This is part 2 of a 4-part series about how to automate tasks and boards in Trello.

PART 1

How to use Butler for Trello to increase your productivity

PART 2

11 Little genius Butler hacks that tame your Trello chaos

PART 3

A breakthrough in automating project management in Trello

– coming soon –

PART 4

How to setup stunning workflows with Butler for Trello

– coming soon –

Automating manual processes or even setting up workflows in Trello, the popular Kanban project organization tool, has been a long-time dream of me. I love the simplicity of use Trello offers, but it tires me to click-click-click around to get a minimum of order into my boards. It drained me so much, that I even turned to other tools for certain projects, just to see if there’s something out there that would help me to tame the Trello chaos.

When I stumbled over Butler for Trello, at first I couldn’t believe it! There was a tool that integrated so nicely with Trello – despite being separate from it – and offered a HUGE set of possibilities of what it can do in any Trello board to create workflows and automations – with basically no entry barrier: because you can address anything you need to address in plain English. I’ve introduced Butler for Trello and the ways you can use it in my last article: How to Use Butler for Trello to Increase your Productivity.

So, today, I am going a step further. And I actually want to give you a few good examples that will hopefully trigger something in you (if you already are a Trello user), and make you think how you can use it for your productivity. In fact, I have chosen 11 commands that you can use / adjust / customize to create the most beautifully working boards in Trello, and tame the chaos in your Trello boards in ways you never even imagined.

tame your trello chaos Butler for Trello Commands

How to Tame your Trello Chaos

If you aren’t already aware that you don’t need to know any programming language to create commands with Butler for Trello – I now tell you that it is so! You can use English, and for me, that was a huge game changer, even though I do have a fair understanding of some programming languages. But still, being able to use English makes things so much easier!

With English, setting up commands is pretty simple. The only thing you need to learn is a feeling for the syntax and a handful of rules.

First, let’s talk about the Trigger rules.

There are 3 types of triggers:

  •  Every – this trigger schedules a recurring action
    (Example: every Monday at 6 PM; every second Wednesday at 9:15 AM, every weekday at 11:59 PM)
  • On Due Date – this trigger schedules an action around a card’s due date
    (Example: the day a card is due)
  • When – this trigger performs an action when things change in the board
    (Example: when a card is added to list “To Do”; when @username is added to a card; when a checklist item is checked)

And now, let’s have a look at the Actions within Butler.

An action is what you would like Butler to do. At the time of writing, there are 4 kinds of actions possible:

  • Card Actions
  • List Actions
  • Board Actions
  • Settings Actions

The little video below, gives you an idea of what actions Butler is currently able to perform. I have the feeling this list is going to be updated soon, but for now that’s already pretty impressive, don’t you think?

 

If you are unsure about what Trello is and how you can use it for your business or projects, I recommend you read my article on how to organize your business with these 18 Trello features first! It explains Trello’s basic features.

 

11 Butler for Trello Commands

… that Automate your Most Time-Consuming Tasks in Trello

Here’s an overview of some Butler for Trello commands that have the potential to tame your Trello chaos:

1 – Sort the cards automatically by its due date
2 – Filter cards that are overdue
3 – Create cards from checklist items
4 – Convert checklist items to linked cards
5 – Link two cards in the description
6 – Link two cards in the attachment section
7 – Archive all cards with the “Done” label
8 – Check off a corresponding checklist item
9 – Track changes made to a card
10 – Setup a DashCard
11 – Visually mark a completed task

1 – Sort the cards automatically by its due date

// PRODUCTIVITY

WHAT DOES IT DO?

It does what it says. It sorts a certain list (in this case the “To Do” list), by the date when cards are due.

This command would sort the list continuously, i.e., whenever there is a change to it, the sorting would start. If you don’t want that, you can add a trigger like ‘every day at 8AM’.

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

Sort list “To Do“ by due date

2 – Filter cards that are overdue

// CONTROL

WHAT DOES IT DO?

It checks every card for a due date assigned, and labels those that are over due with a red label “Over Due”.

For this to work appropriately, you want to create a red label and name it “Over Due”. If you already use red labels, note that you can have several red labels at the same time with different descriptions. Of course, you can use any other label color, but would need to adjust the command code.
If you have a big board and cards are all over the place that are overdue, you can use the filtering feature in Trello to only display those cards with the red label “Over Due”. This way you can see immediately what’s on your list.

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

For each card with an overdue date, add red label “Over Due”

tame your trello chaos filter overdue cards Butler for Trello Commands

3 – Create cards from checklist items

// PRODUCTIVITY

WHAT DOES IT DO?

Let’s say you have a checklist. Any new item added to the checklist shall be converted into a card.

