Restore Deleted Items, Relive Their Glory

By

November 17, 2021
Workflowy trash can feature

Have you ever sent a Workflowy item into the great beyond only to later wish you could somehow recover it?

Well now you can with our trash can feature! You can now browse previously deleted items and choose to either restore them to their former glory or delete them permanently.

You no longer have to worry about accidentally deleting something important like top secret three-letter agency notes or grandma’s pecan pie recipe, you can always recover it if you need to.

How do I use it

The trash can feature can be accessed from the menu bar under the “Trash” option.

Clicking this brings up a window that allows you to browse the most recently deleted items and a small preview of their content if any.

From here you can choose to either restore an item or permanently delete it.

You can also choose to load more items if the item you want to restore was deleted further back in time.

Please note that it may take a moment or two for our servers to take the items out of cryogenic storage and reanimate them. For large items it can take a bit longer than that but they will eventually show up.

Note

After you permanently delete an item there is no way for us to restore it, so be sure you really want to delete something before you do it 🔥

Update: We’ve added an “Empty trash” button


The “Empty trash” feature will be released next Tuesday, December 7th 2021.

To use it, scroll down to the bottom of your trash and you’ll see a little, “Empty trash” button. Click it, and it will go through and permanently delete everything in your trash.

Tue, Nov 30, 2021

🤯 Hate this feature? Think we’re idiots who don’t care about our users? Read this.

This is Jesse, the founder/CEO of Workflowy.

We’ve seen a lot of pretty brutal comments on this post along the lines of, “WHY THE @%*$ DID YOU BUILD THIS?!?” and “You don’t don’t care about your users, or listen to them!” This truly hurts to hear. I care deeply about our users, and try to listen. I can also understand why you feel that way, particularly if you’ve been around a long time.

I’m responsible for choosing what we work on. I’ll explain a little what we’re doing here and why I chose to build the Trash feature.

Why did you build a $@%ing trash feature?
I built the trash feature to free up my time, and to help the Workflowy users in the most pain. The users suffering most in Workflowy land are those who accidentally delete some mission critical data. I have a policy that our employees do not access user data. Therefore, I took it upon myself to restore accidentally deleted nodes for people manually. This took up some of my time, stressed me out, and made people wait a long time before getting data back. Thus, to free up my time, and fix one of the worst experiences someone can have in Workflowy, I prioritized this.

Why isn’t the @#$%ing trash feature perfect?
The comments are split between hating that we spent any time building a trash feature and complaining that we didn’t spend more time making it perfect. I was trying to just get it done, get something out there that could help people restore their stuff. I was aiming for “good enough to be useful”.

How do you prioritize features? Why do you ignore your users?
Broadly, I think about three categories of product improvements: stuff people want, strategic stuff, and stuff that moves toward my vision. For now, let me talk now “stuff people want”.

We care what people want. We have been working diligently through user requests over the past year. We have taken multiple surveys to understand what people’s top priorities are, and we have started to build the things people are asking for.

The top two requests were images/files and color formatting. Both are now built and released. Look at this list of top user requests from our forum, and see how many of them are complete. It’s a lot. We are committed to making the improvements you want, polishing Workflowy, and expanding what it can do. Now, I know we haven’t done enough for everyone or moved as quickly as we’d like, but we’re trying.

I’m genuinely sorry that we’ve frustrated so many people. Hopefully one day we’ll get to the point where you feel only delight and joy when you think about Workflowy.

4.3 16 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
40 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Will Dollis
Will Dollis
6 days ago

We care what people want.

My comment about needing an empty trash feature, because it’s unreasonable to expect users to delete every item in the trash individually (and not being able to delete old data permanently is a major privacy problem) is, as of the writing of this present comment, the most “liked” under this blog post, despite me adding my comment after most people added theirs.

I am not arguing that a trash feature is a bad feature (not at all)… but without an empty trash feature, it isn’t right.

