WorkFlowy – Your Email Inbox Death Star

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The Death Star was a moon-sized battle station constructed by the Galactic Empire… It boasted a primary weapon, a superlaser, with sufficient firepower to destroy an entire planet with a single shot. 8 giant kyber crystals powered the superlaser. – Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki

I’ll be giving you 8 WorkFlowy kyber crystals to superfocus your superlaser – to once and for all decimate your email inbox. Join me on the WorkFlowy side of the force. Continue reading “WorkFlowy – Your Email Inbox Death Star”

Create WorkFlowy Reminders in iOS 9 at the Speed of Talk

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There are many hacks built around WorkFlowy’s unique list URL’s – and the inspiration for today’s post, once again, is “The lowly URL as the irreducible atom of work management”. To quote “Rawybtz” from a previous interview:

The URL is the simplest way for different apps/services to connect… WorkFlowy excels at this. Every time you create a bullet, a permanent URL is created that doesn’t change even if you edit it, tag it, or drag it. Not all apps get this.

For those iPhone and iPad users who’ve upgraded to iOS 9, you can now tell Siri in WorkFlowy Safari to remind you of a particular URL. Rawbytz runs us through how WorkFlowy fits into this with a 3-point explanation on his blog. It’s a 1-minute read.

So once you’ve created an iOS Reminder in WorkFlowy by zooming into any list in Safari and telling Siri to remind you about it further down the road, you now have iOS Reminders that link to those WorkFlowy lists. When you are alerted, you can pay your list a visit by tapping on the Safari icon… or you can simply rejoice that you were reminded about any bullet item.

Now there are a couple of additional things we can do to take this already fantastic iOS/ WorkFlowy hack to the next level…

View your WorkFlowy (iOS) Reminders on Sunrise Calendar

Amazingly, one cannot integrate your iOS Reminders with your iOS Calendar app. So how does one go about getting your iOS (WorkFlowy) Reminders to show up on a calendar?

Sunrise Calendar, available on iOS, Android and desktop allows one to pull in events and reminders from just about anywhere and see them on one interface. You can connect iCal, Google Calendar, Trello, Evernote Reminders (among loads of other possibilities) and… drumroll… iOS Reminders. This means you can see any iOS/ WorkFlowy Reminders you’ve set up directly in a calendar. You may even switch your calendar app of preference to Sunrise, as many have.

So just to be clear here: You can tell Siri to remind you about a WorkFlowy list you’ve zoomed into (in Safari) – and seconds later, it will appear in Sunrise Calendar at the time and date you’ve specified…

(1) Zoom into your WorkFlowy list:

(2)  Tell Siri, “Remind me about this…” and give a time and date:

(3) View your iOS Reminders in Sunrise Calendar:

(4) Tap on your Reminder for expanded details:

Setting it all up

It’s a piece of cake:

  1. Make sure your iOS devices are connected to iCloud
  2. Under Sunrise Calendar’s “Options” menu, connect to iCloud (Add Account)
  3. Under “Visible Calendars” make sure your default iOS Reminder “Inbox”/ “Reminders” lists are checked.

Recurring/ Repeat reminders

Once zoomed into a WorkFlowy list, you could tell Siri, “Remind me about this every day at 2:00 PM”/ “… every Tuesday at 9:00 PM”, etc.

Your iOS/ WorkFlowy repeat reminders will show up in your Reminders app… and on Sunrise Calendar, at the intervals specified, if you’re connected.

How about on the home front?

What to do with your items in your WorkFlowy lists that you’ve created iOS reminders for?

  • You could tag them with a “#rem” (reminder) or “#rec” (recurring) tag so that you know reminders have already been assigned – which can be done at the time of creating a reminder.
  • You could nest the reminder date and time in a child list for reference.
  • You could rearrange/ move your WorkFlowy lists which you’ve created reminders for wherever you please. You can outline to your heart’s content… and the URL’s connected to your reminders will remain the same.
  • If you have any “Don’t Break The Chain!” routines going that you’d like recurring reminders for, you could keep those in one WorkFlowy list.

IFTTT recipes

Once you have iOS Reminder incarnations of your WorkFlowy lists, you can then go ahead and do a bunch of things with other apps through IFTTT recipes.

Language tip

Since you don’t have to speak out the actual content of your WorkFlowy list (just the reminder date), this solves a particular challenge for me: Many of my to-do items are a mix of languages. Siri, of course, cannot be expected to understand 2 or more language combinations. Whereas before I would have to enter certain reminders manually, now I have an elegant solution.

One Caveat

Although the “Remind me about this…” feature has been disabled for iPhone 4S and older, this totally works when you manually hit your share icon in Safari, select the Reminders app and enter your reminder time and date.

