The WorkFlowy Desktop App Has Arrived

WorkFlowy is a tool people have open all day, and for many of us it becomes the hub from which we manage our work and lives. Today, we’re releasing what I believe is a genuinely better way to use WorkFlowy: a desktop app that starts up fast, works fully offline, and gives you instant access to your information without having to look through a bunch of tabs in your browser.

If you use WorkFlowy, I strongly recommend trying it out:

Install the WorkFlowy Desktop App

I hope you enjoy it, and please let us know what you think.


Notes

  1. If you rely on third party extensions to WorkFlowy, for styling or javascript, you currently won’t be able to use those in the desktop app. We hope to make WorkFlowy extensible, and bring these capabilities inside WorkFlowy, so that they will also work in the desktop app, but do not have a timeline for that.
  2. We have had a WorkFlowy Chrome Application for a long time, that behaves much like a desktop app. It had various issues, however, that made it annoying to use, due to the platform Google developed for this type of app being a bit … well … not amazing. Google is now discontinuing support for Chrome Apps, so at some point this will stop working. We will for the time being continue to put out releases of the Chrome app.

 

112 thoughts on “The WorkFlowy Desktop App Has Arrived

  1. It’s great – I’ve already been using the pre-release version for a while. The only feedback I have is that it needs the ability to do CTRL+F searches. The built-in search is fine, but takes me out of my current context. Searching with a simple CTRL+F is something I do constantly (or did, when I was using the web app) to check for references I know I’ve added in the last few hours and are still visible in the current context.

    1. The escape key, “esc” in the top left corner of the keyboard, moves you to/from the Workflowy search field, which in many ways is much more powerful than simple browser find. One downside: you can’t navigate previous/next with Workflowy search, but the way it filters the view is powerful, especially coupled with tags.

    1. One suggestion – Delete any older versions before installing the new one, otherwise the launcher icons won’t be created.

      1. Can you clarify here? I’m having trouble getting the dock icons to behave (Ubuntu 17.10, tried 0.0.1 previously). I’m not sure how to properly uninstall an AppImage. To my knowledge all it does is add a .desktop file in ~/.local/share/applications. Whether I remove that or not when reinstalling, I get the following:

        ./WorkFlowy-0.0.5-x86_64.AppImage
        chmod: changing permissions of ‘/home/mistakenot/.local/share/applications/krita_png.desktop’: Operation not permitted
        chmod: changing permissions of ‘/home/mistakenot/.local/share/applications/obs.desktop’: Operation not permitted
        chmod: changing permissions of ‘/home/mistakenot/.local/share/applications/PlayOnLinux.desktop’: Operation not permitted
        /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-2.0/apps/mate-panel.rc:30: error: invalid string constant “murrine-scrollbar”, expected valid string constant

        Doing things it shouldn’t, right? So it finishes in some kind of partially installed state. It’s searchable in Gnome, but the icon is the AppImage filetype icon. When I run it, the dash icon in gnome is broken too. When I add it to favourites, it pins a different icon (black with red no-entry sign), which when clicked launches a separate item on the dash (the AppImage icon again) which is the actual WorkFlowy programme.

        I encountered the same behaviour under Unity on 17.04 with the 0.0.1 desktop app.

        The most confusing thing is that my 17.04 laptop “installed” the AppImage fine, and the icon works exactly like it should, pinnable normally and everything. Possibly because I hadn’t tried 0.0.1 on it before?

      2. To Corpsious: The app is working in Ubuntu 17.10 – although without the right icon in the menu-bar. I do get the same error message:
        /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-2.0/apps/mate-panel.rc:30: error: invalid string constant “murrine-scrollbar”, expected valid string constant
        However it does no harm. I got it before the app, anyway.

  2. Glad to see this out of beta, thanks! Looking forward to getting multiple windows / tabs and the ability to copy node URLs in the desktop app. Until then I’ll have to continue to use the web app.

    1. I agree, multiple tabs and/or windows is essential. I keep multiple tabs open to make it easy to update various parts of the work tree throughout the day, without having to navigate to them.

    2. Yep – I agree – I organise various WorkFlowy workflows for various tasks and have URL shortcuts to them on my desktop, plus I often have multiple tabs open on various WorkFlowy lists… would love to try the desktop app but it need this flexibility before I can – and of course spell checking as well!!! Crucial! 😊

    3. Yes, I love WorkFlowy to death, but this new desktop app is useless to me with out multi-tab functionality.

    4. I agree that both multiple tabs and linking would both be good for the folks migrating from web. Furthermore, as someone with a poor working-memory, I would benefit from being able to look at multiple views at once, without having to context-switch. Our screens are getting bigger and sharper, and yet application developers lately seem increasingly intent on making us switch between full-page views all the time. My computer is not a phone!

