Zoom / Show The Entire Outline Expanded By Level

I see this thread, but I don’t think it is asking the same thing: How to show all the items of certain level in a document? how to emphasize some certain words

That post seems to be about three different things, and the discussion seems to focus on the two that I am not focused on. I am interested in what may be the first question in that thread - show all items of a certain level. But I am not interested in showing ONLY a certain level, I wish to see the outline expanded to a certain level. Both Ecco and Bonsai, which I have used extensively in the past and still use, allow you to “Zoom” the entire outline and show it all at a certain level. Select level one, you see only the top level, select level two, you see the entire outline expanded to level two, (ie, you can see the top level items, plus the items of level two - but not below that - etc.)

It appears from my reading that this feature may not available in Dynalist. I see Expand All and Collapse all, but not expand by level. I would think this is basic but I really cannot even find it in the Feature requests on Trello. That means I may have overlooked a basic feature and again be asking a dumb question as a new user. I apologize if so!

Can I ask whether this is possible, and if not, where I can find it on Trello to vote for it?


Hi Lawrence,

You’re correct that Dynalist doesn’t have this feature right now.

This is the feature request post for it: Feature request - Expand/collapse level by level

Unfortunately we haven’t made progress on this, mainly because we’re not sure about how to implement it. Two ways I can think of:

  1. Have an option for “Expand one more level” and another for “Expand one fewer level”. So that when you want to expand level 4, you collapse all, and use the “Expand one more level” 3 times.

  2. Have a bunch of empty, customizable shortcuts for “expand level 1”, “expand level 2”, “expand level 3”, etc etc.

The downsides of implementation 1 is that the (already pretty long) item menu even longer, plus it takes quite a few clicks to get to a certain level (especially if the level is deep). But it is more flexible.

The downside of implementation 2 is that it’s more hidden, and is not as flexible. We may provide shortcuts to expand level 1-9, which should cover most cases, but you might need to see level 10 or 11 expanded someday, who knows. Being hidden is not too bad though, considering it’s more of a power user feature. At least it doesn’t bloat the UI for non power users.

Above is why we haven’t implemented it yet, considering the pros don’t outweigh the cons. Please let me know if you can think of a better way to do it!

Thank you for your answer Erica! Maybe the most constructive comment I can make is that I was looking for it under the “eye” icon - when that opens up and shows the options for the list, I was expecting to find something like Bonsai’s


or Ecco’s


I read through some of the other comments and I doubt that it’s necessary to add more than a couple of discrete level options, like Bonsaid does. As with many of the other commenters, I want to start the day or view the outline by major headings, and that in most cases is really only a couple (3 or max?) levels. Any further drilling down into the details is probably beyond the scope of the needs of the feature, and “expand all” would work for that.

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So Bonsai allows up to level 4 while Ecco allows up to level 9, is that right? Just want to confirm since we don’t have experience with either software. Thanks!

Yes Erica, that’s correct. Those photo clips show Bonsai as having incorporated into its main toolbar, while Ecco’s version was a popup that allowed more options, not just down through level nine, but operating if desired only on “selected” (which means blocked) items.

I bet you have lots of former and current Ecco users here at Dynalist, and I see them regularly discussing things also at Dr. Andrus’ Outlinersoftware forum. I continue to use Ecco and even Bonsai occasionally on my local computer, but Dynalist offers so much more in being “cloud-based.” But gosh, Ecco was really the modern trailblazer in outlining, and if you ever wanted to compare how features are implemented, you should just ask in the forum how Ecco does it and you’ll probably get more answers than you can handle :wink: (And of course Ecco is abandonware and freely usable, and continues to work well, so anyone who doesn’t currently have a copy can easily get one through EccoPro@groups.io | Home I can’t recommend it highly enough.) Bonsai too is good, but Ecco has many more features.

Thank you for the detailed information on Ecco Pro, Lawrence! It’s nice to learn from the great software that came before.

That gave us a better idea on how to implement this, thanks!