"Tab+N" our new shortcut to create Sections


I’m looking forward to improved Section functionality, but this deployment has led to some lost functionality. Here’s the list I’ve accumulated so far. Are these intended and permanent?

  • No longer able to switch between a Task and a Section and vice versa.
  • No longer able to create Sections by cutting and pasting a list into a Project.
  • No longer able to discern what a Section is in an export.
  • You have to create a Subtask before you can create a Subtask Section.
  • No feature to add a section for the mobile app.
  • Others possibly to be discovered with time and usage…

New Section Shortcut and Spreadsheet Compatibility

Very disappointed in this change… Asana was my favorite because it was so fluid to create and organize tasks on web or mobile…
As far as I’m concerned, this is broken!


I do not like this at all. Very cumbersome. Sometimes I want to make a task into a section or vice versa. This makes this impossible.


following up on Teddy’s comment on ergonomics…I’m a rare case but I am using a Mac keyboard on a PC OS and it’s super, super troublesome to access Tab.

(yeah yeah I can re-map my keyboard but separately I’ve been having issues with that. as of now I have to reach over to a laptop and hit tab. ugh.)




Absolutely EVERYTHING that Teddy said here. How clunky to not be able to change my tasks into sections and vice versa… sometimes what starts as a task needs to become a section later. And the Tab+N is absolutely an ergonomic mess.


Briefly describe (1-2 sentences) the Bug you’re experiencing: It used to be that adding a : to the end of a task made a section header - and removing the : made it go back to being a task. Now we have to use Tab+T to make a section header… but there doesn’t seem to be anyway to un-make the section header. VERY frustrating.

Steps to reproduce:

Browser version:

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Hi @Valerie and thanks for reaching out. This is actually not a bug but a change we recently rolled out. You can learn more about it in this post: "Tab+N" our new shortcut to create Sections.

I’ve gone ahead and merged your feedback with the main post to gather feedback in one place. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with!

Creating Sections

You’re supposed to be able to create a section by adding a colon after the section (and convert back to a task by removing the colon).

Suddenly, this weekend, this isn’t working in my mobile app. I add a colon after a task and it remains a task. Anyone else having this problem?

Also, opinion: not having a help desk isn’t helpful, Asana. You should have a way for us to reach you if we’re stuck.


Hi @Colin_McComb and apologies for the trouble here. The issue you’re experiencing isn’t a bug but related to an update we’re currently rolling out. Have a look at this post for more details: "Tab+N" our new shortcut to create Sections. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with!


Friendly suggestion: before deleting the old feature in the future, perhaps you should roll out the new feature, and observe the conversion rate. If everyone keeps using the old feature, either the update wasn’t communicated well, or everyone prefers the old way.
I’m really scratching my head as to why Asana broke userland for this.
Thanks for all the hard work, though!


Thanks for the feedback @Andy_McCaddin. We always roll out features in batches to make sure we’re not breaking anything obvious. This is a little different, if you’re interested to learn why we made this change, you can have a look at this post. Hope this helps @Andy_McCaddin, have a greta day!


I’m really disappointed by this product decision. I admire you being bold and taking such a huge risk in user experience, but this was a terrible decision. One of the major reasons I bring people to Asana from different teams, is exactly because creating sections was so convenient.

The new workflow really speeds me down. I am honestly sad I am part of the 10% this rolled out to.

An improvement to this could be to convert a task to a section by pressing TAB+n. Adding a new section at the bottom of the list is suuuuuuuuuuuch a headache. Please fix.


+1 that using TAB+N instead of a colon while seemingly a small change can result in a tangible slow down. For a productivity app, that’s exceptionally painful.

Not being able to convert existing tasks to a section is a MAJOR miss.


Hi, all!

Sorry that this feels like such a usability issue - here at Asana we use our product more heavily than almost any customer (as you might imagine!) and retraining ourselves to use Tab+N instead of a colon has been quite a hurdle (at least for me :wink: ). We totally understand how this change feels like a “gotcha” until you rebuild your muscle memory for the new behavior because we’re still getting used to it (caught by it!) ourselves :wink:

The biggest challenge in building good software is making hard tradeoffs, and this new behavior is the shadow side that we’ve adopted in order to build a highly-requested product improvement: switching between board and list views.

The nature of what has to happen “under the hood” to make that possible means that sections in list views have to act very like columns in a board view - and the Tab+N behavior is a result of us moving toward that world. For one example, ending a task in a board column with a colon doesn’t split off a new column which contains the tasks below the task with a colon. If you think about it, however, this is what has been happening in a list view–the new section suddenly takes ownership of all the tasks below it. This is why Tab+N creates a new (empty) section at the end of the current section - this is akin to what happens when creating a new empty column in a board view.

So despite the fact that this group already has opinions on Tab+N (and therefore this poll isn’t very scientifically rigorous), I’d be interested to ask the group for opinions on which future state of Asana is better:

  • Freely toggle projects between board and list views, but we must keep Tab+N behavior for list sections
  • Freely toggle tasks between regular tasks and sections using a colon, but projects must either be created as a board or a list and cannot ever be toggled between the two views.

0 voters

To be further clear, I doubt that the results of this poll will change our course in moving to switching between project layouts (we have a lot of data and feedback that this is highly desired by our customers and from an engineering standpoint there are a lot of benefits from it) but hopefully it provides some insight into why we made this change.


Well, in theory, “appending colon” could have been kept as a UI gesture and have it effectively do what TAB-N does but also rename the section to what was previously entered as the Task name? Can we assume you guys considered that but decided it was too expensive?

Hard to see outside of myself on this (admittedly, I’ve only ever used Asana in the List view BECAUSE of the lightweight manipulation of text lists into organized, actionable projects) but… this seems less about overcoming ‘muscle memory’ and more about newly introduced friction in what I found to be core to Asana’s value.


A trailing colon no longer makes a task into a section header. This is problematic because:

  1. Copying and pasting sections no longer works. If a section task is copied, it is pasted with a trailing colon but does not become a section header.
  2. Breaks compatibility with external task management. Our firm manages creation of sub-tasks for a variety of items using other tools. Without some wildcard to force creation of section header, we are now left without clearly defined sections.

The new hotkey is useful, but is not a proper replacement for the removed functionality. I’d kindly like to suggest the trailing colon be reinstated, or some other wildcard be added to take its place.
(Copy/paste with some markup system would be very useful for other things, like dates, assignees, etc.)


Oh for the love of Pete, just bring back the colons already. Just have both. The new way holds you up when you’re trying to add in a lot of information and interrupts flow.


This post does a good job of explaining the need for the change. I’m not really sure why there are still objections, particularly in light of how many people have begged for the ability to switch between lists and boards.


I agree with @LeavingA, and as I’ve pointed out, there are other problems from the partial rollout that I’m waiting to hear about.

I imagine most of us want the best of both worlds. I understand the issues of high backend costs of what supporting the “:” behavior would mean in the new model, but:

  1. I’ve used other apps for years that have accomplished this (e. g., outliner tools that let you indent/outdent a task and manage containership still), and

  2. often there won’t be too many tasks to update for this, e. g., when pasting a new list of tasks/sections or subtasks/subtask section, or when removing a “:” from a task with only a few tasks underneath. Is it completely out of the question to allow this when possible and either warn of delay or deny the operation outright with a toast explaining it’s too costly and to use delete task and then Tab-N in this case?

Thanks for considering…