Many remote development teams use Basecamp to collaborate regardless of location, stay organized, track progress, and improve productivity. If you plan on using Basecamp to do the same, the tips and tricks in this guide can help you get the most out of the popular project management software.
Before you dive in, do you want to make certain you are using all of Basecamp’s features? Check out our Basecamp Project Management Review or try Basecamp now.
Tips And Tricks For Basecamp
Whether you are an individual developer or a project manager leading a software development team, the following tips and tricks can help make your Basecamp experience a more pleasurable and productive one. In this project management tutorial, we cover the following Basecamp hacks:
- Using the Jump Menu
- Tweak Basecamp’s Appearance
- Basecamp Shortcuts
- How to Use the Bulk Tool
- Drag and Drop Priorities
- Avoid Annoying Notifications
- Join or Opt-out of Conversations
- Sharpen Your Focus
- View All Hey! Notifications
- Quickly Jump to the Top
Quickly Jump To What You Need
Project management software is supposed to make life easier for the project managers and developers that use it. Unfortunately, some PM software is clunky to navigate and makes you spend time versus saving it. That is not the case with Basecamp, and if you need a perfect example of its seamless navigation and time-saving capabilities, look no further than the jump menu.
Press Ctrl-J on Windows or Command-J on Mac, and Basecamp’s Jump menu will appear. From there, you can start typing to quickly jump to a project, person, or recently visited page without having to make a ton of clicks with your mouse.
As you type into the search box, Basecamp will narrow down the results. And, if you are unsure of a project’s specific title, typing in a description should yield what you are looking for.
While the Jump menu is a shortcut in itself, here is a shortcut to make it even easier to use: Type “my” into the Jump menu’s search bar to instantly choose from and go to your recent activity, assignments, drafts, and bookmarks.
Tweak Basecamp’s Appearance To Your Liking
If you are going to be in Basecamp a lot, you want it to be easy on the eyes. Basecamp lets you achieve this goal via the Set Appearance option, which is accessed as follows:
- Click on your profile photo or avatar in the top right-hand corner of the screen
- Under Personal Settings, click Appearance
- Select the desired color theme for your menus, buttons, and accents
Use These Basecamp Keyboard Shortcuts
Developers and project managers can take the long way to get around Basecamp or use these time-saving keyboard shortcuts:
- Home: Shift + H (Windows), Command + H (Mac)
- My Stuff: Ctrl + ; (Windows), Command + ; (Mac)
- Jump Menu: Ctrl + J (Windows), Command + J (Mac)
- Latest Activity: Shift + A (Windows), Command + A (Mac)
- Find: Ctrl + / (Windows), Command + / (Mac)
If you are using Basecamp’s desktop app, these two keyboard shortcuts can come in handy:
- Go Forward: Ctrl + ] (Windows), Command + ] (Mac)
- Go Back: Ctrl + [ (Windows), Command + [ (Mac)
Lastly, Basecamp has some keyboard shortcuts that can be useful when collaborating via comments or message board posts:
- Link: Ctrl + K (Windows), Command + K (Mac)
- Undo: Ctrl + Z (Windows), Command + Z (Mac)
- Redo: Ctrl + Shift + Z (Windows), Command + Shift + Z (Mac)
- Bold: Ctrl + B (Windows), Command + B (Mac)
- Italic: Ctrl + I (Windows), Command + I (Mac)
Use The Bulk Tool To Save Time With To-Dos
There will probably come times when you need to change several tasks on your to-do list.
Instead of changing each to-do manually, you can use Basecamp’s bulk tool to do everything at once.
To use this tool to assign, archive, group, move, copy, or delete to-dos in bulk, click on the three horizontal lines (aka the menu icon) next to one of the list items you want to execute bulk actions on. Next, press Ctrl + Shift if you are using Windows or Command + Shift if you are on a Mac. Now, click on all the to-dos you want to affect in bulk. Finally, select the bulk action you want to apply, such as assign, move, copy, archive, delete, or group.
Prioritize To-Dos With Drag And Drop
Do you find yourself creating new task lists daily? And do many of those new lists contain older tasks that you have not gotten around to? Well, instead of wasting time making new task lists every single day, you can simply drag older to-dos to new lists in Basecamp. And, if you need to prioritize tasks, you can do that too via drag and drop functionality that lets you position tasks higher or lower in lists according to their importance.
To move tasks around in your Basecamp to-do lists, click on and drag the small grip icon on the left of each item. Then, move it to its new spot in the list or an entirely new list. You can also do this with entire lists when needed.
Follow To Avoid Annoying Notifications
As a developer, the last thing you need is a constant stream of unnecessary notifications blowing up your screen and distracting you from the task at hand. The next time you are part of a development project that you do not need notifications from, just follow it instead. Doing so will mute notifications while still giving you full access to the project. Unless you are specifically assigned a to-do or are the subject of an @ mention, no annoying notifications will come through.
To switch your participation type and minimize notifications, go into the project in question.
To the right of the project name, you should see three dots. Click on them to access that menu, then select the Switch to just following option.
Join In Or Remove Yourself From Conversations
One of Basecamp’s primary selling points is collaboration, as it helps developers stay in touch and share ideas from a distance. One way to collaborate in Basecamp is via conversations where team members add comments. To join in on a conversation you have not been included in, click Subscribe me. This will ensure you get notifications when new comments are posted.
On the flip side, you may be part of a conversation that you do not want to be updated on. To avoid notifications from that conversation, click the Unsubscribe me option at the bottom of the page.
Sharpen Your Focus
Focus is essential for developers, and many choose PM software like Basecamp to help them concentrate and stay on task. Basecamp’s Focus Mode was designed to provide this functionality, and here is how to use it:
- Click on the icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Basecamp screen where your avatar or profile photo is located
- Click the Turn on Focus Mode button
Doing so will turn off notifications and any distracting orange unread badges until the next day, allowing you to focus.
View All Your Hey! Notifications At Once
At the top of Basecamp, right-click on the Hey! option and open it in a new tab. This will lead to your Heystack, which lists every Hey! notification you have received in Basecamp. For even quicker access, you can bookmark the tab in your browser, so your Heystack is always within reach.
Quickly Get Back To The Top
As your projects grow, navigation can get tougher and more time-consuming. Instead of scrolling all the way back up a page to get to your desired location, click on the Back to top button on the lower left-hand side. This will allow you to quickly get back to the top of the page without wearing out your fingers or wasting time.
Final Thoughts on Basecamp Tips and Tricks
In this Basecamp tutorial, we learn a bunch of tips designed to help project managers, stakeholders, developers, and remote programmers become more productive when tracking their projects. These tips included: how to use the Jump menu, how to tweak Basecamp’s appearance, Basecamp’s many shortcuts, how to use the bulk tool, how to drag and drop priorities, ways to avoid annoying notifications and join (or opt out of) conversations, how to utilize the Focus feature, ways to view all of your Hey! notifications, and a very simple way to jump to the top of the board with a single click.