Task descriptions & comments just got rich

S. Alex Smith

When tasks have context, teams have clarity. When teams have clarity, they can move efficiently and effectively. Task descriptions and comments give teammates context and keep all necessary information and conversations side by side with your work. We just gave these features some polish: you can now add rich text and formatting to any task description or comment!

At Asana, we use task descriptions to take notes during meetings, add guidelines or goals to tasks we’ve assigned teammates, and create brief text “documents,” without needing another app. We use comments to discuss tasks with teammates, and keep the conversation with the work that needs to get done. Rich text makes it easier to structure ideas, highlight important items, and keep teammates up to speed with a quick scan of the task.

rich text shortcuts

Currently, you can add rich text and formatting using keyboard shortcuts, but we will be adding formatting buttons to the task pane in the near future.

To add rich text, use common keyboard shortcuts (replace cmd with ctrl on Windows):

  • cmd+b for bold
  • cmd+u for underline
  • cmd+i for italics

To add formatting, use these keyboard shortcuts (replace cmd with ctrl on Windows):

  • Numbered lists, cmd+shift+7
  • Indented and outdented numbered lists, cmd+] and  cmd+[
  • Bulleted lists, cmd+shift+8
  • Monospace font, cmd+shift+m

Rich text keyboard shortcuts are a new and useful addition to our lineup of keyboard shortcuts that help you work more efficiently in Asana. Our favorite shortcuts include tab+q to quickly add a task, tab+y to mark a task for today, and tab+x to enter focus mode (especially useful for taking notes in a task description during a meeting or when writing long-form notes).

Let us know what other “polish” features you’d like to see in the comments — our Episode 11 polish week is coming up this summer.

  1. avatarZach

    Thanks for finally adding this. We would prefer that there is either markup or WYSIWYG buttons though. Some of these commands, such as the one for bulleted lists are too much to remember. It would be nicer if it was just exposed.

  2. avatarHeath

    You guys should really add some WYSIWYG buttons, either that or I have to inject my own JS into the page and do it on my own.

    1. avatarjames

      agreed. i love the asana shortcuts method, and i think i understand why asana goes this route.

      but comments/desc seems like an exception here as formatting is likely to be done less frequently (so most users are less likely to familiarise themselves)

      1. avatarMatt

        It’s a tough call from a UI/UX standpoint. More buttons = more visual overload. But on the other hand, I’ll never remember a shortcut like ctrl-shift-7 because I simply won’t use it often enough.

  3. avatarShane Axsom

    Thanks Asana Team! Definitely useful. The one addition that would be nice is to be able to paste inline images into tasks. I often take screenshots to illustrate points to teammates, and it would be great to be able to Ctrl-V to paste the image from the clipboard, rather than needing to upload the image as a file.

    1. avatarDaljeet

      Shane – you should consider Jing. Uber useful for illustrating things with screenshots and screenshot-videos that you can share in a heartbeat with a link (which you can paste into the notes!) :)

      1. avatarLester Hein

        Anothe vote for Jing, I’ve installed it for our whole team here and now explaining bugs is so much easier with pics and comments

      2. avatarJonathan

        Jing is great but it’s still not an inline image. I have always wished we could just drop images directly into a task description and type around them. Jing links are probably about the best available alternative, but inline would be far superior at least for me.

    1. avatarChris Knowles

      Are you guys using the Num Pad? That’s the only way I was able to break it on Chrome for Windows.

      1. avatarKody

        Hm, thanks for this pointer. Numbered lists and bullets work for me when I use the top row numbers, but not the numpad.

        Indenting isn’t working for me either. Any hints here?

    2. avatarJulián

      For me (on a Macbook with Spanish keyboard) It’s a shortcut clash between cmd-shift-7 and cmd-/, because / is typed exactly as shift-7.

    1. avatarMatt

      +1

      I write most of my documentation in markdown these days – it’s a far more elegant solution than a WYSIWYG. Something like how IAWriter works would be fantastic – it turns your markdown into formatted text as you type.

    2. avatarAlexander Ambrose

      +1 for Markdown. I loathe WYSIWYG as well as it never seems to work 100%. I usually end up in source anyway.

    3. avatarAdrian Perez

      I already have it ;)
      Need to polish it a little and will release an extension for Chrome will adds a bunch of missing stuff.

    4. avatarYancy

      I love how everyone has chimed in re: their support for markdown here. Haha. The team at Asana had to know that would be coming. My reaction to the rich text announcement was:

      1. Sweet! Finally, task descriptions will have some hierarchy.
      2. Wait…what? It’s not based on markdown?

      1. avatarNick

        I’m just happy to FINALLY have some form of formatting. Although I don’t quite think in markdown yet I agree it is simple to use, but when you go from formatted description to edit would it convert to .md and lose your place? (thinking the transition to edit would be messy).