    5. +1 for multiple tabs and node URLs. I tried the app and for this reason alone, I unfortunately can’t work with it. Otherwise it seem nice + quick and appears to be a great port for desktop though! Great work, I’ll just have to wait for that functionality.

    6. +1 for multiple tabs — I can’t use the desktop app ’til it has them. I’ll often reference or summarize from one section into another.

      1. +1 for both. Just discovered this bug today. I used it to get a URL link, then pasted it back near the top. Click it and i get taken to chrome, it opens Workflowy, and says “This is a shared Workflowy” with button to Add it to my account. Click the button and it says it is already in account! but it doesn’t change the notice or button.

  3. I have been happily using the Chrome app for a long time on my Mac and Chromebook. To be clear, Google is not discontinuing chrome app support on Chromebooks. I use both a Mac and a Chromebook, so the desktop app for Mac is welcome but I hope you continue the Chrome app for Chromebooks.

  4. I gave it a quick try, looks promising… one thing I noticed right off was the that the wheel-mouse click for go-back-to-previous-page doesn’t work in this context.

    1. Some AV products flag rarely seen executable files as potential malware. The confidence rating goes up as more people deploy it. That may be the case here since it’s a new release.

  5. I install the Mac app, but I need to wait a long time to open it.(about 2 mins) My system is macOS high sierra10.13. Please help. Thanks.

  6. Is there any way to get rid of the double menu bars at the top? Is the gray “Edit, View, Window, Help” bar really necessary? Can’t that just go into the dropdown button on the right side?

    1. I have the same issue, what I like about the web app is I can launch it without all that extra clutter and just have the important stuff.. you know the lists. Would at least help if there was an option to hide the menu bar, but I didn’t see such an option.

      But yeah, option to hide that extra menu bar. That would be fantastic and i don’t see myself moving to the desktop app just yet without it.

      The rest of it works great though.

  7. Great to hear!

    What about spell check and do we have simply to install the new version right on the previous (I mean the installer from the last post).

    Keep adding new features!

    Thanks!

    1. With all new programs with windows.
      I think you better uninstall the previous app before installing the new one. then reboot pc just to be sure.

  8. Wonderful! I’m been using Workflowy for a long time, it helps me a lot! I will say there’s no other app can replace Workflowy in China, so please keep working on it!~^-^

  9. Bienvenue à cette version pour PC de Workflowy ! Malheureusement lorsque je télécharge le fichier exe pour installer, mon antivirus (Symantec Endpoint protection) le détecte comme une menace et le met aussitôt en quarantaine. Je ne comprend pas pourquoi 😦

    1. Peut-être parce que c’est une nouvelle application et n’a pas beaucoup d’historique de téléchargement

  10. Nice work! Potential bug: If I try to cmd+tab into Chrome I end up in Workflowy, i.e. can’t reach Chrome via cmd+tab when Workflowy app is open. Shutting it down for now :(.

    1. I’m assuming you are using the Chrome App. This definitely shouldn’t be happening in the Desktop app, but is one of the big annoying things about the Chrome App. Please go to chrome://extensions and delete the chrome app, then try again.

  11. I’ve mentioned this a few times. I think it would be really nice to replace the San Serif default font with the System Sans font, basically San Francisco on macOS, Roboto on Android, etc. Github did the same maybe two years ago and it looks really nice. This can be even done on the Electron-based app which makes it more native because it uses the system font. Check this link: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/11/using-system-ui-fonts-practical-guide/

  12. Thank you for all your hard work, and for adding this option.

    But please do not abandon the wonderful browser support Workflowy has had so far.

    I, for one, am not in the least interested in a desktop app as using it would impose unwanted and unnecessary limits on my use of Workflowy (e.g. loss of proper multi-window support). The only advantage—offline support—is not relevant to me at this point, and certainly not worth giving up the flexibility of in-browser usage.

    Just wanted to make sure to raise the banner for all my fellow happy in-browser users of Workflowy.

    Thanks again for a wonderfully reliable and well-designed product.

  13. Thanks for the development! I love an offline version since my connections can be spotty. But definitely need themes or I may have to go back to the browser version.

