Phrase Express Macro to navigate around very large opened-lists

I wrote this feature request I wanted about a month ago, about the need for a Table of Contents / special $variable tag to navigate large complex documents quickly for things like research proposals, large wikis, or bookwriting

I still have the same problem

I like to keep all of my project notes almost open all the time. Navigating through them is kind of a pain, since my primary list view is super long

I use the default CTRL+F chrome search instead of the built-in dynalist one to navigatee my document faster. However sometimes I don’t really remember what my folder names are off the top of my head, or am too lazy to figure it out

I have the hotkeys binded as much in settings:

So I use a macro with chromes CTRL+F to move around my document faster. There’s more than 1 method though, I will name them

Method 1: Using a folder list of items to macro

This is what the macro looks like:

This is what it does when you press CTRL+SHIFT+F or whatever hotkey you binded it too

It does the following based on chromes CTRL+F function:

  1. Highlights the word with orange background briefly. You can make this longer by setting a delay from the time the text is entered until “Enter” is pressed

  2. If the word is on the screen, screen doesn’t move

  3. If the word isn’t on screen, it sits slightly below halfway on the screen and navigates there

Also, based on the order of your phrases, you can press the numpad to activate these shortcuts too, instead of clicking on it like my example

Method 2: using autotext word

Alternatively, you can just bind autotext key to do this same thing as well. This might be better b/c it scales better overtime with more shortcut hotkeys

Like for my #excel folder , I would abbreviate it as an autotext shortcut as “exc#” which is fairly intuitive

Example setup:

In action:

You can see one of my hotkeys didn’t activate when I used 2 in succession, b/c I didn’t add a prefix “space key”

A lot of my hotkeys I have set “POSTFIX = NONE” , however a lot of keys I have an activation “PREFIX = any” or "PREFIX = CUSTOM (Enter or Tab or Space)

All of my hotkeys are activated with a “space hotkey” or an “enter” or a “space” before writing out hotkey

The reasoning behind why I have a prefix:

Basically, if I have the following hotkeys:


Notice they both end in “g#”. To prevent confusion of unintended macro activations for overlapping keys, I have made it a requirement that all macros are activated with

  • Space
  • Enter (New tab)
  • Tab (indent tab)

using PREFIX = CUSTOM for really short hotkeys like “g#”

or PREFIX = ANY for everything else

You can use both methods 1 and 2, find which one suits you more


Method 1: Use a folder. Bind the CTRL+F sequence for chrome searches to that folder list of terms

Method 2: Use a phrase per each CTRL+F sequence, with something like exc# for the #excel bulletpoint

The general macro expression is {#CTRL -chars f}#excel{#enter}{#esc}

This lets you navigate long opened folders lists quickly


I wrote this post yesterday but had not really tested the full extents of how I’d use it

I can say with a high degree of certainty this is how I will be using my notes in the future since it scales well with time

Currently I use method 2 more than method 1. (Using an autotext word). Method 1 is good if your going to bind 1-3 commonly accessed folders. For me , these are my sprints section

To give an overview of where I spent 95% of my time in dynalist. I literally look at only 1 LIST VIEW the entire day to KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) philsohopy. I called my root folder ⓟⓘ

Example of what my wikis look like:

Example of how I use my wikis with IMAGUS

This is how I generally organize notes, and a follow summary rules of thumbs I use:

