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10 Kanban Report Hacks

adding color advanced cool stuff formulas how to html incorporating images intermediate reports Aug 01, 2018

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I'm crazy about the new Kanban reports. If you've started using them, you may already be looking for features Quickbase hasn't included yet. These hacks will help you get the most out of your Kanban reports while Quickbase works on adding features and capabilities.

If you haven't started using Kanban reports yet check out this quick tutorial


           Jump to Hack:

  1. Include a field label
  2. Add more than 3 fields
  3. Hide items that are completed or canceled
  4. Use more than 10 groups
  5. Use related fields for groups
  6. Order the card groups
  7. Order cards within the groups
  8. Use avatars and icons
  9. Color code cards
  10. Add & edit records

#1 Include a field label

Field labels are not included when you add fields to your Kanban cards. For example: In the card below, the 45 refers to the Task ID, but unless you know that there is no way of telling.

To add a label, you have two options:

Option 1: If you need to add a label to just one field, use the Calculated column option. It's located below the card details section. In the formula box, enclose the label you want in quotations (including any punctuation or spacing) followed by an ampersand and then the field. This new field will appear near the bottom of the available columns list with the column label you assigned it.

Option 2: If you want to add labels to more than one field, you'll need to create formula text fields for each using the same technique as above in your formula. 

Now you can easily see that the 45 on the Kanban card refers to the Task ID.

⭐️ Learn more about using text formulas from the Mastering the Text Formula course


#2 Add more than 3 fields 

Quickbase currently only allows 3 fields to be added to the Kanban report cards. In many cases, you may want (or need) more than this. I tried several methods to not only get multiple fields into one field 'space,' but to also get the format just right. The best approach I found is using a formula rich text field.

The formula rich text field allows you to use HTML code to format the text. Using the List function with the "<br>" line break between each label/field combo the right formatting was achieved. You can also do other fun things with the HTML like bold the labels or make them another color. Below is the HTML I used to color the labels green to more easily differentiate them from the field values.

In the example below I now have 8 fields represented on one card vs. the basic 3 provided by the Kanban report.

⭐️ Learn more about using HTML in Rich Text formulas from the HTML Formula Crash Course


#3 Hide items that are complete or canceled 

As your projects, leads, work orders, etc. terminate you could end up with a lot of cards in a closed, canceled, or completed phase. To avoid this, but still provide the option to move cards into these 'end' phases you'll want to follow these steps:

  • Include the terminal phases in the card groups.

  • Add a filter to not show records equal to the terminal phase.

Now when you move cards into one of these terminal phases, they'll magically disappear from the report.


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#4 Use more than 10 groups (columns/phases) 

If you need to display more than 10 groups there are 3 options:

Option 1: Don't do it

10 groups is a lot. There's a reason Quickbase has set this limit and let's be honest going beyond six columns gets to be a bit unwieldy. If your multiple-choice field has more than 10 options, you may want to consider if they are all truly phases, or if some of them are actually status.

For example, if some of your phases are similar to this:

  • Design - ready
  • Design - in progress
  • Design - complete

You don't have 3 phases, you have 1 phase and 3 statuses. You may want to reconsider your design and consolidate your choices.

Option 2: Break it into two reports

If you absolutely must have more than 10 groups (or even if you need more than 6), consider breaking it into two reports.

Create one report for the initial phases and a second for the subsequent phases. It's unlikely that projects will 'jump' multiple phases and you can always duplicate groups like 'on hold' or 'completed' that might be used on both reports.

However, this can make seeing the big picture tricky as you'll need to navigate between reports to 'see' all of the cards. This leads us to our last option.

Option 3: Break into multiple reports with a parent table

This is mostly the same as option 2. However, you now relate all of the records to a parent record (if they aren't already).

This allows you to add both reports on the parent record form giving visibility to all of the cards at once. Even so, you still will not be able to move cards between different reports.


#5 Use related fields for groups (columns/phases) 

Okay, this one is a bit tricky. Currently, QuickBase does not allow you to use a related field as the Kanban card group. This may change in a future release.

However, there is a way to hack this so that you can still use your related field in combination with a Kanban report. I consider this a more advanced technique since it uses automation.

To use a related field as your Kanban group:

  1. Create a 'faux' related field using a multiple-choice field where the choices are based on the related field you want to use.
  2. Enter or import the values from the 'real' related field into your 'faux' field.
  3. Set up a Quickbase automation to automatically update the 'real' related field every time the 'faux' related field changes.
  4. Use the 'faux' related field to build your Kanban report.

WARNING: Please be cautious using Quickbase automations and never 'attempt' to use them in a production environment until you've tested and validated them in a test environment first. It is extremely easy to unintentionally trigger an automation that changes records you did not intend on changing.


#6 Order the card groups (columns/phases) 

This one may be a little more obvious, but the order of the card groups is based on the order of the choices in the multiple-choice field that the groups are based on. So if the choices are set to display in alphabetical order, that's the order they'll appear in.

If you want another group order:

  • Open the field settings
  • Arrange the choices (be careful not to change the text)
  • Select "Display choices in the order shown here"
  • Save your changes

If your multiple-choice field happens to be based on another field, you'll need to modify the settings for that field.


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#7 Order cards within the groups (columns/phases) 

When initially launched the only option to sort cards within the groups was to use the default sort order in the default sort settings.

However, there are now options in the report settings to:

  • Sort on the default field
  • Sort on other fields
  • Users order the cards manually

To change the default sort order settings:

  • Open the settings for the table where your Kanban report is located
  • Click on Reports & charts
  • Click on the Reporting defaults drop down in the upper right-hand corner
  • Choose Default report settings
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom
  • Choose the default sort order

Note: unlike other report settings you cannot set multiple sort options in the default settings.

To change the sort order with other fields:

  • Select the option in the Kanban report settings to "Sort on other fields"
  • Similar to other reports, choose the sort order and fields
  • Add additional fields as needed

To allow users to manually sort the cards:

  1. Open the table Advanced settings
  2. Scroll down to the Advanced Table Settings section
  3. Check the box next to Enable manual ordering for Kanban reports
  4. Here you can also set the initial sort order (this does not appear to override the other report defaults)


#8 Use avatars and icons 

As described above, the Kanban report does recognize formula rich text fields. This means that you can add icons, images, emojis, logos, and even user avatars to your Kanban cards.

Check out my post on How to use icons to draw focus and drive action in Quickbase to learn more.

⭐️ Learn more about using HTML in Rich Text formulas from the HTML Formula Crash Course


#9 Color code the cards 

I've already described above how you can add color with formula rich text fields (#2 & #8), but Quickbase has also provided a built-in capability.

To color code the bar on the left side of the card:

  • Customize the Kanban report
  • Scroll to the bottom
  • Check the box to "Color-code cards using a formula"
  • Follow the example below using your fields

For more instruction on color-coding check out my post on Why you should be adding color to your reports.


#10 Add & Edit records 

You may have already noticed this, but it's worth repeating.

To edit a record:

  • Hover over the card until a pencil icon appears in the top right corner of the card
  • Click on the pencil icon
  • The record will open for editing
  • After saving you'll return to the Kanban report

To add a new record:

  • Choose which group (column/phase) to add the record to
  • Click on the green plus sign located next to the group label at the top of the column
  • After saving, you are not returned to the Kanban report. This may be a bug and hopefully will be fixed soon.

Enjoy your Kanbans!




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