  14. The application requires OS X 10.9 or later… not upgrading my Mac, looks like I’ll stick with Chrome App.

  15. I organise various WorkFlowy workflows for various tasks and have URL shortcuts to them on my desktop, plus I often have multiple tabs open on various WorkFlowy lists… would love to try the desktop app but it need this flexibility before I can – and of course spell checking as well!!! Crucial! 😊

  16. Double clicking on a heading title to expand/collapse all doesn’t work on the desktop version…is there a different shortcut for that?

  17. I’m with Adam – please keep it working on the browser as I can both skin WF easily (hello Simple and Bright) and the most important thing – multi-pages open at the same time.

    Soooo, I’m not quite sure what we’re fixing with this desktop app – it seems like a solution, looking for a problem. Even Dynalist which has way WAY more functionality than WF works on browser. So why are we getting downloads now, that aren’t skinable, can’t do multi-pages and can’t do anything extra that I can do on the browser?

    What I would love is for you to make it easy for me to use of inline pictures (with all due respect to Frank and his workarounds), its bananas that I can’t take a picture of something and dump it readily into my outline.

    Or maybe a native great iOS app so I can get rid of HandyFlowy?

    Or a smart way to be able to email input directly into the outline?

    Or a better way of handling dates?

    Or literally about a million other things… I literally NEVER get up and think “eh, wouldn’t it be great if there was a desktop app for this”. Clearly I’m missing something.

    1. The Workflowy desktop app has fixed for me what was the biggest problem I had with Workflowy until now – the ability to rely on being able to save my most recent changes. When my internet connection is down, or when Workflowy itself is down, I’m able to continue my work in Workflowy, knowing that the work I do will eventually sync to the cloud.

      In the past, when the connection broke, I would move over to using Notepad or some other tool as a workaround – and worse, I couldn’t remember what bullet points I’d added since it went down That meant I wouldn’t know what I was missing if I had to close the browser I was using. Because I shut down my work laptop when I go home for the day, this was critical to me – I didn’t want to leave work not knowing that all my changes were accounted for and safe in my most critical work application.

    2. The things you mention are all important and will be worked on soon. This was in the works and was needed because Google is discontinuing support for Chrome Apps outside of Chromebooks.

      1. Ok, I see that offline use is somewhat helpful. You are right, when I hop on a plane – sometimes! – I remember to sync the app beforehand so I can do a bit of work on WF on the plane. But what I typically do is open up Handyflowy on my iphone (because I forget to sync the app) – punch in a few notes on the phone or edit an outline, then when I land and switch of airplane mode it all seems to automagically sync. Its good enough for the limited times I’m not connected.

        But it feels like desktop apps are so 1996 – aren’t we moving towards a more connected world? I realize Netflix finally caved and allowed (limited) downloads eventually – but watching movies on planes seems kinda more helpful that doing Workflowy stuff on planes (I guess I’m not writing a book on Workflowy while on a book tour. But I’m guessing the majority of us aren’t either?).

        However WF functionality like “when I delete, its gone for good” scares the willies out of me. I had some stuff disappear a while ago because I fat fingered some stuff on the phone, and Jesse spent a bit of time looking for it, and eventually I just gave up chasing him (he thought he found it, and I just acquiesed to stop the pain of chasing a guy who clearly very busy and has better things to do than save me from my klutziness). Yeah, I have the dropbox backup, but its just a disaster to open instances, search for something, then close it down, and have to open another instance etc etc.

        So the idea of a virtual trashbin that you can restore stuff from is AMAZINGLY appealing. Or even better, grown up instancing – just like with google docs – so that you can revert to any prior version at any time. Isn’t it kind of weird that we don’t have it yet after all these years? Or integration between calendars and WF (put in a date see it in your calendar, and maybe vice versa?). Or easy images. Or easy ways to get info in and out. These are the kinds of things I would use literally every day.

        Maybe I’m blessed to be in a place where the internet is more on than off. And to be clear, I fly once a month, run my business and CRM on workflowy, do project management, and coordinate my entire family on it, work with partners etc etc. I use it pretty much every day from my packlist to my vacation to writing proposals for large complex projects, to running client meetings with a projector (hello browser zoom!). Would offline desktop be great? Sure, why not. But it is SOOOO not at the top of the list. Especially when it has all the constraints of not being able to handle multiple open windows, not being skinnable etc.

        I know you guys are a small shop, I just would love it if you would work on the things that are the biggest bang for the buck.

        Maybe you could publish your development pipeline or ask people to generate, then vote, on potential enhancements.