Can you please add that as soon as possible? Because apparently my desire for this is widely shared (as well as being pretty basic).

Jesse Patel
Admin
Jesse Patel(@jessepatel)
1 day ago
Reply to  Will Dollis

it’s unreasonable to expect users to delete every item in the trash individually (and not being able to delete old data permanently is a major privacy problem) 

@will It’s a good point. I did not expect people to need the ability to permanently delete everything very much, honestly. I figured some specific data would want to be cleared permanently but that deleting everything wouldn’t be a massive need (and many competitors don’t have this feature either).

It will also be a very data intensive and slow process.

Questions:

  1. What is the main reason you want to be able to completely empty your trash? (I think I know from your comments, but explicit statement would be helpful)
  2. If you had emptied the trash once, would you do it regularly? Or would you simply then delete individual things that were sensitive?
Last edited 1 day ago by Jesse Patel
Jesse Patel
Admin
Jesse Patel(@jessepatel)
5 hours ago
Reply to  Will Dollis

Okay, it is added. It’ll be released Tuesday, Dec 7th

jb300
6 days ago

I am here to talk in the name of all the “jokers” bellow… (and hope they will reply in the comments too)

That being said… everybody claimed they are pro-long-time-users and love the app… You can’t be a hater or a troll if you like/love using something… We might have way to many high hopes when it comes to Workflowy… and please don’t tell me “it’s just an app” – because it’s not… it’s “THE APP”;

After Jesse posted the response – everything makes sense now… def. he knows what he is doing and how/what to prioritize… and “THE GREAT REMAKE” already started in order to “MAKE WORKFLOWY GREAT AGAIN” and let our PKS (personal knowledge system) thrive as the “GREAT AWAKENING” continues and as we approach “THE DARK WINTER” let’s “BUILD BACK BETTER” (together) the “KINGDOM OF WORKFLOWY” (blog, community, forum) where even “TROLLS LIVES MATTER”

No hate man, good vibes… good vibes only…

Jesse Patel
Admin
Jesse Patel(@jessepatel)
6 days ago
Reply to  jb300

Thanks, appreciate it.

Oleg
Oleg
8 days ago

I just wonder. As a free user, I used to restore my quota of free nodes by deleting outdated stuff. How will it work with this trash feature?

Will Dollis
Will Dollis
3 days ago
Reply to  Oleg

I believe it means that deleted nodes don’t count toward your total. Only nodes actually active in your WorkFlowy.

Bartosz Grabowski
Bartosz Grabowski(@bartosz_grabowski0)
10 days ago

It’s nice to have (would be event nicer with ’empty trash’ feature), but was it really that high on user requests lists?

I have to ask – why do You even bother with asking for user feedback if You ignore it when planning next feature releases?

(I still love WF though 🙂 )

Will Dollis
Will Dollis
6 days ago
Reply to  Rodolfo Lopez

With due respect to Bartosz Grabowski, “empty trash” is a must-have, not just nice-to-have, feature.

You’ve done good initial work on the trash feature, Rodolfo (and/or whomever helped with it at WorkFlowy) and I can see the value in it.

However, I trust you also can see that without an empty trash feature, it’s a real problem for privacy and user convenience: having to delete potentially thousands of old nodes individually to remove that data permanently from one’s account?

Last edited 6 days ago by Will Dollis
WhyNotSo?
WhyNotSo?
11 days ago

DISCLAIMER : I spend too much time in workflowy, I might be addicted or something… + also + NOT A TROLL : enthusiastically looking forward to any small step work-papa-flowy is taking…

An insult to long-term power users… Workflowy gets the CROWN for the champion of unicorn-farts… It does a lot of cool/things – but none completely right… Here’s some fairy dust :

  • Send daily email summaries of changes to my account”
  • OPML export of full account – manual backup – but you can import max 10.000 items at a time… Good luck with that…
  • DROPBOX backups? – have fun manually importing in Workflowy and manually delete items in your free DROPBOX account to make more space… and just wait and do nothing, because the sync is blocked…
  • here’s a trash can feature, for your offline app that needs an active internet connection and a lot of time to sync and download – and good luck finding “THE THING YOU ARE LOOKING FOR” if it’s days older :-S

Anyway… it’s great to have options…
The good thing is the app is getting “BETTER” — right, right, right ?

