Bold and Italic Have Arrived In WorkFlowy


Although we feel bad bankrupting all the people who bet all their savings that WorkFlowy would never get formatting (including my own dear mother (sorry Mom!)), simple formatting has arrived.

You can now use bold and italic in WorkFlowy. There are a few details I should mention: You can use the same shortcuts you normally use to start typing in bold and italic, namely, control/command+b and control/command+i. And you can highlight text and format it with those same shortcuts.

That is about it. We are hard at work trying to make WorkFlowy better for you, and we hope you enjoy bolding and italicizing your WorkFlowy documents.

Note for color lovers: We will probably let you choose colors for tags at some point, and maybe even let the tag affect formatting of the whole item. Not sure when it will happen, but we like the idea.

78 thoughts on “Bold and Italic Have Arrived In WorkFlowy

  1. I appreciate the effort put into keeping Workflowy simple. I have been a paying customer for almost a year. But I find the tone in your message jarring: the flippant tone, the glee in denying users features.

    Instead, tell us how you see Workflowy evolving and why. Tell us more about how you use it.

    1. Hrm, sorry about that. I have edited the post a a little in response, cause maybe the tone was a little off. To be clear we aren’t denying users features, and we don’t take joy in it, it just takes a long time and a lot of work to build them. We have a long list of great features we would very much like to provide our users.

      1. Your tone is fine – and I’m one of those extra-sensitive people, like tektrader, apparently. Thanks for adding bold and italics!

    2. I suggested bolding in my reply to your email when I first joined 9 months ago; your response was just “You can’t even do that in the pro version yet!”, I found that a little arrogant.

  2. It doesn’t work in Firefox (at least my french version), where both ctrl+i and ctrl+b open the bookmarks sidepanel !
    Works perfectly in Chrome however.

    Would it be technically possible to preserve the bold / italic formatting when I copy some text from a website or a word document into workflowy ?

    1. It already works on iOS 7. Just highlight a word, hit right arrow in the thing that comes up and there are bold/italic controls. I should add this to the post.

      1. No, sorry :/ The tools used to build it don’t exist on those versions of iOS. I actually have an original iPad, so I’m in the same boat.

  3. Is this supposed to work when loading as a chrome app? Right now it’s not working for me. It works if I load it directly in Chrome, though.

    1. The Chrome app has to update for it to work. We pushed out an automatic update last night, so it should work. Maybe try closing and re-opening?

  4. I’m very excited, thank you! And what’s even more special is that I sent this in as a suggestion back in 2011 and WorkFlowy actually sent me a reply to that original email to tell me it’s now available. That tells me they do keep all our suggestions. Good going, WorkFlowy!

  5. Amazing! Just in the last few days, for example, having my plan of action in Workflowy has allowed me to juggle a load of things without getting confused. My life has been made way easier because of you guys. Thanks a lot.
    Especially looking forward to using Bold lettering.

  6. Great feature. Any progress on the issue where the letter ‘n’ can not be typed in the Chrome App. It’s getting very frustrating. (It’s been at least …a week?)

  7. Thanks for the feature. In the future it’d be cool if you added support for the markdown versions so you could just type *italic word* or **bolded word** and the style would be updated accordingly. On mobile that’s a bit more direct.

    But thanks, I LOVE Workflowy!

  8. This is fantastic. I would love Markdown type support also, but it may be a bit esoteric for some people (I realize that goes contrary to the notion of markdown being “humane” but I’ve seen tons of mangled MD docs out there).

    One thing — and I guess I should have added this under “Other” on the feature vote — while we speak about things like date support — what if the implementation was more generic and it just supported “values” with tags like Taskpaper? @date(2014-01-24) and the search operators supported queries on those value?

    Hmmm I guess that could be esoteric too, lol

    1. If you have suggestions for spacings, we’d welcome them! We are definitely not typographers.

  9. It’s amazing how happy can people be with a feature from the 90s, thank you workflowy team for making your website less retarded.

  10. Colors would be awesome! If you do this, please consider allowing for both font colors and background colors in your spec for the color tag. Background colors make navigating large sets of text-based data extra-extra easy. I tend to use them for status, degree of doneness, and a host of other important stuff. It’s great to be able to know important things about what you’re scrolling past, without even reading a word.

