A new way to search your tasks: by Section

Josh Smith and Cliff Chang

Asana allows you to capture your team’s tasks and conversations in one place and then view this information in a variety of ways to help you save time, prioritize, and ultimately achieve your team’s goals. Features like Sections, Search Views, and Calendars let you to zoom in and out on projects and tasks, giving you more visibility into your team and helping you make better decisions with less effort. Last year, we launched Search Views, which allow you and your teammates to view tasks based on search criteria. Then, we introduced Sections, making it easier to group tasks into stages, priorities, and milestones within a single project. Now, you can connect these two features to improve your workflow: Search by Section to see a list of tasks within certain Sections of a specific project, or across multiple projects.

Search Views Sections Crop

Add a project in the search box, then select the Section from the drop down menu to search by Section

How to search by Section

1. Create Sections

If you haven’t yet created Sections for your projects, we encourage you to give them a try. By structuring your project with Sections, you’ll be able to customize projects for any workflow, from bug tracking to sales pipelines and applicant tracking.

2. Select search criteria

Search Views and FavoritesSearch Views let you see all tasks that meet the criteria you specify in the search field(s). You can create a Search View for information in Asana that contains any combination of assignees, projects, tags, due dates, and, now, Sections. Simply click the down arrow in the search box in the left pane and start typing your selection in the desired fields until the item you’re looking for appears. You can search across as many projects and Sections as you’d like to get a list of tasks that meet your criteria.

3. Save your search

Saving your search is as easy as starring it to add it to your favorites, which appear in the left pane. Once you’ve favorited your search, you’ll be able to access it whenever you want, without having to recreate it each time. Select your saved search from your favorites and it will automatically update with latest tasks that match the search criteria.

Ways to search by Section

Searching by Section is useful to anyone; whether you’re a a designer looking for the highest priority work, an engineer triaging bugs, or a recruiter assessing candidates across functions and interview stages. Searching by Section allows you to get a customized list of tasks. A new way to search your tasks: by Section Here are some ways we recommend using search by Section:

• Search high-priority work across projects

Create Sections for priority levels in multiple projects. Then, view only the most important upcoming tasks by selecting the appropriate projects and high priority Sections in the “In projects & Sections” box (see example search in screenshot above).

• See the work needed to hit your next milestone

If work required to reach the next milestone falls in multiple projects, create a Search View to see what still needs to get done. Organize your tasks into Sections for each milestone, then create a Search View that includes the right projects and Sections. You can even add due date to the search criteria and sort results by project or assignee — whatever works best for your workflow.

• Find all work you are responsible for in a specific category

Get a better understanding of your deliverables across projects. Select projects and Sections and tasks assigned to you. For example, find candidates in the “offer stage” across multiple roles that require follow up.

• Create customized reports

Use Search Views to create custom reports: just favorite the Search Views that you want to check regularly, such as all outstanding high-priority bugs or closed sales leads. Asana lets you access your information in whatever way makes sense for your process or workflow. Searching by Section gives you yet another way to view, analyze, and take action on the tasks you and teammates have already created. We’d love to hear how these tips may help you improve your workflow.

  1. avatarKarkuvel

    Goog, but this definitely is not the most requested feature. cmon Team Asana you can do much better thatn this.

  2. avatarKen

    Meh… I agree with Karkuvel. I would much rather have sections chained, so as I complete the task in one section, it automatically moves to the next, allowing me to change the task definition relecting the next activity based on the outcome of the prior task. I am sure the search feature will be useful to some, so thanks for adding it..

  3. avatarAshley

    Now if only you would make it so that subtasks worked with search (E.G. you do a search for tasks in a project and NO SUBTASKS SHOW UP).

    Seriously, please remove subtasks or add support for them. Having them not work for over a year and seeing fairly useless features like these is really frustrating.

    1. avatarJames

      That’s because sub-tasks are completely separate entities from whatever Project the parent task is part of. In order to appear with the search the sub-task needs to be multi-homed so that it is also part of the parent tasks project.

      A little unintuitive, but that’s the way they work.

    2. avatarSek

      I use Print to save project or search in PDF and review all the tasks even the subtasks. it will show in the outline list. It’s very useful to review or have a sense of control overall task!

    3. avatarKenneth

      I completely agree with this, and have raised it in the past as well. Subtasks show up in general searches, but as soon as I add additional criteria for the search, subtasks can no longer be found. Search is definitely the weakest part of Asana right now, and I’m surprised it’s not something they are trying harder to address. Meanwhile, does anyone even use the calendar feature they introduced?

