Trello is a solid project management tool that is used by companies big and small the world over. We like it a lot, but, as you can read in this full Trello review, there are some serious limits to its usefulness.
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Getting things done is harder than it should be. It’s easy to start a project with good intentions, but all too soon things get on top of you and you don’t know where things are going. Fortunately, there’s a ton of software around to help you. Task and project management tools make it simple to bring structure to your projects.
In this Trello review, we’re going to look at a straightforward tool that makes planning tasks a lot easier. We’ll see what it does, so you can decide if it can help you get your projects finished.
Trello is a popular tool that’s used by some of the world’s biggest names, including Google, Kickstarter and National Geographic. Its parent company, Atlassian, is an Australian software giant that’s also responsible for Bitbucket and Jira, which you can read more about in our Jira review. Atlassian acquired Trello for $425 million in 2017, so it’s a big player.
Trello is good at what it does, despite being relatively basic. If you want something with more advanced features, have a look through our project management software reviews.
You can also read how Trello compares to other tools in our Trello vs. Asana and Wrike vs. Trello comparisons. If you don’t have time, we’ll cut to the chase and tell you Trello is your best option if you want a free kanban board tool for your team, but if you need more than that, you should explore what else is out there.
- Easy to use
- Free version is highly functional
- Lots of guidance, examples & support
- Power-ups offer plenty of extras
- Limited in scope when used without power ups
Trello is based around boards, made up of columns and cards. Cards typically represent tasks on a to-do list, but don’t have to be that. They could be guests at a wedding, recipes or whatever else you can think of.
The basic kanban setup is three columns — “to-do,” “doing” and “done” — but you can have as many columns as you like and call them anything. Perhaps each team member could have a column for work they’re handling or columns could reflect the stage of production an item is at. The choice is yours.
If you want something that gives you more choices in terms of views, but is still simple and accessible, have a look at our Asana review.
Trello is designed for teams. You can invite people to your boards via a button at the top. Each member gets a little icon with their profile picture or initials to show you who’s there. People can be added to individual cards, which shows you who’s doing what.
Trello Integrations & Power-Ups
Trello’s range of “power-ups” includes extensions and integrations that enhance its functionality. Free users can only use one at a time, but there are no limits for paid users.
The integrations allow you to use data on other services. They can be storage services, such as Google Drive, or even other project management tools, such as Asana or Jira. You can read about those in our Asana vs Jira comparison.
You can connect Trello to the Slack chat platform, giving your team a place to communicate and allowing you to share data between the two. If you’re doing that, check out our best cloud storage for Slack article. You can also link cards to services such as Twitter or SurveyMonkey.
The “butler” power-up allows you to automate tasks and has been bought by Atlassian, which considers it a key upgrade. It makes it surprisingly easy to do things. Automating your workflows is a great way to save time and money, so if you want to go deeper with Trello, it’s well worth taking a look at. It lets you create buttons with custom functionality attached to them.
As is typical with Trello, the interface is clear and simple, despite offering a huge amount of power. You can set it up to sort or arrange tasks, label items automatically, send notifications and do a load of other jobs.
There are several customization features in Trello to make your boards feel more like your own. You can add custom backgrounds, which are a great way to add your personal or company branding.
You can pick from a generous selection of photos or just use a solid color. Paid members can use their own images. If you want to liven things up, you can even use an animated .gif. The backgrounds are a great way to customize public websites, too, if you have a schedule or something that you want to share with clients or customers.
You can add stickers to your cards, with a dozen available to free users. Paid users get even more choices and they can upload stickers of their own for a more personal touch. There are also emoji to use, and again, paying customers can use their own.
If customization features are important to you, take a look at our Aha review to learn about a tool that has a lot of them. It’s a more feature-rich tool than Trello, but it’s expensive, too.
Trello has Android and iOS apps, so you can use it on the go, and there are desktop apps for Windows and macOS.
Trello’s core feature set is simple and basic, but what’s there works well. There’s also a lot of scope to expand it through the power-ups.
Features Trello Overview
Trello is easy to sign up for and you can get started in just a few minutes. When you use the application for the first time, there’ll be a start-up board ready for you. Setting up boards is simple and you can have as many as you like. You can copy them, so you can use one as a template or use one of the public example boards as a starting point.
The core workflow with Trello is dragging cards from column to column to reflect their status. It couldn’t be simpler. You can create cards easily and adjust the columns to match your needs.
Cards are full of information. They can be given colored labels, which you can customize. You can assign people to them and also add a deadline, with automatic notifications sent when things are due.
You can add comments and attachments to them. You can have as many attachments as you like, but the file size is limited to 250MB on paid plans. If you need to share bigger files, check out our article on the best cloud storage for large files.
You can also add a checklist of subtasks to tick off, if you want to break things into smaller chunks. As you complete them, you’ll fill a percentage bar showing how close you are to finishing all of them, which is useful for tracking your progress.
There’s no dependency management, though. If you want a platform that includes it, so you can spot bottlenecks in your workflow, take a look at our TeamGantt review.
Boards can be shared among teams, allowing them to organize projects. You can also make them public, if you want to share what you’re doing with the whole world. Trello also works well as a personal to-do list or planning application and is well-suited to students or hobbyists looking for an easy way to give their work structure.
It has several useful keyboard shortcuts, which are handy if you’re doing something repeatedly and don’t want to have to keep clicking to do it. You can get a list of them by clicking “shortcuts” in the main menu.