  • All 2 to 10 hour course notes go in their own specially designated bulletpoint - This keeps things uncluttered since a lot of coursenotes are just me trying to understand a topic, meaning notes are really polluted in nature. Consequently, this applies to things like youtube notes, MOOC, etc
  • Bulletpoints 1 level down from root doc are extremely specific, with the shortest name possible like “#excel This keeps things clean and uncluttered, reducing the amount of time it takes for my eyes to adjust and find folders even if there is very large spans of texts everywhere in my wikis area
  • Bulletpoints 2-3 levels down from root doc have customized CSS H2 and H3 header tags . This promotes high readability and being able to distinguish structure in my notes at a moments glance
  • Inline images are used sparingly to split large clusters of folder names - This lets me see where I am at my notes using only my periphreal vision, so I instantly know what part of the document I’m on. Inline images are used using ![]() syntax. Images are used very sparingly, I only have a total of 4 inlined images across my entire document
  • Foldernames are all named with #name, and only exist at the top level only (Bulletpoint), and no #folders are nested inside other #folders. This makes each folder unique for searching and still lets you implement things like rawbytez tag index maker Tag Index bookmarklet. It keeps things simple implementing a rigid rule like this
  • The phrase express macro for CTRL+F chrome navigation is heavily used this is the first post on the topic I made essentially about navigating documents.
  • Child bulletpoints under the bulletpoints like #excel can be as long and descriptive as possible - I treat bulletpoints 1 level deep from root as “folders” and bulletpoints 2-3 levels deep from root as “files”. Files generally should be very descriptive in nature
  • Project logs all go in SPRINTS section . The general rule of thumb is notes sitting at the top of my root doc are organized with definitive structure, but the notes down below are organized instead of the current day / time. Unsure of notes go down here as well
  • Pomodoros are logged inside the sprints section . If you run a pomodro for 30 minutes and need to jot it down, it goes in that sprint’s section day tagged with #pomodoro so you can run a search on it later
  • Phraseexpress macro key is right next to the folder name. Like #excel folder macro is exc#
  • Bulletpoints past 4 levels deep are used very sparingly → All notes should sit within the first 3 levels deep (First level = folder, 2nd = category of notes, 3rd = notes, 4th = notes of notes). Anything past 4 levels is only used notes are too complicated to only use 4 layers deep (Dissertation Topics, PhD Thesises, etc)

To summarize briefly what the hierarchial structure is:


✪✪#folder - extremely short, 1 word tag like #excel with the macro next to it exc#
✪✪✪file - extremely descriptive and as long as needed, with H2 and H3 tags

That is the general hierarchy of notes. I seperate 5 or so clusters of #folders together with an inline image for easier readability

Sprints at the bottom look like this:

✪✪✪ Today
✪✪✪✪Tags - if I’m working on excel + airtable at same time, it would be @excel @airtable
✪✪✪✪✪ Notes
✪✪✪ Yesterday
✪✪✪ Day before
✪✪✪ …and so forth

I archive my sprints about once every 30 days now, but really I don’t have to at all

The reason I use sprints is because sometimes I might work on two things that belong in two places:

  • E.G. does this item belong in folder A (@excel) or folder B (@airtable)? Project logs by default are very cross-folder -like, so I might be working on a macro-workflow to export @airtable@excel for data manipulation.
  • But then I would put my excel formulas in #excel and my airtable wikis at #airtable

So the following tag conventions are generally used

  • #excel → There is only one bulletpoint with this name across my entire document, its a unique primary key basically. Its where I run my CTRL+F chrome search macros
  • @excel → This is my project log notes related to @excel. Anytime I do cross-project work across multiple wikis, I use these tags. Consequently, these @excel or @tags only exists in my sprints logs

If you wanted to implement a more TODO task flow, put all your TODOLIST as such:

✪ root
✪✪ #excel
✪✪ #airtable
✪✪ #sprints
✪✪✪ Today
✪✪✪ Yesterday

Also, when the API is released for dynalist, and when flatflowy from workflowy gets implemented, you can just have globally retroactive tags anywhere in your document as a “TO-DO-list” with integrations using IFTTT into TODOIST, Trello, asana, whatever. Just dump these somewhere in your daily log and use a special tag instead.

You can also print out all your macro functions for folder names as well, so its in front of you. Its pretty easy to remember that the autotext exc# is for folder #excel for instance, assuming you knew the folder was called #excel

Tag index bookmarklet can help you manage what folders you have and don’t have yet in alphabetical order, see here

For cross-collaboration of notes, or team-based notes, I suggest having a seperate document all together for that. These not workflows are to handle all my personal wikis for doing and understanding complex tasks, so I don’t have to go “how does this work again? how did I do XYZ last time?”

