WorkFlowy Has A New Design

Image 2018-08-13 at 12.52.45 PM.png

We’re delighted to launch the redesign of WorkFlowy’s web and desktop apps. We’ve been testing it for a few weeks with a lot of people. We’ve gotten an overwhelmingly positive response, so today we are turning it on for everybody!

The redesign makes WorkFlowy more minimal, beautiful, and usable. The aesthetic is modern and out of the way. In addition, we added a handful of usability improvements, like a favorites viewer that’s actually useful.

As is common with any change, some decisions that many liked did not sit well with others. If you are one of those, good news! Our most controversial changes can be turned off. Here’s how:

  1. Font: We changed to use system font by default, so that WorkFlowy feels more native to whatever platform you are using. If you do not like the new font, you can open Settings and select “Font: Sans-serif” to change it back.
  2. Line spacing: The new font comes with more spacing between lines. If you don’t like the additional space, you can switch back to the original font (see above) and it has the same line spacing as before. We’ll eventually add a setting to let you choose your line spacing independent of your font.
  3. Page Alignment: If you used our previous desktop app, you’ll notice that we changed the alignment of the lists from left-aligned to centered within the window. We do not yet have a way for you to change this back, but we’ll be launching a version very soon that will let you choose the alignment you prefer. Thanks for your patience.

And that’s it! We hope you enjoy the new design as much as we do.

P.S. If you don’t yet have the redesign, just reload the page, or restart the desktop app to trigger a check for updates.

P.P.S. There are a few things – like the design of our dialogs – that we are still working on. Look for more updates soon!


145 thoughts on “WorkFlowy Has A New Design

  1. I love the redesign but I wish you had left the undo in place… keep up the good work

    1. The undo feature is still available. You can find it under the “Gear” menu in the upper right corner of the page. You can also undo with the keyboard shortcut “cmd-z” (on mac) or “ctrl-z”) (on Windows).

  2. Yeah this is a no go for me, now the contents float stupidly in the page without any sense of grounding of space. It’s also horribly bright to look at.

      1. We’ll be adding in an option to change the background color, which will add a frame again, and eventually ability to upload a custom background image

    1. Agreed. It was really helpful to have the list at the top of the page (Topic 1 > Subtopic 2 > subsubtopic 4)
      I know that this got moved into the header now but if your topic headers are long then they get cutoff and you can’t read it anymore. Kind of hard to tell where you are.

      Would be great if there was an option to change back to the old version! Thanks for all the hard work, Workflowy is great.

    1. Agreed! I could see Workflowy being competition for Evernote someday if they added the ability to add media to a note.

  3. Looks good! Will be good if there’s an option to view the contents in 2 or 3 columns on desktop. Minimise the amount of scrolling required. Thanks!

    1. I don’t know much about desktop applications. However, if you are using a browser such as Chrome, there is an extension called stylus that does this.

  4. The new design is great for mobile but no good for desktop, don’t like the always-show top bar.

  5. Well, as usual, new design – as creepy as possible:-/ What was the reason for example to move “search” from left to right? I hate it…
    Why haven’t you leave an option “keep old design” for people who doesn’t like this “modern” UI/UX stuff?

  6. Wow, there are so different comments. For me, changes are pretty good. This is why I love and use workflowy – absolutely no visual noise. each detail is functional. pretty good work.

  7. when i hover the cursor at the node, to show the created time is useful.
    would you keed the feature please.

    1. The created time can now be seen at the bottom of the menu that appears when you hover over a node

      1. I never knew that existed, and I’m not sure what it’s showing. It appears to be the created and/or last changed time of a node. Is that right? The label “Last changed” is a bit misleading, because I thought it applied to the node and all its children, but it appears to only apply to a single node.

  8. You’re never gonna please all of the people all of the time, hey 🙂 Overall a move in the right direction, a direction dictated by principles of speed and clean design.

  9. i really enjoy the new design. one thing bothers me is the whiteness. it would be nice to have a choice have put a little bit of color. for example having black menu like old version.

    i use stylish to color tags, links and notes it would also very nice addition.


  10. can i go back ,i just like the original design,the new one is just too white
    the new version have no signal for “done syncing”

      1. +1 vote for the syncing status at the same page, without us having to click on the gear icon every time. This has been already discussed in another recent topic, as many people would like to see the Save sync status. But so far, nothing has changed.

  11. Thanks for the new design ! A welcome improvement.

    On top of the modal dialogs, do you plan on redesigning the “favorite page switcher” also ?
    Clicking on the star on the top left of the screen brings a nice new vertical menu, but using the keyboard shortcuts (command+; on mac) still uses the older switcher docked to the bottom with the grey background.

    This seems a bit jarring.

