An Offline, Desktop App for WorkFlowy

Screenshot 2013-12-18 10.45.12

Offline. That magical word. We’ve been promising it for years, and now, finally, you can use WorkFlowy in a plane, train or automobile. In the subway, under the ocean, in the desert. With a frog, in a bog, on a log. And so forth.

We’ve been using the desktop app internally for several months. I personally use it almost exclusively now, and am really happy with it.  There’s one caveat, though. We built the desktop application on top of Google’s Chrome browser. You don’t need to use Chrome to use the app, but you do need to have Chrome installed. Hopefully that isn’t too much of an annoyance for you. If it is, we’re looking into launching a desktop app that doesn’t require Chrome, but we can’t say exactly when we’ll get to that.

Oh, and one more thing. Offline is free. We’ve been saying offline would require a WorkFlowy Pro account, but we decided it was too important a feature and that everybody needed it. So, you are welcome. And also, you should still pay us, because, otherwise how will we feed our families? How will we keep WorkFlowy going?

So, what are you waiting for?

Install WorkFlowy Desktop

Workflowy as a Gift Buying List

This is a guest post by Mike Dariano. If you’d like to contribute a guest blog post, just email your idea to blog@workflowy.com

‘Tis the List Making Season
The season of gift giving is upon on and if you’re anything like me your list of naughty and nice neighbors and nieces is far from finished.  One of the best WorkFlowy features is the ability to see things from a macro and micro level.  In looking at my list from the big picture I can see who I still need to buy gifts for and zooming in, what those gifts are.  

How to Get Started
Start by making a List based on either the store you’re shopping at or the person you’re buying for.  Our family is in three different gift exchanges this year; an adult but you don’t know who, an adult and you know what they want, and a pair of children and you know what they want.  

To get started on my own organization, I created a list with each person we needed to buy for and then under each person a list of what they wanted.  Then – and this is where WorkFlowy shines – I got organized.  

  • Doug
    • steering wheel cover
  • Karen
    • Movie
    • Book
  • Carter
    • Train set
    • Puzzle

As I bought gifts for people, I crossed off the items.  An Amazon.com order took care of the steering wheel cover, movie, and book I needed.  Also, when I finish shopping for a particular person, I cross their name off entirely.  Doug and Carter need gifts to be purchased, Karen I’m done with. 

Staying Up To Date
Whenever I get an email then with gift requests – maybe Doug wants a new iPhone case – I can quickly add them into my WorkFlowy account. Then when I go shopping and hide the completed items I have a clean list to work from.

  • Doug
    • iPhone case
  • Carter
    • Train set
    • Puzzle

WorkFlowy has always been fast on my smartphone and I know that whenever I’m at a store and need to add a gift, who and what is right at my fingertips.

A Few More thoughts
Steve Stroh, WorkFlowy’s Semi Official Blogger, had some additional tips building on Mike’s ideas.

I use WorkFlowy for keeping track of gift giving the same way Michael does, but I add another layer of hierarchy to prioritize a bit when I’m under the gun at holiday time:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work
I use WorkFlowy for this continuously, not just during the Christmas season. When I get an idea for something that would make a great gift, I capture it immediately for future reference. Another refinement might be to keep track of gifts RECEIVED from various folks, and then marked completed when I’ve written a Thank You note.

Why I went Pro

This is a guest post by Steve Stroh. If you’d like to contribute a guest blog post, just email your idea to blog@workflowy.com

As I explained in a previous post, WorkFlowy resonated with me immediately. I started using it so intensively and productively that at points it seemed scary. Scary because here was this fantastic app, that I found SO useful, that I was pouring SO many of my ideas into… that was free. Many great, free web-based apps have gone out of business, usually with just a few week’s notice. So I was relieved when WorkFlowy quietly, subtly offered the Pro version and a way to pay them. I’ve chided Jesse and Mike a bit that they made the Pro option a bit too subtle, in my opinion. I just scrolled through the blog, and nope – no mention there. It’s only if you have the free version that you see the video in Help and a “Learn more” link which mentions these features:

