Adding Columns to Items


Given the way I use Dynalist (as a GTD system where each document is a context or a reference material) I would prefer to have tables as subsidiary objects not as a document view.

However the way Dynalist works, where every item can be zoomed in and even the top-level (the document title) is an item, I think if you wanted the entire document to be a table then you would be able to do that.


Hmm, agreed- it seems “un-dynalist” to have any item that can’t be zoomed in upon or made top-level. Even a cell in a table. But what would even happen if you tried to zoom in on a cell in a table? How could its hierarchy and “cellness” be represented in the breadcrumbs? Yikes.

Just like you can add a note or an image to an item, perhaps you could add a table. Might be simpler than trying to retrofit the outlining model.


That sounds like a great idea too!


That’s exactly what we’re struggling over!

Yeah, allowing inline tables is the easiest thing to do. But I guess that doesn’t give the benefits described here, like being able to sort by an attribute or filter by an attribute.


Well, if inline tables are treated as an object attached to but not descended from a bullet - like an image or note - could you carry over those benefits? Imagine a context menu for bullets with attached tables. Sorting by column names and perhaps even filtering might plug in there. Scale what you’ve got! :wink:


Dunno, sounds like edge cases to me. Maybe use Tampermonkey or Stylebot and just style bullets with a certain tag as a table.

It’s a bit like using Evernote and wondering why they don’t have an outliner view…


While I love Dynalist, this is a problem for certain types of data. recently I started using Notion S.O. for data like this, because you can easily drag and drop content and create columns like Trello. While you can nest items in in Notion, its nowhere near as fast or as intuitive as Dynalist when it comes to outlining or brainstorming, I still plan to use both going forward to be as productive as possible.


If you keep track of structured data I would recommend Airtable over Notion if you haven’t tried that one out :slight_smile:


As another potential avenue, are there any existing web based spreadsheet/table applications that could be embedded as an item or a separate document in Dynalist? One issue I see with that is that the data would probably not be searchable within the native Dynalist search function. But it could be a good stop gap until another solution is found.

Regarding an idea of using one of the Java script modifiers to create tables using markdown or what not, there are some Java scripts available (specifically for Workflowy and one for the iOS counterpart Handyflowy (and this one only in Japanese)), which I’m assuming could be repurposed for Dynalist, but they are very clunky and defeat the purpose a bit.

See links below:


I am personally fine with storing that kind of information (tables and other structured documents) on other platforms, with links.
I do not intend to try to force DL to be everything for me. I don’t believe I can achieve that with any tool without compromising/sacrificing in a lot of other ways.

(I tried at first with Evernote - storage, task management, place to write content etc. but it became way too clunky).

Though a lot of tools overlap today (just look how many non-numbers things spreadsheets are used for today), there will always be tools that are best for their specific jobs.
As long as they can link well, that’s the most important.

One thing that could be considered though, if a lot of users like to have stuff like tables, spreadsheets etc. inside their DL landscape is to make it easier to IMBED such things.
Ie. just set up your sheets, tables, graphs etc. in your other tools and imbed them in a bullet so you and view and manipulate them.


Our view is pretty similar to yours. Embed sounds like the best solution, but it might make the web load a lot slower, as each embed is basically a web page within a web page. It could hog tons of resources too.

For that reason, good old links is a great way for now, until we figure out how to properly embed things (most likely after WYISWYG).


maybe the table be displayed like a set thing with no zooming…
this could be awesome…
because many info exist in tables…and I cant transfer that info easily unto dynalist…

this is the last step for me to migrate completely from OneNote to here.

Please please consider this. even if its simple (say… only 2 or 3 columns max for each table) it could be very very useful in a great way.

In wiki you only need to separate them with a straight bar \ in the code and in the view form you see the table
so maybe it could be possible something like …
(bullet 1) $$$ Name $
(bullet 2) $ Lastname $$$(end of first row)
(bullet 3) $ John $
(bullet 4) $ Smith $
to see something like


Been checking out the new OmniOutliner (Pro) and I’m pretty impressed with how their outlines handle columns.

Maybe a similar approach is worth considering? What does everyone think?


beautiful but it seems to be very complex. maybe the authors couldnt have time to create such a project. I dont know :sweat_smile:
It could be great though. I would love it. :hearts:


It seems to me, similar to the MindMap, this would be a great candidate for alternative views of a document. @Erica I know you had mentioned in the past that one of your goals was alternative views for documents, like the mindmap. I can see a “table” view of a document being an option as well with Each main bullet on a document being a row, and each sub-bullet being the column for that row, all without the need for special mark-up syntax. Or alternatively each column (including header) being a main bullet with each item under it being a row’s cell.

Even the Card view of Trello or Airtable could be accomplished in the same way by applying ‘views’ to data. So the idea of View’s is still an exciting option to me. Now making them ‘customizable’ might be more difficult beyond having a few standard views like mind map etc. But I certainly hope you keep with that early idea you had mentioned in the past and take it beyond just mind maps :slight_smile:


Thanks for that, @butlermatt, especially about reminding us about our early vision.

I like the idea, it’s definitely more work if we set out to make the tables editable (writing an online Excel is no joke), but it solves most of the problem I’ve seen in other proposals. Markdown/WYSIWYG tables lacks structure from the Dynalist perspective, whereas adding columns like OmniOutliner seems to complicate the outline too much.

Thanks again!


This is a fun challenge to noodle on. Dynalist already gets so much of the basics right that @Erica can afford to take the time to think it through properly…

For me, I think the problem we’re trying to solve just visualizing structured data. Outlines (and Dynalist especially) are great for visualizing hierarchies, less so for attributes.

Just like adding a note to a bullet solving a layout problem (you could just type the note in-between parentheses, etc.) maybe adding a column to a bullet is worth exploring. And then new bullets are rows, not sub-bullets. I’d have to design the workflows to make sure I’m not missing something but I think it could work.


I just had another instance where a table would have been handy, but I had another twist on it.

I was trying to make a list of the light fixtures in my house, so when I get to Home Depot I’m not overwhelmed by the world-o-bulbs aisle!

I don’t really need a table. What I really want is a way to column align the parts of each bullet line (row). Like being able to put tabs into the string so things line up vertically.

I know I’ve complained about Dynalist’s non-standard Markdown implementation, and Tables or Tabs would be another deviation point. But there is a reference, both Markdown Here and GFM support them.

So I would suggest using the vertical bar, or a double vertical bar (if Dynalist insists), to indicate a tab that should be inserted when the line is formatted.


Similar to Table functionality


Yes, the Markdown extension would seem to be simplest.

  • A | B | C
  • 1 | 2 | 3

could make a 2x3 table.


This is definitely a feature which would warrant it’s own View rather than being an inline item. There’s just so much you could do with a table whilst keeping it Dynalist-speedy and not bulking it down.

When I look at some of the data I wish I could sort into a table like health supplements and travel reviews what I’m really looking at is how I can interact with the table, not just it being in a table format.

I don’t see a feature like defining a column field type (e.g. text, number, image, due date) working well with a small inline table - it needs a full page view to have some ways to interact with the data.