Visual sections: why and when using a custom field is better than a section

Hi :wave:,

If you want to have visual sections in an #asana project, there are two ways: use real Sections or use a custom field and sort by that custom field.

Note: for that last trick to work properly, you need to un-toggle “Sort within sections” in the Sort menu.

I have a preference for the second solution, but because I had no tangible reason, I decided to really study the difference.

Why use sections (solution #1):

  1. sections become columns in board view, not custom fields
  2. sections display lanes in Timeline view
  3. people get confused with solution #2 because they can’t create a new section easily
  4. you can still sort by another field
  5. it works with the Free plan

Why use a custom field (solution #2):

  1. you can share custom fields between projects
  2. you can search for custom fields more easily than sections
  3. if a task has several statuses/stages with custom fields, having another status with the section is weird
  4. if you have too many tasks within a section, the section itself might be outside the screen and you can’t see it when a custom field could always be visible in a column
  5. you can still have the 2nd level of section if you use a custom field for the 1st level
  6. if there are not tasks with that value, the “section” does not show

Did I miss anything?


Great topic @Bastien_Siebman this is really something I often wonder about.

If you use sections then you can sort by a custom field or by due date, while you can’t sort (for instance by due date) within “custom field sections”.


Good point, I’ll add it


Nice comparison, @Bastien_Siebman. In addition:

  • Sections are best for free plans since Custom Fields aren’t available
  • Custom Fields help solve the want-to-hide-section-header-containing-only-completed-tasks problem.



What about… Custom Fields can serve as a sub-section of a Section.

@Bastien_Siebman Nice analysis!

Usually I like to summarize it by:

  • Sections = project-specific concepts
  • Custom Fields = global concepts across projects

If you’re a fan of visual management (using colours), then Custom Fields are definitely better, whether using Lists or Boards or Timelines or Calendars.

1 Like

Yes that was my you can still have the 2nd level of section if you use a custom field for the 1st level

Well done! Thanks, added.

Unless you use a custom field locally only to build sections, isn’t it?