        Also what about emails that are forwarded to a project as a task, they are often html, would they not maintain even simple markup because they are not markdown? Just a few of my concerns but otherwise I am all for the most complete, quickest, solution for adding formatting to descriptions.

        Thank you and awesome work with this milestone.

    5. avatarMichael

      +1 for Markdown.

      There are WYSIWYG editors that store their formatting in Markdown. Markdown is easily converted to HTML for sending emails. It’s much easier to parse than HTML.

    6. avatarDavid Bartlett

      Keyboard shortcuts are a good start, but +1 for markdown would be better again. I use Text Expander to pre-populate descriptions, comments, etc. with pre-written templates (e.g. Questions to ask my Prospects/Leads in my Asana CRM project)

  4. avatarMauricio Gonzalez

    Thanks ASANA. One step closer to get CHECKLISTS inside Asana. Maybe I don’t know how to build a CHECKLIST and mark those items already into the list. A re-use option would be a plus for new alike projects. Would you shed some light for me on this subject?

  5. avatarJustin

    Yes, WYSIWYG buttons. Wrike doesn’t do a lot right, but their text editing buttons are fantastic. Take a lesson…

  6. avatarKushal

    Please, please, please make it faster. Scrolling down is slow. Loading is slow. Autocompleting assignees from a list of 100 people is shockingly slow. Please, please, please, please.

  7. avatarLaurent Raufaste

    - Task dependency (X depends on Y)
    - API support for all stories (half of them is not returned by the API)
    - API support for sections (I need to dig into the tasks of a project to figure out the sections for now)

    1. avatarChristian

      +1 Yes! It’s a pain to reference external documents because they break the flow of the description. Especially documents with long URLs (like Google Docs, Dropbox links, etc.) that aren’t at all descriptive. This is a small feature to add and a great polish!

  8. avatarJuan Martitegui

    This is another great addition. Thanks.

    Two more things to fix/add during polish week:

    1) Right now if you click on a link like this in the task description: http://www.google.com/?email=email@test.com it’s recognized as an email link (mailto:) and opens the email client when in reality is a link. So better recognition of this links would be awesome.

    2) Inline images/embed videos in description will finally allows us to switch to asana and use it as our wiki !!!

    3) The fact that anyone can delete tasks I still find it problematic. Make it so someone without permission to delete tasks can only delete it if the task has no attachments, followers and was created by him! with tasks becoming more and more rich like with the change you just made is not good that tasks are so easily delete by anyone!!! Even a guest!!!

    Thanks again… we are super happy with your software and being your customer!

  9. avatarAmanda

    Fairly new to the tool but a couple of things my team would like to see so far: a) ipad version of app; 2) ability to add tables and paste in screen shots into comments; 3) ability to download project tasks into excel with due date/owner/tags/etc. data included.

    Thanks!

    1. avatarSL

      Option to download to Excel would be very helpful! And also the ability to upload a mass amount of tasks from Excel to Asana with due date/owner/tags/etc.

    2. avatarNeyl

      Amanda, check the app “Hill88″ for iPad, it’s fantastic! I tests all the ones on the AppStore and this one is the most efficient.

    3. avatarDean

      Yes a iPad app is badly needed. Getting the mobile view on a iPad just does not cut it. I would even shell out a couple of bucks for a iPad app. Would rather give the money to Asana than a 3rd party app. Love the idea of my iPad sitting next to me with Asana open on it as I work on my main computer.

  10. avatarsk

    Awesome, stoked to have this. Markdown would be nice, Trello do this well in their descriptions. I say NO to editor buttons, keep this interface clean and minimal as possible.

    1. avatarMarcin Petruszka

      Yes, _please_ keep the UI clean, or better, make it clean – there’s too much going on. And add Markdown support :)

      1. avatarIsioma Nnodum

        I think a simple accessibility compromise would be a small button that exposes the WYSIWYG/Rich Text editing buttons. I feel Asana has a lot of features that very few people need to know about. Users already need to remember a lot in order to effectively access them. Once you memorize them using Asana is a breeze, but the learning curve gets more and more steep as they add new features with associated keyboard shortcuts.

        My concern is that this very useful feature gets passed over by individuals who don’t see this blog post or have trouble with keyboard shortcuts.

        1. avatarBrandi Leath

          I completely agree. I’m going to have to put these shortcuts on a post it note and stick it on my monitor……I’ll never remember them. Also it’s hard enough getting people on board using asana as it is (not tech savvy people that is) in our team, it would just be more efficient to have something IN YOUR FACE instead of hunting for it. Because these are REALLY great features that I want my team to utilize.

    1. avatarDion Almaer

      It doesn’t work on the current mobile app (and in fact looks squashed and weird). I can’t wait (just like everyone else) for the new native iPhone app. SHIP IT :)

  11. avatarJ.J.

