Links 2.0 – Backlink Come Back

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December 16, 2021
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Links are such a vital part of connecting information and ideas on the web that we often take them for granted. It’s only when they’re missing or they don’t work as expected that we take notice. Today’s release brings Workflowy closer to present standards for modern note taking applications, with our own unique touch of course.

We’re pleased to announce that our latest version of links is now available for all users. External links have been available for quite a while, what we’re adding today is

  • The ability to view all references of internal links
  • The ability to create new items from an inline link
  • The ability to create links inline by typing [[

Great, what does that mean?

Let’s briefly go over how internal links work in Workflowy after this update.

  1. You can create internal links – links from one part of your Workflowy to another part
  2. You can create internal links using the keyboard shortcut [[
  3. You can view all the references of a linked item – where you’re linking to that item
  4. You can link to an item that doesn’t exist yet – this process creates the item at the same time

What can I use this for?

One of the main uses for links is simply to connect two different pieces of information.

Say you’re writing a todo list, and you want to remember to check out some links you have in your Websites to check out section. You can create a link to that section from your todo list and when you get to that item, simply click the link and start checking out those websites.

This makes the process faster and keeps you focused, no need to dig around for the list with the links.

Keep track of references

This is great for when you’re doing research and need to keep track of how different pieces of information are related to each other.

Say you’re researching some topic and taking notes. You can create an item for each source of information you use, like a digital bibliography card. Then, when you’re taking notes, you can link to that reference and continue working.

Next when you want to review all the places where you referenced a source, you just open the resource and you’ll see a ‘Backlinks’ section at the bottom that displays all the places where that item is referenced.

Create placeholders for the future

When you’re in the zone and capturing your brilliant ideas, the last thing you want to do is get distracted.

Say you just came up with a brilliant idea that’s going to revolutionize the world. You start trying to capture your idea but then you remember something important. Maybe you just thought of how to raise a lot of money to fund your idea.

Instead of stopping your flow, navigating to a different section of your Workflowy, creating a new bullet and capturing your idea there – you can simply create a link to that idea and return to it later.

This way you don’t get distracted from what you’re currently working on and there’s no risk that you’ll forget about the other thing.

And that’s just the start

There are many more ways to take advantage of links and backlinks. Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

  • Personal CRM – Create a bullet for each person where you keep important details like their preferences, birthdate, contact details etc. Then when you meet with them or talk to them, create a link to their personal bullet. The references section then becomes a running log of all your interactions.
  • Topic vaults – Create bullets for topics you’re interested in. Then whenever something you read, watch or listen to is related to one of those topics, just create a link to it. Over time you can review the reference section of your vault and see everything you’ve consumed related to each topic.
  • Task tracker – Say you keep a running log of all your activities. You can easily group related tasks by linking them to one central project. Then you can review the reference section of the project to see all the related items together.

Special thanks to the Workflowy user group for these use-cases.

You can create links using the bullet menu or the inline method. Note that only the inline method allows you to create an item and link to it at the same time.

The inline method

  1. Type double brackets [[
  2. Start typing the name of the item you want to link to. A search widget will pop up with suggestions.
  3. Use the arrow keys to navigate to the correct item and hit ENTER
  4. If the item you want to link does not exist, navigate to the ‘New x in‘ options at the bottom
  5. Choose to either create the new in the last used location or choose a new location

Using the bullet menu

  1. Open the bullet menu of the item you want to link to
  2. Click ‘Copy internal link‘ – You’ll see a green confirmation message
  3. Paste the link anywhere you want

Let us know what you think of the update and how you’re using it/planning to use it in the comments below!

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[…] Il devient un habitué de cette newsletter : WorkFlowy ajoute les liens bi-directionnels, comme avant lui Roam Research ou Obsidian. Une raison de plus de (re)considérer cet outilhttps://blog.workflowy.com/links-version-2/ […]

Daniel Poulin
Daniel Poulin
26 days ago

Don’t wanna break the party, but I’d like to be able to set reminder in each bullet. Think that it would be VERY useful on Android!

Skitzi
Skitzi
1 month ago

Gotta say this is an excellent feature and the implementation of the concept is spot on. I saw the announcement and started messing around with it…. and now just finished migrating my brain from Dynalist + Obsidian back into its original home of a few years back in Workflowy. Very happy I saw this announcement and gave your service a refreshed look, you have done some great things with it recently!

Last edited 1 month ago by Skitzi
bgkarma
bgkarma
1 month ago

I’m not complaining, because incredible features are being added—but it’s quite obvious that Workflowy is blatantly copying Roam Research and what others are doing in the Personal Knowledge Management space.

Last edited 1 month ago by bgkarma
Will Dollis
Will Dollis
1 month ago
Reply to  bgkarma

Ain’t complaining.

