2 reasons why I can not use any 3rd party paid/pro outliner app

  1. Buy App Outright:
    Although subscription model is trendy with devs these days, I would like to see an option to buy app outright.

  2. Collapse / Expand by hierarchy level:

I have studied probably three dozen outliner apps, and none of them do this.

The human mind is constantly zooming into and out of thoughts. Sometimes we only want to think about thoughts from a high level, sometimes we want to drill into a few thoughts at moderate detail at a given time, while sometimes, we want to drill right into one single thought and all its detail. But in ALL cases we want to always retain the ability to QUICKLY drill into and out of another thought. An outliner app should be able to do the same.

None of the roughly 30+ top outliner apps I have researched, have the ability to do this. Some don’t even have the basic expand / collapse all.

The only app that did do expand / collapsed all, to a given desired level of your choice, was the now defunked old version of Apple Pages, which contained an outline mode within. There are milllions of features an outliner app can have, but I require this Collapse / Expand by hierarchy level feature to justify using this or any other outliner app, even though so far, this is pretty close to my needs. So congrats on Dynalist for getting close, but not close enough for me to consider using it regularly.

The collapse/expand all feature currently offered in Dynalist, as far as I can see in my 24 hours of using Dynalist, is not a true collapse/expand feature, since you have to:

  • (a) first select a list before this function is available which takes time if you are constantly wanting collapse/expand in and out of lists and

  • (b) then it only collapses/expands on that list, not on the entire document.


  1. collapse/expand entire doc

  2. collapse/expand to a desired level only, example, only to level of your choice, let’s say level 3, the app would show blocks of text up to level 3, and no deeper

  3. A quick way to implement collapsing/expanding to a desired level of your choice. On desktop, best way this can be done is via shortcut key + mouse/trackpad scroll up/down. On Mobile, this can be done by familiar pinch in/out as per native iOS gesture.

The mindmap offered here is an interesting feature, and shows the codebase is potentially there to implement the feature expressed above. An improvement here could be to be able to interact more with the mind-map, to:

  • (a) break connections from one list hierarchy and join it into another list hierarchy (similar to a video compositing DaVince Resolve) and

  • (b) double click into the mindmap to add text to it © a quicker way to see/hide mindmap, maybe a shortcut.

If the above feature were implemented, I would be your biggest fan! and you’ll be the only outliner app with this feature.

Keep up the good work Dynalist.

I pay, in large part because I not only use this for work (and it is so great), but also to support the ongoing work that will make it better. One reason I switched from Workflowy to Dynalist is that while I was paying for Workflowy, they weren’t adding features that people were requesting - like calendar integration.