Preview the WorkFlowy Desktop App

I’ve been working on a desktop app for WorkFlowy, and it’s almost ready to go. Before we launch it, though, it would be super helpful if people would try it out and report any issues.

If you’re using WorkFlowy as your information home base, the desktop app is just a much better experience than the web app. Here’s why:

Why Desktop Is Better 

  • Full offline support
  • Super fast startup
  • More quickly accessible

I’m super happy about this impending release. I think it will become the primary way people use WorkFlowy on their computers.

Please install it and give feedback!

Once you install it, you can either leave comments on this post, or email help@workflowy.com with the subject: “[desktop] whatever your subject is”

Here are instructions for each of the three platforms the app will support:

After installing these apps, they will automatically update with new versions of WorkFlowy as we release them.


 

How to Install WorkFlowy for Windows

  1. Download WorkFlowy For Windows
  2. The file finishes downloading, click “Run”
  3. Windows will give you a big warning because the app is new and hasn’t been installed many times yet. To get around this, When you see the big blue window with the “Don’t Run” button, you have to click “More info” and then click “Run Anyway”.

image202017-04-1720at206-38-1320pm-public


 

How to Install WorkFlowy for Mac

  1. Download WorkFlowy For Mac
  2. Open the WorkFlowy-0.0.1.dmg file
  3. Drag the WorkFlowy icon onto your application folder, like normal.

 


 

How to Install WorkFlowy for Linux

  1. Download WorkFlowy For Linux
  2. Open your terminal and change the permissions on the file to allow execution, so something like the following (with a longer file name):
    chmod a+x WorkFlowy.AppImage
  3. Click on the WorkFlow.AppImage file or run from the terminal while you’re in there
  4. ./WorkFlowy.AppImage

 

 

89 thoughts on “Preview the WorkFlowy Desktop App”

    1. This doesn’t support Chromebooks. Chrome apps are being sunset, we’ll still publish it for Chromebooks, but most people aren’t on them.

      1. Chrome apps are being sunset on the Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms; but not for ChromOS/Chromebooks. That said, it seems like Google wants to run Android apps on Chromebooks so Chrome apps on Chromebooks will likely eventually go away, just not as soon.

        Thanks.

    1. Yeah, desktop support is nice but using WorkFlowy without my half-dozen userstyles will only be a last resort for me. Why not just add service-worker-based offline support and insta-load to the in-browser app?

      Also it looks like I can open multiple instances of the app, but the second one hangs forever at the loading spinner. Which means I can’t use it the way I currently use WorkFlowy: with many tabs open to different nodes. Furthermore, use of tabs better enables things like bookmarking and so on. If I want a tab in its own window, I can drag it to its own window.

      I’m not sure if you’re using Electron, but it seems you’re using something like it at least, so I want to wave this at you: https://josephg.com/blog/electron-is-flash-for-the-desktop/

      Other feedback: the back/forward buttons on my mouse don’t work in the desktop app.

      1. Indeed, the multiple windows open way of working is amazing – sadly the app is very mono-threaded, which makes nav more of a pain than it should be…

        Being able to post in photos on mobile etc, would be more useful, or create live alert dates, or…. but a mono-threaded windows app, with no style sheets…. I guess I don’t get it. Why is this better?

    1. A few things. The platform for existing Chrome app is being sunset by Google. But there are also a bunch of small details where Google made Chrome Apps behave differently from normal apps, such as when you Alt+tab/Command+tab to switch, they don’t show up, and you can only launch them from Google’s weird app launcher thing, unless you fiddle with things.

  1. Love that you are working on a way to replace the Chrome app (since Google is discontinue Chrome apps). Two main points that keep me from using the current Chrome app and this desktop program.

    1. URLs are missing for the bullet I’m currently zoomed into. I frequently copy the URL to a different point in my outline so I can quickly switch back and forth. The URL links work in the desktop program, but I’d still have to open a web browser each time I need to create a new link.

    2. The back and forward button doesn’t work with my mouse’s forward and back button. I can fix this with autohotkey, but would be beneficial for other users. Would also make the back/forward operate the same both on web and desktop.

    1. Yep, “Copy Link” would make a nice addition to the bullet hover menu.

      This will return the zoomed bullet url in the browser console log:

      console.log(document.getElementsByClassName(‘project selected’)[0].getElementsByClassName(‘bullet’)[0].href);

      Developer Tools are available in the app, but it’s not working… but not throwing an error either. “document” probably needs to be defined differently. It wouldn’t be pretty, but it’s probably AHK-able.

