Send email to add items to Dynalist


#1

(Moved from Trello; you can vote for this feature and see past discussion at https://trello.com/c/vslYn5gN/19-possibly-pro-send-email-to-dynalist-to-add-items)

General description: this feature allows you to send (or often forward) an email to an email address generated by Dynalist, and the content of the email will be transferred to Dynalist.

We’re not huge users of this feature ourselves, so we have to ask for help from someone who needs it more! We’d greatly appreciate it if you can tell us your thoughts about any of these points:

  • Is one document enough? Or should every document has its own email address? The advantages of being able to send to multiple documents is obvious, but if everyone can have only one email address, this can help making the email address a bit more friendly.
  • How friendly does the email address need to be? Most mail clients allow you to add a name for an email address, and you’ll be able to search for that name.
  • Should the new item be automatically added to the very end, or the beginning, or it’s up to you to choose?
  • Should you be able to email things under an item instead a document too? (e.g. to “Todo” under the “GTD” document. If the 1st level items in a document are all categories like “Todo”, “Done”, “Someday”, it doesn’t really make sense to add new items here.)
  • How should the content of the email be transferred to the newly created item? A straightforward way is to put the subject as the item title, and the body of the email into the note. Are we missing something important like sender email address or time?

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#2

This idea has been helpful with other “todo” products, but from a roadmap perspective it starts to get boggy when you have to consider all of the integration work you need to do to have this capability in multiple OSs, platforms, etc.

I’d be happy if I could ask Siri (or whatever Google calls theirs) to add a task via dictation. Prolly separate feature request for this.


#3

Hmm I’m not sure about the “multiple OSs and platforms” part. I think all we have to do is to receive emails at a certain email address (e.g. daniel_paner123456@dynalist.io) and add what you send us as list item. The feature should work independent of what OS or platform you use.

Am I missing something here?

Yeah, that would be either a separate feature or a feature for the iOS app. Would appreciate it if you can open a separate post for that. Thanks! :slight_smile:


#4

Hi, Workflowy user here. Recently discovered Dynalist and considering making the change. For me, this is one of the most important features (which is why this is my first post). Workflowy doesn’t have it either, but they add features very slowly so maybe I can have more hope here.

The reason I use apps like Workflowy or this is because there are a LOT of things I like to write down and remember! And I am scatter-brained, so it is not worth my time to go around moving to different lists all the time. My solution is to have a single “inbox” list, where items can be sorted later and important items stand out with tags.

A feature like this is extremely useful, because it means I don’t always have to have my inbox open and taking up space on my screen. Rather, I can make a quick automation (I use Alfred) to add items from anywhere. I used to do this with Remember The Milk, with a keyword “rem”. So no matter what I am doing, I just press my Alfred hotkey, type in “rem get a haircut #todo”, hit enter, and done. Alfred takes the text after “rem” and sends an email to my RTM email. Worked perfectly with RTM, and I miss it in Workflowy.


#5

So you’d set up Alfred to send an email when you use some shortcut, did I understand that right?


#6

I swear I would pay for the development of this by myself to get this implemented quicker. Dynalist’s ability to organize information as well as the ability to email in (and store) information would make it a full Evernote replacement. As a pro member, I’m already a little bothered that the only way I can upload content is through my computer WITH A MOUSE (drag&drop, unless I’m missing the keyboard shortcut). Being able to email content in would change all that.


#7

Alfred is a program that lets you assign a global hotkey to type commands from anywhere to do whatever you want. Kind of like spotlight (if you are a Mac-user) but it can do anything. One thing it can do is run an applescript and take your command as input. I have an applescript set up that emails my command to a set address. All I would have to do is switch it from the RTM address to the Dynamist address.


#8

For me, a “nice to have” but not urgent, probably due to the way I work with Dynalist.

i have dynalist open in a Chrome windowed shortcut all day, every day. It’s mapped to a key (via AutoHotkey) so I can call it up whenever I need it.

On my phone I have the Dynalist app.

Between these 2 it’s rare that I need to get something into DL and can’t do it.


Features for programming, scripting, and automating Dynalist
#9

I’m actually going to post a second reason here for why I think this is essential:

I use google Inbox to check emails. One of the drawbacks of Inbox is that it doesn’t have a specific URL for each email. Setting up reminders to email people back is always annoying for this reason, since there is no way to link to a specific email but rather I have to refer to it, such as “email John back”.

If I could just forward the emails to Dynalist, this would make things so much easier.


#10

Well yes & no… Emailing it to Dynalist you still don’t have a specific URL for the email, so to find it back you still have to search.

Btw, in Inbox you can also use the Snooze function to bring it back at a certain time. You can even Pin first, so you can add a Remember To note, then snooze.


#11

That’s true ruud, its not a perfect solution. And the snooze and pin functions are great, but not when I want to it specifically to be in my Dynalist list.

Even though there is no URL, I could just copy a unique segment of the forwarded email and search for it in Inbox.

Also, I thought of yet another unique use for emailing. If you are a programmer, sometimes you like to create programs or scripts that write to files. For example, a debug log. But there are lots of other cases too. I am just a beginner programmer, but I find I do this a lot. If I could email straight to Dynalist, there would definitely be some cases where I want to log stuff to Dynalist rather than writing to a text file.