    Perfect!
    I love that you still kept it simple. Love rich text and love the mirrored keyboard shortcuts to gmail.

  12. avatarSteven

    PLEASE make stories collapsable. I just delete them because they’re annoying and they push down the comments further.

    1. avatarDan

      Yes, please +1000 for collapsible stories, tasks, or sections. It is the major issue I have for still using other apps over asana.

  13. avatarJarrah Nelson

    But still no useful mobile platform, really starting to consider whether I made the right choice bringing my company over to this now.

  14. avatarChais Meyer

    Great work Asana Team!

    By the way, please disregard the people that see your improvements as a point to bring up the features that you don’t yet have.
    You’re an incredible company that is blowing us away with the freemium products you’re creating…which help us all keep our businesses and projects running super smooth!

    Nicely done Asana, nicely done. :)

  15. avatarBazyli

    Another thing to fix here is mouse selection within task description (only works properly when selecting text via keyboard using Chrome) and drag and drop of selected text (impossible right now).
    A – horizontal line would be nice and perhaps headers for the description if you’re doing formatting already.
    It’s so great you did this, because I was in the middle of writing a Chrome Extension to convert text to markdown and back inside Asana.
    I’d say it’s the best addition in the recent months.

  16. avatarClement

    This is awesome, and it makes it much easier to format long task properly!

    Now if we could add a way to assign a task to multiple people as well as make a task recurring (every day/ every week/ every month)

    thanks!
    Keep it up guys ;)

  17. avatarEmerson

    Excellent! This is, to me, an amazing (requested) feature release! On june 11th I asked you via twitter about any similar implementation on this matter you have planned in the future, you answered me: “we are working to bring similar functionality in the future …”, and now I’m realizing you just did it … outstanding!

    You’re definitely doing an awesome job, congratulations!

  18. avatarErik Osterman

    Desperately want the ability to paste images from clipboard. I hate saving images to files and then attaching them. Also, it would be priceless to add inline images to the content. It makes it much easier to tell a story having this ability.

  19. avatarChris

    Great work guys! Just what my team has been wanting. Like everyone else I agree Markdown would be an awesome next step instead of buttons :)

  20. avatarBen

    I would prefer Markdown over buttons, but either would be an improvement over memorizing unusual keyboard shortcuts.

    1. avatarAlex Asana Team Member

      Sorry that you think they’re unusual — we copied gmail’s keyboard shortcuts (except for monospace), which we took to be relatively standard.

      Since task description don’t have distinct editing versus viewing modes, and we didn’t want to change that, markdown didn’t seem like a viable option for us.

      1. avatarTodd Cavanaugh

        I agree…markdown doesn’t make sense as you have to complicate things further with a separate viewing mode. Asana is awesome because it’s simple and just works. Everyone knows CMD+b for bold and CMD+i for italics.

        “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs

        And you have the shortcuts listed at the bottom of the screen as soon as people click on the text box, so I can see WYSIWYG buttons being used or not. Maybe they could be collapsable, or only appear when you click in the description box.

        1. avatarJulián

          I guess you don’t _really_ need to complicate things. You would though i you can’t find a way better.

          What about having both:

          1. Shortcuts just as defined (they do the job just fine); and
          2. Support for Markdown without preview mode but with possibility of re-edition of comments (say for a couple of minutes). Some apps out there do that sort of thing.

      2. avatarArtem Pereverzev

        The short-lived Editorially had a great and unobtrusive implementation of Markdown. It was a pleasure looking at text, because text was what you saw, not code. Anyone remember it?

  21. avatarWirjo

    Awesome! This is probably going to be very challenging, but it would be good if you can copy and paste images into the task descriptions. We do a lot of copying and pasting of screenshots!

  22. avatarJeff M

    Please, add WYSIWYG buttons to descriptions and comments. Also, add link button and attachments, especially Google Drive attachments or links to G Drive docs.

  23. avatarKonda

    I really don’t understand how it can take years to add some shitty commands? Why not just add WYSIWYG buttons on top of the comment panel?

  24. avatarScott

    Good edition. However when testing this to bold a word I noticed a bug:

    Double click a word (right now on Chrome in Windows 8.1) it selects it like it should but then immediately deselects it.

    Triple clicking does select an entire block of text as it should at least.

    Also it would be nice if we could put rich text as the task itself (such as bold words). Including hyperlinks. Instead of needing to click into the description to use a link, etc.

    1. avatarFrancesco

      I found a “fix” to this problem: double click, but on the second click hold you button down and move the cursor by even just a pixel or two. Sounds cumbersome but if you imagine that you are “selecting” the word it becomes almost obvious :)

  25. avatarJouni "rautamiekka" Järvinen

    Linux (and likely other NIX systems, dunno) uses same shortcuts as Window$, so instead of saying ‘on Window$’, say ‘on other platforms’.