  11. I use workflowy every day for note taking in my college classes, there are two major hangups however that make things difficult and limited

    First, the ability to insert images, my notes for any class that requires graphs and tables such as calculus and economics would become much more useful if I could simply copy and paste an image in

    Second, a wider support for special characters, The only class I am unable to use workflowy for is formal logic (and boy would I love to), because it requires a number of special characters such as the turnstyle, double turnstile, left and rightfacing U, etc.

    1. yeah, we’d like to support images and attachments generally. it seems like a general and useful feature.

      also, yeah, special characters & math (maybe latex, etc) would be great.

      1. Images would be awesome. The lack of that feature makes choosing between Workflowy (hierarchical, big picture) and Trello (flat but great for referencing ideas) difficult at the moment.

      2. There is a simple solution for math – MathJax. And it definitely could be great to have that capability.

        Markdown support is also the way to go: you add basic formatting capabilities without changing interface at all (you can also include figures by url with markdown). On the other hand, both features might be hard to implement on mobile.

  12. Please add the possibility to create links between notes, that can be done in a simple way without adding strain to the gui I think and would greatly enhance organizational efforts. Otherwise, great product!

  13. Some of us find black on white text to be highly readable compared to colors. I hope the tag”s changing the colouring of an item will be optional!

    (Triply vital if one is using a UserStyle.)

  14. love workflowy, but please don’t ruin workflowy by turning it into a word processor. The behavior is love is AUTOFORMATTING, based on structure. i don’t want a bunch of formatting buttons cluttering my interface, and i don’t want to destroy the readability of my content structure with arbitrary formatting.


  15. Please keep the style of workflowy plain and simple. I love the clean UI and the focus on making lists. Ain’t it all about brain organizing, nothing more?! I’ve tried so many super structured apps like evernote, wunderlist, todoist (was simple in the beginnings), trello, kanban, GTD and so on but only workflowy convinced me because of it’s simplicity and it’s extreme flexibility.

    You’ve done a great job, really!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, we will always keep it plain and simple, and we will add features in that same way.

  16. I would use color sparingly… just for task items. Workflowy would then be able to fully adapt Kanban principles – in that color helps to visualize work flow a heck of a lot easier.

    1. Yes.. that is awesome!… But I don’t think it will be announced until the iOS app (at least) comes up to speed… because you can use the underline feature right now on Web/ Desktop… but as soon as the iOS app updates, underline can’t be assimilated from the desktop changes… and what happens is that, when in turn, the desktop app syncs, the underline formatting is undone. So… don’t go wild with your formatting changes across your lists yet… if you are an iOS user.

  17. iOS apps now have underline!!… so at least with iOS, desktop and web apps, you can go crazy and underline without anything reverting back! Any word on the Android app yet?

  18. Acknowledging the balance sought between keeping things simple and adding usability, here is one feature request that I have not seen mentioned yet in this thread– Incorporating some pre-configured formatting styles into the available themes.

    For example one theme might automatically make Level 1 entries in a current list view bold 14 pt text, Level 2 entries bold 12 pt text, Level 2 entries italics 11 pt text, Level 4 and below normal font, etc.

    This would not add any new buttons or complexity to the end user– it would just be an optional theme they could choose to use. When I’m viewing several open nested lists, having some formatting to visually organize what is on the page would be useful.

  19. Developers… Please Read This…


    Being Older… this would help me in seeing it on my iPad and iPhone.

    I WOULD DUMP ALL MY OTHER TODO APPS if…. I could make your text bigger… Smaller text for those of us who can’t see as well as we could in our youth… makes the app unusable for a ToDo app.

    Suddenly… the app would be the only app used for task lists.

    Hope you read this… Kip

  20. Keyboard shortcut for Emoji (Command ⌘ +Control ^ + Space) in Mac OS doesn’t work 😕
    Could you please correct this?

  21. Another request for larger font sizes on iPad here. Steve Jobs wore glasses for distance viewing, not for close reading, so maybe he wasn’t that interested in hyperopia.

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