Blog>Business Management

Custom Board Templates in Trello

Evgeniya Ioffe - February 7th 2024 - 7 minutes read

In the fast-paced world of project management and team collaboration, finding ways to streamline workflows and enhance productivity is key to staying ahead. Enter the game-changing realm of custom board templates in Trello. This article is your ultimate guide to not only understanding the transformative power these templates hold for team management and project organization but also mastering the art of creating, sharing, and optimizing them to suit your unique needs. From your very first custom template to advanced strategies that push the boundaries of what you thought possible, we'll journey through the essential steps and insider tips that will elevate your Trello experience to new heights of efficiency and innovation. Whether you're planning your next big project or looking to refine your existing processes, the secrets to mastering efficiency with Trello’s custom board templates await you.

The Power of Custom Templates in Trello

Custom board templates within Trello revolutionize the way teams manage projects and organize tasks. By serving as a mold for your various projects, these templates allow for quick replication of boards tailored to specific workflows, reducing the need for repetitive, manual setup. This not only saves valuable time but also ensures that every project starts on the right foot – with a standardized process that all team members can follow. Whether it's tracking the development of a new product, managing client onboarding processes, or planning events, custom templates streamline the preparation phase, letting teams concentrate on execution.

The functionality of custom board templates in Trello extends beyond mere convenience; it encourages consistency across an organization's projects. For instance, a client onboarding template can standardize the necessary steps for integrating new clients, ensuring that nothing is missed and that every client receives the same level of attention and service. Similarly, a project management template might include lists and cards for stages like 'To Do', 'Doing', and 'Done', complete with checklists and due dates to keep everything on track. This standardization is crucial for maintaining quality and efficiency, especially in teams where multiple projects run concurrently.

Moreover, these custom templates are not just for internal use. Trello's ability to make templates public turns them into valuable resources for the broader community, allowing users to share their best practices and workflows. From designing a sales pipeline to managing editorial calendars, the potential uses for Trello board templates are as diverse as the users themselves. This openness not only fosters a sense of community amongst Trello users but also showcases the versatility of the platform, making it an indispensable tool for any team or organization aiming to streamline their project management and workflow standardization efforts.

Creating Your First Custom Board Template

To create your first custom board template in Trello, begin by setting up a new board or choosing an existing project that exemplifies your standard workflow. This initial step is crucial as it lays the foundation for your template. Populate this board with lists that mirror the phases or categories of tasks you typically handle. For instance, a course creator might include lists such as "Course Planning", "Content Creation", "Review and Edit", and "Launch". Add cards underneath these lists to represent common tasks or checkpoints within each phase. It's also beneficial to incorporate checklists within cards for detailed sub-tasks, ensuring nothing gets missed. This structure is what will be replicated later as a template, so consider the most logical and streamlined setup for your workflows.

Next, customize your board with any specific labels, due dates, or attachments relevant to your process. Labels can be color-coded and named to reflect priority levels, team members responsible, or the type of task. This categorization aids in visual management of the project's progress. If your process includes recurring check-points or deadlines, set due dates on the cards. Attachments like briefs, templates, or reference documents can be added directly to the cards, making this board a comprehensive resource. At this stage, you're not only structuring the workflow but also embedding the project's requirements within the template itself.

After your board is fully set up and customized to mirror your typical project's flow, it's time to convert it into a template. Navigate to the board's settings via the “Show Menu” option, click on “More”, and select “Make Template”. During this step, it's essential to consider your board's privacy settings—decide whether this template will be private, team-visible, or public, depending on who you intend to share it with. This conversion deactivates comments and activity tracking for the board, emphasizing its role as a starting point rather than an active project. By carefully structuring and converting your board into a template, you equip yourself and your team to kickstart new projects efficiently while maintaining consistency across your workflows.

Utilizing and Sharing Custom Board Templates

Once a custom board template in Trello has been created, efficiently utilizing and sharing it with your team or across the organization becomes pivotal. The process kicks off when you generate a new board from an existing template, which involves going to your template board and selecting "Create Board from Template." This action clones the template into a new board that you can then customize for the specific needs of your project. Customization could include tweaking the card labels, adjusting due dates, or modifying checklist items to suit the new project's unique requirements. It's essential at this stage to ensure the new board accurately reflects the project it's intended for, while still maintaining the core structure that makes the template valuable.

Sharing the custom template within or outside your organization demands attention to the template's visibility settings. It's crucial to ensure that the template is set to the right visibility—private, team-visible, or public—based on who needs access. When sharing, opt to click on "Share Template" and copy the provided link. This can be distributed among team members or stakeholders who might benefit from using the template. Remember, the visibility setting plays a crucial role here; a template set to private won't be accessible to anyone outside the designated team, whereas a public setting allows for broader sharing, which can be beneficial for templates intended for community use or for showcasing workflow to clients or stakeholders.

In the spirit of fostering smooth collaboration and maximizing efficiency, incorporating guidance within the template itself can be a game-changer. Adding cards with instructions on how to use the template effectively arms new users with the knowledge to adapt the workflow to their needs swiftly. This minimizes confusion and streamlines the onboarding process onto a new project. By paying close attention to these aspects—making intelligent use of the template creation and sharing features, and ensuring templates are properly instructed and visible to the right audience—teams can leverage their custom Trello board templates to achieve streamlined workflows, enhanced collaboration, and improved project outcomes.

Advanced Tips and Best Practices for Custom Board Templates

Optimizing template content for different team functions requires a thoughtful approach to ensure the template's versatility and relevance across a variety of projects. To achieve this, begin by identifying the common tasks and processes that span across teams within your organization. Incorporate these into your template, but also leave room for customization. This means creating a balanced mix of pre-defined tasks and checklists, alongside blank templates that teams can tailor to their specific needs. For example, a marketing team might need a dedicated section for campaign tracking, while the development team might require a sprint backlog. Integrate conditional content, such as optional lists or cards, that can be activated or deactivated based on the project's requirements.

Integrating power-ups to extend functionality takes your templates from static to dynamic. Power-ups allow you to add features not originally available in Trello, such as time tracking, advanced reporting, or integrating with other tools like Slack or Google Drive. When selecting power-ups, think about the commonalities in workflow processes across your teams. Choose those that add value without cluttering the interface or complicating the user experience. It's also beneficial to provide guidelines within the template on how and when to use these power-ups to encourage consistent usage and maximize their benefits. Periodically reviewing and adjusting your choice of power-ups ensures that your templates evolve in line with new technological advancements or shifts in team workflows.

Maintaining and updating templates over time is crucial to ensure they continue to meet the evolving needs of your team. This involves regularly gathering feedback from users about what works and what doesn't. Use this feedback to make iterative improvements to your templates. It's important to document changes and communicate updates clearly to everyone who uses the template. Encouraging a culture of continuous improvement helps teams feel invested in the template's success and fosters a proactive approach to finding new and creative uses for templates. As teams adapt to changing environments and take on new types of projects, your templates should evolve in parallel, ensuring they remain an invaluable resource for streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity.


This article explores the transformative power of custom board templates in Trello for team management and project organization. It outlines the steps to create an effective template, the benefits of standardization and sharing, and provides advanced tips for optimizing template content. The key takeaways include the ability of custom templates to save time and ensure consistency in workflows, the value of sharing templates within the Trello community, and the importance of regularly updating and improving templates to meet evolving team needs.