"Tab+N" our new shortcut to create Sections

Tab+N is a fine addition if the old functionality remains or if Tab+N converted a line to a section. The use case for me is rarely ‘I want to create a new section’ but rather ‘I need to convert this task into a section’.

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Hello!

Love Asana, use it every day. Used “colons convert tasks to sections” everyday, haven’t used Boards once. I totally understand that toggling between Lists and Boards is a necessary function for some users. However, it looks like by accommodating some users, Asana is taking away a lot of functionality from other users: converting tasks to sections and vice-versa, copypasting templates, still haven’t found a way to create sections on my phone; not to mention the speed and ergonomics of using simple “:” to create tasks. That’s just not a Pareto improvement and as Matt’s impromptu poll shows, more users would actually prefer the old functionality.

I’ve recently read Asana’s blog post about rebranding which I found very useful to restructure our own company. This product update reminded me of the mission statement you had there — Help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly. I think this small but core and intuitive functionality was exactly the “effortless” use you are speaking of. And now a lot of users feel cheated when the effortless workflow is taken away from them.

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This is worse than I first thought… This is a Terribile breaking change.

Features Broken with this update

  1. Copy and paste from Notepad gives nice simple layout
  2. Converting a ‘task’ to a ‘section’ is now impossible
  3. Converting a ‘section’ to a ‘task’ is now impossible

Each of the above were major factors in choosing Asana, particularly the ease of turning a task to a section. Logicially, a simple ‘task’ often turns into a whole section with some sub tasks… this was a USP of Asana… gone.

Yes, finally, being able to ‘click to add section’ is great when introducing novice users, but once you get used to asana, : is just simpler and faster.

Why, when converting from a ‘board’ to a ‘list’, would you simply not just add/remove the colons anyway as needed.

I think this should be a company @domain level option to choose at a minimum.

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Exactly the same here, a main USP of asana was converting tasks to sections…

It gets worse… when pressing Tab+N, you can only add a new section to the END of a project list.

Features Broken with this update

  1. Copy and paste from Notepad gives nice simple layout
    
  2. Converting a ‘task’ to a ‘section’ is now impossible
    
  3. Converting a ‘section’ to a ‘task’ is now impossible
    
  4. Able to create a section mid way through a list of projects
1 Like

I implemented the “Convert task to section and vice versa (Tab+:)” feature in my Chrome extension, Asana Navigator (linked to Chrome Web Store).

Motivation

I often create task lists and subtask lists by copying & pasting the lines from template text, and all lines ending with a colon used to be created as sections, but they no longer are. I felt just as much frustration as everyone else in this thread.
As an Asana Ambassador, I not only love Asana as the product. I love the philosophy behind Asana’s UI. “Asana Open House” is one of my favorite talk videos. Watch it from 19m00s to 19m50s. The beauty of Asana has been that it’s as easy and fast as using a text editor, while it has a strong data structure to support our work graph. It stayed true how many new features Asana has built, but I feel this is the first time that the speed was sacrificed for the structure.
I’m really sad, but reading this thread and Sections are dead! Long live sections! for developers, I found that this is a final decision and our complaints might not be able to reverse it. So I built the feature myself.

Conversion by Asana Navigator

Asana Navigator does exactly what is written in the below post by @Joe_Trollo. It creates a new section/task with the same name as the original task/section, and then deletes the original task/section.

This is “Tab+:” in action:

This works where Tab+N is supported. Specifically, either on a task in the middle pane of a project view or my task view, or on a subtask in the subtask list in the right pane.

My workflow has been changed to something like below:

  • Before: I copy & paste lines of text into Asana, and all lines ending with a colon would be created as sections
  • After: I copy & paste lines of text into Asana. After that, I manually do “Tab+:” > “Enter” against all lines ending with a colon to convert them to sections

Considerations

  • Technically speaking, currently my extension only supports projects “not_migrated” to the new data model. I’ll continue developing the feature to support “migrated” projects, too.
  • As you can see in the above video, it’s painfully slow compared to the original Asana feature. It’s proof of how good the original feature was. I’m still sad that the auto-conversion feature is now missing in Asana.
  • As always, I welcome any feedback, feature requests, questions, or comments through the Chrome Web Store, GitHub, or the post in the community: Asana Navigator: Unofficial efficiency Google Chrome extension to enhance navigation for Asana tasks.
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Hi @Vaughan_Rouesnel,
First of all, I really like your Asana Recently Completed Tasks extension :heart_eyes:
I implemented the feature to recreate section/task with the same name as original task/section on my extension, https://github.com/ShunSakurai/asana-navigator.
I’m sure there would be better alternative solutions, so I’m looking forward to seeing yours!

