Pasting Outlines from Google Docs / RTF

As I’m moving more of my work into Dynalist, I have a lot of documents that are in google docs already as nested outlines- mostly using H1/H2/H3 etc, and nested bullet lists, and some formatting, like bold, italtics, underline,and strikethrough

There are three issues I encounter when copy/pasting from a google doc into Dynalist:

  1. The heading formatting isn’t translated or replicated (i.e. It’s fine if the headings aren’t the same font or format, but there’s no translation from GDocs H1 to Dynalist H1)
  2. The Lists are all significantly flattened (so sub lists and nested lists are nearly completely lost)
  3. The bold/italtics RTF formatting is lost in translation
  4. A high number of duplicate blank lines are created for each bullet point item. (This is avoidable by taking the google doc, pasting into an RTF editor, then copying the stuff from the RTF editor into Dynalist- but the three above problems persist)

Better support for google docs copy/paste of outlines, headers, and formatting, would be really helpful :slight_smile:

Happy to create an example if I’m going crazy and doing something clearly wrong. Also happy to hear a workaround.


Pasting from OneNote, I also noticed this, and found a workaround. I often outlined by just indenting and those tabs don’t transfer over, but selecting that text in OneNote and clicking the Numbering or the Bulleting command would change the text to a hierarchical outline that would copy over.

No solution for the highlighting though.

Related to #4, I find this process exhibits a bug: Start at a Dynalist Item. Press Enter, then Tab. (Tab is so the coming items are under the previous item.) Then paste a few lines of text. Rather than use the empty bullet we just opened, Dynalist starts a second new bullet. And then I must go back to delete it.

In general, all the double-newlines in pasted text should probably be converted to single newlines. Think about pasting from webpages. In that context it’s often just <p></p><p>, but to mimic in Notepad, it would be #nl#nl, so the second nl should be suppressed.

Thanks for the suggestions, Alex! They totally make sense and would make Dynalist more friendly for any new user.

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Just to second this, #4 is one of the few issues stopping me from using Dynalist for so many other things. I have huge bullet-point lists in Google Docs that I can’t transfer over easily. It would be really nice if this were supported.

I’m glad though that @Alex_Bahouth mentioned a solution to this, and I will use that for the time being.

For people trying to do this in the future, what works for me for Google Docs is “File >> Download as… >> .rtf” and then open that file and copy/paste into Dynalist.

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@Erica Just tried copying over a bulleted list from a Google Doc to Dynalist and hit the issue with the blank lines. It makes it basically unusable to copy from Google Docs to Dynalist, which I think would be a common thing people do (especially when first moving over to Dynalist). Is there a plan to fix this?

As a temporary workaround I downloaded the Google Doc as a txt file, then find-and-replaced "* " with “” (star-space with empty string) and copied that over into Dynalist which maintained indentation while not having duplicate blank lines or delimiters.

The RTF suggestion from above did not work as expected when opening in MacOS TextEdit (default RTF editor on Mac) and copying over as it did not preserve indentation and included these white and black circles on the left of each item.

Ctrl+Shift+V (paste with formatting) seems to solve the empty lines issue.

I’ve tracked it on our bug list, thanks for catching it!

Ctrl+Shift+V does not preserve indentation. Regular paste preserves indentation, but it inserts the empty lines.

For some reason the indentation is only preserved if I copy the whole document (e.g. Ctrl+A) and then regular-paste. If I only copy part of the bulleted list and then regular-paste it does not preserve indentation…

It’s weird that only Ctrl+A works…

This is the tool we usually use to debug copy and paste issue, you can take a look if you’re curious:

There’s no standard for parsing messy html to opml, and to make things worse, websites export html in their ways…

I created a new bulleted list in a Google Doc and it’s not having that issue where it doesn’t preserve indentation when I regular-paste (still has spaces issue though). Probably not worth looking into that particular issue…would still be great if regular-paste didn’t include the blank lines though.

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Dynalist does not save the text format, and the formatting has to be changed, as in the case of Google’s templates. If Dynalist keeps the text type, you don’t have to edit the headings. Try pasting the ready formatting into This will help sub-lists where you paste the text from Dynalist H1. But if you edit the text in GDocs H1 ready-made position, it will not save your changes, and you will have to work directly on the clean slides to avoid losing all your changes. RTF formatting is also saved if the google document is dated before 2016. There is protection against changes.