Also, you can always merge wikis together, move notes from one wiki to another, move folders down closer to sprints so you can view notes easier + sprint notes at same time, etc (but this would screw up the purpose of inlining images though). There’s no way to automatically sort your folders in a predesignated view mode yet.

This is basically, how I keep my document organized, and know it will be really organized down the road, with little to no maintenance involved

What it all boils down to is how fast I can enter a set of notes based on its context, and how fast I can retrieve it whenever I need too . Ideally what I enter in is also what I look at after. I keep markdown usage suchas extremely minimal since RENDER CONTENT =/= ENTERED CONTENT in these cases.



I have a rigid set of rules for scaling my notes upward when navigating around large lists. Because some of my notes are for really complicated topics that I don’t understand that well

Rules. These include inlined images, Specifically phrasing rules based on how deep a bulletpoint is, naming conventions, where notes should go, formatting rules, etc

I only use 1 list view almost the entire day. Sometimes I might use a 2nd going straight to my SPRINTS section, but that’s as far as I go really

Also, I bind my dynalist bookmark key straight to my homepage as well, using the ALT+Q button

If you want to run pomodoros, just tag them with #pomodoros in daily notes

If you want to do kanban (TODO, DOING, DONE), put it right above the SPRINTS section. Consequently when Dynalist API is released there’s many more global applications here as well anywhere in your notes.

Sprints are organized by day, with the most recent day sitting at the top of stack

Everything else is organized by well defined structures

Again, it all boils down to

  • How fast I can enter a set of notes in , whatever context it is AND how fast can I retrieve a set of notes, to aid in my project based work

I like to call this term DATA ON DEMAND, and all my workflows revolve around this philosophy

I modified my routine slightly for quickly navigating large documents

The problem I had with the above workflows is that I would create a new parent bulletpoint, but then have to go to phraseexpress to make a shortcut.

It didn’t scale very well as new folders were being added

I wanted something more intune with just chrome’s CTRL+F search, but without all the redundant key presses

This is what my macro looks like now:

  • {#CTRL -chars f}{#input -head Input Text -single}{#enter}{#sleep 200}{#esc}

Press CTRL+SHIFT+F, enter the folder name your looking for.

I set a 200 Millisecond delay before the Escape key is pressed, so you can clearly see what part of the document chrome highlighted ahead of time

I still use unique folder names and abbreivations, like for my main excel bulletpoint, its

  • #excel
  • exc#

both are unique its just whatever I decide is more convenient to type out. Down the road I might just changer all my folders to be “excel#” instead

I’m going to post updates on what I consider to be an effective way of using dynalist. This is my current workflow

Everything in the 3rd comment I still use - the macro about {#CTRL -chars f}{#input -head Input Text -single}{#enter}{#sleep 200}{#esc}. in the 3rd comment here. The other 2 earlier comments / post aren’t used anymore

I still use the same document convention. I use only 2 list view modes

  • Projects folder view (this is all my wikis) - Binded to ALT+Q key . 90% time spent here
  • Sprints view (this is inside my project folder, daily log notes) Binded to ALT+E key. 10% time spent here . Sprints view are used when I need to dump some misc / journal notes really quickly

This is what my documents look like

✪ Projects folder
✪✪ #excel
✪✪ #finance
✪✪ #magento
✪✪ #airtable
✪✪ #html #css #js #php
✪✪ #sprints (daily misc notes here / logs)
✪✪ …etc

I keep as few “folder bulletpoints as possible”. I do this by merging small growing similar folders together like so though:

✪✪ #html #css #js #php

Overtime as these wikis get bigger and bigger as I learn more and more things, I start creating their own dedicated folders, like

✪✪ #html #css
✪✪ #js
✪✪ #php

This makes it easy to scale number of folders over time, so its easy to remember which folders I have named