Jesse Patel
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  bgkarma

Hence the third sentence in the post 🙂

Today’s release brings Workflowy closer to present standards for modern note taking applications

Miguel Tavares
Miguel Tavares
1 month ago
Reply to  bgkarma

To be fair, Roam’s implementation of the outliner paradigm is “pretty close” to what Workflowy has been doing for many years 😀

I knew RR was going to change the landscape of note-taking the moment I saw it, because it took some good ideas that already existed, mushed them together in a way that works, and then sprinkled some new details on top.

The fact that they brought backlinks to the mainstream doesn’t mean that they invented them. Not that it matters to me, really. I’m glad this kind of “cooperative competition” exists.

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  bgkarma

And that’s good! Roam is much complex and a bigger app in my opinion. But WorkFlowy has a better UI, and a much nicer pixel-perfect design. If it can keep being a minimal app while incorporating the excellent features that Roam offers, why not? Roam took a lot of ideas from WorkFlowy anyway, so the ledger is more balanced nowl 🙂

Michal
1 month ago

I love your attitude so much. Thanks!

Jorge
Jorge
1 month ago

Wow. This is huge. I love the wiki principle of creating the link even before the content exists.

I’m trying to only use FLOSS apps but there’s nothing even close to Workflowy.

Miguel Tavares
Miguel Tavares
1 month ago

I’m really happy to see Workflowy acknowledging the competition and upping its game.

I’ve never been a regular Workflowy user (I tend to choose more complicated apps like Obsidian, Roam or Logseq), but I’ve always admired it for its polish and clarity. So much so, that when my daughter started law school, I didn’t hesitate to onboard her into WF.

If things like unlinked mentions, a graph view (and an API!) ever come this way, I’ll gladly make the jump.

Rock on!

Nancy
Nancy
1 month ago

I think maybe I’ve been using mirrors this way? I need to go back and assess. I was THRILLED when mirrors were introduced and love them. But I still have a lot of old “cleanup” to do from back in the pre-mirror days where things are duplicated. I wonder does anyone have a clever strategy for that.

Simcha Daniel Burstyn
Simcha Daniel Burstyn
1 month ago

I feel like I need to do a tutorial all over again – I stopped using Workflowy for a while for no particular reason, and you’ve added so many great new features – I need a new tour.

Patrice Krijtenburg
Patrice Krijtenburg
1 month ago

Are there also YouTube tutorials?

John
John
21 days ago

Where is the much needed WorkFlowy influencer from this community? Someone has to emerge while the place is still vacant, haha! Unlike Roam, Obsidian, Logseq, and Craft, the WorkFlowy YouTuber guru hasn’t showed up yet, it’s about time!! 😀

Phil Saunders
Phil Saunders
1 month ago

Fantastic!

I have been using this a lot more than I expected since the beta for adding new tasks to other projects so that I do not interrupt my flow.

I used to keep a second Workflowy window open so that I could just dump incoming stuff into my Inbox for processing later, but now with this new feature, I can resolve it at that instant.

A real example from today: I was working on a design audit for Project Italy when when one of my colleagues called about something totally unrelated to ask “Please can you deliver me a pack of CA2-18s tonight for Project LHR“.

What I did was this:
1) While still in Project Italy, I created a new bullet, and typed [[Xfer 40no CA2-18 from @Stores to @SJ @errands today]]
2) On the drop-down list that appeared while I was typing, I clicked the up-arrow and started typing ‘Project LHR’ and clicked on ‘Project LHR’ when it appeared.
3) The new bullet for (1) had now been created in Project LHR.
4) I deleted the un-needed bullet from Project Italy, and carried on working with minimal interruption to my flow.

I am finding that a benefit to this is that I don’t have a ton of dumped Inbox items to work through later.

KennonB
KennonB
1 month ago

That is brilliant!
Thanks guys, this is going to be so very useful for me 🙂

Bob
Bob
1 month ago

I don’t see the difference between links and mirrors.

Oleg
Oleg
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

As I see it, using mirrors you stay in a current node. While links teleport you to other universes.

Rasmus
Rasmus
1 month ago

This is really cool! Excellent idea and great implementation!
And very nice that it remembers the last location you used to create a new node in!

While testing this feature, I discovered that it also works for creating new mirrors! I don’t know if that was already the case before, but I use mirror nodes extensively, and this blog post made me discover a great new addition to my daily Workflowy workflow:

I have a primary “Tasks” node, where I keep track of all my tasks (in Kanban board view). This has four sub-nodes:

  • Tasks – Archive
  • Tasks – Today
  • Tasks – This week
  • Tasks – Backlog

(I use the board to prioritize my tasks, and maintain an overview.)

I also use Workflowy for keeping a daily/weekly journal, which I use for adding notes to during my day – and generally keep track of everything.

At the top of my daily journal, I have a node “Tasks created today”, that I can use to quickly add new tasks to if needed. I have previously added tasks here, and then copy-pasted a mirror node to one of my main tasks list (e.g. “Tasks – Today”).