There is no link created between the two. If you would wanted to create a (one-directional) link, you would have to add this action to the command code: “and link the card”

tame your trello chaos checklist items to cards Butler for Trello Commands

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

when a checklist item is added to a checklist, convert the item into a card

4 – Convert checklist items to linked cards

// PRODUCTIVITY

WHAT DOES IT DO?

This does the same as #3, but with one significant difference: it creates a bi-directional link between the checklist item and the card.

Notice the difference between the command and the previous one in the actions part? “Convert the item into a card” will not link the card back to the original card. “Convert the item into a linked card”, will link them back.

tame your trello chaos create cards from checklist items Butler for Trello Commands

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

when a checklist item is added to a checklist, convert the item into a linked card

5 – Link two cards in the description

// PRODUCTIVITY

WHAT DOES IT DO?

Creates a link between two cards that relate to each other in some way, for instance when one has been duplicated. It’s a convenient way to find the related card of a task, and check back quickly on it. This is also a bi-directional link.

tame your trello chaos link cards together Butler for Trello Commands

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

when a due date is added to a card, copy the card to list “XXX” and link the cards in the description

6 – Link two cards in the attachments

// PRODUCTIVITY

WHAT DOES IT DO?

That’s exactly what #5 does, with the difference that the link is not created in the card description, but in the attachment section of the card. It’s a one-directional link.

tame your trello chaos link cards in the attachments Butler for Trello Commands

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

when a due date is added to a card, copy the card to list “XXX” and link the cards in the attachments

7 – Archive all cards with the “Done” label

// CLEAN-UP

WHAT DOES IT DO?

If you work with labels to mark cards as done, this is a command that could help you to keep your boards and lists clean.
On any given day and time, this command archives all cards in a board with the corresponding label.

tame your trello chaos archive cards done Butler for Trello Commands

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

Every friday at 8pm, archive all cards with the label “Done”

8 – Check off a corresponding checklist item

// PRODUCTIVITY

WHAT DOES IT DO?

When you have a card connected to a checklist on another card (or even board), by completing the card the corresponding checklist item is checked off as well.

tame your trello chaos check off corresponding checklist item Butler for Trello Commands

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

when a green label is added to a card in list “XXX”, find a card with title “ABC” in list “YYY” and check item “{triggercardlink}”

9 – Track changes made to a card

// CONTROL

WHAT DOES IT DO?

You can track all kinds of actions that happen to a card, or even store additional information as a comment.
As an example, I have set up a command that would work well if a board is used for team collaboration, and it is requested that certain changes to a card are tracked, like who moved the card & when.
The possibilities here are endless.

tame your trello chaos track changes made to a card Butler for Trello Commands

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

When a card is moved to “Done”, post comment “user {username} moved this card to list {listname} on {date}, {time}”

10 – Display a DashCard (or two)

// CONTROL

WHAT DOES IT DO?

Add a visually-pleasing counter to your board with DashCards.

DashCards can do two things: They either count the cards on a certain condition (like ‘assigned to me’, ‘with all checklists incomplete’, ‘with label X’), or they sum the value of a custom field). DashCards update automatically once the condition on a board changes, but it’s also possible to set time triggers.

tame your trello chaos dashcard Butler for Trello Commands

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

every day at 8:50pm, cards in list “To Do” or in list “Doing”, in red, title “Check Out!”

tame your trello chaos dashcards Butler for Trello Commands

11 – Visually Mark a Completed Task

// PRODUCTIVITY

WHAT DOES IT DO?

This command alleviates you from manually marking the card as complete, and add a little checkmark icon at the beginning of the card’s title, to visually mark the task as completed.

COMMAND CODE EXAMPLE

when a card is moved into list “Done”, mark the due date as complete, and rename to “✔️ {cardname}”

Learn How To Automate YOUR Trello Boards

Would you like to learn how you can customize & automate your Trello boards in ways you never imagined?

To get started, enroll in the free online course How To Automate your Trello Boards with Butler for Trello. This course is an excellent starting point. Also, there are a few courses in the making that guide people in setting up sophisticated board systems in Trello, like a rolling calendar, master-client-systems, or special productivity board setups.

If you’d like to learn that and be the first in queue, you can sign up on this mailing list and I will let you know as soon as the first course is about to open its doors.

PART 1

How to use Butler for Trello to increase your productivity

PART 2

11 Little genius Butler hacks that tame your Trello chaos

PART 3

A breakthrough in automating project management in Trello

– coming soon –

PART 4

How to setup stunning workflows with Butler for Trello

– coming soon –

tame your Trello chaos Butler for Trello Commands

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