Collapsed state of shared documents


This post raised a controversy over how should a visitor see your publicly shared documents: collapsed or expanded?

You can see the argument for both sides in that post. Alternative solutions were also suggested. Namely, use the collapsed state at the moment of sharing, or give owner the option to share it as collapsed or expanded (what should be the default is also a debate).

What do you think?

  • They should see everything as collapsed
  • They should see everything as expanded
  • They should see everything like how I see it when I shared it (regarding collapsed state)
  • I should be able to choose between collapsed and expanded (default is collapsed)
  • I should be able to choose between collapsed and expanded (default is expanded)

0 voters

Can I share a Dynalist document with initial "Collapsed" state?
Start State of Shared Lists
How to automatically expand shared notes?
How to automatically expand shared notes?

For my purposes, any option other than “everything as expanded” is okay. At the very least, I just want the option of sharing documents collapsed. I also know others want the option of sharing documents expanded. So I would say avoid the options “everything as expanded” and “everything as collapsed.”


Hi @Erica, thanks for taking this into consideration! :+1: :raised_hands:
I’m with @David_Rhoades: “everything as expanded” and “everything as collapsed” should be avoided since both use cases exist as seen in previous post (although workarounds exist for both too).
So if you’re planning a change, I would suggest either giving a choice to “collapse all” / “expand all” when sharing or give a “current snapshot of collapsed state”, which offers the best granularity for everyone (meaning you can still collapse all, expand all, or do something in between if you feel like so).
However, the latter make me wonder how future added items will be displayed after the initial sharing? eg in the case of a first-rank item with sub-items: will they be collapsed? Expanded? :thinking:
Thanks again :grinning:


Initial share should show the way the sharer has set things up. This can really help present the information the way needed.

From the moment the sharee accepts, the states should be uncoupled.


Why not from the moment the sharer shares? That way the sharer has more control over the collapsed states.


Yeah, good point. In any case we need to default, expanded or collapse, lol.

Or we could have an option to “update collapsed states”, but my fear is that it would confuse some users.


I think we mean the same thing. See how WorkFlowy does it: you prepare how you want the outline to appear when you share it – once shared, you and the person you share with both can do their own thing without it influencing what one or the other sees.


Minor wording differences, I see. Technically there’s a time gap between when the owner shares the document and when the collaborator accepts the invite, so things could change during that time. For now we can assume it’s when the owner shares it.


@Erica, maybe something along those lines?

Regarding the option to “update collapsed states”, does that mean we would ‘push’ updates to the shared view? If so, what would happen in the mean time with the items we will add:

  • Do they still appear (either collapsed or expanded)?
  • Do they not appear until we push the update?
    In which case we could add a third option in the above image: “Expanded” or “Collapsed” or “When I push updates” (and have somewhere a button or menu option to push these)

Also, what would happen to what is already shared: would it update too with its possibly new current collapsed state? lol

Dynalist is still a beautifully minimal-looking software :ok_hand: and this might add too much complexity for the benefice (meaning that in the (rare?) case that you make changes to your (yet tailored-shared) document that are too important to be automatically all collapsed or expanded, you could still reshare the whole document).

I believe the ability to “share the document as it looks at the moment of sharing” covers most use cases: the ones who want it all collapsed (yay), the ones who want it all expanded, and those in-between. This would already be quite an improvement on the current functionnality!


Only push updates regarding collapsed states. Content will always be synced to the viewer, just not in the same collapsed state until you re-sync. I hope that makes it clearer.

Yeah, very much agreed. So adding the text in cyan would be confusing to people who don’t concern themselves with this issue.

We’ll think about this and see how we can only make this option available without confusing people. Thanks for taking the time to make the mock-up and write the reply! :star:


I really want to share to people with “Initial Collapsed” state, cause I want to share a very large one, just like this:

I suggest you make the cognitive burden on Sharer, one solution might be URL string like: collapsed=Y

If this “collapsed state specification” can fix the problem, I don’t mind typing the URL string by myself, but I guess you won’t let me type it, either :smile:


Definitely, we’ll consider it.

Do you mind opening a separate feature post for it? Since this poll post is about changing the default behavior, which is kinda different from what you want.

I’m curious to see how many people are interested :slight_smile:


I have started a new discussion, thanks for your suggestion. :slight_smile:



as a presenter,

  • they should by default see it as i see it (then i know how it looks to them)

as a user,

  • there should be basic options to change how it’s viewed, cos presenter can make bad decisions