But with this feature, I can add a new task node mirror to e.g. “Tasks – Today” directly from my daily journal, without having to switch to my Tasks list.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rasmus
Mohammed
Mohammed
1 month ago

Hi,

Fench Keyboard do not have [[! How to use it in that context please?

Mohammed
Mohammed
1 month ago
Reply to  Rodolfo Lopez

Hi Rodolfo Mac of course 🙂 Azerty yes right!

Mohammed
Mohammed
1 month ago
Reply to  Rodolfo Lopez

[[YES]] 😇 Thank you so much Rodolfo!

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  Mohammed

Obviously Mac! hahaha! The nice WorkFlowy UI deserves the nicer macOS design 🙂

Dave
Dave
1 month ago
Reply to  Mohammed

It looks you just have to hit the 5 key twice with the modifier key. http://xahlee.info/kbd/french_keyboard_layout.html

Mohammed
Mohammed
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave

I don’t have an extended keyboard on my Macbook Pro (2019)

Mohammed
Mohammed
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave

Only 2 options 5 or “(“

Mohammed
Mohammed
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave

Option + 5 = {

Yves Couture
Yves Couture
1 month ago
Reply to  Mohammed

Option 9

Elmarco
Elmarco
1 month ago
Reply to  Mohammed

OPTION + SHIFT + ( works well ! (Français ou Français numérique)

Mohammed
Mohammed
1 month ago
Reply to  Elmarco

Thanks guys

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

It’s a great feature I’ve been using since you introduced it in labs/beta, that works far better than tags (this is what tags should’ve evolved into by now?). The addition of the little pop up and being able to create somewhere else is exciting.

However less exciting is the intrusion of “create in: ‘Notes'” as if I would have a bullet called just that (I don’t).
I would appreciate being able to choose the name of this standard place myself.

erwin susara
erwin susara
1 month ago

Very nice!

bryan
bryan
1 month ago

This is SWEET!!!

Ulysses
Ulysses
1 month ago
  • Workflowy is really my favorite app, more than any other. If I could have known it earlier, maybe my study and life would have been different. I see you have said that bidirectional links will be added in a due course. I’ve been trying to figure out how Workflowy can join bidirectional Links.
  • Before answering this question, I realized that one of the great things about Workflowy is that it has no concept of files and folders, and is entirely made up of infinite lists that form a tree of relationships. bidirectional-linked note-taking software, on the other hand, needs to create untitled files at will, regardless of the hierarchy or classification of them.
  • Does Workflowy have to sacrifice its most important features? I don’t think so. It occurred to me that Workflowy’s tag is the only element that is not in a tree relationship. Can we make full use of tags to achieve bidirectional-linked function?
  • 1.First of all, for characters like “# ABC”, it still acts as the old tag, and when it is clicked, it still gives back the same old feedback, which is almost perfect!
  • 2.Second, for a character like “#[[ABC]]”, it will be both a traditional tag and a bidirectiona-linked one, opening the sidebar automatically when it is clicked. Yes, we need an amazing right sidebar, which is the second most important thing.
  • 3.Finally, for a character like “[[ABC]]”, it would be a link to a node in the existing tree relationship, consistent with the current functionality.
  • Let me explain the second point:
  • 1.Take notes in stages. For example, if I’m organizing some bibliographical notes and I want to organize some points in another note, I need to be able to put a link to the former and open it easily in the sidebar. The two levels of notes are read against each other on the left side and the right side, which is the most important function of bidirectional-linked notes.
  • 2.The setting of “#[[ABC]]” has two important points :(1) it is a double chain derived from the tag and does not belong to any branch of the tree relationship, thus preserving the valuable tree relationship framework of Workflowy; (2) When it is clicked, it will automatically pop up the sidebar, and open or create a new note with “ABC” as the title, without also needing to press “SHIFT”.
  • 3.This basically implements page double-linked reference. As for block reference, you can copy the block reference link of any node and paste it anywhere, just like ROAM Research. Typical applications look like this:
  • When I need to organize Note A (which is a node in the tree ), I open the “#[[ABC]]” link in it and then organize Note B under the heading “ABC”. If I summarize some points from node x of A note and put them in node y of B note, I copy the block reference link of node y of B note and paste it after node x of A note. The Y node will be prompted with the number of block references. Clicking this number will pop up the contents of the X node below. The Y node is the context of the X node, which is used to quickly point to the source of the B note in case of doubt when using it.
  • Above is my idea, I know you must have great plan, if my suggestion can be helpful to you, I will be very happy.
Everett
Everett
1 month ago

Bravo!!

Thomas Snyder
Thomas Snyder
1 month ago

Coool!

Stephen J Zeoli
Stephen J Zeoli
1 month ago

This seems like a great new feature. One question: When you create a linked item this way, where in your outline is it created?

Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre
Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre
1 month ago

Excelente !!!! Grande Workflowy y en especial todos quienes trabajan ahí.

Un abrazo y agradecimientos

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