I use the macro exclusively to navigate now {#CTRL -chars f}{#input -head Input Text -single}{#enter}{#sleep 200}{#esc}. I don’t bother figuring out what order my folders are in anymore, since I move them around a lot

Below are some other essential features I’ve added onto my navigation panel for my main project lists pane:

On-hover CSS effect

@Piotr wrote this earlier for me, this is super helpful. It gives everything I’m not working on a greyish -background so I can focus only on what I am writing. You can read more about it in the thread

My files for stylish CSS look like so:

On stylish, my settings for the 2nd item here looks like this:

A sample of what my notes look like: (imagus plugin used on link)

Tag maker + inline images

I use this above

My sprint notes has a lot of tag spam, so what I do is close my #sprints dailypoint then press this tag maker so I can get a complete “tagpane” of what folders I am currently using in my project folder

I don’t use the built-in tag pane in dynalist

After I make this, I take an inline image screenshot of it and stick it to the very top of my projects folder

This serves two purposes:

  • Items in image aren’t searchable → this means I can use my CTRL+F chrome macros without having folders of the same name
  • I can see exactly what folders I have currently in alphabetical order
  • When I go to my projects folder I see all my tags right away and run my macro

Example of what it looks like:

As time goes on, and my folder names change, I just run the tag -index-maker again and just replace the inline image with a new one

This way I keep a tracking log of what folders I had at one point in time, which ones were new, etc


I use the following workflows summarized:

CSS Files:


  • No loading between different files → Having one file makes it so there’s 0 load time between different folders
  • Significantly Faster navigation. Not relying on dynalist’s built in CTRL+O functions or Built-in search functions reduces transitions between documents by around 3-4xs as much from personal experience. How fast I transition between documents is directly proportional to how fast I type. Every millisecond counts
  • Minimal keystroke navigation. Using the macro I outlined above, its very easy to just press CTRL+SHIFT+F and the folder name like #excel or exc# and enter. Takes <3 seconds per search to type and navigate the moment you decided to navigate to new folder. No mouse needed.
  • Can move folders around. If your working on two things related to each other, say #excel and #excelVBA, you can just manually move the folders next to each other and take notes on both (CTRL+↑ and CTRL+ ↓ on bulletpoint). You can merge or unmerge folders as you see fit, if project scopes / wikis change. Only top level bulletpoints have #folderName though
  • One list view - nothing gets hidden or stashed away unless you want to. I only hide bulletpoints if I’m writing notes on a complex subject/wiki. You are subconciously reminded all the time of what your notes look like, leading to longer term retention imo. Memory palace effect
  • Low maintenance WYISWYG - exactly what I enter is what I get out of it basically. There’s almost no moving parts to this method and once macros are set up there’s no other work involved. The only time I collapse notes is if its really polluted in nature / lots of spam notes I know already, etc. I collapse notes mostly in sprints. This way you can use dynalist as it was intended imo, as a notetaking tool, and focus on actual work projects
  • The big picture - its easy to get the big picture of all your notes very quickly. Especially using rawbytz/ ruuds tag maker + inlined images at the very top of the file.
  • Scales infinitely - You never have to worry about your document being too big, because its already really big to begin with. You just learned how to navigate a bigger document from get-go
  • Less eye movement / fatigue / transitions overall - If I stuck an eyetracker on myself like this . My eyes are strictly centered almost always dead center of my document 95% of the time. When you navigate with CTRL+O, or use many list view mode shortcuts, you have to navigate your eye to the topleft of the screen every time. Not only that, your eye has to figure out the change in hierarchial relationship in your notes all the time as you go to different list folder views. Or when using dynalist’s built in search function, etc.. Too many transitions leads to lower memory retention related to the Memory palace effect. Its similar to why most people prefer Microsoft powerpoints / LinkedIn SlideShare over Prezi, for example, for technical presentations


Not really any for me, but there’s some improvements / features needed down the road that can be made for this workflow: (most desired features) - May 18th, 2017