It’s time to set up some reminders!


Get EXCLUSIVE bite-sized  WorkFlowy  updates: tips, tricks & news about FREE online workshops with Frank Degenaar. Sign up here.

Markdown Preview Directly in any WorkFlowy List

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This is for all of you Markdown fans out there… and a teaser for those of you who need to take your writing places (and have yet to discover what Markdown is). Learning Markdown is as easy as remembering the names of 5-10 new people, max. And the more you engage with those people, the easier it is to remember their names. Go ahead and Google Markdown. I double dare you.

It doesn’t get any better than implementing Markdown in an outliner. If you’re a Markdown adept and you haven’t been writing directly in WorkFlowy, you’ve been seriously missing out on the punch that WorkFlowy packs as an outliner – you know, the ability to organize your thoughts. In my book I walk you through automating Markdown writing in WorkFlowy – from the very first bullet of your body of work all the way up to Word and Adobe Indesign for self publishing.

Seeing is believing

So you’re a Markdown junkie and you want to preview your work – to see what your end format looks like – especially displaying any images you might have – instead of copying to an online Markdown tool in another browser tab. Wouldn’t it be something if you had one simple keyboard shortcut that gave you the ability to preview (see the HTML) of whatever list you’ve zoomed into – right in WorkFlowy? I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks already, and it’s sublime. First a show and tell… and then I’ll explain the very few steps to set it up. It’s going to be a breeze.

In the GIF below, I’ve zoomed into a chapter from my book (written in Markdown in WorkFlowy). All I do is hit Ctrl+Shift+F5 to have a configurable window that pops up with the entire contents of my list, giving me a preview of my work. I can resize or fully expand that window as I wish:

… and the best part is that every time I zoom into the same list, the exact same window will be right there where I left it:

I can minimize the window to a teeny tiny tile, place it wherever I want… and click on it whenever I want to preview my Markdown:

Presentation mode

Remember the Alt/Ctrl+Shift+9/0 Keyboard shortcuts from this post? What you’ll see in the below GIF is that I’ve created a Markdown “preview window” for each of the chapter lists within a section of my book. If I expand each preview window to fullscreen mode before exiting, when I flip between chapters using the above keyboard shortcuts, I get a presentation in HTML, especially if I go into my browser’s fullscreen mode. Tell me this is not brilliant:

Your toolbox

Now for the behind the scenes stuff. After this simple setup, it’s all smooth sailing from there on out. Here are the free tools you’ll need to make it happen:

  1. Chrome browser
  2. Web Page Sticky Notes Chrome extension.
  3. PhraseExpress (optional)

Web Page Sticky Notes Chrome extension

This little Chrome extension is what makes it possible. That, and the fact that every single list of yours in WorkFlowy has it’s own unique URL.

What this extension allows one to do is attach sticky note(s) to any web page you want. Any color, size, font family, etc., etc. When you revisit a web page where you created sticky notes, your note(s) will be exactly the way you left them. It simply works. So your mind is probably now racing with all the possibilities. You can use this extension just as most people do… or you can use it as a “preview window” for your Markdown writing. That’s the gist of it.

A quick Q&A:

Q: What happens if something goes wrong with the extension and you lose all your notes?

A: In the unlikely event, keep in mind that for the purpose of previewing your Markdown writing in WorkFlowy, essentially you’re copying existing information from any zoomed in list into your preview window. Nothing to lose, everything to gain. There’s no hard work to lose: Even starting from scratch, all you do (after the setup I’m going to show you) is hit your own tailor-made shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+F5 for me) in any list you’re currently in… and Bob’s your uncle.

In the same vein, I wouldn’t recommend that you go out of your way to create sticky notes containing new information – mostly because you won’t be able to filter/search for them within WorkFlowy.

Monkey see, monkey do

When you first install the Sticky Notes extension, your default settings will be a tad different. Here are the few tweaks I made in a one-time setup:

SETTINGS: Tool icon, top right of the note

  1. Default Background Color: white
  2. Default Width: 400px / Default Height: 250px
  3. Disable Auto Resize: Yes
  4. Default Rendering/ Editing Mode: Github Flavored Markdown

PhraseExpress

PhraseExpress (Windows) is optional. You could also attempt the same key-stroke automation with AutoHotkey (Windows) or Keyboard Maestro (Mac).

