Image found on The Next Web.

Don’t be a copy cat. Merge duplicate tasks instead.

Yongxing Deng, Vincent Siao, Josh Smith, and Stephanie Hornung

When your entire team starts capturing tasks and communication in Asana, work becomes less scattered and coordination becomes more effortless. Adding tasks, figuring out what needs to be done next, sharing ideas, and communicating with your team can all happen pretty fast, and with all of this activity, it’s only a matter of time before someone adds a task that’s already in Asana. Maybe that someone will even be you – a month or a year later. To keep those copy cat tasks from sticking around, we’ve added the ability to “Merge Duplicate Tasks”, a new feature that locates and combines duplicate tasks.

This feature marks the end of having the same information in two places in Asana. Email doesn’t alert you if you forget about a thread from a few months back, documents don’t let you know that you are recreating information, and chat doesn’t tell you that other teammates have already answered the same question. But Asana does.

How do I merge duplicate tasks?

Asana now automatically detects when you add a task that already exists, like magic. When you create a new task with a similar name to another task in the project we’ll show you the name of the original task, in real-time. Just click the original task name to merge the two tasks.

Marketing Merge EJK

You can also merge tasks after they’ve been created. Choose “Merge Duplicate Tasks” from the dropdown menu in the right “Task” pane.  Either choose from one of the suggested matches, search for the task, or just paste in a link to the task.

Merge menu

When you merge two tasks, the tags, followers, and hearts from the duplicate task will be copied over to the original task and a link to the merged task will be added to the duplicate. Best of all, the people who were following the duplicate task will now get notifications about the merged task, so nothing gets lost.

And if you love keyboard shortcuts, you can merge duplicates without touching a mouse. Just Press Tab+Shift+D.

When is merging duplicate tasks most useful?

When multiple people brainstorm creative ideas:

Creating a project to record creative ideas is a great way to get everyone on your team involved. But, more than likely, the same ideas will come up multiple times. Now, everyone will know if they are entering an idea that already exists. In this case, just “heart” the original Task to show your support for the idea.

When teammates add referrals for an open position:

If you create a Project for “Marketing Candidate Referrals” that everyone can contribute to, two employees might recommend the same person. Luckily, Asana will now suggest the task containing an already referred applicant, so information like resumes and Linkedin profile links are not repeated.

When Engineering and Support teams manage Bug Tracking in Asana:

If there’s a bug, many people will likely notice and report it. Now, when you add duplicate bugs to a Project, Asana will detect that it already exists. Just add a heart to the original bug task to show that you also are reporting the same bug, rather than enter it twice.

Find Duplicate Tasks

Asana keeps your information and conversations organized and easy to find, and features like this help make Asana the best place to track all of your work. We’d love to hear how merging duplicate tasks might help your team – let us know in the comments!

Image credit: Copy Cat via The Next Web.

 

  1. avatarPam Bhattacharya

    Hi, I have started using asana recently. I find that when you merge tasks the attachments on the duplicate do not get attached. This is not very helpful.

    1. avatarJackie Asana Team Member

      I’d love to know more about what kinds of attachments you have that you want attached? We were thinking that people would click through to the duplicate task to see the attachments in-context on the duplicate task.

      1. avatarPhil

        Why don’t you just delete the merged (original) task? What is the benefit of keeping it around? Just log all the changes / aspects of the prior task in the new task(‘s) description?

      2. avatarRuss

        This is a problem for us as well, we attach all sorts of things from screen shots to spreadsheets to pdfs. I was expecting that when the tasks were merged, the attachments would all be viewable under one task.

      3. avatarDestiny

        The purpose of merging tasks is so that you DON’T have info hidden in a million different places. When I have a master task and someone emails me something related to that task (photo, press release, flyer, whatever), I want to just email it to x@mail.asana.com to get it immediately off my plate and merge it later. I don’t really WANT the extra task, but I thought they would merge seamlessly as if they were always one unit. If you feel keeping the tasks separate might be useful to some, maybe give us the option? When we hit “merge,” a simple pop-up that asks: Would you like to: MERGE ALL (description, comments, attachments) or Simple merge (tasks are linked but not combined) — something like that to give us the option of basically replacing the duplicate task with the current task without losing anything ESPECIALLY attachments!

      4. avatarDavid Meister

        No way, if I want to merge tasks, I want a single task representing everything that once was the two separate tasks after the merge, a true merge, not two tasks with one closed, a link from one to the other and a clone of some (but not all) of the properties of one task onto the other.

      5. avatarAza

        I would also like all information (comments, attachments) to merge into one task. That is how I would expect a merge to work.

