[4] ✪ General Tips and Tricks

This is just a list of things I found as I went and organized my dynalist notes:

Order priority during searches

Searches populate from top to bottom in your notes. Meaning, if your parent bulletpoint nodes sit near the top, they will appear farther up the search when you look up tags. E.G. (my TAGS & SHORCUTS come before my “YEAR2017 daily log notes”

Consider using chromium

I use chromium, (an open-source google official chrome -ish clone) , specifically for dynalist.io. So my taskbar is less cluttered. I run 3 monitors at work ,2 traditional large 27" ish monitors and one small 13" monitor (where I put my notes at)

Seperating out dynalist.io into its own taskbar via chromium makes things simpler

I enable that screen with “F11” fullscreen as well, so its open all day

3rd party programs - Windows Applications Additions

I use a program called ShareX (all of my images and gifs I made were from there). The program is downloadable here: https://getsharex.com/

You can read up my guide manual here


I also use phraseexpress/AutoHotKey. You can download this here:

I used this guys sample template to get started https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb1EEySUtg8


I use chromium as well, so I essentially have 2 user profiles for chrome, making managing things easier

3rd party programs - Windows Applications - Other notetaking apps

When I port in a file into dynalist.io, i use OneNotes WIN+S key to port it into there. The app is currently free for this plugin

I also use onenote, as a text dump location, because it simply is the best app for file hierarchy management (think of how you’d manage many word docs). I hardly ever look at onenote besides deprecated notes, specialty print options, etc

Evernote I currently use for journaling only now and deprecated notes, and business cards and some email forwarding, but otherwise I only send them to it and hardly ever look at it

3rd party programs - Chrome apps

Consider digging through chrome search for “productivity plugins” and things on the internet like “50 must-have chrome plugins” etc, for ideas. Producthunt.com is also a decent source for new ycombinator types of plugins

My favorite lists are the following:

CLIPBOARD HISTORY 2 - Normally , whenever I am writing something on a thread like this, and need to save edits right away, i press CTRL+A and CTRL+C and instantly save things. When you move around files in dynalist.io (cut+paste), having this can be a lifesaver if you screw something up

IMAGUS - I use this to preview image and gif links in my dynalist

IMGUR EXTENSION BY METRONOMIK - I have all my image and gif links saved locally, with historical logs translating which local file is applied to which imgur URL. For a second redundant method, I also download all my image assets straight through imgur.com, for unique filenames. I would have to expand on this down the road, there’s a lot of privacy concerns / security practices you need to be aware of

TABSNOOZE - I use this app, to control a website reminder to myself. E.G. when I forget to pay my bills,it automatically populates my banks website every month (I also check the digital signature too).

uBlockOrigin - For blocking ads and spam

The Great Suspender - One of the best ways to combat RAM usage from chrome

The list goes on, but those are just some examples

Have as few nested bulletpoints as possible unless you really need it

Ideally, you should have as few nested bulletpoints as possible. It becomes incredibly difficult to keep track of what notes you have, if they are always hidden and you cannot easily find them.

The best example of this principle is in ecommerce, and the general consumer behavior of shopping online

When you go shopping on ecommerce sites online, ideally you want to be able to navigate in as few places as possible to find your item. You don’t want to navigate several layers of nested structures, like say you want to find T-shirts that are medium and blue color

Minimize the number of inboxes you have

I currently have the following inboxes

  • Daily Journal
  • Course Notes
  • Project Notes

Picking the right theme and CSS


I use the following for readability:

"ll#" does this -------------------------------------------------------------------------  (gives my eyes whitespace relief)
">>" does this →   (used very often to show steps)
"<<" does this ← (barely use)
"^^" does this ↑ (when i reference a framework above)
"&&" does this ↓ (its right next to the up buttons) , I use this to explain what the nested bulletpoints are below (e.g. **↓dp↓** means deprecated items inside bulletpoint, **↓old↓** means old revisions, **↓why↓** explains the reasoning behind that bulletpoint) . This way, I don't need to drill down and see what the nested bulletpoint is
"pin#" creates a 📌 I use this to indicate when I specifically use pinboard.in
"lt#" creates a lightning bolt ⚡ I use this as a wildcard title tag
"st#" creates a star ✪, I use this for delimiting many steps in one bulletpoint

Great post, love the Chromium hack, and I have to say you’re very driven @Vincent_Tang!


