October 14, 2013 | John Goethert

How to Transfer Basecamp Templates

how to transfer basecamp templates

Using project management software such as Basecamp is invaluable to marketing agencies like VIEO Design. It saves time in streamlining repetitive tasks and keeps everyone, clients included, on the same page.

One of Basecamp's most useful features is its to-do lists. For those of you not using Basecamp, think of a to-do list as a set of post-it notes with "to-dos" already included. If your projects are similar in execution, you can use a prebuilt to-do list to assign tasks to your team members, along with the completion dates. Tasks can have multiple to-dos, making it easy for project managers to track status of the to-dos assigned to different functional teams.

The new and improved version of Basecamp brought cleaner look and some new features. The transition has been relatively smooth except for one aspect: the new treatment of templates.

In new Basecamp there is no longer an ability to add more than one to-do template to the same project. Note, I said template… you can still have multiple lists, just can't bring them in from the templates. When starting a new project, we now take the biggest existing to-do template and convert it into a project by changing its name (something you could do in the old Basecamp). Then we have to manually add shorter to-do lists. This is not the most efficient use of your time, but it has to be done.

After much research I found that Basecamp will let you share to-do lists between the projects. If you accidentally put a to-do in the wrong project, you can simply move it to the correct one. Knowing this, I have set up "temp" projects, each containing one of our main to-do templates. When you create a real project, transferring to-dos from "temp" projects is fairly easy. To do this, go to the "temp" project, then go into the to-do and click "copy" link on the right. A pop-up will ask which project to copy it to:

how to transfer to-do templates

 If your templates have many to-dos, manually adding them into these fake projects doesn't make sense. Luckily, projects and to-do lists can be easily moved between the old and the new versions of Basecamp. Simply set up 5 temp projects in Basecamp Classic, with a to-do list assigned to each project. If you name your to-do lists preceded by the number 1, after transferring, they will show up at the top of the project list. Then, at the bottom of your new Basecamp dashboard, click the link to import old projects. Select the temp projects. Easy.


Yes, this approach is a "duct tape fix" but it gets the job done. Isn't that the goal?

Like what you see? Subscribe to our blog for more like this!

Join 30K+ monthly blog readers getting expert industry tips! Subscribe to the blog.

John Goethert

John Goethert

John Goethert served as VIEO’s senior inbound marketing project manager for many years and enjoyed using his varied expertise on behalf of our clients.

Related Post: