Usefulness of folders and documents


+1 for hierarchical bookmarks… and then bookmark level sharing? :wink:

I keep coming back to my recipe list where I have a tags for #chicken # beef #vegan #italian #mexican etc. so it is easy for me to filter my recipes. At the same time I want to share one recipe at at time and not ALL of my recipes. It’s such a simple and common use case I would think it would have to be addressed eventually. Right now I resort to the export functionality to send someone a recipe.


It’s here:

And agreed, that’s the only truly convincing argument we’ve heard that document & folder structure just can’t do. Although I still tend to think people propose this because of the existence of WorkFlowy. For example, you don’t see people suggesting that Google Docs should allow sharing a section or a paragraph (maybe some do, just not as often brought up as with Dynalist).

Anyway the feature request is up there in the roadmap, and you’re welcome to vote for it if you find it useful.


Roger that. I’m also hungry for no reason after reading that… :fork_and_knife:


Just coming over from Workflowy so I’ll be the first to admit I’m in a re-learning mode but having said that I’ve got to agree with just about everything Torben and then Aldo said a while back.

For me it all boils down to having a consistent experience no matter what level you’re working at, including the ‘top’ level. Why can’t I just mark an entire file as checked-off? Or highlight it with a specific color? Etc.

(Conversely, if Workflowy would just add a two-pane navigator where I could use the left pane in about the same way I use Dynalist’s File Pane, but with Workflowy’s consistent behavior with the rest of the sub-trees, they’d be providing a huge boost in navigability).

I get that there’s an underlying data model of Files/folders/bullets… but that doesn’t necessarily dictate what the USER sees. (And yes, I also get why developers WANT the UI to reflect that underlying data model too… but that’s not my problem :slight_smile: )

Obviously there are so many other things that Dynalist gets right that I’m probably going to stick around… but I’ll always miss the elegance of Workflowy’s behavior where EVERY level is treated the same.


I understand your perspective. Mine is different. I like that I have a separate document for my work project. I can easily search that document. I can easily navigate to the root of that document and not feel I am floating in a larger nebulous concept.

I am all in favor of your wishes for enhancing the file explorer, even to the level of giving it power akin to a document.

Just don’t confuse a deliberate UI decision with a “we’re just following the internal model” excuse. I assure you the design is intended.


Maybe I just don’t understand DL’s searching yet then… it seems like it’s already local to whatever level you’re zoomed into (with the ability to search everything provided as a quick link as well).

Anyway, clearly it’s not something that they’re motivated to change and since there’s not really a good way to measure the cognitive load a more consistent experience would provide I guess it’s time for me to let it go :slight_smile:


I became a paid Dynalist subscriber in January 2017 and set up notes, personal and work documents, building them out in ever-deeper nodes. There were a bunch of times I felt tangled in a mess, sometimes discovering similar information was in different places. I built elaborate, hard-to-read bookmarks with arrows, meant to distinguish folders and subfolders.

This week, I ported over everything to dozens of documents. What an improvement! :):grinning: I feel like I can breathe! Rather than feeling overwhelmed with gobs of information, I now think my info is neatly arranged and easily accessible. I’m still getting a feel for how deep I should go into nodes compared with creating new documents, but this is a judgment call usually based on how frequently I want to access information. My documents now serve as bookmarks. There’s really no need for bookmarks if documents are set up well.

To me, the No. 1 thing about Dynalist is that I have access to all my information in a flash in one tab! Most work in the browser these days, so Dynalist has saved me well more than 100 hours the past two years from having to create, store, manage, locate, open, compose/edit and close dozens upon dozens of Google Docs.

I have no Workflowy experience save for signing up for a minute and then canceling on my way to quickly discovering the mighty Dynalist!


@ronb I totally agree with you about the two-panel navigator. And I agree that having a consistent user experience across the different levels is the productivity killer. When you get people who think in lists and let them start organizing their ideas into lists, but then tell them that certain of their ideas can’t be interacted with in the same way as other ideas, that produces user frustration.

So, while I also see the benefit for having top-level “document” items, I also see that not allowing users to interact with those top-level document items the same way they deal with the lower level items is a serious user experience failure. (Can list items from inside one top-level list ‘document’ be dragged into another top-level list ‘document’? Not as far as I can tell.) Its like training someone to drive a car, but then telling them that the brakes only work at certain intersections. That’s just frustrating enough to make users avoid using that feature of the tool.

However, I sympathize with the developers. Asking for drastic overhauls is not practical. Still, I think some solutions might be possible without undue investment for the developers.

For instance, what if the bookmarks section of the navigation panel were revamped to be hierarchical? That way, those who love to think in terms of top-level documents can have that experience in the Documents panel section and those who do not can still have a navigation panel that matches the way they think. I know that I personally wouldn’t touch the Document view of the side panel if there were robust hierarchical Bookmarking view to work with.
As you mentioned Workflowy is failing by not adding this sort of feature as an easily accessible sidebar. The inability to easily navigate between general and specific views of the data at the same time is a huge liability; one which strangely seems deprioritized in both Dynalist as well as Workflowy.


I think you’ll find that the Powerpack extension by @Piotr has nested bookmarks in the side panel.


@kevin_murray good to know although… man I really don’t want to go down the road of browser extensions. Particularly since I use the standalone app, not the in-browser version.


@geoff I think we’re in total agreement. Hopefully Dynalist hears this from a few more people too!


I do most of my work on the browser, so I am grateful that @Piotr put so much of his time into developing excellent features far more quickly than Dynalist. But I do note his recent statement about ceasing to develop the extension. That’s always the risk with an external developer.


Very cool!

And in case you want to quickly access something, there’s always the Item Finder (Ctrl+Shift+O). :sunglasses:


You can use the Powerpack in the desktop app too :slight_smile: There is a little tutorial on that in the “Powerpack 3” document.