  26. avatarIgnus Vermaak

    Glad that you have limited it to only font weights and lists, it’s really all I wanted and I am so happy it’s a little sad! Love Asana so much I’m a little worried I might call Asana’s name out in my sleep, which could cause an awkward situation with my girlfriend… “No really babe, Asana is just a web application designed to enable teamwork without email!”

  27. avatarJasper Sauer

    It would be great if you can move to the next and previous task while in Focus Mode. I love Focus Mode, because of its main purpose (focus on one task), however, if I can use it to process new tasks in my list, I want to look at one task, decide what I need to do with it, process it and then move on to the next.

    1. avatarThanatermesis

      +10000

      I would like this one too, also, it is very easy to implement with an extra JS lib for hilighting

  28. avatarSean

    Finally! This is a great start but like everyone else, markdown support would be MUCH easier to remember than shortcuts.

    Also, how about being able to edit comments. Even if only temporarily like within 60sec of the comment being posted – like Slack does.

  29. avatarArtem

    Nice to have features:
    1. Almost every time I send something with CC: to Asana I’ve got a response that some names were not recognized, but the task is created nicely. 2 suggestions: don’t send this error mail when everything is fine (parse name and e-mail better), give a link in an email to newly created task to simplify task check.
    2. Add full text search including Description field.
    3. Simplify movement of subtasks from one task to another, may be add “Move to…” command.

  30. avatarRoland

    Thank you very much!

    I especially like the fact that you didn’t go to full rainbow colours blinking text in sixty font types like in email.

    As far as formatting goes we still really miss being able to paste simple tables (e.g. from excel) and inline images (like screen shots).

  31. avatarNick

    Add, please, «striketrough» formatting shortcut, may be handy for small checklist functionality.
    And vote for togglable WYSIWYG buttons panel — many of my collaborators are just «anykey»-level PC users? they don’t use any shortcuts neither in gmail and neither Asana or everywhere else :(

  32. avatarNick K

    Hey, guys, thanks for update.
    Could you fix one bug: Win7, Google Chrome 35.0.1916.153 (last). If I try to select word in text in comment/task form by double clicking on it (word), I can see selection, but unfortunately it’s clearing after 0.5 sec. So it’s impossible to select word in textarea via double click.

    Btw, in this comment form I can’t see this bug.

    Ah, and of course about my main request – please, fix middle click on windows to open any link in background tab. It’s really important, guys.

    Thanks.

  33. avatarAndrey

    Icons for tasks/projects/workspaces

    Now we are using html symbols, like this:
    ✔ ☑
    ⌚ – waiting
    ✍ – notes
    ☁ – services
    ↻ – repeat
    §
    © ®
    ★☆


    ✉☏
    ☢☠☣☤
    ▼▼▲
    ♪✈

    It is not very comfortable, but more clearly in some situations

  34. avatarAndrey

    And guys in the era of mobile first, what about apps? You really like your iphone app?
    It will be fine if you take money for them

  35. avatarAndrey

    Also until you add thumbnails for box/dropbox files we will continue to fill your disk space doubles already deployed in the cloud files)

    1. avatarThanatermesis

      +1, this combo is hard for me too, i still vote for use markdown instead which doesn’t even require key combos nor buttons

  36. avatarBaadier

    Display sub-tasks in the calendar if they have dates attached to them. I spend most of my time in the calendar view as I can see an overview of all tasks with due dates. When attaching sub-tasks to a task the calendar only displays the due date for the parent task.

  37. avatarHans

    My Tasks suddenly appear with old discription version, latest seem lost. Ist something ill? I do save crucial information in my task description. Any chance to get them back? By the way, Descriptions also appear in old versions if I print them. A known issue?

  38. avatarLuis Martins

    Not to keen on learning another set of shortcuts.
    Why not just use markdown? I get it’s a bit on the geeky side, but so it is memorising shortcuts.

    1. avatarThanatermesis

      +1

      To just use markdown would be much easier, since much more people is familiarized with it, it is also much more friendly to write, to remember, and to understand how it will be rendered when saved

  39. avatarThanatermesis

    FINALLY!

    But… no strike ?
    Please add STRIKE too, it is very useful for mark “deprecated” parts of a description/idea/brainstorming, things that are already done, etc… otherwise the alternative is to remove the text parts itself but we don’t want to delete text, but to keep it saved somewhere :)

  40. avatarThanatermesis

    Now we need some kind of (?) help button in the entry boxes to fastly access to the reference hotkeys :)

  41. avatarJames Saye

    It would be great if all tasks could be exported in a .csv or similar to they can be imported to Excel or similar for record keeping – unfortunately my company doesn’t use Asana so I need another way of keeping record of what’s been completed, when it’s been created, finished and by whom for each project.

  42. avatarKat

    Great changes, my boss will be thrilled! Is it somehow possible to change the calendar so that it starts with monday and not with sunday?