  2. avatarRicky

    You guys ROCK! I am slowly shifted my entire company’s middle management to your software and love its Privacy feature (very accurately developed, worth every penny). Keep up the good work.

  3. avatarFrank Patrick

    Don’t really see a compelling reason for this, compared to the need for dependencies and durations on tasks. I know some people don’t think Asana needs to be a project management system, and are satisfied with it as a task management tool, but I don’t see how you can manage tasks without understanding dependent inputs.

    1. avatarAlberto González Olay

      I’m willing to defend you guys, but I have to agree with Mr Patrick, who in my opinion is right. Dependencies exist but are very basic, at least compared to business standards that require complex relationships between tasks. Maybe you can add this features to a business version, so that your efforts will be rewarded directly.

      Still, great feature!
      By the way, funny cat’s copy angle :)

  4. avatarAndyO7

    This is a great feature that should solve a minor issue experienced with the teams I work with. Still waiting on that “Start Date” feature though. That’s really needed.

  5. avatarJamie

    Great feature! This will streamline our workflow and be very helpful. Thanks for constantly improving an already great resource and tool.

  6. avatarJason

    Can we please have the option of turning this off or restricting it? We have several duplicated tasks and I don’t want them being merged by accident.

  7. avatarMari

    Thanks for adding this feature, and for the ongoing development of Asana in general. We have occasionally created duplicate tasks by mistake, so this feature will be handy.

    As a future enhancement, however, might it be possible to not have the “Did you mean . . . ” message invoked when one has just made a copy of a task (i.e., created a duplicate task deliberately)?

    Thanks!

  8. avatarjwjb

    Just love this feature which along with all the other features Asana brings to the table makes it Rock even more if that is possible! Oops on our part when I try to “Merge Duplicate Tasks” the duplicate tasks we have are named so disparately they are not recognized as duplicate, but doing this manually is not difficult with the great search, move, etc tasks features available with the app and when we have more recognizable duplicate names we are sure to make more use of this great feature.

  9. avatarcarmen jackson

    I’m having some problems with the tasks merging in the correct direction. I click what I want to be the canonical task and check for merges, but then the one I originally clicked on becomes the one that’s closed. Then I have to reassign the new task and drag it to where the original one is. It would be awesome if I could choose the direction of merging.

    Also, it would be rad if I could select an entire project and ask it to search for all duplicates, instead of having to click on each individual task to see if that one has duplicates.

    Thanks for all you guys’ great work!!

  10. avatarGinny Taylor

    Great enhancement! Thank you so much! This will help keep things more organized.
    I still want to be able to bold text and add bullets ;O)

  11. avatarAndrew M.

    Maybe I’m missing something? I had to reverse engineer to realize that sub-tasks aren’t supported. Why not? That’s where a lot of duplication occurs…

    I realize it’s complex…but you can’t claim ‘merge’ powers unless you can merge ANY tasks.

  12. avatarNur Ahmad Furlong

    This is a step in the right direction. It would be great however to merge ANY task and or additionally make merge tasks become subtasks of one task. I find quite often either myself or collaborators add many tasks which should fit into one task but as sub tasks and so far the only way to handle this is by manually recreating sub tasks.

    Additionally I had a situation where one team member created loads of mini projects and we had to manually move the tasks within those mini projects to 1 project and then recreate them as sub tasks of tasks within the one project. A more broad scale merging, combining set of features would be great.

    Of course we all agree Asana is already great but it can only get better.

  13. avatarJanice

    I love the idea of the merge feature, but for my company the ability to merge attachments and comments is critical – we use a lot of both. I found this post looking for way or a way to do just that. Leaving them in the “hidden” duplicate task (post-merge) is only confusing to everyone. And, since both of the merged tasks are the same (that’s why we merged them), the original context is unnecessary. Merging tags, followers and hearts is very nice, but if I had to choose one feature set over the other for merge capability – I would choose attachments and comments every time. I don’t know how long your queue of suggested feature is, but I would be eternally grateful if this was somewhere near top! :)

  14. avatarUriel

    My only problem with this feature is that its name doesn’t reflect what it does.
    When I hear “merge tasks”, I think—combine two tasks into one.
    What “merge tasks” actually does is *link* tasks together. Useful, but actually merging tasks is also useful.

    1. avatarUriel

      To be clear, I also mean merging “sub-tasks”. Having to click on the original task to see subtasks is not helpful.

  15. avatarTamara

    I agree that this is a useful idea but having that mergign the comments to give only 1 set is really important. Also, how do undo a merge if you do it accidentally?

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