That being said, the app feels and looks solid 🙂 even if the changes are “under the hood”

PS : Hopefully soon we will also get “STRIKE” feature without it’s own special blog post…

Ruben
Ruben
11 days ago

I’ve been using WorkFlowy for five years and, overall, I love it. Having said that, I sometimes wonder which features are given priority by your awesome team. For example, it’s almost 2022 and we are still not able to do something as simple as sorting bullets alphabetically. If I take a look at the other 24 comments below this post, I’m not sure whether a trash bin had been such a highly requested feature… I can only quote @Matt here: “There’s so much more for you to do and improve on than this!”

Jason
Jason
12 days ago

Sounds awesome!

jb300
12 days ago

People are drooling at highlighting text, emoji tags and trash cans… C’mon WORKFLOW team, you can do better than this… release the KRAKEN… the real update(s)…

PLEASE more features for research based usage/users :


  • TABS + / OR PANELS ??? : MAN, I jump from note to note, to search to search and back to notes… it’s HARD…
  • BETTER BOOKMARK/STARRED ITEMS BAR ??? organizational
  • The ability to save links for searches, instead of clogging the starred item bars ??? click a link for a search, I can make a TOC or notes with different searches…
  • ALSO please for the BETA users, add a list of all the changes you make… sometimes there are 2 update daily, sometimes every other day… and it’s a treasure hunt to see what changed or got worse… (is not that hard to make a changelog… please)
Will Dollis
Will Dollis
13 days ago

This is awful without an empty trash feature! You should get rid of it until that is built.

You should also delete all the data you’re holding on to of deleted nodes, at least those that aren’t in the backups we’ve chosen to keep in our account. This is a total privacy disaster.

So, if I someone doesn’t want their old, deleted nodes accessible, they have to spend hundreds of hours individually deleting every one, essentially from the beginning of time?

This is badly thought out. Even 30-years ago free webmail services gave you the ability to empty the trash.

Last edited 13 days ago by Will Dollis
Craig Cooper
13 days ago

This is going to be so helpful!! Thank you.

JD Howard
JD Howard
13 days ago

I never need this (knock on wood), but nice to know it’s there!

Matt
Matt
13 days ago

Honestly, there’s so much more for you to do and improve on than this.

Lemon Bottle
Lemon Bottle
12 days ago
Reply to  Matt

They have like 10 employees. Cut them some slack. There are other tools out there as well for inline bullets.

Michel Bühnemann
Michel Bühnemann
13 days ago

Great feature! Thanks guys!

dima skr
dima skr
13 days ago

Cool, I just recently thought why they do not implement the trash – if I accidentally delete something – and then immediately a new function – a trash! Very cool! Thanks!

Mikula Beutl
13 days ago

Unexpected nice thing 🙂

Marco
Marco
13 days ago

Absolutely necessary. Great !

jb300
16 days ago

NOT A RANT

Workflowy beats everything by simplicity… Any other software out there, right now, that’s “HOT” , has a big learning curve… everybody is busy productive, organizing systems… Workflowy is way too intuitive, but I agree it lacks BASIC features and that’s such a shame… Big up to devs for all the small updates in the last 1 years, the app needed them… BUT I have a few problems; I believe that the web app doesn’t have these problems… but given the fact that I’m on the MACOSX app and I work offline most of the time…

