Fractal boards: a new way to organize

Fractal boards offer a new way to organize information, building upon the concept of boards popularized by Trello. It’s a different and powerful take on this familiar concept, and it’s already changing the way Workflowy users organize their brains.

You can play with a demo on this page:

38 thoughts on “Fractal boards: a new way to organize

      1. I can see the boards on a browser on my iPad but I just can’t move the nodes/cards around at all: when I tap and hold the link preview pop-up comes up instead. If there’s a way to fix this so I can move the nodes around please let me know. Loving this on desktop and looking forward to it working on iOS/iPadOS!

      2. My comment above is in reference to using Safari on iPad. The iOS/iPadOS WorkFlowy app does not show boards at all (it just shows them as bullets). I would love to be able to use it on safari or another web browser so I can use the WF beta. Thanks!

  1. OK, please forgive me as I don’t normally reply with *Cool! Jeez! Got it! throwaway comments….BUT: *

    *Wow! **Wow! Wow! *

    Best regards, Wayne *Wickford, RI*

  2. Is there a “best practices” guide for someone starting Workflowy anywhere? There are so many older guides (e.g. “…Way Way More…” 2.0) and tweaks, it is as if we have to research for hours to create our own guide just to get started.

    1. I’ll take a stab at your question. Other than search You-tube videos on Workflowy, perhaps the Workflowy blog may be a good ‘best practices guide’. To me, the beauty of Workflowy is its simplicity and adaptability. Unlike so much other software out there, Workflowy doesn’t force or constrain you into the mold or the mindset of the software developer. It’s so simple you really don’t need a ‘user manual’.

      With just a small bit of creativity, you can use Workflowy to organize your entire life the way you want, including tasks, appointments, notes, and just about anything else. I’ve used my Workflowy over the years to follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology, and his Five Stages of mastering your workflow. And Jesse’s recent additions of Boards lets users follow Kanban principles. I’ve also successfully used Workflowy’s ‘Shared’ function for collaborative work with others around the country.

      A big premise of David Allen in his GTD methodology is: “Your brain is a great creativity tool, but a lousy storage device”. So his philosophy is that you get every random thoughts that come into your brain out of your brain, and into an effective storage device, that can help you can filter, process, connect, and organize those thoughts any way you wish. Think of Workflowy as that storage device.

      So to start, I suggest you get those random thoughts that constantly come into your life out of your head, and into Workflowy, and experiment with its tags, unlimited hierarchy, and rapid search function. Just start typing away.

      1. Great response! I recently read GTD, but haven’t successfully implemented the method/system into my Workflowy yet. I’m very curious about how you’ve done it. Care to share? 🙂

  3. As I wrote before – boards melted my mind with possibilities and ‘cleanness’, thank You for them! 🙂

    Just one request thought – please make ‘Ctrl+Space’ shortcut work for boards (collapsing selected board). pretty pretty please 🙂

  4. … an exaggerately cool feature, I hope I will be smart enough to use that. BTW how did you set up the embedded link to LOOM website in the WF document? Thanks

  5. This is truly amazing. Like WOW WOW WOW. I’ve always been a major evangelist of your product. These boards I believe has opened up the next frontier wave of adoption for Workflowy. Jesse you are are so understated and humble. It’s so simple yet so sophisticated. 10 years in and like nature it never stops growing….we are very lucky people.

  6. Wow! That’s exactly what i was looking for. Until now I used workflowy as my personal tool. I liked Frank Degenaars Kanban-tutorial, but without a real kanban-view I found it too nerdy to introduce Workflowy as a project-management-tool for teams in my architects-office. Now I will. That combination of outlines and kanban looks very powerful to me. Love it!
    And i really appreciate, that you manage to keep that minimalist clean “look and feel” when introducing new features. Hope the mobile apps will be updated soo.
    Keep up the good work!

