Simple export option to make Dynalist the BEST writing tool

I do a LOT of writing in markdown, as do many other people who do a lot of writing today. Dynalist is so close to being the best writing tool for people like myself, all it would take is a few small tweaks to export.

Dynalist near is perfect for composition. The big issue is that it’s currently a major pain to get your writing OUT of dynalist and into a proper format so that it can be published.

What the export needs to look like:

  • plain text
  • needs to be a flat document with no indentation (in markdown, headings are handled via your markup, i.e. ‘# heading 1’, ‘## heading 2’ and not indentation)
  • needs to be double spaced so that each bullet becomes a paragraph (currently it outputs a single spaced document which in markdown, makes all your bullets become one big paragraph. It gets messy having to insert a bunch of blank bullets into your outline to get the right output)
  • “Export visible items only” checkbox must affect notes as well (right now it doesn’t so you need to remove all your notes before exporting, having the ability to leave them in makes it much more flexible)

IMO, if these options are enabled via checkboxes on the export popup, then Dynalist becomes the best writing tool in existence. Infinite zoom, cloud-based w/backup, tags, documents, folders, exceptional outline manipulation, custom hotkeys, PLUS the ability to easily future proof your work AND effortlessly export it to the preferred modern writing format?

Congratulations, you just beat Scrivener, Gingkoapp, Evernote, Omni-everything, Workflowy, and every single minimalist markdown editor out there.

I think it’s shortsighted to market dynalist as simply an outlining tool. This is a serious writers dream. I’ve worked heavily with all these different tools and dynalist is so close to what I want. I can use it currently because I can use Vim to fill in the formatting gaps, but your average user can’t.

With these changes, maybe a word count tool, and some marketing directed toward writers, you guys could dominate writing tool niche.


+1 here. The overall structure of Dynalist makes it much more useful than a TODO list. I would love to use it for more writing too, compared to using Evernote or other tools that I use today.

It’s almost got 90% of the features for it, the last remaining 10% outlined above would open up a new category of use.


I love Dynalist for writing, but getting anything out of Dynalist in a workable format is a pain. The ‘plain text’ export takes more effort to correct than manually stripping the ‘formated’ one. These proposed changes - along with a dedicated markdown export - would be a huge help.


My first thought is that you should test this out:

Set Dynalist to Article View. This gives you double spacing.

In Chrome press Print. It changes the format to be a lot more plain and nice. It hides the hidden items too.

But instead of printing, select Save as PDF or Open PDF. Then, go to the Google Docs website and open the PDF, selecting convert to Doc. This will convert the PDF to a text document.

You might like the result better than what the Dynalist exporter can generate.


I agree,
an Mark-Down Export so that I can get this nice pdf/Slideshows via R Mark Down or LaTeX would solve so many problems for me.

I am currently experimenting/researching with different options, but at any stage I prefer to write in Dynalist.
Having the option to write directly for Mark-Down would be incredible.
Maybe even with the option to download uploaded pictures, so they would automatically be correctly inserted/named.

My main goal ist to create and change fast slideshows as well as to write manuals for software (no code needed for me though) and Office-Solutions are just to cumbersome for me…
Currently learning vim and LaTeX for my manuals, but think I will switch to R Markdown I guess at some point soon?

So please, that what OP said ^^

Or any other advice for a good workflow
(currently checking with vim, LaTeX, Pandoc, bookdown, R Mark Up)

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I agree 100%. Markdown export could open up a whole new market for this product! An excellent writers tool! Markdown Export!

I agree that proper Markdown Export for blogging would be a killer feature. I came across this problem when I’d drafted a blog post explaining my key use for Dynalist but then couldn’t easily get it into a publishable format.

It was frustrating.

I hope the dev team can find time to add this feature.


What’s the issue that makes Dynalist’s exports unpublishable? I find it publishable.

Perhaps we can help tackle the conversion. We often make little converters and generators on jsfiddle. Paste to the form, it runs a regex replace, format converted. Or generate dates or whatever. Example of date generator But yeah, if its a automatable conversion maybe the users can solve it.

I exported as plain text. What was frustrating were the leading spaces and dashes that were included in each paragraph. Also, no H1/H2 etc. headers were exported, so the ‘structure’ of the Dynalist outline was lost on export.

Finally, no markdown links came out, so I had to regenerate all of those.

The leading spaces should go away with this option

As for the rest, I can’t think of an easy solution.

Have you tried Obsidian? I know that one is more geared towards live publishing to static websites.

Thanks, I will try that one.

I’ve tried Obsidian, but it’s not for me. I prefer DevonThink for local files, and I love writing in outline format in Dynalist.

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I’m with you Andrew. I like working in outline form. I don’t like working with markdown like Obsidian does. Not that I mind markdown as a storage format, but typing that way all the time to have a formatted document is tedious.

Export to OPML and then import into a markdown editor (I have Typora set up to autoconvert); there are many conversion options for OPML-markdown. This should be a good answer for some scenarios. Bullets appear as a hierarchy of headers; notes as text.
Formatting works if it was input manually as markdown originally.

I want to note a non-obvious trick.

Don’t use export. Just multi-select all the items you want, copy directly from dynalist, paste directly into Obsidian.

It will auto-parse everything pretty well into markdown, including headings. Since the same developers make both, they seem to detect each others paste formats and do a lot of behind the scenes javascript manipulations to convert it better than any of the “Export” options can do.

From there, you can copy the markdown from obsidian and paste it into whatever other app.

Actually, this doesn’t work in Typora whereas OPML does.
With copy paste, the bullets stay as bullets and do not transform into headers. This is the key transformation required to create a workable markdown document with a header hierarchy.
Also it doesn’t create bullets in notes from the markdown syntax (- ) in the note text. The OPML method does.
I want everything to work no matter what program I use.
The OPML method also works with Workflowy; copy/paste only up to a point.

Mostly the same as Dynalist, but paragraphs are lost and the bullets within notes are escaped. Again , OPML method does work, provided markdown syntax is typed in rather than depending on the Workflowy WYSIWYG.

Well, you have to paste into Obsidian first, then copy again, then paste into whatever markdown app you’re using. But yeah, if the destination app supports OPML just use that.

For me, the biggest advantage of OPML is that it’s probably the best base format.
I can have a file in OPML and move it into outliners, mindmappers and markdown editors with the structure retained. Even Scrivener. It leaves the plaintext as is, and simply interprets the hierarchical structure. It can even be managed to work with CSV for those programs which insist on that.

For a few pages, I probably would try copy/paste, but for very large ones I think OPML is usually better.

I think everything copy/paste plaintext as-is. Are there things you know of that doesn’t? I’ll give it a try! I wanna know!

This is a bit of a rabbit hole. Don’t go there if you want to see daylight in the next month. Only test what you need.