How to Use ClickUp: A Beginner’s Guide for 2024

ClickUp is among the top online project management tools for a reason. This versatile tool lets you manage various work formats from one platform. In this post, we’ll outline how to use ClickUp.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll run through the main steps of setting up ClickUp, and explain the functionalities on offer before breaking down ClickUp’s hierarchy of elements.

Step 1 – Getting Started With ClickUp

Get started with Clickup

Getting started with ClickUp is easy. It’ll ask you for some basic information, such as your name and email address. You’ll also be asked to enter the type of work you’ll be using it for.

This helps to tailor your experience with ClickUp to your company size or industry. Once you’ve entered the activation code that’s sent to your email, you’ll be good to go.

You can experiment with ClickUp without a paid subscription because it offers a free plan for 5 users. This makes it one of the best project management tools for small teams on a budget.

Step 2 – Set Up Projects

After setting up your account, you can add projects. Each project is a ‘space’ within the larger ‘workspace’. You can easily add a new space or project in the sidebar on the left-hand side of the screen.

You can then add relevant team members to each space to keep everybody updated on the status of the project. We found ClickUp’s interface user-friendly due to the click-to-edit style of working.

To change the name of a project, you simply type directly into the text box. This makes it very quick to get going with, even if you don’t have a lot of experience with project management tools.

Step 3 – Add Tasks

Create a project and add a task

Once you’ve created your project, you’ll be able to add tasks. You can view your tasks as a Kanban board, as a list, Gantt chart, or as a mindmap, whichever you prefer.

All styles allow you to track progress, the Kanban board, for example, enables you to move tasks to the corresponding card once they change status.

Change the status of your tasks to automate progress

While in the list view, you can tick off tasks as you progress. Either way, you can switch between the 15+ views on offer with ClickUp and the progress will be automatically translated.

When adding tasks, you can add an assignee, due date, and priority rating. On top of that, you can choose from a variety of extra columns, including budget, email address, location, and files.

In fact, you can even add custom variables to make it your own.

Step 4 – Manage Your ClickApps

Customize your process with ClickApps

ClickApps are useful additional features to simplify your workflow. You can find them in the top left-hand corner of the interface under ‘Apps’. In total, there are 41 to choose from.

They allow you to customize your processes to fit your needs, and by turning them on and off, you can fine-tune the level of detail you require.

ClickApps can be subtle features such as incomplete warnings, which prevent tasks from being closed with outstanding sub-tasks, or dependency warnings on tasks that are awaiting further action.

Alternatively, they can be larger features like Zoom video calling, Loom screen recording, and viewing Microsoft files without leaving ClickUp – which can have a noticeable impact on your operations.

Step 5 – Set Up Notifications

Set up smart notifications

In our ClickUp review, we found the platform highly customizable, and this extends to its notification settings. You can find this in the top right-hand corner of the screen, in the drop-down menu.

Here, you can choose exactly which actions you want to be notified of, including comments, tasks, assignee changes, and status updates. You also get ‘smart notifications‘.

These settings allow you to set a custom delay for notifications while you are active on the internet.

Step 6 – Set Up Automations

Set up automations with ClickUp's custom automation builder

Automation is among the most valuable features of project management tools when it comes to saving time. You’ll find ClickUp’s automation builder in the top right corner of your screen.

You can choose from a range of rules or create custom rules here. You can move tasks, change assignees, or update statuses when a certain action is triggered, for example.

This makes for a smarter workflow and takes some of the pressure off your teammates.

Step 7 – Manage Your Integrations

The best online collaboration tools will support the integration of third-party applications to work seamlessly with your existing software – and ClickUp is no exception.

You’ll find ClickUp’s integration menu in the top left-hand corner of your screen. ClickUp integrates with 50+ third-party apps, including:

  • Dropbox – Great for sharing larger files with teammates.
  • Slack – Manage and communicate about tasks from Slack.
  • Google Calendar – Sync your calendar with your ClickUp projects to stay on track.

You can also integrate with thousands more through Zapier.

Step 8 – Customize Your Workspace

Here are the two main options you have for customizing your workspace in ClickUp:

  1. You can use your brand colors, logo, and a custom URL to help ClickUp fit seamlessly within your organization.
  2. Choose whether you want to include team collaboration features or focus on a personal workspace for solo projects.

ClickUp is easily among the most customizable tools for project management, which can somewhat add to its learning curve. Overall, it’s a bonus, as you have the freedom to make it your own.

Step 9 – Dashboard Management

Analyze the workspace data from ClickUp's dashboard

The dashboard area of your ClickUp account lets you view data analytics on your team’s performance, including things like task and project progress, workload distribution, and the time spent on tasks.

You also get burnup and burndown charts to better understand if your team is behind or ahead of schedule and velocity charts which can help agile teams better plan future sprints.

All of this means that you can get a granular overview of what’s happening, all from your dashboard. You can also create your own custom dashboard and reports or use templates for an easier setup.

Understanding the ClickUp Hierarchy

Since ClickUp acts as an organizational system for a vast amount of tasks, projects, and teams, it works with a hierarchical structure.

WorkspacesSpacesFoldersListsTasks

At the top of the chain is the workspace. This is the broadest level, which holds all of the levels beneath it. Here, you’ll invite every single person on your team and be able to view all ongoing projects.

Second, we have spaces, this is ClickUp’s term for projects. While it’s still rather broad, it’ll only be visible to relevant team members.

Beneath spaces, there are folders, which are a way to organize multiple relevant tasks or projects within a space.

Lists are a view within a project that details all the outstanding tasks yet to be completed, you can choose from 15+ views based on the way you prefer to visualize your workload.

This is easily among the very highest number of options you’ll find in the best project management software.

Finally, we have tasks, the finest level of detail ClickUp offers when it comes to project management. This is where you can break down your project into manageable, bite-sized pieces.

Conclusion

ClickUp is a top choice for many businesses and individuals, and although it has a steep learning curve due to its customization and breadth of features, it’s straightforward to get started with the basics.

If you’re after a tool that’s easier to use, then we recommend Monday. It also has a free plan as well as ample integrations, automations, and automations.

If you’re happy with your choice, this beginner tutorial on ClickUp’s basics should be helpful in getting started. If you’re on the free plan, then we recommend checking out the paid plans.

Unsure which plan is best or whether ClickUp is the best choice for you? Check out our full ClickUp review before deciding. We cover its pricing plans, who it is and isn’t good for, and alternatives.

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Alice Martin
Senior Writer

Alice Martin has five years experience as a writer before joining Techopedia in 2024. After completing an interdisciplinary degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, she began writing in the arts and music industries. Driven by a love of research and analysis, Alice turned her attention towards all things software and technology. She now offers expert advice in these fields to help readers make informed decisions.