    Also, I quite liked the “make lists not war” tagline on the bottom, and it seems I am not alone. Would you consider bringing it back ? 🙂

    1. I’m glad that the “Make lists not war” is gone. While I agree with the sentiment, it seemed unprofessional.

  12. Not a fan of the new design at all. Way too much whiteness everywhere, I much preferred for my page to feel like it was a page like a notebook. Now white space just goes on forever and makes it harder to focus on the actual content. Going to try and install my own custom css to the page using a plugin to make it more like before.

    1. This seems like the most common thing people aren’t liking about it, and we’ll do something to address it.

      1. Didn’t realize I was in the minority; I quite like the sparseness. I feel like the typography alone is enough to define the “page” area.

      2. I love the sparseness as well. Typography is all you really need to define boundaries. Modern design has been going in this direction for a long time. The page look is one of the reasons Workflowy’s design seemed so dated before.

      3. I like the way it is right now. More professional.

        I was finding the “notebook page” look very old and weird. It made WF look like a toy.

        Please keep this new look.

      4. You can now bring back the “page” feel with Settings > Theme > Vintage. Hope that helps!

  13. Is there an option to collapse all? in the old version i double-clicked on workflowy in the top left corner.

    1. Ok found it. you have to scroll to the top of your lists first though. then to the right of your top-most entry is a star and 3 dots, click the 3 dots and you have the options ‘expand all’ and ‘collapse all’.

  14. Like I mentioned in the last blog post, an option to make the top bar auto-hide would make this just about perfect. Advanced users are looking for a true fullscreen distraction free environment. A hiding top bar would give us the functionality we need when we need it but without the distractions when we don’t

    1. You can get back the “feel” of the old design with Settings > Theme > Vintage. Not all parts though, just the page feel. Hope that helps.

  15. Love the look of the new bar at the top of the screen! You said you’re using the system font, but it looks like Lucida Grande on Mac High Sierra. Any chance you can select San Francisco? Overall, looks great!

    1. Hrm, I wonder if it didn’t get changed properly for you. It should be San Francisco on a mac if you have “System” selected in your font settings.

  16. I have been using workflowy for a long time, a great product that keeps my life away from war. The new interface has a very modern feel, the only deficiency (possibly) is the reduction in the amount of information that can be displayed in the same view space of the old version.
    Regardless, iterative development is always the right direction.

  17. Ideally, I could let text fill the whole page from left to right. Right now there is about 40% of my screen unused as text wraps early. Didn’t notice that on the old design…

  18. I have yet to see a site “redesign” that I liked better than the original. Gmail, Google Docs, Reddit: all ruined by their new “modern” designs. Workflowy is no exception—but to your credit, your new design, though worse, is much less worse than expected.

    Fortunately the desktop app hasn’t changed, and I mainly use that anyway.

  19. I agree with you Jesse, the new design is more “minimal, beautiful, and usable”. Grat to see this product continuosly improving!

    Inspired by the minimal syntax style of programming languages like Ruby or Python I played a little in the Developer Tool to delete the “bullet” svg, which I understand is a very core design element. it looks neat and still very readable according to me.

    My take is that, even if counterintuitive, it’s not really necessary to have the bullet icons. At least my eye can easily scan lists and sublists (the default indentation is 4 spaces I guess, which is perfect).

    Pros: declutter, super minimal
    Cons: the bullet is the target for the hidden item menu, but it’s already true that a line can be the target (see the – or + icons on hover state); I think Ruby and Python would not be popular if people would not distinguish indentation, but this is debatable: that’s why I would make this just a style option.

    just an idea for the great Workflowy team 🙂

  20. Is there a way to ‘complete’ an item without using the keyboard shortcut? I used to hover over the bullet, and choose complete from the menu. But in the new version, the menu disappears when I move the mouse?

    1. that is an Internet Explorer 11 bug, which we fixed yesterday and will be out on Tuesday.

  21. The redesign works good, though I worry not enough resources are being devoted to the mobile platform. Despite the recent updates (or, perhaps because of them), I have repeated lost data due to bugs. Fortunately, I’ve been able to recover the data myself through Dropbox backups. Hoping the company begins to take the mobile platform more seriously. Free competitors are now surpassing WorkFlowy on mobile currently.

    1. We are super sorry about those data syncing bugs. They should now be fixed and were part of a rewrite that will help us improve workflowy at a much faster pace

  22. As a desktop in-browser user, it’s a lot more unusable whitespace (that hides important page borders), a more distant nav bar, and no real benefit. I’m glad we were able to keep the font and page spacing the same, and I’m looking forward to any options that help us revert more of this design change in the future.

    Support suggested paying for Workflowy Pro themes, so I guess the new monetization path is to make the free product worse until people pay for the “improved” old version. It’s all cosmetic and I still like the app, so I’ll keep using it and all, but hopefully we’ll see the much-needed mobile app rework before we get more fidgeting with the main app – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    Make list apps, not war.

