Take Notes With Trello: Your Living, Breathing Notebook
Are you looking for a better, simpler system to keep track of all those notes you’ve been jotting down?
With Trello, it’s possible to have the perfect living, breathing, searchable, mark-upable notebook for work or school. And unlike that Rhodia you’ve been carrying around, you can’t lose this one (Or spill coffee on it, either!)
Today, we’re going to show you:
- Why Trello is amazing for note taking
- Some secret features that make it perfect for meetings
- Step-by-step tutorials for unlocking the best features
- Our system for keeping track of notes and never wasting another meeting again
So let’s get started!
First, What is Trello?
The Kanban system was designed to visually track work as it flows through a process, so Trello works similarly in this regard.
Imagine a whiteboard in your office with tons of color-coded sticky notes organized into columns. Now, imagine on top of scribbling notes by hand on paper, you can also:
- Add links
- Create checklists
- Attach files
- Add images
- Add videos
- Assign members
- Create labels with 1 click
- Share with everyone in your school, group, or company
- Save and take with you everywhere
Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
How Does Trello Work?
Basically, it’s a collaboration tool that organizes projects into boards made of individual tasks known as “cards”.
From there, you can assign different members of the board to each card, add attachments, take notes (Very important!), create labels, and assign due dates among other things.
At one glance, Trello lets you see what’s being worked on, who’s working on it, and what’s left to be done by whom.
Why Trello is Perfect for Taking Notes and Keeping Track of Projects
Anyone who has ever been in a meeting knows how hectic they are.
Gossip, goals, gimmicks, guarantees, and god knows what else_by the time you wrap up, nobody knows what was actually covered and you pray someone lets you use their iPhone notes before the next weekly scrum.
Trello lets you visually collaborate with anyone, anywhere. And that includes managing projects or taking notes. Here’s what we mean:
- Tasks: Things that must be done or processes to be followed in order to complete work goals.
- Status: You can assign tasks and members to cards to see what’s been done, keep track of who is doing what, and what still needs to be done. All with convenient color-coded labels.
- Notes: Trello has some killer note-taking features like rich media (Images, hyperlinks, etc.), traces of decisions, successes, and failures, and commenting. And it’s all 100% searchable and shareable at the click of a button.
So unlike taking pictures of a whiteboard, jotting down notes on your phone, or, god forbid, handwriting notes in a notebook, taking notes with Trello is something everyone can share and collaborate on.
How to Take Notes With Trello
Wondering where to start when working with Trello? Here’s a step-by-step process to get you taking notes faster!
Step 1 – Create a new board and add lists
Using Trello is insanely easy. Just create a board, add a list, then start making cards and jotting down virtual notes.
Choose “Create a Board” and give it a name. How about Soda PDF Meeting notes?
Now you’ve got your new board (YES!).
Now click “Add a List” in the top left corner and give your list a name.
This list is how you’ll organize all your cards. For example, your lists might be “weekly meeting notes”, “company budget October”, or “Chem 101 Project To-Do List”.
Now it’s time to add some individual cards and start taking notes.
Step 2 – Add Cards (And Other Cool Stuff)
Click the “Add a Card” function below your list title and get one of those bad boys going.
Notice how much markup is on this card? Wait til’ you see inside (In our next step).
First, let’s cover the basics of each Trello note-taking card.
- Title: Give your card a descriptive name so that EVERYONE knows EXACTLY what to expect. Chances are you’ll be collabing with a ton of different people.
- Labels: Trello labels are the fastest way to convey detailed information to colleagues at a glance. “Oh, red card? I need to look!” or “yellow? I can skip over that”.
PRO TIP: Labels are great for group projects. Assign everyone a different color and color-code each card so everyone instantly knows what to work on without asking “is this my responsibility?”
- Icons: These show what’s inside the card, so you can get a better idea of if you need to take a peep or not. This is where you’ll find things like:
- Sharing settings
- Checklist items (When it’s full that means each list is complete.
Step 3 – Start Taking Your Notes in Trello!
Trello is a note-taking machine. This isn’t your typical little notebook anymore.
It’s really easy to set up a living, breathing notebook that anyone can collab on and share.
And once you’ve got something you like, you can create a template. That means you just create a notecard once, and after that copy/paste to create any new card for any project.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we walked you through each major function step-by-step according to number?
- Labels: The more detailed the better. You can use labels to denote anything from meeting length to personal responsibility and on to type of meeting or who’s present.
- Description: We use meeting note cards to write down everything that was covered for reference in the next meeting. That way, anyone at the meeting can run through it all again before we have the next one instead of panicking and asking for individual notes. Just click “Edit” and from there it’s super intuitive.
- Checklist: We LOVE this feature. Each Monday meeting has a set criteria (Coffee included) and we don’t finish til’ every item is checked. This not only makes us more efficient time-wise, it makes sure we are more PRODUCTIVE. Now, we actually cover everything we want instead of getting sidetracked. Here’s a quick tutorial:
Click Checklist and give your list a name. Once you’ve created it, you can either tag board members or add emojis (Highly recommended):
Looks cool, right?
Add as many items as you’d like and click the box as you complete each. That’s it!
OK, now that you’ve got your checklist, let’s get back to other cool functions in Trello for notes.
- Basic Powers: We like to call these powers, because that just sounds cooler than functions. Members lets you add new people to the card. Labels and Checklist we’ve already covered. Attachment should be obvious, but this lets you attach anything from pictures to videos (With power ups) from your computer or the cloud (Trello is Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive compatible).
- Template: Most meetings or projects are basically the same. At least they have the same structure. We use templates to speed up the note-taking process in these cases. This lets you make a carbon copy of each card instead of having to manually add labels, make checklists, and assign group members (#firstworldproblems).
This is a tad bit confusing to newbies though.
Once you click “Template”, your card will be saved as a template.
To create a new card from this template, click the little template icon in the bottom right corner of the “Add New Card” card.
Extra Functions for Better Note-Taking in Trello
You can really bend Trello to your will and create stunning boards if you want.
Our three favorite extra functions for awesome note-taking are:
- Covers: See the whiteboard in that image? That’s a cover photo. Click the “Cover” function inside your card and choose a photo from your drive. This helps everyone on the board know what’s inside or can even serve as a static reminder. Imagine seeing a cover photo that says “11 AM MEETING!”. No excuses to be late!
- Watch: Click the eye icon in the bottom right of each card to set a watch. Now you’ll be notified whenever someone makes changes to your notes.
- Share: Trello’s biggest advantage over traditional notebooks is its sharing feature. Check this out:
You can print, export, or even share your new “notebook” via a link. If you really want to go crazy, you can embed a link into any document (Great for group projects!).
Bonus: Trello Power-Ups
Trello’s functionality can be extended using “Power-Ups”.
Power-Ups let you pull in data or information from outside sources, and add additional features to each board. Imagine how much better and more productive you’ll be with Calendar, Google Drive, and Slack integrated directly into your “notebook”.
Taking notes in Trello is game-changing at the office, in the classroom, and at home.
Instead of handwriting notes or using your phone and sharing via email, you can have a living, breathing, markupable notebook that can be shared with ANYONE. Images, links, highlights, checklists, labels, now there’s never been a better way to take notes.
Speaking of a better way, did anyone take notes at the last weekly SodaPDF meeting? We missed a few things. No worries, here’s a friendly reminder:
One Last Note About Soda PDF
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