  • External dashboard for managing todo lists using dynalist’s API
  • Ability to sort lists alphabetically in order
  • Ability to have a richer built-in dynalist search by : metadate, or ! operator based dates.
  • Mindmap for getting a better understanding of complex lists
  • Column support markdown
  • Code support / highlighting / syntax
  • Flat dynalist search view (flatflowy from workflowy)
  • Better android app, similar to Workflowy’s

Other than that, there’s not anything else I really want


  • If you want to go to a specific list view you always have that option whenever you want
  • You can attach files as you normally would etc.
  • Time and date stamping is purely optional if you want to use it for google calendar integration
  • If you want kanban integration / task management / pomodoro tracking put it in sprints folder
  • You can have whatever theme you want and customize your CSS from my files if needed
  • Use unicode like ✪ → ← ↑ :zap: to aid in readability of notes
  • Phraseexpress macro whatever else you want
  • I use a number of different elements to give each “#folderName” a unique style. Bolding, Colortags, Wording, Highlighting italics, H1 H2 H3 headers, etc. However best the information can be best captured and organized, etc

Down the road I will post my .PXB phrase express file just not now

In summary, this is what my current iteration of notetaking looks like in dynalist. I tried out lots of dynalist workflows (that I created, or copied from others) and this is probably what I am going to use long term

Minor tweaks will be made here and there though, which I will probably update here too


Moved tag index inlined image into the project folder’s NOTE, so it doesn’t fade out with my css


9 days since I put an update here.

I figured I’ll dump an update of how I currently navigate my folders and organize things. This post will just be my update area for my current state of workflows for myself. This includes just taking notes in general and how I format things

Things changed since last 3-4 posts in this comment thread

Things not using as much in general

  • Tag pane is not something I really look at directly, but subconciously its probably reminding me of what my tags look like Tag Index bookmarklet
  • Less sprint / unsorted daily notes → I try and keep this 4 bulletpoints long at most, unless I’m trying to generate random ideas / stuck on problem
  • Less annotated image links overall (, more well condensed text using Imagus chrome extension. It didn’t make sense to constantly hover over image links if a few words explain everything

Things I am still using among those other posts:

  • CTRL+SHIFT+F macro to quickly chrome search items in chrome page
  • Merged/ unmerged “parent bulletpoint folders” (more on this later)
  • Still one document

Things I’ve started using since / doing since then

  • CTRL+SHIFT+M moving macro, to move items to top of list
  • Manually updating bookmarks for my “parent bulletpoint folders” since I have less than 15 to update
  • Heavier emphasis on project wikis / bookmarking URLs / notetaking external resources
  • FIFO methodology (items near the top of folder are the most recent → also items pushed as well)
  • Sprints in general are just moving over to that designated folder instead. E.g. notes on @excel go directly to #excel folder
  • Started to cross reference notes in other folders with just manual notes like (see this folder) + @tag folder name, no hyperlinking
  • Use of code highlighting / multiline blocks is super helpful Multi-line code blocks - #23 by Vincent_Tang
  • Coursenotes, more focus on “hiding” bulletpoints and “rolling” it up into one condensed bulletpoint

bulletpoint folders are based on actual professions

For reference, I organize my parent bulletpoint folders based mostly off something that works in the real world, namely actual tags based off jobdescriptions / titles / professions


A folder designated for things. To name some examples:

  • Systemadmintrator / network admin /DevOps → like github, docker, setting up PC, network administration, comptia+, backup setups, etc.