    1. Due to many complaints, we’ve brought back the old page feel as a free theme. Settings > Theme > Vintage. Hope that helps!

  23. P.S. I suppose my above comment is a little grumpy, which is out of character for me– usually, I’m one of WorkFlowy’s biggest advocates and cheerleaders. The source of my grumpiness is perhaps shared by other longtime power users and subscribers, based on others’ comments: We don’t feel as though we’re being heard or listened to when we make suggestions and express needs and instead WorkFlowy is following a disjoint agenda in developing the platform by focusing primarily on cosmetic changes rather than addressing longstanding problems.

    1. We are trying to listen to people, and to our hardcore longtime users. A lot of the work we are doing is under the hood, to enable the improvements that you want. What are the key things you’re looking for?

  24. Thanks a lot for this revamp of the old WorkFlowy! Everything you are doing is amazing! Keep it like this: simple, clean and minimal, but also nice! I love it! 🙂

  25. Hi, thanks for the great update. I will love more the app if includes the option to navigate between lines in the same level as works on the web with (Control + Shift + 0) and (Control + Shift + 9). Because in that way i can have a quick view of many projects. Again thanks for all.

  26. The new design, which was pushed through with no ability to opt out, wrecks my workflow. I need access to the full breadcrumb navigation, which is now hidden up in the menu bar, and truncated so that I can’t see the pages that I need to click on. Also, the hover for commands over a bullet now forces you to have to look left, since its centered over the bullet, instead of justified left. Both seem to be careless changes, and they are affecting me big time. Please fix these things, or give me the option to use ‘old workflowy’.

    1. These are two great points and we are working to incorporate this feedback into the current design. You are not alone in your frustration and we hear you.

  27. Very nice. Two important things:

    I use a monitor 4000 pixels wide…I go to drag the window wider so that my text doesn’t needlessly wrap, but it seems to have a max-width set of about 500 px so I can’t use more than 1/3 of my available desktop space?

    Fortunately the breadcrumbs DO expand so they aren’t hidden, but this seems a bit of an oversight if making the window wider to allow you to see more of the breadcrumbs works, but the actual workable space doesn’t.

    Thank you for your app!

  28. I’m not sure if it’s directly related to the new design, but the importing/exporting is now broken.

    When exporting, you can’t hit control+C and must click to download instead. (This problem only affects the Windows desktop app; the browser version works fine.)

    When importing plain text, any hierarchical structure is ignored. I’ve already posted a comment about this latter problem at the Zendesk page here:
    This problem happens both on the Windows desktop app as well as in the browser version.

  29. I want to be able to see the breadcrumbs again! It would be nice to be able to trade vertical for horizontal space – I keep the WF app window relatively narrow (so I can position it to the side of other windows) which makes it so I can read very few of the breadcrumbs – and that makes it hard to use them for navigation, which is a big part of my workflow.

    Right now in order to see all/most of the breadcrumbs, I’d have to make the window REALLY wide, which I do not want to do. If there were multiple rows of breadcrumbs this wouldn’t be an issue (and it wouldn’t take much additional vertical space, compared to the amount of wasted horizontal space if I make the window wider). At the least it would be nice to be able to expand the truncated breadcrumbs – when I can only read 1 word of them (or half a word) I can’t even remember what they are.

  30. I must say I am in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” wagon. And for some reason it might be just me, but it looks like the page is loading bullets slower than it used to?

    I really dislike the whole white space. I had tried minimalist styles and I realized I was grateful for the “page” feel as I hate staring at blank documents… (I also don’t want to use that horizontal space like others here want, so yeah, sign me up for the old borders feel).

    I also wish the showing menu when the bullet is hovered could be turned off. I only use the bullet menu to export or duplicate. All other things I do via shortcuts, *except* for zooming in. So now, every time I want to click a bullet to zoom in, I am forced to see the menu if I delay (which I often do). I understand it makes life easier for those that actually like to click the menu, but frankly I don’t like to see it when I don’t want it and I don’t like navigating the bullets with the keyboard (probably because I use mobile a lot).

    I agree with other people that the new header is more of a bother than anything else. I was very satisfied with the old version, there was nothing wrong with showing the whole path of all my bullets (and I had to move the mouse very little to navigate too. It was so easy.) I understand the new way is more “clean” but it’s less usable. Maybe just make a separate fullscreen version for users that need decluttered space to focus?

    What about search and replace?

    The “Make lists, not war.” could be optional. It was bothersome when using external things to use a proper search and replace (as any of the words in that sentence would be included in the results), but I really liked it and I miss it.

    (When will we have basic formatting options and export functions in the app? I’m dying for any way to grab the links of the bullets in mobile…)

    1. At least we can help with one of your frustrations. The page theme is now available under Settings > Theme > Vintage. Thanks!

  31. If there is only one Starred item please get me there right away istead of clicking on it again. Thanks. Love WF. Use it for 6 years everyday

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