      And don’t get me started on WorkFlowy’s hijack of Chrome’s back/forward history shortcuts… grrr.

      1. Hrm, developer tools work for me, odd. Yeah, adding a “copy link” seems like a good idea.

      2. Getting the URL of a workflowy node is one of the few reasons why I end up switching to workflowy in the webpage. (And there doing a search for nodes modified in the last 5 minutes to easily get there though)

        The only other two reasons are;
        2. seeing images (using https://blog.workflowy.com/2016/01/06/inline-images/ )
        3. having multiple workflowy pages next to each other, useful if you’re working and comparing branches for some reason.

    2. as a further complication, any links that you do already have to other parts of workflowy take you out of the app and into the browser. Should really stay in the app surely?

      1. OK, one link goes off to safari. All the others stay internal. Can’t see what is different about that one link.

      2. @NPM if your link starts with https:// it will stay in the workflowy app, but if you remove the https:// part the link will leave the workflowy app.

        So, that’s probably the difference in the link ^^

        For instance;
        https://workflowy.com/#/8c1f85408341 –> goes to that node without leaving workflowy app/site
        workflowy.com/#/8c1f85408341 –> launches that page in a new website.

  2. Linux version working great on Fedora 25. Would love to see the desktop app support colors and highlights like the Chrome version does with the Stylish extension.

  3. Super excited for this! Installed and hit a snag.

    The “Your Past Week” window popped up when I logged in. None of the “View” links appear to work except for the Referrals one. The recommending and upgrading links also work.

    A nitpick: Down arrow for settings button is the lighter gray of “Saved” and not the darker gray of “Help”. I have always found it weird too that “Save” appears as a button between other buttons even though it’s not functional. What if there were visible “Saving” and “Unsaved” messages in the lower-right corner only when those states were active.

    Other than that, UI looks nice so far and the noticeable performance improvement with “Completed: Visible” and 40K+ bullets is *amazing*.

    One comment that applies to this and the webapp: I almost always use the window so that it’s narrower than the top bar can go. Getting the bar (search, completed, star, etc.) to collapse better in all views would be greatly appreciated.

  4. That’s so amazing! Thanks!
    Just one tiny thing: I use emojis to get a great overview of my top level lists. Some of them are not displayed correctly. I assume this only effects “combined” emojis like the flags or the numbers in boxes.

    1. What platform are you on? Can you share workflowy doc that has an example that works on the web but not in here?

      1. I’m on the latest macOS. And it’s about those emojis for example: 0️⃣1️⃣2️⃣3️⃣ …

  5. Many thanks Jesse – I was wistfully thinking of this release literally yesterday! Highly delighted to see and use this!!!

    The view zoom function alone further justifies my recently reversing my move to Dynalist. On the subject of which, I’m using Dvorak keyboard with Qwerty key commands, and the zoom in/out (cmd+ and cmd-) don’t work with it. Minor point, but to be added to the list.

    ROCK ON!!!

  6. I don’t see what this offers over the web version, if anything?

    Things I’m not so keen on:

    – missing URL, though if you pushed me I probably don’t use it as much as I think I do
    – full-width layout. Not sure why, I feel it would be good to be able to set this

    I’d like to see:

    – a better interface for favourites (would prefer a list; even a workflowy page, better editing / buttons)
    – better themes / ability to customise theme / stylesheet
    – better search highlighting in dark mode

    TBH, I spend so much time in the browser, and usually have several WF tabs open, I can’t see myself moving to a standalone app unless I could do this.

    Not sure how helpful that is.

  7. Doesn’t center the text in the window like the web app does – this makes full screen very awkward as all the text is on the left side. I like the idea of a desktop app though for sure.

  8. The installer on my Win 7 PC did not leave a Workflowy program icon on the desktop or start programs. Did appear in programs control panel. Win 10 PC install was perfect.
    I think there should be a developer feedback method that doesn’t blog it to all. Did I miss finding it?

      1. I have an old netbook running Linux and the executable failed. Can you make a 32bit version of .AppImage? That might be the issue with some of these Win7 failures too.

  9. Nice start for a dedicated app. Installed fine for me on Ubuntu 16.04 64bit w/ESET and Win7 Pro 64bit w/Kaspersky. Developer tools work fine on both

  10. Working on Win7-64bit! Sync’d with no problems so far. Thanks!

    On another note, can’t wait for an updated version for Chromebook. Asus Chromebook Flip is my main device. Workflowy chrome app would never connect when VPN extension was on, so had to disable that extension in order to sync. Then I would switch the VPN back on when done. I switched to the Android version since it can run on the Flip. It works with the VPN on, but never could move items successfully. In the process of reconfiguring networks so VPNs are router based, not device based, so definitely looking forward to Chrome app extension!