  43. avatarJozsef

    Thanks Asana, rich text is a blessing when it comes to readability, much easier to read through a task description.

    I don’t know if desktop notifications are a polish feature or a major update, but it would be great to have.
    Browsers can now provide with this feature and many websites implemented it why don’t you?
    Without a notification system we still rely on email what you try to replace.

    Thanks a again for the great work, ASANA ROCKS!

  44. avatarSteve

    Really? Keyboard shortcuts instead of standard, universal buttons?

    Really? Mark down – sure that will help expand to an entire organisation… as long as that organisation is full of developers.

  45. avatarJonas

    Parts of the feature are not working for me.

    Bold, underline etc works very well.
    The more advanced formatting on the other hand does not.
    Pressing CTRL+SHIFT+7 for the numbered list just opens the overlay with all the shortcuts (which again is not closable by keyboard?).
    CTRL+[ for changing the indent does not work either. Here I think the keyboard layout is a problem. I’m using a german keyboard layout on an english linux system. That does not seem to go together very well.

    But yeah.. nice idea :)

  46. avatarDenis

    When in a nested (numbered) list, press enter several times. When it goes to the 0 level (no list), the cursor suddenly jumps to the right, as if it is not satisfied with an empty line and wants to delete it. (I mean, it’s a bug.)
    Chrome 34.0.1847.131, Win 8.

  47. avatarJo

    Please note that ‘cmd’ is not a European term. I had to think for a minute what that was and I am presuming it is short for command.

    Europe tends to use ctrl (control)

    Love the addition though – Thanks

  48. avatarLukas

    Doesn’t work in latest opera 22.0. When I use “ctrl + u”, I can see the underline happening, but when I click outside the textarea or switch lines in the textarea, the text gets reverted back to unformatted. What’s wrong?

  49. avatarStefan

    Great addition!

    Command-Shift-7 in Chrome on MacOS 10.7.5 opens Keyboard Shortcuts Overlay, though, instead of numbered list. Command-Shift-8 works fine for bulleted lists.

  50. avatarjamiew

    Super great.

    Can confirm cmd-shift-7 doesn’t seem to work offhand in my Mac. Is there a way to disable whatever that was previously doing?

  51. avatarMike O'Neil

    i would like a way to do this same bolding etc with tasks vs just comments. and to add colors to task as you do with projects. just to make it visually easier to group lists.

  52. avatarJess Hupp

    1. Able to sort list in alphabetical order. It’s an OCD thing, I know. When a list has equal priority weight, I want it in ascending order.
    2. SKIP. With recurring tasks, if it doesn’t need done one week, I’d love to be able to skip it. That way it doesn’t show as a completed task when it hasn’t actually been completed. Alternately, if I delete that occurrence, then the whole task is deleted going forward. Maybe a gmail hack – “delete only this occurrence”?
    3. +1 on the screen shot idea.
    4. +10 on the desktop notification idea.

    Thanks!!!

    1. avatarRoland

      On implementing #2 the solution might be to move the date of the new task that is created when the repeating task is ticked off forward if the due date on the task is moved forward before ticking it off.

      I.e. to skip a weekly ‘every Wednesday” task with due date of 2 July 2014 for two weeks, I should be able to move the due date forward by 14 days to 16 July, and tick it off on that day. The problem with this is that ticking it off after changing the due date to 16 July still produces a new task with due date 9 July, and not 23 July.

  53. avatarMyroslav Opyr

    I’d like to have Clipboard (Starred Tasks) added during Polish Week.

    Clipboard (Starred Tasks) is a project/view that has keyboard shortcut that lets me add task to clipboard (star task, like in Gmail) and another shortcut to navigate to clipboard. The Clipboard can be “pinned” like there are “All Tasks” and “Deleted Tasks” views.

    At the moment I have starred private project for this but adding tasks to that project is more keystrokes then just shortcut.

    I use that for collecting several tasks that I need to perform some job in single place. Usually for rearrangement of tasks into hierarchy (since Drag and Drop removes task from original project).

  54. avatarNick

    I like these a lot, but it would be really helpful if you could also utilize them in the project description. Currently it looks like they are available everywhere BUT that space.

  55. avatarIshmael

    Markdown would be great as well. Many of our developer tools use it already (issue tracking, git readme, etc.). I tend to use it, since it’s readable even without the formatting.

  56. avatarCorey C.

    Thanks so much for finally adding standard WYSIWYG formatting! This is what we get in native apps like Word, and it’s what almost everyone expects and is used to. Please don’t listen to the vocal minority who want you to switch to Markdown. I realize it has a vibrant community of those who love it, but for anyone outside that community it is far less intuitive than WYSIWYG. Also, because it CHANGES what you type (replacing asterisks with bold, for example, even though if you typed asterisks, that may be exactly what you actually wanted to appear), it actually adds more complications, especially for people who are not used to it. WYSIWYG is the simplest, most intuitive way of interacting with rich text – it doesn’t add a layer of code between you and the result, so it never does anything unexpected or adds any complications. It just works.

