Our Basecamp Primer


Our Basecamp Primer


Basecamp is a project management and collaboration tool that allows all project information to be stored in a single location. Basecamp allows all members of the project, regardless of location, to stay completely connected to the project. 

This post is meant to serve as a basic primer for our clients (or others interested) on how to use the system.  Basecamp offers a significantly longer walk-through if you have some time at http://basecamp.com/one-page-project.  

Types of Content Within Basecamp

All content is broken down into the following types:


Basecamp’s discussions are the best way to stay on topic, hash out details and make a decision. Discussions are similar to an email thread and can be responded to by using your email to just reply. Discussions work best if the content stays as close to the original subject as possible. If you need to discuss a different topic, please start a new Discussion.


To-dos are the required tasks to complete the project. These will be categorized into separate To-do lists based on the project requirements. Tasks can be assigned to team members and given a due date. You can comment and discuss both To-dos and the To-do lists either by replying to an email or within the web interface.


Any file required for the project should be stored within Basecamp. Files can be dropped in the project via the website or will be automatically included when attached to any email. Files cannot be commented on directly, but the To-do, Discussion or Forwarded Email associated with the File will allow comments.

Forwarded Emails

Using your personalized project specific email address (see Email Interaction below), you can: – Forward existing or other relevant emails into the system. This method maintains any formatting in the email. – BCC any email that you feel should be included in the project. – Send an email that requires formatting beyond what is allowed within Discussions. Forwarded Emails can be commented upon by replying to the email notification or within the web interface.


Dates are the calendar items within Basecamp. The Calendar will display To-dos with Due Dates and allow you to enter any Event associated with the project. This can be used for deadlines, milestones or any date associated with the project.

Text Documents

Text Documents are usually used to create, share and edit website content, but any note or content that you’d like included in the project can be entered here.

Email Interaction

You can interact with Basecamp via the website or simply through email. When you receive an email from someone on the team, you can reply to that email and the message will be immediately placed within the Basecamp Discussion or comment thread for To-dos, To-do lists or Forwarded Emails.

Note: The only messages that you cannot reply to are the Daily Recap emails. These are for information only.

Direct Email

You can add content via email by using your project specific email address. These email addresses are personalized for each individual, get yours by:

  • Go into your project.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Email content to this project… link.
  • Save the email address displayed.

If you will be regularly submitting content by email, it is recommended to add this email to your email contacts.

To send an email that required formatting (colors, images, font changes, etc), simple send the email to your project specific email address.

To start a Discussion, send a text-only email with the subject as Discussion: Subject of Discussion. Just remember to start your subject with Discussion: Replies to any existing email or message do not require the project specific email address.

What About You?

If you have any recommendations or additions to how to use Basecamp, let us know.  I don’t mind updating this doc!

More About the Author

Dalton Parsons

Global Director of Strategic Communications
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