    Good stuff, guys and gals!

  11. I can’t see that anything happened. I have the Workflowy 0.0.1 icon on my desktop. Should my Workflowy file be open before I drag the icon?

    I’m sure I’m doing something wrong.

    Wayne >

      1. Jesse, thanks for your help. Let me work on it tomorrow. I may have a different issue working against me.

      2. Jesse, I’ve been out of town for a week so I’m just getting back into working with the desktop app. When I drag to the applications folder and then double click on the WorkFlowy icon it does launch WorkFlowy and open my file but it looks the same as before. How do I know whether or not the app installed?

  12. Installed with no problems on Ubuntu 14.04 running as chroot alongside Chrome OS and on Windows 7 Enterprise, except the Windows 7 version has Terminal font looking exactly like Typewriter…

    1. Hi! Thank you for the comment, we are indeed beginning the process of designing out in the open and starting work on the projects people care about most. We unfortunately had some internal disagreements last year that prevented further work on the dates/reminders stuff.

      The reason for this update is simple: the desktop experience is better for most people, lots of people use our current desktop app, and Google is discontinuing the platform that our current app relies upon. So this was a necessary step for us. I do understand the frustration though, and I hope that you’ll soon be happy to see us making progress on the product.

      1. “The reason for this update is simple: the desktop experience is better for most people,…”

        As opposed to what? Your non-developed mobile app?

        There isn’t exactly a choice is there? You have chosen not to develop a mobile app so people have to use a desktop browser.

        I also don’t understand your strategy considering over 60% of internet access is from a mobile device. Most web development has a mobile first strategy.

        Guess you guys know something we don’t.

  13. Awesome work! Always glad to see updates from the WorkFlowy team. This is a huge improvement over the Chrome app, with its weird/annoying app management.

    I’d love to have the benefit of offline support, but here’s what currently holds me back from using the desktop app. They’re two styling issues that can be solved with some simple CSS:

    – No max-width for the main content. This makes readability terrible on larger screens. Ideally it would be centered, with a max-width, like we have on the web app.
    – The header doesn’t squish down for small window widths. I mostly use WorkFlowy with macOS’s split screen functionality, so it’s often squished to the side of my screen. Doing so cuts off the current toolbar. Not a dealbreaker, but annoying nonetheless. This can be solved by hiding some buttons on smaller screens and using a flexbox layout to make the search bar fill up available space (and shrink appropriately). Here’s what it look like with my custom stylesheet: http://i.imgur.com/8MWYppv.png

    I currently use Fluid to run the web app as its own separate app, and I added a custom stylesheet to address both issues. I also used the following icon which I feel fits in better with the macOS aesthetic: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nathos/8497720151

  14. I started to use the Windows version (on Windows 10 CU x64). The full offline support is very nice!
    Just one thing. The desktop app does not remember windows size and position, which is very inconvenient.

  15. Nice, thank you!
    Works well on Ubuntu 16.10.

    Two issues I spotted
    1) after clicking on an URL, browser opens (chrome), but does not open the page — as it should and as it does on the chrome-based desktop app.

    2) would be nice to have an icon that the system can use for the button on the Launcher, for application switching, etc. This also worked out-of-the-box for the chrome-based app.

    One more question:
    — Is it possible to start two instances of the app? (It would be useful, but doesn’t seem to work.)

    Thanks again, being independent of Chrome is nice — for future _and_ for those many moments, when chrome crashes …

    Robert

  16. You wasted your time, effort and money.

    Worse still, you have burnt your first mover advantage.

    Why regress to a desktop when the world of work is online.

    You will lose existing clients like myself over this poor strategy.

    Focus on web and mobile delivery. It’s what your competitors are doing.

    The 1st rule of business is to give clients what they need. And, admittedly, what they need to be competitive in the future may not be what they are clamering for right now.But, it certainly isn’t a desktop app.

    1. Awesome! It’s working great for me. I love how fast this is. Thousands of items, no problem.

      To counter the whining… give clients what they want – sure, if you can. I’m a client, and I want… fast and powerful desktop. So, I thank you.