    If Markdown is added, please make it an option that is disabled by default. I really don’t want to see my input getting changed unexpectedly.

    On the subject of making things easy and intuitive, while I think most of the keyboard shortcuts should be pretty familiar to most people (from Word and a thousand other places), it certainly couldn’t hurt to add a row of formatting buttons to help out the less computer savvy. A couple of the shortcuts (e.g., bullets) are pretty unusual, and could be a little harder to remember.

    Also, in-line images would sure be a nice addition!

  57. avatarMyroslav Opyr

    Another Polish Week candidate is copy/paste from Asana Task Story in Firefox (Linux). It does not copy linefeeds, and it is impossible to copy multiline text from Asana Task Comment in Firefox. I have to launch Chrome to copy that text out of Asana in external application.

  58. avatarMyroslav Opyr

    Yet another potential Polish Week improvement is Attachment titles in task notes. It does work in Comments, i.e. I can paste attachment URL, it replaces with attachment filename upon post, but nothing like that applies to Task Notes, i.e. I have no way to detect what attachment is referenced in task notes until being open since Asana Attachment URLs is no way like filename.

  59. avatarMike Robertson

    **Here’s how markdown could work.**

    Instead of having a preview or separate modes that toggle, you show the plain text version when you’re focused on the description, and when you aren’t, it shows the rich text. That’s it!

    So when I’m editing, I see

    – foo
    – bar

    and when I’m not, I see bullets. And that’s *way* simpler than WYSIWYG editing and keyboard shortcuts. And everyone wants markdown, for good reason. Let’s do it!

  60. avatarBen

    I’ve been waiting for this one. Now I can paste my workflowy notes into a task and keep the formatting.
    Well done Polish Week!

  61. avatarnrako

    Just as @Jonas said, you did not considered other keyboard layout. Indent and outdent with brackets ][ is useless with some keyboard layout. And I’m joining the majority… markdown rules!

  62. avatarDylan

    Great add – thanks! I’d love to be able to double click a word and have it be highlighted. It’s something I’m so used to doing to bold a word or add whatever markup to it. Would be great across Asana in general to be able double click words (and even triple click whole lines) and then be able to modify them.

  63. avatarEric

    You guys rock, nice add. Would like to see buttons for bold, underline, italic, and bullet if possible in the future.

  64. avatarStephen

    Thanks guys. Really appreciate it. Especially indented lists. This is a step close to making long comments/descriptions so much easier to follow. We might actually have meaningful conversations within the context of the task instead of moving to say, slack. Good work.

  65. avatarDean

    Well since you said to mention any other features we would like to see here it is. I have said it before and will keep asking for it until it is there. I would love to have times added to due dates. Also start times and finish times. When you have multiple things due in the same day it would be great to have times so things could auto sort for when it is due.

    1. avatarLester Hein

      This. I have loads of time specific or sensitive things that need to be achieved by the team, but they all get lumped in on the same day view

  66. avatarAdam

    Finally! We started the day with a group high five after reading this!

    It’s a big step in the right direction. But as other people have said, some WYSIWYG buttons will be useful and what about a code block? That would be super helpful when pasting in a large chunk of code. The current formatting makes it hard to read.

    Thanks for continually updating Asana. It’s a great tool.

    1. avatarAlex Asana Team Member

      You can mark text as code by using cmd+shift+M (or ctrl instead of cmd). Up top we said this was monospace, but it really just adds tags.

  67. avatarLester Hein

    Show unread comment count on tasks and subs, so I don’t have to check every task every time to see if something new has been added…

  68. avatarS

    A great ‘polish’ feature would be this: When pressing TAB+D to change a due date to a task that already has a due date assigned, have the existing due date text field automatically highlighted, so you can just type your date in instead of having to mouse over and highlight the existing date text.

    Also, for subtask due dates, include the same text field as for tasks.

    Thanks!

  69. avatarSignMaker

    Is there a place for new feature requests? Our team has been using ASANA for a while now in an unusual way. We purchased 6 andriod tablets with rugged cases and distributed them on our manufacturing floor, set up our customer orders as “projects” and assign the tasks of manufacturing to the production team while the administrative team can easily see the progress of each order. Working good just had a couple of things that would help us. Thanks ASANA

  70. avatarSean Quinn

    Great feature update! Please, do not muck up the UI with WYSIWYG buttons — markdown would be an acceptable alternative to the keyboard shortcuts. WYSIWYG editors are evil and have already done there fair share destroying web publishing. Lets try to stop the madness.

  71. avatarVladimir Vlach

    Great feature but I would still appreciate Wiki style (Markdown) formatting rather then shortcuts. Cheers!

