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How to create a Kanban board in Trello for a much more organized life

A Kanban board is an easy-to-use tool that can help you track tasks more efficiently. Here's how to create one with a free Trello account.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Min Shin
Person working with monitors on a desk
Morsa Images/Getty Images

If you've never experienced the efficiency and the organization that Kanban boards offer, you're missing out. I've written the what is in 'What is a Kanban board and why do they matter?', which I highly recommend you read so you understand exactly what this tool is. 

There are numerous sites, services, and apps -- many of which have free plans -- that offer Kanban boards. My go-to Kanban service is Trello. With Trello, you can make use of its free plan in order to make Kanban a part of your daily routine. Once you start using Kanban, you'll find your projects and plans are more easily managed.

Also: How to turn your Google Tasks into a Kanban board with TasksBoard

But how do you create a Kanban board with the Trello service? Let me show you how. This can be done either via web-based or desktop apps (sadly, the Android app is currently having problems with logins). 

The desktop app is available for Linux, MacOS, and Windows. I'm going to make this even easier for you and demonstrate how to create a new board based on a pre-configured template (of which, Trello offers plenty).

How to create your first Kanban board with Trello

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need is a valid Trello account. You don't have to install the desktop app, as the process of creating a new board is the same on the web and desktop versions of the app.

1. Open Trello

The first thing to do is open either the Trello web or desktop version of the app. 

Also: How project management tools can boost your productivity

Note: If you're using the Linux operating system, you can install the Trello desktop client via snap with the command:

sudo snap install trello-desktop

2. Log in to your account

Once the app or website is open, log in to your Trello account and you should find yourself on the main Trello page, where you can select a Workspace to use, open a pre-existing board, or create a new board.

The Trello desktop app running on Ubuntu Budgie Linux.

You can create multiple Workspaces to better organize your Kanban boards.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Create a new board

From the main window, click Create and, from the drop-down, click Create board.

The Trello Create drop-down.

You can skip the Create board option and go right to Start with a template if you like.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Open the template picker

In the resulting popup, click Start with a template.

The Trello New Board creation popup.

You can create a board from scratch or use a pre-configured template.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

5. Select a template

In the Template popup, you can either select from one of the top templates or click Explore templates to view more. For this demonstration, click Kanban Template from the list. 

Also: The best to-do list apps: Get organized

Once you select the template, you'll be taken back to the board creation popup, where you'll want to rename your board (because it auto-populates the name with the name of the template). Select a workspace to house the template (or leave it as the default) and click Create.

The Trello Top templates popup.

Either select one of the top templates or explore the entire template library.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

6. Use your new Kanban board

Your new board will appear, and you can immediately start using it. You might, however, want to rename some of the columns. For example, the default columns are Backlog, Design, To-Do, Doing, Code Review, Testing, and Done. 

Also: How to use Opera's Pinboards feature as a Kanban board for a more effective experience

Let's say you're not a programmer and want to delete the Code Review column. To do that, click the three-dot menu at the upper right corner of the Code Review column and click Archive this list. You can then rename the remaining columns by simply double-clicking the name and typing a new one.

The drop-down menu for a Trello column.

You can easily delete an unwanted column (aka List actions) from your board.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Congratulations, you are now one step closer to a more organized life. Kanban boards are incredibly helpful and simple to use. With them, you'll have an at-a-glance look at exactly where each task is on the timeline of your creation.

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