  • Unlimited Lists – Pro users can make as many lists and items as they want. Non-pro users are limited to 500 per month.
  • Backup to Dropbox – Never worry about losing your WorkFlowy data. Have full backups automatically uploaded to your Dropbox account every day.
  • Password Protected Collaboration – Pro users can share parts of their WorkFlowy account with specific people, verified by email address and password.
  • Offline Editing (Coming soon) – Want to use WorkFlowy when you’re not online? Go Pro! 
  • Theme and Fonts – Pro users get to change the look and feel of WorkFlowy with a library of themes and fonts. Make your WorkFlowy more personal.
  • Premium Support – We answer emails from Pro members first.

While I jumped on Pro because I WANTED WorkFlowy to start making money, and thus not close or sell out, the main selling points of WorkFlowy Pro, for me, were the Unlimited Lists and Backup to Dropbox. The more I used WorkFlowy, the more I wanted to use WorkFlowy, and after the transition between free and paid (I had a free account for my day job) I quickly bumped up against the monthly limits of the free version. Believe me, if you’re not bumping into this limit, you’re not using WorkFlowy to its real potential. When you can open up a new WorkFlowy list and just let the record your ideas as fast as they’re coming to you, simultaneously keeping ALL your various lists in WorkFlowy… that’s WorkFlowy really amplifying your creativity and productivity.

Backup to Dropbox eased my mind a lot, that there was going to be a complete copy of my entire WorkFlowy in my Dropbox account, updated daily. I’ve also enjoyed changing my WorkFlowy Theme (current favorite: Hacker and Font (current favorite: Light).

Unfortunately, I don’t currently collaborate with any other WorkFlowy users, so I haven’t been able to see WorkFlowy Collaboration in action for myself, but I’m sure glad that’s an option that’s open to me.

Offline Editing (Coming Soon), well, WorkFlowy has offline for iOS and there’s a Chrome App for Windows that works offline. They’re working on a generally available desktop app with offline. In my particular way of writing, Internet access is as essential to me as electric power, so I’m nearly always connected and so don’t miss Offline Editing all that much. 

I think of WorkFlowy as a professional power tool for the mind, and the annual fee is quite reasonable for how much more productive WorkFlowy enables me to be.

Disclaimer – The above is solely my personal opinion. I am a paying WorkFlowy Pro customer and have not been offered any incentives to write nice things about WorkFlowy. I’m just a fan of a great product and volunteered to write about it for publication in the WorkFlowy Blog.

Steve Stroh
WorkFlowy Semi Official Blogger
Seattle, Washington, USA

The Status of Bold, Italic and Color in WorkFlowy

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Steve is listening to you!

So, Steve, our resident Semi Official Blogger, has been getting your emails at blog@workflowy.com. He has suggested that our fans are clamoring to hear progress on long awaited features. So, this is the first post updating you on one of them: formatting.

Formatting is coming

If you’ve been pulling out your hair asking, “Why can’t I bold, italicize, or color things in WorkFlowy???” then you’re a little bit crazy, cause you need that hair. Try a stress ball. But also, you’re in luck. Because we’re working on it. We’re about to release a version of WorkFlowy with a major technical redesign of how editing works (next week). The purpose of this release? To enable features like bold, italic, underline, color. The release won’t appear any different to you, but it lays the foundation for formatting, as well as a bunch of other cool features.

When?!?

We’ve already started working on formatting. After this release, it will probably be a month or two before it comes out. HOWEVER, we make no promises. We retain the right to decide not to do formatting, and instead do a feature that makes ponies run across the WorkFlowy page. Or unicorns. Or a T-Rex. Or maybe the much requested feature of automatically embedding cat pictures inside your WorkFlowy.

You get the point. We reserve the right not to finish it for a few months if stuff comes up, as it often does. So, get excited. But not too excited. Cause, you know, we don’t make any promises. And T-Rex.