Took me a while to read this, follow some of the links, etc. I read your post during my 5 minute Pomodoro breaks :slight_smile: I suspect you use the same technique or a similar timeboxing approach.

  • uBlock Origin: hearing good things about it. Basically supersedes Adblock + Ghostery then, right?
  • screens: I went from big rig w multiple screens to laptop with multiple screens, finally just laptop with its native screen. Stranger yet: have gone from 15" screen to 13~14" screen (XPS 13).
  • Dynalist: mapped to the windows “menu” key
  • Clipboard history: why an extension instead of a program?
  • Notetaking: although I have a phone with Google Keep and Dynalist, I still carry my notetaker wallet. 10+ years old and still going strong :slight_smile:
  • Shared hosting: also, a local server to quickly try stuff out. MicroApache, QuickPHP Server. Something lite.

Talking about lite: portable apps. Love them. I like portableapps.com although I usually don’t run their menu.
I also run a virtual machine, a virtual computer, with Windows (free from Microsoft) where I install software, then move the program folder to my physical computer and check if it runs. If it does, no need to run the setup: sort of “portable” software. Lot lighter on your OS over time.

adblock as of recently (last year or two) is actually being paid off by large corporations to selectively target some ads to you, whoever bids the highest price

uBlock origin doesn’t do this.

Also, I had ghostery but I really only looked at it to see what websites were tracking me on (doubleclick.net), mostly so I could know all the big data tracking companies out there of out pure curiosity

both ublock origin and ghostery do similar things, I don’t 100% know the differences though, but ublock has a focus on blocking ads

I actually use 16" monitors alot, there really portable

I actually run both a program, and an extension (actually I run 2 programs and an extension, since phraseexpress is also a clipboard manager - but I don’t use that)

The extension on chrome has a short-lived cache, it comes it really handy when I want to see my last 10-20 pastes. Subsequently I also never copypaste passwords because of these apps/extensions

I use ditto clipboard manager, because of the way ShareX works. Sometimes, I have a certain profile setup, and my program will copy certain things in the clipboard in sequence (E.g., it copies filepath name, then the image, then the URL on imgur). I usually just press a hotkey to specify which one I want. So I never have to worry about what different saveas/dialog prompts anymore, with any program, on any server, and hardly ever navigate to find an image I want to upload from my desktop right away.

I’m still working on my blogsite / wordpress site, but I’m really behind on it. Actually, I have several blog sites as testing grounds only to find what I really wanted was something like dynalist.io / workflowy. I am still compiling all that information into my notes / SOP

Its not that high of a priority since I still have a huge log of stuff from TODOIST / other inboxes that need to be done / logged into dynalist.io . Also, subsequently since I log everything I do relevant to work, I can simply write a blog post on my wordpress site on every sunday when I compile my notes anyhow

Am working on youtube tutorials stuff as well, but I have some serious concerns about privacy issues about showing my workflows/ notes so that’s on the backburner as well

I personally use ninite.com instead. Its similar, but its just a oneclick installer. It has the vast majority of apps I like to use (filezilla, putty, greenshot, shareX, thunderbird, etc). Whenever I install my new computer I just go through that

I thought about using a virtual computer with windows, but I simply am too lazy to even set it up. I looked into vagrant, docker, etc for a controlled dev environment (installing packages, etc) but I decided to just be lazy about it and use 3rd party solutions (pythonanywhere, cloud9 IDE) . That, and sometimes I just stick with sublime text editor, a git workflow, and command prompt

Same thing with servers. I am simply too lazy to set up anything besides WAMP just purely for a dev PHP environment. I think once I outgrow the simpler solutions I go onto something more complex

Also, I would really like to setup a plex media server (movies, files, images, videos - e.g. like my own personal netflix) but I don’t have the hardware / money / time / resources for it at the moment

I looked into the portableapps, but I only use maybe 5-6 of those apps (e.g. WinDirStrat , 7zip, Sumatra) and there all on ninite.com anyhow

Portableapps: it is no so much the platform I’m after as the idea. I run as much software on my computer as single exe as I can.

OneNote: I like ON as an app and have used it for a while. But I like to keep my toolkit lean. What’s your use case for evernote vs onenote vs dynalist vs a text editor?