  72. avatarshmim

    MARKDOWN!

    And code formatting / syntax highlighting.

    People are using Asana for bug tracking. Adding this feature would make that a ton better! Since github does both of these things, they’ve come to be expected among developers.

  73. avatarNacho Aguero

    How about improving search? I’d love to be able to search in “task descriptions”.
    Maybe to do it fast enough you can “cache” and do it from 1 hour ago or something. But this + inline images/video will make asana de perfect wiki also!

  74. avatarBethany

    Can you create a shortcut that makes dogs pop up whenever you press k + 9?
    Kind of like the tab + b?

    My daily productivity will greatly benefit from this.

  75. avatarDanny

    Stoked to have some additional formatting options. Nice work! Like others would love to see Markdown included down the road as well.

  76. avatarTobia

    Good job!
    I would like to add another bug report about the list shortcuts. I’m using a keyboard layout that has the top row numbers in the shifted position and the symbols in the unshifted position (I’m using Programmer Dvorak, but there are “regular” layouts that do this too.) Apparently that’s enough to break the cmd+shift+number shortcuts, because if I switch to a US layout, they work again. I’m on Firefox on OS X.
    Other than that, it’s great!

  77. avatarFernando

    Fantastic new feature.

    I will vote against adding a WYSIWYG. Or at least only give people the minimum utilities. in my experience, visual editors make people spend more time crafting sometimes horrible content, diminishing the power of simple descriptions or comments. Also people will try to copy/paste from Ms. Word or add their own HTML which will make the tool start looking like MySpace. I think the approach taken giving the key shortcuts goes perfectly with the Asana environment. users that are used to the shortcuts will find it faster an easier. Users that grab the mouse for everything will be the ones that will use the WYSIWYG badly.

    At least make the WYSIWYG an optional option. Once again, fantastic job!

  78. avatarMichael

    Only issue I have is that the shortcuts are not available in Project descriptions. The shortcuts should work in any textarea-type field (i.e. wherever one would put larger blobs of text, not project/task name fields.

    1. avatarPhil

      +1 for this. I store a decent amount of data in there and the one thing that makes it hard to work with is a lack of bold formatting. I’m quite surprised that the project description missed out on this feature.

  79. avatarRawb

    Much like Bethany, I find this useful. Even more useful is the unicorn celebration hack…when’s that coming back? Also, her K+9 idea is brilliant. Can they lick the screen as well? That’d be top-notch!

  80. avatarMyroslav Opyr

    Polish Week request (not sure if its scope is small enough to fit in single week for single developer):

    I’d like to have ability to follow my Asana Searches (at least starred ones) to generate Asana Inbox entries (and probably email notifications as well) when new item appears in them like I have notification about task added to project that I’m following.

    BTW, this was already requested as Case #: 86293 several months ago.

  81. avatarDean

    I love this ability, combined with the fact that the screen real estate wasn’t cluttered with buttons for these features. Great work, Asana Team!

  82. avatarTevya

    Another vote for markdown! …And the ability to hide the upcoming formatting buttons. I want it simple and clean. With markdown you need no buttons.

  83. avatarChris

    This is a great new feature, and one I’ll use immediately…

    But I’d love to see this same feature in Project Descriptions. For me, this is where I store the most information related to a project such as contacts, addresses, dates, etc.. Because of the amount of information stored in this field, it’s the place where I most need formatting in order to better organize that information. I’d love to see formatting added to project descriptions in the future.

    Thanks!

  84. Pingback: 30 days no emails challenge: The final week

  85. avatarCory

    Given the number of comments on this post supporting Markdown (which I echo 100% and have been anxiously awaiting), this feature is actually discouraging to me, as it makes me wonder how much Asana has been listening to its users. I’d have to imagine the number of users wanting keyboard shortcuts and WYSIWYG editing is much smaller than those wanting Markdown support. Additionally, in a world where “mobile first” is becoming a more desired approach, I’m confused why keyboard shortcuts was even a thought. Markdown is so simple and natural and allows you to keep your fingers on the keys when you’re in the middle of a thought. I’m just really puzzled why it wasn’t used and why folks want to clutter the UI with more buttons. I have to say Trello wins this feature comparison.

  86. avatarMike

    Speed improvements would be my vote for next polish item; sometimes takes 3 seconds or more to load a project. Same with tasks. This on a 24 mbps connection. Great job overall, though, and I disagree with Markdown entirely; everyone knows cmd+b is Bold, etc. As many of your users are probably Gmail (power) users, they’re already familiar with the shortcuts, as you’ve mentioned, and you guys made the right call.

  87. avatarBala

    I vote to MIKE, speed improvements would be my top priority to too, some times its very hard to load making us sick to move out without ASANA hope something can be done for that

  88. avatarNoelle

    It would be nice to have a User Option to show or not show weekends and then have that be the default view when looking at the Team Calendar. It is a bit annoying to have to amend the view every time we are in that view.