  7. Jesse, great job! I absolutely love how you’ve kept Workflowy’s minimalist look and feel over all the years while adding some great, useful features, such as these boards. Please don’t ever stop that. So much of the software for personal or business organization nowadays needs a Ph.D to figure it out. For me, the absolute last thing in my life I want to be complicated or cluttered is my process for organizing my life. That’s one reason why I love Workflowy. Thanks again! – Earl

  8. I can only say: WOW!!
    Congratulations Jesse! A very smart implementation of the Kanban concept.
    I will no longer miss Trello for certain use cases.


    1. Franco, what would it take for WorkFlowy to take on all of your Trello use cases?

      1. Hi Frank
        WF with Boards takes over pretty all of my use cases in Trello.
        With the WF daily email, with the changes applied to shared nodes, I don’t even miss the chat string attached to the single tasks in Trello.

        For sure, the Nirvana would be to have some COLOURS to tag the different tasks / columns.


    1. Wait, I don’t see in the Demo how to make one on my own Workflowy account? How does one go about making one??

  9. You mentioned in the video about ‘other types’ which coming. A bit more about, please? Have you got any roadmap in fractal boards? 🙂

  10. I’m unable to move a node between columns, when I do it just moves below the above node. Any ideas why? Love the boards feature!

    1. Ah ok I figured it out, looks like I couldn’t move a node to a blank column – it needed an existing node or blank node to move another node there.

  11. It is so cool to have this feature on it. I think I’m gonna rely on workflowy more for my life and work. By the way, I have been using trello for a while.

  12. To activate boards, you can do this in one of two ways. In the installed desktop app or browser app:

    1. You can click on the boards/ list toggle icon top right of your page, to the left of the star icon (In any zoomed-in list – not on your home page)

    2. You can click on the 3-dot bullet menu to the left of any bullet > Bullets/ Board icon at the top of the popup menu.

    If you’re using an older version of the desktop app, you’ll need to download and install the latest version here:

    Here’s a video you can re-watch:

  13. Jesse and team, this is a great addition. I was wondering what y’all were up to, this answers that question nicely. Great work.

  14. First, I want to say that Workflowy and it’s fractal design is like nothing else I have ever seen. It is innovative and EXACTLY what I am looking for in a tool. I can’t say enough good things about it’s simplicity in design that provides power that I had never even dreamed of being possible. It truly makes it trivial to dump your brain into something manageable! It meshes so well with how I bullet journal.

    My primary questions keep coming back to security of my data. I’m not going to presume that I have any whiz-bang ideas that need to be sheltered, but my primary concern with the tool lies in knowing my data is securely encrypted and unable to be seen by ANY eyes. I have read the privacy documentation on end-to-end encryption, and data-at-rest, but it implies that workflowy servers can access the data at any time they deem it appropriate.

    I understand that many companies have processes in place that prevent employees from viewing data. Rogue employees are a bit more of a concern, but my real concern lies in unexpected, unauthorized access by a third party through unexpected exploits, etc. While the idea that an employee could start looking at my lists is concerning, the thought of a more targeted attack from an outside party concerns me more.

    If I did have a whiz-bang idea that could revolutionize the world, and I wanted to build a company around it, what is to prevent a sophisticated third-party from accessing my data? Or a rogue employee?

    Even if I did not have a whiz-bang idea, how can I confirm that what I put into workflowy isn’t accessed so someone can understand my life in ways that are very personal? Eating habits, appointments, family habits, things we do for fun, pets, etc.

    Finally, the same question holds true for me wanting to use workflowy for work-related projects. If I wanted to use the excellent workflowy technology to track my projects, thoughts, and entire work-life, how can I convince my employer that the data is safe?

    You have the most amazing tool I have ever seen for tracking everything, and now that you have fractals boards, my head spins with excitement. But still, these questions linger. I am a paid subscriber, and I and many of my colleagues would love to better understand how we can validate our data is secure from unintended eyes so that we can use the tool with abandon.

    Great work on everything you do! You have something here you should be really proud of, and I am extremely excited about!



    1. I want to add, it would be useful if we could change column width. I found the way to do it with Stylish, but it doesn’t work in desktop app. Sometimes I use only two or three columns, and thin columns don’t look good on the wide screen.

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