And another idea came as I was writing this. We could also just auto forward all of our sent and recieved emails to Dynalist. It could literraly become a second email invox, and that would be awesome.

Some of my ideas would definitely work better if we could email to specific Dynalist items of course.

Adding the email item feature would just make Dynalist so powerful, its exciting to think about.


#12

Is one document enough? … I’d prefer to have the email received added as a sub item rather than a document. For instance, I’d add it to my item labeled ‘Inbox’. For this scenario, one item is enough.
How friendly does the email address need to be? … It can be anything, but shouldn’t be tied to some internal ID so that if we need to generate a new email address in the future we can (for instance if our address book is hacked).
Should the new item be automatically added to the very end, or the beginning, or it’s up to you to choose? … I’d prefer the end, but it should probably be optional.
Should you be able to email things under an item instead a document too? … Yes, under an item rather than to a document.
How should the content of the email be transferred to the newly created item? A straightforward way is to put the subject as the item title, and the body of the email into the note. … Agreed, adding an email is just a way to get things into Dynalist, we’ll still need to massage the new entry (add colors, add tags, change to checkbox, move to the correct spot, etc). Having the subject become the title and the body become the note is a good.


#13

Yeah, that’s what we meant, which should be better phrased as “is one destination enough?”.

Do you mind explain a bit more on this? What do you mean by “internal ID”? You mean you might want to revoke the email address and use a new one?

Yeah, sorry, that’s a little out-of-date too. As in the move item feature, it will default to the end with an option to send to the beginning.


Thanks for all the answers, confirmed some of our guesses. Invaluable!


#14

“is one destination enough?”. It is for me!
Do you mind explain a bit more on this? What do you mean by “internal ID”? You mean you might want to revoke the email address and use a new one? While my phrasing wasn’t the best, your questions focused on exactly what I was trying to get across so poorly. Yes, I’d like to be able to revoke the email address and use a new one at a later date.


#15

•Is one document enough? Or should every document has its own email address? The advantages of being able to send to multiple documents is obvious, but if everyone can have only one email address, this can help making the email address a bit more friendly.

Generally I usually don’t need a large email chain, having the original email is usually sufficient enough to meet my needs.

•How friendly does the email address need to be? Most mail clients allow you to add a name for an email address, and you’ll be able to search for that name.

It would be nice to have a friendly email address, but its not a deal killer for me if it has a lot of different letters and numbers on it.

•Should the new item be automatically added to the very end, or the beginning, or it’s up to you to choose?

I think it would be nice to designate the document where you want emails to go.

Should you be able to email things under an item instead a document too? (e.g. to “Todo” under the “GTD” document. If the 1st level items in a document are all categories like “Todo”, “Done”, “Someday”, it doesn’t really make sense to add new items here.)

I guess, it its possible, that would also be nice to have that feature.

•How should the content of the email be transferred to the newly created item? A straightforward way is to put the subject as the item title, and the body of the email into the note. Are we missing something important like sender email address or time?

Just the way you describe it sounds fine to me. I hope that my feedback is helpful to you.

Thank you,

Cynthia


#16

Hi @Cynthia, really appreciated the feedback! Thanks :slight_smile:


#17

I’ve seen two different ways to handle the “integrate emails” feature:

  1. Send an email to add items (which this thread is talking about, that Evernote also does)
  2. Click a button to auto-add the email’s hyperlink to a list (which Todoist, Anydo, etc do)

I prefer the second option, even though it has some potential issues. Many of the emails that I turn into tasks are long threads, and I definitely don’t want all that content pasted over. Especially since the content is more easily readable in the original gmail. So in Todoist (and other apps like that), reading an email and seemlessly clicking a button to “add to todoist as a task” is the cleanest method I’ve seen.

Problems can arise if you are logged in with multiple accounts, occasionally if you use non-gmail accounts, etc. But Todoist rose to be the largest todo app, at least in terms of combined usage in android/apple/windows/web, probably partially due to this feature.

My current method to add emails to Dynalist: just manually copy the email’s hyperlink over. It’s not that bad, although an automated method would be cool.


#18

I found this article, which says the body of the email will be added as a comment, rather than a link to the original email.

Is their help page out of date?


#19

Oh yeah – so you can actually do both (send email body like the link you listed, or “click to add” the email link).

My hunch is that more people the latter option, at least that’s the feeling I got when browsing the Todoist help forum.

The latter option involves either a gmail plugin or a chrome extension. The plugin is here:

https://blog.todoist.com/2013/11/05/new-todoist-plugin-for-gmail-to-help-conquer-your-inbox/


#20

I would really like this feature - I desperately need some way of rapidly getting stuff into dynalist on mobile - email is a nice choice as there are already many third party apps which provide e.g. templates, notification shortcuts etc so you don’t have to develop that stuff yourself - Personally I would really like it to be able to send to a list, not just to a document - I think many people will be emailing to some kind of ‘inbox’ list and for many (myself included) this will not be a standalone document but a list within a document. Multiple sending locations would be nice if possible (I do a lot of life logging and would save my time to send this stuff directly to that list rather than clogging up my inbox)

Edit: subject to bullet, content to note seems perfect to me - some way to trigger bullet colour would be nice, bit I know this would be more tricky

Further edit: top or bottom of list really needs to be an in app option in my opinion