        I’m excited by your growing team and bigger functionality. I’ll confess to kicking the tires on Dynalist. I love the WF robustness – but the simplicity positioning is hamstringing some much-needed functionality improvements. And speaking as a multi-year pro user, with all due respect, desktop ain’t it.

  18. I can’t run the desktop app because it requires 10.9 or later. I am also not clear what the benefits of the desktop app would be for me:

    OK so it starts up “fast”: but noticeably faster than what I currently use?
    I don’t need offline access.
    I don’t have to look through a bunch of tabs in my browser because I always try to position it as the far left tab.

    The only real benefit I could see for myself is in being able to seamlessly back it up with the rest of my system. Am I missing something? Ability to colour-code by changing font colour? One-click date and time stamp?

    I love workflowy as is, actually!

  19. I’m excited about this, as my workflow is always open as a tab on my Safari. If you’re soliciting feedback, might I suggest a background color or colored border? Some aesthetic or design to set it apart from other windows open on my desktop.

  20. Desktop WF is a good idea, but not good enough to move me from the web version. I’m not a power user, so it’s really only about the user experience for me. On the web version, the background (I use wood) for contrast, and the narrowed and defined text area, make reading and navigating much easier on my widescreen desktop monitor. On the desktop version of WF, the white background (black is not an option) is glaring, the left-justified text on the screen makes it far too wide for quick and easy reading (short lines and long lines of text), and the very light blue guide lines for nested levels are nearly invisible. Maybe I’m missing some configuration know-how, but if the features are there on the desktop version I can’t easily find them. I’ll be using the web version.

    One more thing: I have two WF accounts, one for the NPO I run that is shared by staff, and one for personal. A useful new feature would be to allow two accounts to be open at the same time so I don’t have to logout and login to move between them. If that’s possible, I hope you can make it so.

    Thanks for all your good work on WF. I’m a total fan and an evangelist. Press on.

  21. Well, I looked at the menus and clicked Developer Tools, as that sounded interesting. Up came the usual browser tools. So how is this really different from the Chrome app if it has Chrome’s dev tools in it? I then tried to toggle full screen and the program instantly crashed.

  22. Great app! I am +1 for cmd-F (Mac). I often go back to the browser for that feature because you can then find something, or numerous instances of a thing, in an outline/list within the context of the rest of the outline/list – often very helpful!

  23. Slightly off topic but Why doesn’t the ‘hidden shortcut’ Ctrl+Shift+9/0 (Mac) enabling one to flip through any set of sibling lists as if they were pages in a book not appear as a shortcut on the ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ tab?

  24. I too prefer the web app since my work often limits what executable I can download. Also, please, PLEASE, do not take away the background themes. There is something visually pleasing about having workflowy look like a page with edges. Right now, the desktop app looks like a text editor, and has much less appeal than the web app. Don’t underestimate the power of something that just plain looks good on our desire to want to use it.

    I do understand your need for a desktop app though. No argument against that. Thanks for your work. Workflowy helps me tremendously at work.

  25. Thank you. What about allowing several instances of the app? I often work with several windows of Workflowy in the browser. It seems that—at least under Linux—that is not possible with the desktop app.

  26. I’ve installed the new version (1.0.2), but am now seeing a blue banner that says there is a new with a link that takes me to a blog post from 10/12. Also, I can’t seem to uninstall the previous version from my PC (Windows 10).

  27. Hi, it’s really nice to have an native desktop app on windows instead of Chrome application,

    But can you make an option to hide the menu bar on desktop app ( the same in the Chrome app version ) ?

    It will make the program more clear,

    Thanks

  28. Hello, thank you for the desktop app. It’s a vital addition to your wonderful product, although in its early stages there are a few bugs, which I’m sure will be fixed in due course.

    I’m here to report one bug, since I’m not sure where else to report: “after pasting a new item and press enter to create the next item, the cursor remains on the previous pasted item and doesn’t go to the next item”. I suppose it has something to do with the new drag & drop feature?

    Anyways, keep up the excellent work. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for WorkFlowy! (especially for the colour function)

  29. Excited to try the desktop app version!! Unfortunately, the download page seems to be down? Finally found it on another blog link but the page “/downloads/windows/” gives you the “We’re sorry. Something went wrong. We’ve been notified and are trying to fix it.” message and a link back to the home page.

  30. Love the desktop version and use it on a daily basis. The only problem I experience is that it crashes when coming out of sleep mode on my Surface. None of my other desktop apps have this problem.

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