Update for Concerned Minimalists: Don’t worry. We won’t let people make their WorkFlowy docs look like myspace pages. Things will be kept sober. Color may be relegated to tags only, for example. We won’t have ugly, ever present formatting buttons while you’re typing. And so forth. 

WorkFlowy Tip: Open Another Tab

This is a guest post by Steve Stroh. If you’d like to contribute a guest blog post, just email your idea to blog@workflowy.com

This Workflowy tip will to sound ridiculously simple to Workflowy power users. It was a bit of a revelation to me, though, and maybe this will help future Workflowy newbies.

The Problem
Workflowy is SO responsive in normal use that it FEELS to me like a native app, on both Windows and Mac. So, I used to use it like that – bring up a browser window add, edit, move stuff around, etc. But after a while, when my Workflowy got to have lots of branches, and deep, it got to be cumbersome to switch between different parts of it.

The Solution
Then it hit me… Workflowy is a WEB app… all I had to do to see different parts of my Workflowy simultaneously was to just open additional browser tabs / windows to workflowy.com! Wow… did Workflowy really sing for me after that “discovery”.

Another Solution
The WorkFlowy teams encourages you to try the “star” feature as another way to navigate between different parts of WorkFlowy. Read this blog post about starred pages for more info. In short, every WorkFlowy page has a star at the top right that you can click to save that page. You can then click the star next to the search box to navigate between your starred pages.

Re: It’s 6 AM. Do you know where your brain is?

Mike and Jesse,

You asked if I know where my brain is at 6am??  $#%@ no!  Who are you kidding? I generally don’t function at 6am. Period.

I do find that after – say about 6:30 – as I’m slowly coming out of my
‘oh shit it’s morning’ stupor, I have mobility returning and can
manage to gimp around well enough to open my laptop and figure out how
to punch a key.  (Ok that is a bit of an exaggeration)  Seriously, I
started using WorkFlowy yesterday and I love it.   So far I have
organized my to do list,  work list and my daughter’s wedding/why the
f didn’t they elope list.  I love the tag option.  Makes it so easy to
see what needs to  be done right away.

Regards,

Robyn

A Personal History of Outliners

This is a guest post by Steve Stroh. If you’d like to contribute a guest blog post, just email your idea to blog@workflowy.com

Discovering the outline
I was introduced to outlining in grade school, and while that hierarchical method of organizing ideas made sense to my young techie mind… they were a pain in the @#$  to do on paper. Their most powerful feature, being able see the big picture, was also their disadvantage. When you spotted a change or addition that was needed, you had to REWRITE it. So, for me, outlines remained a nice theory until decades later I discovered the outliner in Microsoft Word – DYNAMIC outlines! Cool! But of course, you had to remember where the file was, and had to be at your computer.

The leap from digital to web
Years later, outlines became even more useful for me when I discovered them in Google Docs. It was extremely useful to have outlines accessible from any computer with a web browser (which is all of them). … but I was disappointed that a complex outline in GD was a fragile thing, and the outline structure could quickly fall apart. Still … it was a step up.

Goodbye Google Docs. Hello WorkFlowy!
A few more years passed and I discovered WorkFlowy. I don’t remember when or how I first found it, but as soon as I tried it, its intuitiveness of zooming in and out, quickly entering text and then organizing it later just… resonated with me. Workflowy immediately became one of my primary tools. My first email to Workflowy support was February 2011, so I’ve been using Workflowy nearly 3 years. Workflowy is as indispensable to me now as ever, as I begin to organize a huge amount of disparate information in preparation for a writing gig.

Why am I doing this?
When I saw WorkFlowy post about how they aren’t planning to blog, I decided to lend a hand. I think an active blog is an important signal that a company is thriving, and WorkFlowy is doing quite well as I understand it. I’m a volunteer, not staff. I work a day job, and passion gigs in the evenings, and I do this just because I love Workflowy. I’m JUST the Semi Official Blogger (S.O.B.) :-)