      1. avatarNiels Jessen

        Certainly. Arranging tasks in time and moving delayed tasks forward using drag and drop is – I guess – easier than opening a task and assigning a new day for them. I may be wrong ….. :-)

      2. avatarJim

        I use the Calendar function regularly. I just introduced a client to Asana and she particularly liked the Calendar function. It’s intuitive and quick.

  4. avatarReid

    yeah pretty useless, there are WAY better product feature releases that should be happening. This isn’t even worthy of mentioning

    1. avatarSandra

      Superb!! Finally I am able to have a separate page (search) for incompleted issues due within 0 days (meaning a “todays” list) which I also get up in my android app (due to favorite functionality). I love it! Exactly what I was dreaming of!! <3

  5. avatarAaron

    Any chance the Asana team can create a section on the website where all feature requests are published and users can vote them up (or down)?

    1. avatarKarkuvel

      I guess right now the only way to vote /comment is to reply to their blogs, I really dont know why Team Asana is hesitating to do this simple thing, for all their talk on helping humanity, improving work, eliminating mail………….it is high time they get the users invoived.

      1. avatarJackie Bavaro Asana Team Member

        We definitely care a lot about customer requests & have thought a lot about how to fairly balance requests across all of the different types of people who use Asana. Every episode we make sure to work on some of the top requested features. Native Mobile Apps are top on that list right now: http://www.quora.com/Asana/What-is-Asana-doing-to-improve-their-mobile-apps/answer/Sam-Goertler

        Our current approach is to use an in-product survey that you’ll see at the top of Asana some time in your first 6 months. When you see that survey, that’s a great time to let us know how we can make Asana better for you!

        Thanks for all the feedback!

    2. avatarAsh Menon

      This! I do believe you Asana peeps would love it too if you could have a much clearer insight as to feature demand, rather than crawling through comments in blog posts.

    3. avatarLars

      I completely disagree. Justin and Dustin – listen to Steve Jobs and absolutely DON’T implement feature voting from users. You are revolutionizing collaboration and like Steve said, “our customers don’t yet know what they want because it has never been seen before”. You have something new going with Asana. Keep going down that road charting new ground.

      1. avatarAaron

        Hey Lars,

        I’m a huge Steve Jobs fan too and I am also familiar with that quote. Apple doesn’t do something like this but they certainly do respond to feedback and have implemented things consumers have asked for over time (and even enterprise customers if you saw their most recent WWDC). Even if they don’t necessarily implement a voting feature I think Asana would benefit from having a controlled way for users to request and see ideas that are out there collectively. I think it would also benefit prospective customers to be able to see what may be coming down the line or to give their input in cases where they’re still on the fence about the Asana and are 90% there but just need 1 more thing before they’re ready to make the leap. I guess one other point to consider is if a good idea is presented… it would make sense to at least consider it even if it didn’t from within Asana (after all the mouse and graphical UI came from Xerox Parc but Apple took it and made it mainstream).

        If anyone is looking for a good example of a company capturing feature requests look at dropbox which happens to be an Asana customer:

        https://forums.dropbox.com/forum.php?id=3

      2. avatarAaron

        I actually replied to earlier but my comment appears to have been erased (I think it’s because I included a URL to another company illustrating an example of their forum where they track feature requests which I am leaving out in this reply). Trying to recall that earlier post I responded with the following points:

        1) Apple may not track feature requests but does respond to customer feedback as they said publicly acknowledged on-stage in their most recent WWDC (for their enterprise customers)
        2) I think it would benefit Asana’s prospective customers to be able to see, create, and provide feedback on features they would like to see in Asana. They may be 90% there in terms of getting what they need but may be holding off due to a feature which Asana may not have visibility to otherwise.
        3) If an idea is good I think it should be take into consideration right?… regardless of whether it comes from within Asana or from anywhere else.
        4) I’m a huge fan of both Apple and Steve Jobs and follow them both closely so I am familiar with that quote. Apple absolutely charts their own path AND they’ve given customers what were at one point feature requests. Take for example iOS multi-tasking, copy and paste, notification center, and control center.

        In the end I think Asana would benefit by letting customers have their ideas tracked and organized. Asana doesn’t have to implement the features HOW the customer describes it but it will at least let them understand the types of problems customers want to solve. If Asana can think of a better way to solve those problems that is different than how the customer says they want it in a feature request than even better!