      I do think it would be great to improve the android and ios apps, if you can, but I personally will hardly ever use them. I’ve moved on, back to light powerful laptop(s) etc. The phone is for phone calls, everything else is done on a real computer. Peace!

      1. “The phone is for phone calls, everything else is done on a real computer. ”

        Glad you’re happy with the latest, but I think that’s the opposite direction most of the world is moving in.

        I second the surprise that this is the what workflowy team have been working on.

        Wouldn’t it be better to made the web version work offline instead? And I’ve never found it too slow.

      2. This isn’t the main thing we’ve been working on, it is just a thing that was ready to be released. Mobile is definitely more important in the big picture, and it will be getting a lot of love soon.

      3. But you’re not one of the over 60% who accesses the internet via mobile, you’re in a minority. Developing for a minority has rarely proved to be successful, but who knows.

        Considering that 90% of people’s time on their mobile device is spent using apps as opposed to 10% in their browser, it is a very poor choice for Workflowy not to provide a robust mobile app.

        By “mobile” we’re not just talking about smartphones. Tablets now eclipse smartphones in internet access. Many people no longer own a “real computer”, they own a kindle fire or iPad or Android tablet. “Real computers” are no longer a necessity for many people who can do most things from editing a Word document to writing emails and skyping with family. What they cannot do well is use Workflowy.

      4. All I know is that just like the post says, this Workflowy desktop app absolutely screams on my Surface Pro and it works great even disconnected from the net (which I often am). No way that an android or ios version is going to be anywhere near this fast or powerful. So, I’m delighted. 🙂

  17. I think this works well. The UI is better than the web app, and no issues so far. I like it.

    To be honest, though, the thing that’s gotten me to put less and less of my information in Workflowy over the past few years is the mobile app. Offline issues aside, I already had a nice experience using Workflowy on the computer via safari. On mobile, though, it’s a hassle to use the app, with the text input (whatever you call it when the cursor pops up) being so easily activated when you’re scrolling — in a way that hasn’t happened with any other app I’ve used for notes/writing/etc. If I have a quick note to jot down, I’d much rather use Apple Notes/Bear/etc because it’s so much easier. Not to mention smaller issues like functions from the web version not even existing on the mobile version.

    So, well done on the web app, but given how much I — and presumably many others — rely on mobile, I’d really appreciate some more emphasis on improving that experience.

  18. I applaud the effort, but unfortunately I’m reliant on the plethora of add-ons that Frank promotes in his blogs….

  19. Glad to find the real desktop app for Windows. It works well in Windows 10 64-bit Simplified Chinese.

    And I’d like to mention that, the desktop app with offline support is especially important for Chinese users, because workflowy.com is rather slow, and chrome app store is unavailable in China unless with some VPN proxy.

    PS. There is a new and similar app named mubu/幕布 with mindmap/image support in China. https://mubu.com/

  20. Good to see a development (I think more than one year since last update). I am looking into the Workflowy´s clone tool called Dynalist but going back to Workflowy because they relieve in Markdown for simple formatting (bold, italic,etc) and it mess the things around (not a fan), and Workflowy feels smoother and faster.
    I hope that next update won´t be in 2018.
    It would be great to see hyperlinks inside a word and some colors

  21. So far so good on my Win 10.

    1. I’m relieved to read above that you are working on a stylesheet option.
    2. Also agree with and glad you caught rawbytz’s hover menu addition for URLs
    3. For folks on the Win platform and want multiple sessions for side-by-side: if you RIGHT-click on an active taskbar icon, you can start another instance of the program. Then just tile ’em up as before (e.g. using Win-arrow button combos).

  22. It seems that the icon of Workflowy Mac is too large in the Dock, compare to other application on the Mac. I’ve got some screenshots but have no idea where I should send.

  23. App works great for me on my mac.

    I would love to add styles as others have mentioned, and centered text would be nice. However, I believe that the following issue should be addressed before final release:

    When I select multiple items to delete, the “delete all” selection is buried beneath the Keyboard Shortcuts panel. At first I thought that the delete functionality had been left out in this release. After I realized what was going on, I tried to stretch the window to make room but the problem persists however wide I make the window.

  24. It seems to work fine for me. I do prefer using Chrome still because of the “page” view rather than full screen, but I’m sure that will come down the road. (If not, please consider doing his. Without it, it feels a little bit like a .txt document.) I did notice though that the chrome version seem to have a little bit of a crisper font than the desktop. The desktop app seemed to be a little fuzzier and made me want to put on my glasses or something. Just an initial observation. I look forward to reminders and dates!

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