite at Cloudwards, the Custom Fields power-up lets you add new fields to cards. This add-on is perfect for any team that needs to incorporate specific details, which is likely all of them.
You can choose whether the new fields appear on the back or front of the card. On the back means you get to reference it easily, while the front is perfect for at-a-glance information. We recommend every user check out this great little power-up.
14. Time in List
Some teams may also find it handy to know how long a card has been in a list or board. There are several power-ups that help you with this, but we like the one simply named Time in List by Cherry wood software as it’s free and incredibly simple to use.
Though this add-on is a little more niche than the others on this list, it’s a great addition for any manager who wants to be able to identify bottlenecks. If a card has been wired on too long, it could mean the task needs to be split up or a team member is in need of some help. Whatever the case may be, this power-up will help you identify issues.
15. Copy & Link
Last but not least is Copy & Link, a power-up that lets you link cards across boards. This is great if you’re running multiple teams using different boards, as when a card is moved in one board, the other board gets a notification.
For large teams, this power-up is a must-have, as it removes a lot of potential for miscommunication while speeding up workflow across the board. If you’ve ever wondered if another team is still working on something, get this power-up.
There are a lot of power-ups to choose from, but these 15 are among our favorites. That said, we can’t always guarantee they’ll work well together, so make sure you test them out before relying on them too strongly.
What are your favorite Trello power-ups? Did we miss any we should have included? Do you know of any two add-ons that work particularly well together? Share your thoughts in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.