Using "people" custom field to track "customers" who are not collaborating on work directly

I am very interested in using something like the new “people” custom field in asana. But I don’t want them to be contacted. These people could be customers, or collaborators who are not going to be using asana at all. Right now when a new person is added there is a requirement to have an email and have that person contacted. If there were some other way of creating “personas” that could be tracked and threaded through projects and tasks, but not be collaborators, that would be really useful I think. Currently it’s very hard to represent people as tasks, for example. It’s more natural to create people profiles. I did some quick searching on the forum and did not find any discussion of this. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please let me know!

Hey @Jeremy_Levy potentially adding a single- or multi-select custom field can work. As you can then also create reports and filter based on those.

If you also want to kind of assign tasks to these “people” then you can create more emails for one main email you own. Many providers such as gmail allow to create more alias email via just one login.

All of these email addresses will reach your inbox, but Gmail will treat them as separate email addresses.

IMPORTANT EDIT: please refer to @Bryan_TeamKickstart’s detailed explanation in the next post

Hi @Jeremy_Levy ,
NOTE: Please excuse my ALL CAPS and bold comments here. Just trying to help protect you from accidentally exposing your Asana data. Not trying to text-yell at anyone. :slight_smile:

Two very important corrections to help maintain your data privacy.
@Andrea_Mayer 's suggestion is one that works beautifully, but it does need two very important corrections in order to not expose your data:

  1. Using the format suggested (personABC@gmail .com and 123+personABC@gmail .com) will NOT yield the expected results. Used this way, the 2nd email, 123+personABC@gmail .com, would send info and Asana access to whomever owns 123@gmail .com. Email prefix and suffix in that example would need to be reversed. But, I’ll outline a perhaps safer approach.)
    The “+” and the unique alias “123” need to come after the main email username “personABC”. So, in practice, this would be Used this way, yes, gmail will treat them as separate emails that still arrive at the same inbox (meaning they can represent two different Asana placeholder users).

  2. The second very, very important clarification, is that if you add in “fake” emails like that… the people who own (or will own) those emails in real life, WILL be notified. So, if your client (or placeholder person’s) name is “John Brown”, do not set up a fake user as “” or “”. … Because the real owner of the email in real life WILL be notified and WILL be given access to your Asana data.

So, in summary, this workaround that @Andrea_Mayer suggested works great, but here’s how it needs to be used:

If you are trying to create a “fake user” or “placeholder user”, as I refer to them, to represent a real person or org. who is not in Asana, you’ll want to “Invite” a new user to a task or to the account using a fake email.

BUT, IMPORTANT: to make sure it doesn’t exist in the real world (so you aren’t exposing your account data to some random person), follow this formatting:

So, for example, John Brown might be…
johnbrown.BCD234.Acme@gmail .com

We do this because…
johnbrown@gmail . com for sure exists already in real life
johnbrown.BCD234@gmail . com MIGHT already exist in real life.
johnbrown.BCD234.Acme@gmail . com is extremely unlikely to exist in real life.

That’s how to keep your data safe and also leverage Andrea’s great suggestion!


Oh thanks a lot @Bryan_TeamKickstart!
Indeed the detailed explanation you shared is important. And yes adding the “+” and text to an email should be done to an email you own and not just any random one.

@Andrea_Mayer - is there anything you’d suggest or ask that I change to not come across abrasively or like I’m trying to overpower your response?

Hey @Bryan_TeamKickstart all good :slight_smile: Is good that you spotted it. I have edited my post above so there won’t be any confusion and people can follow your detailed explanation.

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Thanks @Andrea_Mayer @Bryan_TeamKickstart for these very helpful suggestions. I was experimenting with the fake email approach. One thing is that I get reminders if the invitation was not accepted. It wasn’t clear to me that I would keep getting the reminders, or if the fake person would be cancelled after a while. I also wanted to be sure that this wasn’t going to bite me later on, that this would be viewed as an illegitimate use of asana. My longer term ambition is to create my own CRM solution (though I am an academic). I want to track and refer to collaborators in my projects even though they are not using asana.

Thanks again for your help!


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