Overall, Trello is one of the easiest tools to use. It can be picked in minutes and there isn’t much of a learning curve. The interface isn’t short of useful features, but the buttons and controls are well-designed and self-explanatory.
Those looking for an easy-to-use tool will find that with Trello, and because it’s free, there’s no risk in checking it out. Another easy-to-use tool is monday.com. It’s our favorite project management tool and offers plenty of features. Read about it in our monday.com review.
Trello is free for basic use. For that, you get as many personal boards and cards as you want. You’re limited to one power-up per board and the attachment size limit is just 10MB. You’re also limited to 10 team boards, but that’s plenty to get started and it’s still usable in that form.
The Business Class plan for teams is $9.99 per user per month and increases the file size limit to 250MB. It also gives you unlimited team boards, priority support and more security, admin and automation features.
The Enterprise plan, at $20.83 per user per month, gives you the most advanced security features and customizations, as well as personalized onboarding to help you get started.
The “butler” plugin has limits on the free plan. If you create buttons with it, you can only press them 50 times per month. If that’s not enough, you get up to 6,000 presses on the Business Class plan, and things are unlimited on the Enterprise plan, so you can click until your fingers turn blue.
Individuals can also get some of the paid plan features with Trello Gold. It costs $3.75 per month if billed annually. With it, you get bigger file size limits for attachments, more power-ups and extra customization features, such as stickers and custom emoji.
Payment is by credit card, but that’s negotiable for bills above $5,000, so those with large teams can use other methods.
With a good quality free tier, and reasonably priced paid plans, Trello is a great choice for those looking to get organized without lightening their wallets.
Trello is good value, but if you’re watching the pennies, take a look at our Freedcamp review to learn about another cheap platform.
Trello is friendly and accessible, but it’s a dangerous world out there, with cybercrime being an ever-present concern. Fortunately, Trello does plenty to keep your data safe, so you can concentrate on your work without losing sleep over security issues.
It has SOC 2 Type 1 and PCI-DSS certifications, and it complies with the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. privacy shield frameworks.
It runs bug bounty programs, so the security community can help it find and patch vulnerabilities in its website or apps. Our penetration testing article talks more about that topic.
Trello uses Amazon Web Services as its backbone, which is a top-quality service security-wise and has its own set of certifications.
Trello users can protect their accounts with two-factor authentication and Google OAuth. SAML 2.0 single sign-on is also an option if you’re using the Enterprise plan.
Trello secures your data in transit with TLS using 128-bit encryption. Data at rest, such as attachments, is encrypted with AES 256-bit. Read our description of encryption article for more on the subject.
Trello deletes your personal data within 30 days of closing your account. Business Class and Enterprise customers can request their project data be deleted, too, but it isn’t clear to us what happens to free users’ data.
Paying users get domain-restricted invites to limit who can sign up to their boards, as well as the ability to deactivate team members’ accounts without losing their associated data. If you have a domain of your own, our article on website security offers tips for keeping it safe.
Enterprise users, as you’d expect, get the most advanced features. They can fine-tune permissions for all sorts of things, as well as put restrictions on attachments and power-ups.
Trello offers plenty of features to keep your data out of the wrong hands. With strong encryption and two-factor authentication offered as standard, even free users don’t need to worry, and users on the paid plans get more, including the ability to customize how team members access boards.
Trello’s getting started guide is packed with things to help you. There are in-depth guides to everything, as well as a 101 taking you through the most commonly used features and controls.
There are many examples to look through, as well as templates that you can view and clone to use. Trello’s inspiration page is worth looking at if you want to get ideas on what to do with the platform. There are also case studies, giving you an insight into the experiences others have had integrating Trello with their business.
There are live webinars to attend, as well as several old ones you can watch. There’s an introduction to the basics and several that go into more depth with Trello’s features. They also show you how to set Trello up for specific tasks, such as organizing your holidays or setting up a sales pipeline.
There’s a knowledgebase that’s packed with articles that you can search through if you get stuck. Articles are sorted into categories and there are plenty of them. There are 29 articles covering the “butler” plugin alone, for example.
There’s a community to help, too. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t work with your Trello login and requires you to create a separate Atlassian account. That said, the community is active, with most questions getting answered quickly, so it’s a useful resource.
If you want to get in touch with Trello’s support, there’s a contact form that lets you do so from the help menu. It includes a checkbox you can tick to give its support team permission to look inside your projects, which is useful if you want to keep your data private.
After typing a query, you’ll get the results of an automatic knowledgebase search to look through before being allowed to submit your request. We fired off a query about using animation on the customizable backgrounds and got a helpful response just over a day later.
Paying customers get priority support, with Trello promising a response within one business day. There’s no phone support or live chat, but what’s there works well.
Trello give you plenty of support options, including a good knowledgebase and community, along with support staff that get back to you in a decent time.
Trello is one of the easiest tools to use around, with a clear layout and interface that keeps things simple. Despite that, it has powerful features. You can share data with many other platforms, as well as automate tasks using the “butler” power-up.
It’s great at what it does, which is basic task management. There are plenty of features and customizations, but it takes a straightforward approach, with a simple structure and clean layout. If you’re looking for something with a more advanced structure or wider range of views, take a look at our roundup of the best project management software.
As a simple, free kanban board, Trello is as good as anything out there. If you need more features, hunt through its power-ups and you may find something that works for you.
If you’ve used Trello, please share your thoughts on it in the comments. If not, it’s easy to sign up for, so check it out and see if you agree with us. Thanks for reading.