Understanding privacy and visibility in Asana

Asana allows you to control access and visibility of tasks, projects, portfolios, and other work items. Sometimes, you’ll work on a task or a project that should only be seen by certain people, and this article will show you how to make sure the right people have access to the right work.

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Task visibility

It’s important to note that just because you’re working on a task in the same Asana organization as someone else doesn’t mean they can see your work. Nor can anyone automatically see your comments or files. You have control over who sees what.

At the task level, there are several visibility settings.

  1. Private to you

This is a private task in which you are the only collaborator. It is not shared with anybody else and cannot be seen by anybody else. This means that you alone appear in the collaborators list. This task is private, and only you have access to it. No one else can view it or collaborate on it. If you add another collaborator, the task will no longer be private, and collaborators will have access to the task and its information.

You might keep a task private if you are not yet ready to share the information or use it to keep personal notes or information.

  1. Private to collaborators

This task is private to you and the other collaborators on the task. It can be seen only by those invited to collaborate on the task. You can provide access to the task to more people by adding them as collaborators.

You might keep a task private to collaborators if the information should only be seen by a select group.

  1. Public to organization

This is a task that anyone in the organization can access, and they can see the information contained within the task. Anyone outside your Asana organization cannot access the task or its information.

Keeping a task public to the organization is often the default access setting for work in Asana, especially if the information can and should be shared widely or accessible by anyone in the organization.

  1. See parent

If you’re working on a subtask, sometimes you’ll see a note at the top stating This task is visible to its collaborators and people who can see its parent task. The subtask being visible to its collaborators is self-explanatory, but it might not be evident that the visibility of its parent task determines a subtask’s visibility.

A good rule of thumb is to remember that you will have visibility when looking “down” but not always when looking “up.” In other words, if you’ve access to a task, you’ll have access to its subtasks and sub-sub-tasks. 

It’s possible to be a collaborator or assignee of a subtask but not have access to the parent task “above it”; in this case, you’ll see the visibility note mentioned above.

Project visibility

Projects can have three access levels.

  1. Private to members

    1. When a project is private to members, only the project members can access it. Anyone not explicitly invited to the project access it, even if they search for it by name it will not appear in search results. It is also important to note that if a non-member is a collaborator on a task within the project, they will not see the project listed in the task's Project field if they are not a member of the private to members project.
    2. Whether the team that the project lives in is public or private, the project remains private in this case.
  2. Team only

    1. Team only means the project is public to members of the team in which it lives. This means that the privacy setting of the team influences who can access the project since they determine who can join the team.
    2. Teams can have 3 different privacy settings;
      1. Private: you must be invited to join this team to see or access the team or its projects. 
      2. Membership by request: you can see the team's name and send a request to a team member to allow you to join. This invite can be accepted or declined.
      3. Public to organization: any organization member can find and join the team, after which they can access the team’s public projects. 
  3. Shared with organization

Everyone in your Asana organization can find and access the project, even if they’re not part of the team the project lives in. They can read tasks and information in the project without becoming a project member.

Portfolio visibility 

Portfolios have two access levels.

  1. Private to members.

You must be invited to become a member of a portfolio that is private to members. 

The privacy settings of the portfolio contents are respected, meaning that when you’ve been invited, you’ll be able to see all the projects and nested portfolios that you have access to. You won’t be able to see any private projects or portfolios you don’t currently have access to.

  1. Shared with organization

Anyone in the organization can find and join this portfolio.

As before, the privacy settings of projects in the portfolio are respected, so you’ll only have visibility into the projects you already have access to. The portfolio could have private projects, but you won't see them unless you’re a project member. This allows for the safe sharing of portfolios while respecting project and nested portfolio privacy. 

Collaborating with team members

You can use access settings to collaborate with team members in private projects and portfolios without sharing too much information or giving access to the wrong work. 

Consider a project named Budget 2024 that is set to Private to members. Only the 4 project members have access - nobody else can find the project via search, or read any of the information within - they must request access from a current project member.

Before long, the members realize they need help from Sam on the Finance team with a single budget-related task in the Budget 2024 project, but they don’t want to share any of the project’s other tasks with them. No problem; they simply assign the task to Sam. Sam is not automatically added to the project, and they only see this one task. They cannot even see the name of the project the task belongs to.

Additional resources

Learn more about permissions related to tasks, projects, and teams.

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