Yeah I looked at portableapps.com and went “nope I don’t even use 5% of these apps, not going bother”

But I like the idea of having an exe thumbdrive for things like that

Personally, I use Hirens Boot CD, it comes preloaded with a lot of diagnosis software for windows http://www.hirensbootcd.org/ . Its actually come in handy when I had to fire up a linux distro, or fix some memory issues, and couldn’t turn on my PC. All those portableapps seemed geared for that type of application

Personally, I no longer use onenote or evernote really, besides old notes that I don’t feel like porting over, since there’s no RoI.

Onenote’s WIN+S screenshot function is easily one of the best things out there. Its similar to the built in “snipping tool” on windows computers, but its super handy when I want to screenshot something into mspaint, some photo editing tool, ShareX, etc

Onenote is also my favorite tool, when I write a blog post, but want to at the same time backup everything I do afterwards. So what I do is write my blogposts on dynalist.io forums ( or anywhere for that matter) and literally SELECT ALL + COPY + PASTE right into onenote.

What I currently use onenote for

Onenote i just use for the screenshot function, some older deprecated notes, quick print memos (“OUT OF OFFICE 9AM to 5PM , example”), as a poor mans / quick & dirty 2D diagramming tool, very large “visio-like” diagrams, to create some quick shapes and text for my shareX, and notes from “live chats” with tech support. Don’t use it for anything else.

Example, using onenote + shareX at the same time (20 second gif diagram making process - I could have cut it down to 10 seconds had I used Autohotkey / onetastic macros enabled, but I rarely do this so it didn’t make sense for me to have it. see thread for more info)

What I current use evernote for

Using a combination of unicode / ASCII Codes, I use it to quickly find things in my messy pile of evernote notes

I currently, use evernote webclipper, still following, michael hyatts method (Cabinet, and Inbox) but added a few extra folders , see below: (one as a backup to a forum blog post, one for journaling when I need to vent out my frustrations, another for inbox, and another for sorted out documents)


The scrolling capture of SnagIt does capture the whole page and its replies.

To save as text you might try SingleFile, a Chrome extension.

Does snagit accurately capture the information though (you actually tried it on this page)? I know for shareX the scrolling captures are pretty bad. And some other things like “awesome fullpage screenshot” chrome addon or whatever its called timesout if its too long last time I used it

Single file, I tried, Idk what im doing but its not giving me anything

I’ll try snagit again sometime

Yup, SnagIt captured the whole page. Besides vertical scrolling the current version also has horizontal scrolling. Tremendously useful program.

Get familiar with SingleFile on another page:

  • Navigate to a page
  • Click SingleFile icon
  • A bar appears at the top of the page with a “click to save”
  • Click it. If nothing happens, click icon again and this time right-click the Click To Save
  • A large HTML file is saved. It contains all HTML, images base64 encoded inside the document

Also confirmed to be working on this page. I use SingleFile with some regularity if I absolutely must have a copy of a page.

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wow i tried singlefile again, THIS IS PERFECT! thanks so much. I can just click one button to backup everything now

I always had issues with loss of formatting when backing things up (leading to having a harder time interpreting backup notes), now I can just load the html locally on my browser :slight_smile:

The file came out to a whopping 27 mB though (for this whole page), but its not that big of a deal
. Also I could print them out too, asides the fact the gifs aren’t moving, but still really neat

also this is nice, because now I can capture an entire screenshot of what my layouts look like while i modified them. NormallyI just took screenshots and had duplicated data in areas too

SingeFile saves the HTML and, if you enable it, some JavaScript as well.

The images are saved INSIDE the document. This trick is performed by taking the image and encoding it into a super long string of characters: base64 encoding. You can try this out for yourself: https://varvy.com/tools/base64/

This is what makes these files so large sometimes :slight_smile:

You can verify/test what/how SingleFile saves a page by saving a copy, then disconnecting from the internet and loading the saved page.

Yes, you can save the embedded images: they behave the same way regular images do.

If you want to save a page including assests, and would want animated GIFs to stay animated, a better option is to save the page the normal way with your browser, opting for Save Complete Page.
If you prefer the 1 file format you can also save as MHTML. Chrome can show these as well but to save as MHTML you need a plugin like save as HTML

An MHTML file is essentially a ZIP file. It contains the HTML page and all the files linked in it.

Archive.org works the same way Google does: it crawls a website and saves a local copy of the page, uncompressed.