  89. avatarAlfonso

    Great feature, I was really expecting this from you… It makes note taking more efficient.

    Congrats and keep up the great work.

  90. avatarLeo

    This is probably not a “polish” feature but . . .
    I would LOVE to see a unified task list that allows me to see and reorder all my tasks across all workspaces and organizations. This would allow me to effectively prioritize work across all my workspaces which is quite challenging currently. (Hill88 allows me to see all my tasks in one place but not reorder and prioritize them. API support for this feature please.)

  91. avatarCassie Witt

    +1 for Markdown, as well!

    I did test it with the “Markdown Here” extension for chrome and it kind of works. It rendered my bullets and for a split-second rendered my h2 headline before it reverted back to normal text right after it rendered. So, maybe there’s some support there already?

  92. avatarAdam Langley

    Starlight star bright first star I see tonight…

    1. “Sub-Projects” – it would be awesome if you could “drill down” into tasks essentially making them into subprojects, similar to how you can currently drill down into a sub tasks. Another comparison would be the way that WorkFlowy works.

    2. Better email to Asana functionality. This is almost a dealbreaker for me to Asana. I would really like the ability to have one email address to send to, and be able to put syntax into the subject line that sends the task to whatever project I want, with whatever tags I want, etc. the same way you can do that with Evernote, and Toodledo two, and todoist, etc.

  93. avatarEric

    Great feature.

    Probably already reported but for french keyboard, Cmd + ] and Cmd + [ does not seem to work well ( ] is obtained through alt+shift+) , so Cmd+] requires cmd+alt+shift+) which does not seem to work ?

    Also read that a new mobile xp is coming up. Can’t wait!

    E.

  94. avatarKenichi

    Great! I also appreciate you fix bugs on processing 2bites code character translating.
    It means you’ve wiped away the largest UI errors for usage in Japanese.

  95. avatarAdam

    How about keeping the spacing from getting wonky when I paste text into a task? That’d be a cool “feature.”

  96. avatarbonnie

    This has been so helpful. Am in Kenya( east africa) and the use of asana in the company I work for has been of so much help. The new shortcuts are superb.

  97. avatarwhimsy

    With this Asana takes a step up in my estimation. Love the simple but effective rich editing. Now we can finally write project documentation and requirements without hosting everything on sites google docs.
    Thanks guys.

  98. avatarEzequiel

    Hi there! Cool! But some formatting doesn’t work with other keyboard layouts in Mac (I’m using Latin America’s layout). The only only ones that work ok are the bold, italics and underline with my keyboard :(

    Cheers & keep on that good work!

  99. avatarDaniel

    Hey guys, why not take a real WYSIWYG editor like the free component TinyMCE.com, it’s free to include it in Asana.

  100. avatarJohn Taylor

    I frequently find myself copying from Outlook email and pasting it into Asana. And vice-versa… I note that most of the time some spaces disappear and extra characters are added in the Outlook > Asana process. It is better the other way, although the new numbered lists don’t work too well pasting Asana > Outlook. This is no deal killer, but it sure would help if it could be improved.

  101. avatarJustin

    Can anyone let me know if it’s possible for images within email signatures can be automatically deleted or hidden. I’m a new user and asking clients to delete their email signature when replying is not so cool and even if I did, they’d rarely remember. The images annoyingly fill up the wall.

  102. avatarSebastian

    Hi, currently we’re using Onenote and Asana next to each other and it frustrates our team. I believe notes should be in Asana on projects and tasks, but there isn’t a good functionality for this and comments don’t work, Why? Well because;

    1. The comment box is way too small to make some kind of note of multiple meetings about a task and to have one big overview. I don’t want to make new comments every time and need to klik on every comment to see details.
    2. We miss a WYSYWIG (yes i know about the shortkeys, but my team doesn’t read your blogs everytime ;)
    3. We want to keep working in one comment (so be able to adjust).
    4. Open comments it in a new screen (or something) so you have full screen mode.
    5. We can’t make comments on projects; I Suggest; make a little icon next to project name, to add comments on project level
    6. Make it possible to search on keywords of comments to find results to that project or task. Sometimes I remember something about a meeting, and want to find where it belongs.

    This said, another option is to adopt “Notes” or “Scratchbook” in Asana (I believe this is better, because it is different than comments and you can keep it simple).

    Let me know how you think about this within the Asana team, and I’m willing to help if you want!

  103. avatarJason McMinn

    Also – one other thing related to numbered lists. If indent after number 2, it should present “a.” not “1.”

    CURRENT IMPLEMENTATION ON ASANA (THE WRONG WAY);

    1. My favorite foods
    1. sushi
    2. thai
    3. sweets

    **A BETTER WAY**

    1. My favorite foods
    a. sushi
    b. thai
    c. sweets

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