      3. avatarJacob

        Talking about quoting out of context! Have you ever tried alternative products, Lars? While Steve developed products and features that “has never been seen before”, Asana is not even keeping up with what’s available out there eg. formatable decription fields, document management (as opposed to a mish mash of documents, email graphics, logo’s and other junk that gets attached to tasks), basic Gant charts, real email integration, etc. etc. As for eliminating email, please! Unless you are working on an island and never need to communicate with someone outside your little Asana group heaven, there is no way to avoid switching back and forth between Asana and your regular email client and Windows file manager. It’s exactly this kind of arrogance that made me ditch Asana and move my team over to Bitrix24. Despite its cumbersome, slow and illogical interface, it is feature rich and its development philosophy is rooted in Mother Earth.

  6. avatarCollin

    Nice work! However, it’s unclear to me if I can use this to track when task(s) get moved to a section by a certain person? This is how we track quotas within a given timeframe.

  7. avatarErjon

    Good add-on guys, but we would really love a new native iOS app, the current one is just useless. I know you guys are working on it and hopefully you will release a killer app soon. Sorry for being impatient, I know what it takes to built a solid app. Check out Podio’s app if you haven’t yet they do a very good job with the UX, it makes working from your phone enjoyable, but i like Asana web app better ;)

  8. avatarIgnas

    Please allow section selection in quick add task window TAB+Q

    Currently the newly created task can only be added to a project, then you have to manually go to the project and add the task to the section you want. UX not optimized;)

  9. avatarN. Schipper

    I have been wondering if their are any plans to allow sub-tasks to be viewed within the left panel instead of having to click each task individually just as an option to people.

  10. avatarAndy Mudrak

    Pretty cool! It’d also be great if you could search in sections that have the same name in multiple projects at once. E.g. if I have sprints for “7/1″ in project “A” and “B”.

    1. avatarJP

      I second that. I have sections like “to do”, “on hold”, “waiting on someone” in multiple projects. I’d really like to get a list of all items (across projects) that are “waiting on someone” for example.

    1. avatarAndrew

      Cannot stress mobile app dev enough. At least half my team is in the field at any given moment. If there’s not wifi or 4 bars, the app cannot do anything. Would love a light weight version that looks as good as (or even like) the web

  11. avatarShelley

    Thank you! I was one of the people who requested this. I wanted in particular to use it for a kind of Focus Mode, so I could think about one section of a project without being distracted by the rest of the project. As usual though, I’m sure I’ll discover other ways to benefit from it now that it’s here to tinker with.

  12. avatarGeorge

    I think would be great to show the number of notifications in inbox like FB (red circle), this could help a lot cos when you have a load of projects, and you see many notifications, it means is time to check your inbox.

    1. avatarMinerva

      Hey George,
      You can actually do that already. Go to your Account Settings, click on the “Hacks” tab, and activate the Inbox counter! I find it very useful.

  13. avatarDaniel

    I find this…so minor that they should be ashamed to put this up in here.

    Please give the UI a flatter look and one that can use as much space where you need it.Focus is somewhat better that classic right panel but why not make Focus full screen?!

    Also, native mobile apps should be your top priority because…lets be real…they suc.k real time!

  14. avatarBart

    I unfortunately have to agree on wrong priorities here. We have been trying to work with Asana but subtasks don’t work, search doesn’t and the app definitely doesn’t support basic functions (subtasks making etc).

    This doesn’t mean this is a bad feature, on the contrary but for our company use, there is so much more important things.

  15. avatarjwjb

    Definitely a great feature to have implemented as we often have to search through the search results to find the item in question so this should speed up the process and is much appreciated.

  16. avatarNobrand Agency

    Hello Asana, is it possible to consider doing notifications on screen like Facebook does for messages for both Mac & Windows. We have several ideas, can you please email us.

  17. avatarJamie-Lee

    Thanks Asana. This is a good feature. Two things I would love to see Asana add, is the ability to assign a task to multiple users and also to be able to schedule a due time as well as a date :)

  18. avatarCharles

    Cool feature; never one I had requested. I have always requested the same feature which is better ‘Archived Completed Tasks’ management, this way you can analyze what has been completed and the flow of completed tasks over time or search for a specific completed task during a date range, etc. This would be an amazing feature similar to that of GitHub’s commit history/analysis that push a lot of groups to use GitHub over BitBucket/other competitors for group projects. It also feels good to see how much you’ve gotten done. It’s a natural reward system that encourages people to work and spend more time using Asana.

  19. avatarJeremy Fretts

    The search box comes up blank…it took a while to figure out that I had to arrow-down, select a project, and THEN select the section.
    Thanks so much for adding this…but maybe work on the interface.

  20. avatarSunah Cherwin

    It seems like a lot of trouble to do a search. What is missing is a view, not a search. I can either view the items in sections, or chronologically. I should be able to view in sections, and have the sections appear in chronological order. As it is, I have to drag the tasks around manually every day.

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