Ryazan, Russia - April 29, 2018: Homepage of Trello website on the display of PC, url - Trello.com.
Image: sharafmaksumov/Adobe Stock

Trello is my go-to choice for kanban boards, but that doesn’t mean I don’t look for other options or ignore the need for backups in case disaster strikes.

Should the worst occur, you could export the Trello board to JSON, then convert to CSV and use a Power-Up to import it again. If you have a paid Trello account, you can export directly to CSV and skip the intermediary step. Either way, you’ll have the means to import the file back into Trello through this tutorial.

SEE: Hiring kit: Project manager (TechRepublic Premium)

Since I’m using a free Trello account, I do have to export to JSON first. Fortunately, other services allow the import from JSON. So long as the fields are mapped properly, everything will import as expected.

What you’ll need to export to JSON from Trello

The only thing you’ll need for this is a valid Trello account. You can use either the free or paid plan — just remember that the free version only allows you to export to JSON. I’ll be demonstrating via the web version of Trello, but this can be done from the desktop app as well.

How to export to JSON from Trello

Log in to your Trello account, then go to the Workspace and open the board you want to export. You should see the three-dot menu button near the top right corner. Click that button, and then click Print And Export (Figure A) from the pop-up menu.

Figure A

The Print And Export entry in the Trello menu.

A secondary pop-up menu will appear (Figure B) from which you should click Export as JSON.

Figure B

The Trello Print And Export secondary menu.

This is where it gets a bit tricky. For whatever reason, Trello doesn’t offer a Save As dialog. Instead, the JSON will simply appear in the browser window, replacing your Trello board. What you’ll then see is nothing more than a lengthy page of unformatted JSON.

To fix this, right-click anywhere in the window and select Save As. Trello will give the file a random name and the file extension .json. You can either accept the random name or give it a more meaningful one. Save that file in a memorable and safe location.

One thing to keep in mind is that the JSON file is not encrypted, so if you have any sensitive information in the board you’ve exported, you’ll want to either encrypt the file with a third-party tool or save it to a USB drive and lock it up in a safe. Either way, if that JSON file contains business-sensitive information, keep it from prying eyes. At this point it’s just a regular file, so anyone can read it.


That’s all there is to exporting a Trello board to a JSON file. Remember: If you have a paid Trello account, you’re better off exporting to CSV, because that’s the only file format from which Trello allows you to import. Nearly all project management sites can work with CSV, so that feature alone might be worth upgrading to a paid account.

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