I am as frustrated as everyone else.

Sections are dead! Long live sections! states:

Sections are not going away! While the API will experience a disruption, the Asana web app will continue to have sections throughout this change.

What about the mobile version?

I can’t find any way to make sections now. With “:” it was easy peasy. I just wrote :

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Hi @Michael_C_Kring and my sincere apologies for the inconvenience here; We’re hoping to re-implement the ability to create sections via mobile as soon as possible. For the latest updates, you can follow this post.

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Hi Marie

I am looking forward to that. How about changing the “shortcut” to :: or in words double colon. That would solve many
of the problems I see people writing.

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Another problem is adding a section as a subtask. First I choose the subtask icon, wich makes a new task. Then i can add the section with tab+n. Then I have to delete the first subtask. Another argument for using :: as a shortcut instead of tab+n.

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@Michael_C_Kring
If you press Tab+N when the focus is in the right pane, a section is created in the subtask list in the right pane, instead of creating a section in the middle pane. Please give it a try.
By the way I like your idea of “::” and I also think Asana could reserve the colon solely for sections.

Thank you @ShunS. That works. Also thank you for liking my idea. We agree. Maybe because we both come from cultures with a taste for simple design. I am Danish, and I see that you are Japanese.

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I don’t think the two choices in this poll accurately capture the trade-offs we have in front of us. It’s easy to deal with the board/list problem - create things in lists first, then multi-home them to boards if a board is more helpful. We can tell by the color showing on a task in boards if it’s not correctly multi-homed. This might not be intuitive to new or casual users of Asana, but it works well and people can learn it quickly once they realize the difference in functionality between boards and lists.

However, when it comes to the section/task problem, there is no work-around with tab-n. There is just double work. If I want to convert a section to a task, I can’t even “duplicate” the task: the duplicate “task” is still a section. God forbid I have a section with subtasks that I want to make a task or that I’m copying a list from excel or word or the Internet with headings already in it. In the past it took a quick colon or deletion of a colon to convert a task to a section, to convert a section to a task, or to make copied lists clean and tidy. Now it takes many, many minutes of tab-n-ing and dragging and dropping. It is crazy-making. This is not at all about muscle memory or shortcuts. It is about functionality and time.

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I couldn’t agree more. I used to be very enthousiastic about asana. I have a lot invested so it’s hard for me to change. But if you read this and don’t have asana, don’t get it. They don’t listen to the customers.

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This is so painful, it’s unclear if Asana understands what made it fast to use (the iOS version is proof of this).

TAB + N doesn’t use the text on the current line as the title, so you have to either re-type, or copy/paste which are all additional steps.

Many of us are creating tasks from client emails, or formatting/re-formatting existing tasks so the colon was a genius idea; in one step you could make any task a section. No key combos, no copy/paste, no re-typing, no additional steps.

The purity of this product is disappearing fast, so silly and such a shame.

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Spend less time managing tasks and more time doing them. TAB+N illustrates a worrying trend; that Asana has forgotten what made it so great. If a feature change adds extra steps, it should be questioned severely.

Yes, everything is ‘design by committee’ these days but sometimes a company needs to take a leadership role, understand core fundamentals and stick to its guns.

Why add extra steps to task management? Efficiency used to be a selling point.

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@Asana - Please do you have an update on this? My entire team was just coming around to your software, but this change breaks it. Most people voted to keep the ‘:’ sections over being able to toggle board/list view.

What is the status?

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While I appreciate the effort to add the functionality of boards to list view, there must be some way to integrate the TAB+N command more seamlessly into the existing interface. There is now a disconnect between the content you are writing and the ability to change the case of the writing to section. Having to copy and paste what you already wrote to a new section line is ultimately a huge block in the previously seamless flow of the interface. It needs to be better integrated, otherwise it feels like you are busy managing the interface rather than the other way around.

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Hi @Destini_Wooden;

We haven’t planned to switch back to the “:” shortcut, but we’re still looking into how can improve the “Tab+N” shortcut to address issues outlined in this thread. I will make sure to share more updates as soon as I have some.