Does anyone actually use Enter to unindent?

So this behaviour has been around in Workflowy/Dynalist for as long as I can remember, but I’m finally questioning it:

Do you find it useful to have the enter key unindent empty items?

Personally, I _oo_often want to have blank lines (oops, I meant to say ‘items’…), and I would much rather have the behaviour off.

If the people do like the behaviour, maybe we can have a settings toggle?

  • Default to unindent. No setting toggle.
  • Default to unindent. Can change behaviour via setting toggle.
  • Default to inserting blank line. No setting toggle.
  • Default to inserting blank line. Can change behaviour via setting toggle.

0 voters


I do, because I’m used to it.

But I do understand the need for empty bullet points. That’d be nice for leaving placeholders for content to be pasted later. I guess a new shortcut would help?

I agree. I’ve been using this for ages and I’m still not used to itxD. I just enter a space in order to have a blank node.



I think just a settings toggle would be better. I’m pretty sure @IbrahimQasim and I wouldn’t miss the other behavior much; we can just Shift-Tab in the rare cases where we want the old behavior.

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Sorry for having overlooked that in the OP.

The only concern with that is having too many settings… having too many settings is overwhelming to the user, and slows down our development because we have to keep in mind and support all combinations of the settings. For example, the UI settings has 3 font sizes, 3 list density settings, plus 8 fonts… that’s 72 combinations. Not saying we’re perfectly supporting all combinations, but it does make the UI more prone to misalignment problems and such.

Workaround for now: zoom in on the parent and press Enter to create new lines. It won’t unindent, otherwise you’ll get zoomed out.

Does that work for now?


I’d actually advocate for changing the default behavior.

I think the difference between, say, hitting Enter, then Space, then Enter, then Space, then Enter, then Space, then Enter compared to just hitting Enter three times is more than, say, the difference between hitting Shift-Tab three times vs. hitting Enter three times.

Secondly, I think new users don’t have any expectation for Enter on an empty item to unindent, so they won’t miss anything, but they will find it very annoying and confusing if they’re trying to insert a blank line and this unindentation thing seems to keep happening.

If Dynalist is to be an ‘offline brain’ (as it is mine!), I think both the outliner mode of thinking and slightly more textual mode of thinking need to be kept in mind.

If we don’t change the default behavior, though, then I’d advocate for a setting. Hopefully this particular setting will be a simple behavior change and won’t add too that multiplicative complexity in testing?

The day has come when Dynalist says this :slight_smile:

More broadly than for just this topic, I’d say an ‘advanced’ section for Dynalist settings might make sense: You can just dump settings there à la Firefox’s about:config without overwhelming the kind of user who would be overwhelmed and while providing the advanced user all the settings s/he wants.

Yes, I do sometimes zoom into lists for precisely this reason. However, the parents of my terminal items usually only contain a handful of terminal items, so this doesn’t really work for me.

In the worst case scenario (for me, I guess), I’ll look at the Javascript and see if I can write a Greasemonkey script to disable this behavior, though that might get messy…

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I would also suggest changing the default behavior. I’m new to Dynalist and had been using Workflowy for a couple of years. I hadn’t noticed this behavior, previously, but it is very unintuitive to me, and probably is to any new user.


Please, don’t change the default behaviour. This is how any bullet point’s work in Word processors, etc. This is the behaviour I would expect and use daily.


Yep, I think that’s the only way out… we’re thinking of dumping some less commonly used settings to a hidden by default “Advanced” section so that the casual are not overwhelmed when they just want to change simple setting like the theme.

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Oh golly…


Welcome to the world of product design! :joy:


I personally use enter to unindent all the time and wouldn’t feel comfortable if the setting changed.


@Yatharth_Agarwal Should you put a poll in the OP, just for kicks?

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Didn’t know I could do that! Strange that Discourse has no GUI for it.


@Erica Was this implemented? I’m able to hit the enter key to insert new lines. I don’t believe that there’s a settings toggle for it, of course.

New lines are inserted if your cursor is on the top-most level of bullets.

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@JP1, yeah, I think that’s what happened.

I also mentioned it here:

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Ah, thanks for clarifying.

doh. ive been putting in dashes when i wanted to add a bit of space between items. spaces look much nicer so this is good to know.

having to press space + enter doesnt seem like too much hassle and is quick enough? maybe on mobile it might be more awkward

i also didnt know about using enter to un-indent. dynalist noob here!

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