  1. the starred items (bookmark bar) get messed up and I lose them, or a part of them, and sometimes even with no sync they messed up… besides that colors in the starred items or colored tags are messed up, show different colors… anyway, that function is unusable for me… and I’ve been using the app for 10 months (the support told me they can’t fix it – I have proof for that)
  2. Images or files can’t be uploaded offline… OK – no problem… but in the offline app, if you restart the app… good luck getting your images without an internet connection… Besides that, on sync it just downloads a few images offline (seems random to me) and the rest are blurred or gray… the fix/hack i’ve found is to do a global search “has:image” and click + (individually) load all images… and don’t close the app while offline… Somehow the app can’t download/save all the images/files offline… (that’s stupid in 2021) – Imagine having important files/images in workflowy but no internet connection…
  3. I also sometimes lose tag colors… it’s random, I can’t reproduce this error… workflowy gods maybe know why ???
  4. a lot of design / menus : could be improved with minimal effort… especially the new colors menu + the settings clogged with new features – randomly arranged…

I can go on and on with other small issues… but I’ll stop here…
I really love workflowy, it’s simple and intuitive in these crazy times… I wouldn’t change anything at this time… just make it work!!!

ONE THING I might add, as I found myself hitting a wall while using the app… PLEASE more features for research based usage/users :

  • TABS + / OR PANELS ??? : MAN, I jump from note to note, to search to search and back to notes… it’s HARD…
  • BETTER BOOKMARK/STARRED ITEMS BAR ??? organizational
  • The ability to save links for searches, instead of clogging the starred item bars ??? click a link for a search, I can make a TOC or notes with different searches…
  • ALSO please for the BETA users, add a list of all the changes you make… sometimes there are 2 update daily, sometimes every other day… and it’s a treasure hunt to see what changed or got worse… (is not that hard to make a changelog… please)

In 10 months of using the app workflowy helped me a lot… But I have a love-hate relationship… I had so many issues and lost data (in the beginning) it’s crazy… I never in my life sent so many support tickets (to anybody else), but I did it for workflowy because I saw something there… I value simplicity – in an era of complexity, wild wild west, a bloatware road to hell… Workflowy is cool/chill — zen…

Anyway… Sometimes I feel the support team and the devs just don’t care about users… they say they can, but they improve the app as they want, can, wish… based on their usage… That’s how I feel it looks… I challenge anyone to go on the workflowy.zendesk.com page and see how many requests, how many years ago, and what changed from then to now… and also check “their” reply : something like, it’s on the map, we are working, is planned, this year… soon… Besides the BOARDS view, nothing good in the past 2-3 years as I can see… and that’s SAD…

I’m not a troll, I love workflowy, I really do… that’s why I wrote this big review… but something has to change…
I feel stuck with workflowy for the moment… because there’s nothing better at this moment out there… and that’s scary…
Maybe I’m putting too much trust in an app – and that’s dangerous… These days as I can see – most of the companies (all domains) do a big U-turns – and good products go bad…

Support or zendesk, reddit or the telegram group feels like a big joke; I wanted to post on the official page… Workflowy team – GET SERIOUS – NOW OR NEVER…

Thanks…

Last edited 16 days ago by jb300
Coiso da Silva
Coiso da Silva
12 days ago
Reply to  jb300

That’s exactly my feeling about this service as well…

“(…)support team and the devs just don’t care about users… they say they can, but they improve the app as they want, can, wish… based on their usage…”

Everything we see implemented was based on their usage and need, or desire, whatever. If they don’t see a point in having some features, then it’s not implemented.

No doubt that it’s a “classy” product or like someone else here said: “Workflowy is like an artist… there’s no clear roadmap”. But that is not always the most clever solution… Classy, elegant, that’s about the UI/UX but one can have an elegant tool and still keep the simplicity even with lots of features.

Rephrasing what was said, this is also not a rant. I just wish the team could make themselves more clear about what they plan to implement, when (in 2 years, 10 years) and what WF will never have. But it’s hard to do this without a public roadmap or a decent changelog / release notes.