Scrapbook for Firefox is a similar extension but with a bit of database/search-like functionality added.

The Tagspaces Chrome extension does MHTML saving. It’s a companion for Tagspaces but works without it too.

Besides saving text of pages to Evernote or grabbing content otherwise (like with wget), SingleFile is the tool for me to capture a page as close to as it is.

Happy you like it!

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I just look at the URL of chrome, it shows up as a local address on my PC, no need to disconnect from internet :slight_smile:

ah okay, so if I save a MHTML file, there’s no encoding, and I can just unzip the file and would get image assets + HTML file?

what’s the advantages and disadvantages of this vs SingleFile? Save complete page… its only 231 kb vs 27,000 kb with singlefile

both show animated gifs… unless save complete page is not saving the image assets, and only the links to it?

I will turn off my internet to check on this


I don’t see how chromes “Save complete page” is only 231 kb… when I have an image asset gif on the page that’s 250kb

Is chrome simply just referencing my "appdata\local" folder then for image assets? So its not a full complete backup, because if I sent that HTML file (the 231 kb) to another PC, my assumption is all the image links would be broken

No; think of it more as a different way of storing information so it becomes portable. Just imagine: you can take that whole string and save it in notepad.

Yes. When you save a Complete page in Chrome or IE or Edge, you get 1 HTML file + 1 folder which contains all the assets. Saving as MHTML just adds those 2 inside a zip file.

Used to be that MHTML was an Internet Explorer thing only. Now it’s supported pretty much everywhere so the difference isn’t that big.
I like the portability of SingleFile. It’s just a regular HTML file with images inside it instead of external. That means that any browser can work with it at any time.

E.g.: a saved SingleFile can be searched by anything while some tools don’t search inside an MHTML document.

Where does that other folder reside for the image assets? (via Save As Page for chrome)

Also, if you saved MHTML, since it zips up the file with image assets inside, would the HTML file be exactly the same for the HTML zip vs. the “Save As page” HTML from chrome?

They would be referencing the same images, but in different locations right?

In the same location as where you save the file:

Note that the file and the folder are linked: if you delete one, Windows will delete the other as well.

Essentially, yes.

Knowing a bit about your workflow and data ownership desires, I definitely recommend using SingleFile.

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okay thanks ruud :slight_smile:

Also, I think I might use this to do offline viewing of notes on my android phone, when I might not have reliable internet.

i don’t know i missed that other folder when i saved page to desktop

Wow, you are a fountain of information and advice here :slight_smile:

Curious - what is your work actually? Besides technical stuff, you seem to know a lot about visual design etc. also.

I hadn’t heard of ShareX before. But if someone can do with less advanced/detailed editing & annotation features then I recommend taking a look at Screenpresso, which I found a couple of weeks ago and am currently trying out.

If you use the screenshots mainly for documentation or for guidance, the “user manual generator” is a neat feature. Basically, the system makes it easy to preserve screenshots and not only edit and annotate them - but also keep a list of “bullet points” in text stored with them.
All of this can apparently be merged into documents as well (though I haven’t tried that yet).
This should make it easy to make AND UPDATE various user guides, SOPs etc…

I work in retail / fabrication / architecture, but I am learning webdevelopment on the side and have lots of hobby projects (that I sadly haven’t gotten around to yet finishing). I went to school originally for an engineering major I currently don’t use, but have decided to pour all my professional development into computer science instead. I’ve been really behind on my work, but starting today, my system is practically setup now, I just need to rebuild my habits and get used to it

Screenpresso has some functions that shareX doesn’t have, so I might check it out as a go-inbetween (the magnifier tool here. I was actually looking for something to do this, so I might check it out

I might check this out, unfortunately this is one big downside of shareX (which is why I keep text boxes short).

also sharex is free too, but cost is really a nonfactor though.

The issue is not being able to control where the images are stored though. It doesn’t look like screenpresso supports gifs only mp4. The vast majority of time I need gifs though

I have only used screenshots so far (my main need) but I read somewhere that recorded videos can be saved as GIF.
About storage, the share option can send it to the common cloud drives if you don’t want to keep it locally. (I just changed the local storage folder itself to be in my synced cloud folder).

Anyway, you probably have more requirements than me, but so far it seems like an easy tool that covers all the main bases for me without hassle.