How to Create Spreadsheets that Automatically Update with Asana Data

What are Data Links?

Data links are Velocity’s live CSV export product that allows Asana customers to create spreadsheets that automatically update whenever your Asana tasks or projects are updated.

Data links are simple to set up – just pick your filters and the Asana data or fields you want to include. Then instantly access your data in Google Sheets.

(We’ll say Google Sheets but this works with the spreadsheet or BI tool of your choice!).

Once you set up your data link, you have all the power and flexibility of your spreadsheet: pivot tables, advanced calculations, charts, visualizations, and more. 

Many of our customers bring in other sets of data from their CRM, marketing automation, or accounting systems. 

In this blog we’ll dive into why data links exist, how to use them, and some common use cases we see from our clients today. 

If you are want to get started and try it out for yourself – sign up for a 7-day free trial today: 

Asana Export through Data LinkWhy do data links exist?

When a customer wants to create an Asana data export, they’ll typically use Asana’s CSV export function and download a CSV file with their Asana tasks. The process typically looks something like this:  

    1. Create a list of all the relevant data to include or exclude
    2. Download a CSV to the local computer 
    3. Copy data from another source (CSV, marketing automation software, etc.)  
    4. Create pivot tables, reports, and charts 
    5. Send a file to all relevant stakeholders 
    6. Repeat for each relevant Project 
    7. Repeat steps 1-6 for each relevant export every day, week, month

These exports solve many use cases when a customer just wants to export a snapshot at a given time and do further analysis in Excel or Google Sheets. The challenge comes whenever those projects or tasks get updated in Asana, the spreadsheet is immediately outdated and becomes an inaccurate representation of project status.

We built data links to solve this exact issue with CSV downloads. 

When you create a Data Link, you set the filters, and what data to include ONCE. The spreadsheet automatically updates every time data is updated in Asana. 

Any function, chart, or visualization you create with this data in Google Sheets will be updated too!

That’s it – no weekly downloads, uploads, or sending out reports using outdated data.  

How do I create a data link?

Creating a Data Link is easy and can be done in just a few clicks. To save you time, you can duplicate an existing data link with one click.

Navigating to Data Links 

Once you get access to Velocity, click “Data Links on the top navigation bar:  (Or access directly here: data links)

From the Data Link page, select “New Data Link” 

New Data Link Button

Data Link Filters

On the Data Links page, name your data link and choose which filters you want to include. This could be Project, Task Status (Open/closed), Date, or by a Custom Field. You can always go back and edit these criteria, but any task that doesn’t meet these criteria will not show up in the data link. 

Data Link Filters List

Data Selection

Once you select your data filters, the next step is to select which data is displayed for each task in your spreadsheet.  You’ll see a column for “Included” – each metric selected will become a separate column in your Google Sheet. 

Data Link Column Selection

Click “Create” and that’s it! Your data is ready to go!  

Viewing Your Data Link in Google Sheets

Once your filters and columns are selected and the data link is created, the next step is to get your data into Google Sheets. 

All you need to do is open a blank Google Sheet and copy the unique “IMPORTDATA” link into a cell (Cell A1 is best to keep things clean!). 

You can find the unique IMPORTDATA link at any time by clicking the green “Share/Export” button on the data links page: 

Data Link Export Button

Data Link URL for Google Sheets

Data Links Google Sheets Import

Sample Data Link in Google Sheets

And you’re done!

Now every time a task is updated in Asana – or a new task is added –  it will automatically be added to this spreadsheet!

Data Links Use Cases

Here’s where the real fun starts.

Now that you have your data feeding into a powerful spreadsheet, you have all the power of the spreadsheet available to get insights out of your Asana data. 

Because each organization uses Asana in very unique ways, there isn’t a “best way” to use Data Links.

However, here are a few of the common categories of use cases that we see from our customers who get the most out of Data Links: 

  1. Advanced charts

Some customers look for unique charts and visualizations that are not built in either Velocity or Asana’s “out of the box” reporting tools.

In these situations, a customer will build custom visualizations using Google Sheets’ functionality – sometimes pivot tables, data visualizations, detailed charts, etc.

A good example of this is burndown and burnup charts which are very common for Project Management teams. 

We’ve built a template for how a customer could create these types of charts using Google Sheets: 

  1. Link other data 

Another common use case we see is combining outside data sources with Asana data.

It could be any relevant data to the organization’s workflow: CRM data on key accounts, marketing data on campaign performance, or financial/ reporting data.

Perhaps a marketing organization wants to see if there is any correlation between campaign click-through rates and time spent on the project. Or, maybe they want to see if that overdue project was really worth the extra effort.

For example, a medium-sized agency wanted to have one place where Project Management data connects with billing and financial reporting data so they could easily show the client how the budget and project status aligned. They used Data Links to combine these data sources within Google Sheets and build graphs that measured things across both these data sources.

Creating dashboards and reports that reference multiple sources of data becomes very powerful and gives insights that wouldn’t be possible with either of these sources in a silo.  

  1. Sharing across organization/partners

Keeping with the agency example above, in these cases, it’s common that not every member of the client team has full access to Asana.

So, they use Google Sheets to create their dashboards that provide status on their project progress, budgets, and more. 

The beauty of Google Sheets is that you get all the collaboration and sharing tools of the Google Ecosystem so you can share these spreadsheets with your teams, clients, or partners. 

Plus, once the Data Link is connected, you won’t have to rebuild these reports every week! Just send your colleagues or partners a link to the Google Sheet and every time they look it will be up to date. 

Although these are some of the common use cases, your organization will have different needs and functions. Sometimes you can do all the analysis you need within Asana. 

If you want to try using Data Links for yourself, sign up for the 7- day free trial here:

Feel free to reach out to us to discuss your needs, or if you just want to brainstorm on which Asana export or Asana Reporting solution is right for you! [email protected]