Basically what one of the above tools will allow you to do is to take what would have been exactly 5 keyboard strokes or shortcuts and whittle it down to just 1. Here’s the command you can paste directly into the “Phrase Content” field of a new PhraseExpress phrase. Then just choose an available shortcut (after testing in WorkFlowy):

  • {#CTRL -chars A -count 2}{#clipboard -copy}{#CTRL {#SHIFT {#INS}}}{#CTRL {#SHIFT -chars V}}{#CTRL {#HOME}}

UPDATE: (4/27/2016) Due to a tweak on WPSN’s part, in the above code I have swapped out a clipboard paste, with Ctrl+Shift+V, which pastes as plain text into the Sticky Note, thereby avoiding pasting in rich text, along with your WorkFlowy outline formatting. It’s good to go!

The essential ingredient in simulating the above sequence of keyboard shortcuts is finding out what the keyboard shortcut for the Web Page Sticky Note Chrome extension is to bring up a new note. The default is Ctrl+Shift+Ins.

It’s a wrap!

One final tip: make sure your entire list is expanded before you either copy your list manually (Ctrl+A,A) or activate your keyboard shortcut. You can do this by double-clicking on your list’s title.

Happy previewing!


Here’s the WorkFlowy list that I wrote this blog post in (in Markdown). You can use it to test the Web Page Sticky Note Chrome extension once you’ve installed it. (You’ll need to add the list to your account before giving it a working over).


Get EXCLUSIVE bite-sized  WorkFlowy  updates: tips, tricks & news about FREE online workshops with Frank Degenaar. Sign up here.

WorkFlowy for Foodies

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food·ie

/ˈfo͞odē/
a person keenly interested in food, especially in eating or cooking.
“WorkFlowy may help foodies to better organize their culinary pursuits”


Today’s awesome guest post and ideas were cooked up by one such foodie, Nathan Schafer. It comprises the meaty parts of a couple of email exchanges between Nathan and I (Frank).

Nathan is currently a stay-at-home dad. He used to work as a dialogue editor and voice over engineer for TV animation. He also composes music semi-professionally for various types of media and as a side hobby under the name Peaks of Valleys. You can check his work out here: www.peaksofvalleys.com. Nathan also happens to be a seasoned cook – which is what he’s serving up in WorkFlowy for us today.

Nathan tells me that he uses WorkFlowy to organize recipes and make both shopping and following a recipe a lot easier…

Continue reading “WorkFlowy for Foodies”

Flipping Through Zoomed-in Sibling Lists

Alt+Shift+9/0  (Windows) :: Ctrl+Shift+9/0  (Mac)


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Growing pains

Over the last couple of months I’ve received a lot of emails inquiring about two of WorkFlowy’s hidden keyboard shortcuts I wrote about in my book – mainly because there’ve been a couple of teething problems. The Baby teeth were originally Ctrl+9/0 for both Mac and Windows. These apparently conflicted with Mac systems shortcuts and so the baby teeth gave way to the “Permanent” teeth: Ctrl+Shift+9/0. Then on the Windows side, many got a severe toothache, which allowed them to chew only on the left side of their mouth. So Windows users went in for a root canal (and an extraction it turns out), giving us the now few-day old Alt+Shift+9/0. Now we can all sink our teeth into any of our lists and chew through them backwards and forwards.

More information please

The Alt+Shift+9/0 (Windows) and Ctrl+Shift+9/0 (Mac) keyboard shortcuts enable one to flip through any set of sibling lists as if they were pages in a book. You could even create some flip book ASCII animations like my first attempt below:

Continue reading “Flipping Through Zoomed-in Sibling Lists”

3 Hotkey Hacks as Good as Brand New WorkFlowy Features

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Today we’re going on a walkabout with 3 hacks that provide the powerful capabilities of brand spanking new features. I kid you not.

If you’re not quite ready to have your socks blown off, your mind blown and your face melted off (in that exact order), you might want to skip today’s post. I’m saving the best for last… so evidently having your face melted off is the end goal here.

I’ll be walking you through a couple of tailor-made keyboard shortcuts that may massively change the way you use WorkFlowy in a couple of key areas. Continue reading “3 Hotkey Hacks as Good as Brand New WorkFlowy Features”

Archiving in WorkFlowy & the 3/4-Hyphen Filtering Hack

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To erase or not to erase…

In the 2004 movie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) break up. Clementine decides to undergo a procedure to have her memories of Joel erased. When Joel finds out, he also decides to undergo the same procedure – and as the movie unfolds, we find Joel racing against time within the recesses of his own mind to try and safeguard his fading memories of Clementine.

It’s a classic case of not knowing what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Does this sound like your relationship with WorkFlowy? I mean, do you have stuff (tasks, etc.) that you might want to safeguard for posterity or just for the record, but you may have deleted some or all of it because it messes with your search results on occasion?

Continue reading “Archiving in WorkFlowy & the 3/4-Hyphen Filtering Hack”