Add sub-task template to existing task?

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to add a template of sub-tasks to an existing task but have hit somewhat of a roadblock.

We have a project with some custom fields that we use to manage/organize new product ideas. When a product idea is ready to move on from being just an idea, we add it to another project that has some of the same custom fields associated with it and I’d like the custom field data/comments that pre-existed the transition to remain throughout the process.

The pain I’m feeling right now is that when the transition from idea to product begins, I need to add a series of sub-tasks with dependencies to help move that product through all the steps it needs to go through to become a product. It’s inefficient to add the sub-tasks manually each time a product starts that transition, so I created a template with all the dependencies built into it.

The closest I have come to what I’m trying to achieve is to duplicate the task template and drag the new copy into the main product task when it is added to the new product transition project, but that nests the sub tasks a level too deep for my liking. (Ideally they would show up as children of the main product task, not grandchildren.)

Does anyone know of a way to achieve this?


That’s a tough one, @Jeff_Maughan and sounds like an important workflow.

Would it be possible to use the template at the idea phase rather than when it transitions over to the product roadmap? For the ideas that stay ideas, the subtasks could be ignored, but for those that get actioned, they’ll have what you need on them.

The other idea I had would be to use drag and drop to drag them out of the original task and into the new one, but this seems pretty manual.

This doesn’t really solve your problem as you’re trying to copy across task dependencies, but one thing I do is use a TextExpander snippet to spit out long lists of subtasks so I don’t even have to copy and paste from other tasks.

I wrote about how I use TextExpander more here: Using TextExpander with Asana to create better tasks

Thank you both for your replies. @Kaitie I’ve toyed with each of those ideas but as you pointed out, both of them come with some extra baggage. Appreciate your input nonetheless!

@paulminors I’m intrigued… I’ve read your article and have a couple questions. First, did I understand correctly that you can create a series of sub-tasks from a single textexpander snippet? And with dependencies? You lost me there… This sounds like just what I am looking for but I don’t really have any idea how to implement using textexpander. Any additional info you can provide would be greatly appreciated. :slight_smile:


Yes, you can generate long lists of subtasks using TextExpander but it would NOT include dependencies (sorry if I confused you here). Here’s an example. So you see, the snippet “;blogsub” expands to the listed subtasks. Because each item is on a new line in TextExpander, Asana will treat each of them as a new subtask. Does this help?

Please let me know if you have any more questions. If you’re interested in improving your use of Asana further or want to discuss team training, please feel free to book a free 30-minute introductory call with me to discuss consulting options.


Hey Jeff, I preface this by saying that I’m not entirely grasping what you’re attempting to do, but have you tried perhaps merging the existing task with a template task?

Theoretically, if you have a template task with all the dependencies for the subtasks, you should (I just tested it) be able to select ‘mark as duplicate’ and then type in the task you’re moving from idea to product. Then, the product task will have the subtasks merged/moved from the template task to the product task while the dependencies and content remain the same.

So idea task turns into a product task, you copy the task template that has the subtasks set up the way you want them, then mark that copy as a duplicate of the product task and voila, you have the original idea task, with the newly minted subtasks as children not grandchildren =)

Let me know if that makes sense or would work…here’s the Asana documentation on it if my babbling didn’t make sense!


Thank you both so much… I apologize for the small delay in getting back on this. Things got crazy around here but I wanted to report back and thank you all again for your input.

@paulminors thank you for providing that detail on how to use TextExpander with Asana. If it weren’t for the dependencies and the assignees that I want to build into the template, I would definitely use TextExpander for the sake of simplicity. Seriously well done on coming up with this use of TextExpander.

@Caisha… all I have to say is “BINGO!” Your “babbling” made perfect sense. :slight_smile:

I had thought about merging tasks, but I was approaching it from the other direction… I thought I’d have to merge the product idea into the copy of the template because I assumed that the sub-tasks in the template would not be moved from the merged/closed task to the new one. Merging from idea >> template copy meant all the custom field values would need to be copied over manually, which was not really an option, so I dropped that idea. Should have tested it in reverse… you are a genius! :grin:

Thanks again to everyone for the input! This community is great!


Yay! Glad it helped resolve the issue. =)