Ruben
Ruben
11 days ago
Reply to  jb300

Long-time WorkFlowy user here. Unfortunately, I couldn’t agree more!

sailfish
sailfish
18 days ago

This is a great feature, but only appearing in 2021 as a new feature in Workflowy is no surprise to me, I like the simplicity and speed of Workflowy, and the elegant implementation of some features, there are too many note taking software now, but I returned to Workflowy, besides the features, the most important factor is that it is comfortable to use. Workflowy is like an artist, unlike other software, there is no clear Roadmap, because Workflowy wants the most elegant implementation, I will always support Workflowy and look forward to more surprises from Workflowy

Last edited 18 days ago by sailfish
Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre
Carlos Rebolledo Aguirre(@carebolledo)
19 days ago

Excelente!!!

prosody(—Gabriel Croft) Context
20 days ago

Is Edit History not as good as (better than?) a 1990’s Trash Can function?

I wish the email-based “Revisions” copy we’re sent daily (we can not specify frequency, to be a true Revision History) was browser-based like the rest of Workflowy, it does not make sense why I am checking for Revisions/Deletions (lacking WF formatting, oh geez) in my Dropbox/Gmail account.

These quaint product updates give the impression the founders want to keep the loved “original” Workflowy as a stable/accessible/fun product, but from your years of blogging you can read the pressure to enable advanced features is palpable. The last few product updates, we’re just adding simple colors and emojis, and you’re a mature YCombinator product now. Sadly, we’re expected to hack CSS/JS (found littered in old blog post instructions, pointing to broken UserScript sites), instead of maturing OPML and Workflowy openly with a confident, transparent roadmap.

Why not promote a “Founder’s Original Vision” version (the one we’re using by default now, which made Workflowy the first-mover/leader, a safe product to keep the same forever, good for $5/month), and begin competing as a product with the rip-offs of Workflowy like RoamResearch/Dynalist audience by having a (separate) “Advanced Version?”.

An Advanced Version, which many of us would gladly pay more than $5/month—for instead of a Trash button hidden in a menu loading a popup dialogue with weird word wrapping you have to idiotically scroll—the emailed Revisions as granular webpages/data would help for professional usage.

Coiso da Silva
Coiso da Silva
19 days ago

Not to mention Dates… It’s awful how this is implemented. Just poorly designed. No pop-up calendar or something that explicits dates is incredibly unuseful.

Remko
Remko
19 days ago

WorkFlowy is getting more advanced without cluttering the original premise. It has gotten so many improvements over the last year and can easily compete with Roam and Dynalist. You mention small features like trash and colors, but what about backlinks and mirrors? The team is carefully weighing options and implementing them in an agile way. You start with a trash can somewhat hidden, and may end up with something way more advanced. But only if it hits a nerve and feedback shows this feature is worth it to spend more of the limited resources on.

Last edited 19 days ago by Remko
Adam Pearson
Adam Pearson(@adam)
17 days ago

Revision history in addition to easily accessible trash would be useful. Google Docs revision implementation is very nice. One to look forward to, I hope.

Will Dollis
Will Dollis
13 days ago

1990s trash cans had the ability to empty the trash with a couple clicks. WorkFlowy doesn’t: It could take potentially tens of thousands of clicks.

Francesco Martire
Francesco Martire(@francesco_martire_2)
20 days ago

The way you’re updating this product is… classy.

paterson
20 days ago

wow! good feature!

Frank Degenaar
Editor
Frank Degenaar(@frankman777)
21 days ago

First!

Mikula Beutl
13 days ago
Reply to  Frank Degenaar

Hey guys, everyone should give Workflowy more votes! 🙂 click on the Heart icon to move it up, it is currently on position 13

https://alternativeto.net/category/productivity/note-taking/

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Subscribe to the newsletter

We'll send you a weekly roundup of the latest posts

Overwhelmed?

Workflowy replaces your notebooks, stickies and bloated apps with a simple, smooth digital notebook that makes it easy to get organized and be productive.