  • Database adminstrator → This is heavily based on datamining, data processing, excel scripts, SQL scripts, airtable, relational database schemamight merge webscraping here

  • Automation Engineer → this is based mostly on Linux-style commands, bash commands, Autohotkey scripting, tools for macroing, things, windows batch files, . might merge with systemsadmin, rather related

  • Ecommerce developer→ these get their own dedicated folders since there rather complex in nature might merge folders together

  • Programmer → this is just programming in general. All my code, setup, references, etc. might evolve a lot down the road

  • Computer Scientist → this is more heavily focused on theoretical comp science and math in general. Statistics gets lumped in here as it is very analytical / math-based as well. Things like algorithms, datastructures, MVC frameworks, more picture-y diagramy things in nature

  • Account / Financial analyst → This is where I dump all financial knowledge in general, personal finance, MBA -level topics I’m familiar with, stock trading / investment how to guides, etc

  • Worker → this is where I dump all my architectural / general contracting knowledge / trade logistics / freight logistics / hiring / how to run a business / work software / base level design knowledge, business knowledge, real estate knowledge, basic CAD knowledge adobe photoshop / illustrator / indesign as well since its related. This will be segregated into different folders down the road, some into ENGINEERING some into FINANCIAL folder and maybe a DESIGN folder (photoshop, indesign, frontend dev, UX, etc) → when i do i just move entire folder (ctrl+shift+M) and tag both locations

  • Generic Engineer → i lump all my other sets of knowledge in one area (Mechanical, Electrical, Medical, etc) here since I don’t have such a large repository of knowledge here yet. Also, I lump in knowledge related to arduinos, DIY -type work, welding, carpentry, knowledge all goes here. Hands on kind based knowledge

  • Personal fitness → this is where I dump my knowledge on nooptropics, drugs, workout, training routines, mixed martial arts references, spreadsheet links. Not much goes here honestly, this is mostly hands on knowledge and some occasional references / research topics

  • Courses → I dump all courses here

  • Sprints → this is my unsorted notes in general, organized by day then tags

  • Blogging → this is where I dump video making, filmography tools, photography knowledge, lighting techniques, as well as wordpress knowledge / setups for blogs, etc (Might segregate into an its own category for videomaking). SEO and UX topics go here as well, writing maybe too

how bulletpoint folders evolve over time

Basically this is what my current parent folder structures look like in my one root document. As I learn and unlearn more things, this structure will evolve, albeit not by a lot.


  • I start learning about legal / law, this would offshoot from accounting and possibly be lumped into a general business area including real estate

  • I learn more about electrical engineering, I would offshoot this from my generic engineering folder

  • I learn more about cryptocurrency and cryptography, this could technically go into finance, but would go into compscience folder → possibly offshoot on its own later

Also , Some notes are related to some degree, but this is true for professions in the real world as well. I will just be using the following structure for items that belong to two places in nature


An approach to datascrape into a much large project could belong into 5 potential folders

  • my programmer code folder
  • my computer scientists folder
  • my systemadmin / devops folder
  • my ecommerce folder
  • my database folder

In cases such as these, I would just do one of the following (for larger, ongoing project cross-knowledge based results)

  1. write a blog post about it and reference to several of these locations (or just flat out ignore referencing)
  2. Write the information in the parent folder that makes most sense, and use a @tag in any locations refencing it

Mostly the former will be used here, I will use my wordpress blog for maybe 1-2 posts a month at max so its not diluted with poorly hashed out information (Every post will recap 2-3 weeks worth of work)

Other for course notes

This deserves some mention. I have taken the following approach when it comes to taking course notes

  • Organize the course based on how the instructor organizes it ( is by far the easiest to do this). or by the rubrick. Or by youtube playlist (e.g. there’s 21 videos in a playlist, organize it by such)
  • Each section of notes simply rewrite everything at the parent bulletpoint / it’s notes, condense everything else
  • Cross reference these notes using just tags and possibly hyperlinks into whatever area I’m working on

Example of wordpress:

Things to work on

  • potentially write a macro for pushing items + automatically generating a new bulletpoint where from the item was pushed at. Easier to maintain links this way

  • Lots of javascript macros to write down the road, related to dynalist API plugin down the road, and dashboard integration

For reference images

Current state of folder structure using tags:

Current state of notes from courses (Condense / rolling up notes)


Highlighted indicates rolled up notes (similar to how microsoft excel “rolls up” data using functions like sum(A1:A20))