How to duplicate a whole section with all tasks and dependencies intact

We have projects that include multiple, largely identical towers of buildings. We work on multiple towers at once, completing the same tasks, with the same dependencies among tasks, but the timing for starting one tower is different, and the assignees many be different., and work progresses at different rates. A hold up on one tower probably will not impact the progress on another.

I have built the full set of tasks and dependencies for one tower, and now I want to clone that whole section called **Tower 1 Build Out… and then rename the clone Tower 2 Build Out.

Asana has a Duplicate Task feature for one task… but it does not seem to have a Duplicate a Whole Section feature. (would be nice)

I tried to accomplish this with export/import, but the dependencies are lost.

Suggestions?

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@Steve_McGinnis,

I’d recommend using https://asana.com/guide/help/projects/actions#gl-duplicate-project which will replicate your section+tasks into a new, temporary project. In the original project, create the new section, then in the new project select all tasks and change the project membership from hew project to original project. Now drag and drop them under under the new section. Finally, delete the new, temporary project. (This used to be simpler when sections were task types and you could change their project membership; not anymore.)

If you do this regularly you could also look into https://asana.com/guide/help/premium/custom-templates.

Hope that helps,

Larry

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Thank you so much. You have given me hope.

I’m trying to follow your process… which I have broken into steps below, ADDING MY COMMENTS IN CAPS… PLEASE LOOK AT RED TEXT:

Hi @Steve_McGinnis,

FYI your emailed reply did not get posted to the forum in the way you had intended - I think you’ll need to visit the forum directly to add it…

Thank you so much. You have given me hope.

I’m trying to follow your process… which I have broken into steps below, ADDING MY COMMENTS IN CAPS… PLEASE LOOK AT #4 especially.

  1. replicate your section+tasks into a new, temporary project. DID THIS BY DUPLICATING THE WHOLE PROJECT INTO A NEW PROJECT
  2. In the original project, create the new section, DID THAT, AND PUT THAT RECEIVING SECTION FIRST
  3. then in the new project select all tasks DID THIS USING THE LIST VIEW… JUST CLICKED THE FIRST IN THE SECTION THAT SHIFT CLICKED THE LAST, ALL 22 ARE HIGHLIGHTED.
  4. and change the project membership from hew project to original project. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS. HOW DO YOU CHANGE PROJECT MEMBERSHIP? DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO IT. CAN YOU GIVE ME MORE CLUES HERE.
  5. Now drag and drop them under under the new section. I CAN DRAG MULTIPLE TASKS BETWEEN SECTIONS OF THE SAME PROJECT USING CAN DO THIS IN THE LIST VIEW. WHEN I SUCCEED IN CHANGING THE MEMBERSHIP, WILL THE NEW TASKS APPEAR IN THE OLD PROJECT?
  6. Finally, delete the new, temporary project. (This used to be simpler when sections were task types and you could change their project membership; not anymore.)

Thanks again,

Steve

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@Steve_McGinnis,

You’ve got it all exactly correct! Clarifications below:

  1. See the screenshot below which shows the detail pane (right side of Asana) after you’ve made those selections in the prior step. When you hover over the row that shows the project name the task belows to (“LB: Pending” in this example) you’ll see the buttons at the far right; click on the one with the tooltip “Move to another project.” That will change the project name to a list selection field where you can use typeahead to enter the original project name.

  2. As you suspected when you finish the above, the tasks will now be in the original project, not the new project, so you can drag them under the section you made earlier.

Best wishes,

Larry

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Awesome help. It worked like a charm.

The only problem is that it seems that this feature ( and export too) scrambles the order of the tasks. That sure seems like a bug to me. Have you experienced this>

So, I had to manually drag taks into the correct order again. It seems the LIST view works best for this.

Or maybe the scrambling was because I did something wrong. Eh?

At any rate, thanks a ton. Where do I give you 5 stars.

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@Steve_McGinnis,

Great to hear it worked, and thanks for the nice comments!

I haven’t tried it recently but I take your word for it that it scrambles the order; I can’t see how that would have been anything under your control. This is speculation, but I wonder if Asana is optimizing for speed/performance rather than maintaining exact duplication order. I know there were comments about scrambling happening with CSV imports and I haven’t seen an answer about that, but I believe the API is fastest by just firing off all requests to create tasks without concern for the order that the server actually creates them; again, just speculation.

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I think we have a similar work flow. We regularly use the same set of tasks in our projects. What we do is create our own template (name it “template” for “this type of project”) and then we can duplicate that project. All the followers and subtasks can be duplicated, and they are in the same order. Contact me directly if you have questions.

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Thanks again Larry for walking me thru how to do this,

Here is how I have documented the full process for Duplicating a section. I hope they are useful to someone else.

For this write up of the process…
ProjA will be the original project that has the section that we want to duplicate. It is also the TARGET project for receiving the moved
CopyA will be the temporary copy of ProjA that we make so that we can move some of its tasks back to ProjA

Two really important limitations: :

  1. When you duplicate ProjA to create CopyA, make sure you have checked all the fields you want duplicated in CopyA.
  2. When the tasks arrive back in ProjA, they may be out of order:
  • The order may be as the original, but may be scrambled.
  • It is possible that the order in the List view may be different from the order in the Board view, and different from the order in the Timeline. This seems like bug and I will report it, but you will have to realize this limitation before you do the copy. That is why I put a letter code on the front of the tasks before my final cloning… so it would be easier to drag and drop them back into the right order and be sure I got them all.

**Here are the detailed steps for how I created a duplicate of a Board column (Tower 1) with a different name (Tower 2)

Again, ProjA is the original project, and CopyA is a temporary duplicate of ProjA.

  1. Make sure that ProjA is as good as it can be before you duplicate it. In our case, I added DUE DATES, checked most dependencies, and also added the letter codes to the front of main task names. (e.g. A0 ) This will help me unscramble tasks later.
  2. Open ProjA and use the Duplicate function (on the drop down menu behind the project name)
  • If you get asked for a start date, I suggest you keep the start date the same as the original
  1. While your still in ProjA, create a new section/column to receive the tasks that will be coming back from CopyA
  2. Now open CopyA and make sure it is a full copy of ProjA
  3. Click on List view. (It is easier to select the tasks you want in that view)
  4. Select the tasks you want to move back to ProjA by the usual method of selection (Click on the first one you want, then hold shift while you click the last one)
  5. That will open a panel that shows “X tasks selected” Hover over the name of CopyA in that panel, and a pen icon will appear to the right.
  6. In that righthand panel, hover over the pen icon and it will show “Move to another project” (as shown in the screenshot below) Now click the pen.

  1. A list of potential target projects will appear… and you want to select the name of ProjA
  2. Wait a bit then in the righthand panel (on the same line as the project name) select the Section of ProjA that you want the tasks put into
  3. Once that is done the move is complete. The selected tasks should be in ProjA and are removed from CopyA.
  4. Check ProjA to see if things went where you wanted. If not, drag and drop tasks until you get the new section the way you want it. Check all 3 views (List, Board, Timeline)
  5. CopyA is now of no use to anyone, you should delete it.

You may want to practice with some TEST copies of projects before doing it on your production copy.

End of post

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