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Asana | Formatting your task descriptions like a ninja

150 150 Rosario Messina

The new Description Editor is slowly being rolled out to everyone, and I already love it! :heart_eyes:

Adding formatting styles like Headings and Page Breaks allows me to create much richer and easier-to-understand descriptions while simultaneously leaving the possibility to keep it simple with just plain text if I wish.

I thought the rollout of this feature could be an excellent opportunity to share my formatting tricks with everyone, so you can also move around in the Description field like a ninja :ninja:.

Type /

If you type the slash symbol, a contextual menu will open with all your formatting options and some more!

2022-09-30 Screenshot 000315

Ninja mode on :ninja:

If you are anything like me, every second in your life counts, so you’ll be glad to know that there is an even faster way to apply the new Headings and Page Breaks.

Markdown-like formatting :raised_hands:

ShortcutFormatting style
# + spaceHeader 1
## + spaceHeader 2
– – – (triple dash)Section break
2022-09-30 Screenshot 000316

The good old formatting

Of course, you can still do your typical bolditalic, underline and strikethrough.

Shortcut WindowsShortcut MacFormatting style
⌃ + B⌘ + BBold
⌃ + I⌘ + IItalic
⌃ + U⌘ + UUnderline
⌃ + ⇧ + X⌘ + ⇧ + XStrikethrough

Bullet and number lists

Not everyone knows you can select text and turn it into a bullet or number list with two handy shortcuts, so here they are.

Shortcut WindowsShortcut MacFormatting style
⌃ + ⇧ + 7⌘ + ⇧ + 7Numbered List
⌃ + ⇧ + 8⌘ + ⇧ + 8Bullet List
2022-09-30 Screenshot 000322

Of course, you can also trigger bullet points by just typing.

ShortcutFormatting style
Bullet style
1.Number style
2022-09-30 Screenshot 000323

Sometimes, you just have your hands on your mouse

If you select a word, a little layover appears just a couple of pixels away, and all the formatting options you need are just a click away.

2022-09-30 Screenshot 000324

Working with blocks

You can be very intentional about what goes in an existing versus a new block.

Create a new paragraph in a new block
⇧ + ↵Create a new paragraph in the same block

Moving blocks of text around

You can drag and drop blocks up and down as you need. I am unsure how much I will use this one, as I like to keep my hands on the keyboard as much as possible, but I can see this being useful during reviews of various lists…

2022-09-30 Screenshot 000319

Global modifiers and extra tips

Did you know that:

  • With a dash “-” and an angle bracket “>” you get an arrow? →
  • ⌘ + K lets you add a hyperlink?
  • If you select a word and use the paste shortcut ⌘ + V, it will paste the hyperlink into the word?

Global modifiers :earth_africa:

Below are keyboard shortcuts that you can use in any text field or text editor on a computer and will literally save you years if you use them consistently :slight_smile:

Shortcut WindowsShortcut MacFormatting style
⌃ + A⌘ + ASelect all text
⌃ + → or ←⌥ + → or ←Move one word to the left or right
Home or End⌘ + → or ←Move to the beginning or end of the line
⌃ + ↓ or ↑⌥ + ↓ or ↑Move to the beginning or end of a paragraph

If you combine the above with shift ⇧, now you can also select words, entire lines or paragraphs at the speed of light. So if. I’d hit “⇧ + ⌥ + ↑” right now as I type this; I would select the entire paragraph just like this.

2022-09-30 Screenshot 000330

Anything we can add here? Feel free to contribute; happy to update this one with the input from your comments :slight_smile:

Hope this helps!

Take care,


Rosario Messina

Productivity and self-improvement expert with 12 years of Asana experience who has helped hundreds of individuals and teams thrive in complex environments.

All stories by: Rosario Messina
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