List Title Tags to Better Navigate WorkFlowy


October 27, 2015


In a couple of days I’ll post the first of a series of interviews about WorkFlowy. I’ll be chatting to some notable WorkFlowy users who’ll be sharing how they squeeze what out of WorkFlowy. There are some interesting folk lined up – but at the end of the day, they’re just like you and I. We’re all about WorkFlowy.

Over the next weeks and months I’ll be rubbing shoulders with many more of you WorkFlowy fans. If you think you’ve got a unique WorkFlowy perspective or a story to tell, please drop me a line at

So as not to leave you empty-handed today, and since I’m the one writing this post, I guess I’ll have to go ahead and interview myself then:

FRANK 1: Hi Frank 2, thanks for allowing me to interview you.

FRANK 2: The pleasure is all mine. Hey… why do you get to be Frank 1?

FRANK 1: Moving on… I wanted to ask you – If there was any one dynamic that you could pull directly out of your book and shamelessly promote to all of us, what would it be? Would you mind if I shared it on the WorkFlowy blog?

FRANK 2: Sure. It’s definitely got to be what I call, “List Title Tags“. Although it’s not exactly a WorkFlowy breakthrough, without it, navigating my WorkFlowy document would be way slower:

List Title Tags – from A to B that much faster

At the time of writing I’ve been watching Star Trek: DS9. The space station, Deep Space Nine, is located near the mouth of a recently discovered Bajoran wormhole, which allows access to the distant Gamma Quadrant. This wormhole makes passage from the Alpha Quadrant to the Gamma Quadrant – a distance of 70,000 light years – almost instantaneous (whereas it would ordinarily take a Federation starship 67 years to go the distance). The Bajoran wormhole is the only known stable wormhole in the Milky Way Galaxy with a terminus (mouth) located in both quadrants.

This is a picture of what I call “List Title Tags”. I usually put a tag in a parent list “terminus” and another in a child list “terminus” buried a number of lists deep. This tag might either substitute the title of a list or add an “@” to a keyword in the list title to modify it. When one engages (clicks on) a tag in a parent list, it will connect you to a tag in a child list, no matter how deep in the hierarchy. Then one simply clicks on the bullet of the child list to zoom in. Just like the Bajoran wormhole, these tags are “stable” in the sense that I keep them as permanent “terminuses”.

Below you will see a portion of my task list for @TODAY, ordered by priority. By looking at the breadcrumb navigation bar at the top of the image, you’ll notice that it would have taken 4 clicks to get here by clicking on one list at a time starting from the home page:

Another instance of this tag is found on the home page – which actually substitutes the list title of my list where all my actionable items are tucked away. It represents one of the most frequently visited children lists therein:

When I click on the @TODAY tag (not the bullet point) on my home page, I get the following filtered search results:

You’ll see 3 @TODAY  List Title Tags which are 3 of the contexts/ lists I visit daily within this parent list:

  • My Kanban Calendar (for general task management)
  • My journal for “thinking about thinking”
  • A health log, containing a record of exercise routine, etc.

So it’s one click on my home page to get to the above search result… and from there, not only will it take just a second click to get to to my task list for today… but also I have a tailor-made menu to cherry-pick from.

I hope a light went on with this simplest of hacks. This focuses specifically on how tags help to navigate one’s established nested hierarchies of lists – the architecture you’ve set up for the broad categories: we know where our lists are, but we just want to get there effortlessly. These tags are permanent fixtures, until you decide to restructure things, that is.

FRANK 1: Ummm… OK. Thanks for that. I think that will be all for now.

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[…] Now I wouldn’t recommend that you go bookmark crazy. I’d reserve this setup for but a few specialized lists, saved searches and bookmarklets. Otherwise you’d be missing out on putting some other great navigational dynamics into practice. One such example: List Title Tags. […]

Eliseo Javier Asso
7 years ago

I can not understand the different use of @ and # in workflowy. Please, do you explain me ? thanks!

7 years ago

“#” and “@” tags behave exactly the same. It’s really a matter of preference which you choose to use. I personally use “@” tags for people and tags that are a permanent feature in my workflow (only a few instances thereof throughout my account) or part of my navigational infrastructure (as in the post above). I use “#” tags for contexts within contexts, especially where you are tagging multiple items, as in this WorkFlowy blog tag index I set up:

Brandon Featherstone
Brandon Featherstone
7 years ago

Since we’re talking about tags, this would be the place to ask. Does anyone know if it’s possible or if there is a workaround to add tags to multiple nodes? Currently I have to copy/paste them after clicking each node. Deleting (exploding) them is really simple (and fun!) by Alt+Click. What about adding?

7 years ago

Hey Brandon, it would be interesting to visualize your workflow and see what you’re wanting to achieve. Could you share an outline maybe?

Brandon Featherstone
Brandon Featherstone
7 years ago
Reply to  frank.dg

Definitely! There are a couple of actions I use that would make the ability to tag multiple nodes with the same tag useful.
1. Going through “Items-for-Later” and adding a #today tag for tasks I’d like to do today. (This helps aggregate tasks from other Parent nodes such as tasks from another day or “Project” nodes).
2. Going through a list of tasks and assigning a @Project for each node. (I like to have each node have a specific @Project so I can see where my time was allocated.)

My main workflow is within my Calendar section where I move around the bulk of my tasks from day to day. This is actually an adaptation from your Kanban Calendar template. Rather than have “Today” as it’s own Parent node, I like to have all my tasks for that day within the “Calendar” node for whatever day it is. The #today tag moves with the day so i can easily jump from the Home screen. The main reason for this is that it helps with tracking completed items as you can view everything that was done on a certain day (here’s an example:comment image?dl=0).

Here is my outline:
I’d love to hear any suggestions you or anyone else might have!

7 years ago
Reply to  frank.dg

Brandon, that’s a really nice workflow. Thanks for the visuals. As you mentioned, the way you’re transferring your @today tag to each new day, you get to have a whole archive set up instead of keeping a separate archive of tasks elsewhere. Really nice.

Back to the thing of auto-tagging more than one item. The only way I could see this happening presently is if each of those items you wanted to tag were all immediate sibling lists OR they all had a unique, common keyword or tag contained therein… and then using the Stylish “Condensed Search” hack, you’d have only those bullets appear (without their parent hierarchies)… and if you already had, say, a PhraseExpress hotkey set up which would simulate certain keystroke combinations and successively paste in a certain tag at the end of each line of your search results… it could be automated. But you’d have to have a very specific workflow that you repeat quite often for it to be worth setting up. Too many variables.

Quick question… since you have to manually choose which tasks to tag or edit or move, I’m wondering why a simple copy-paste, paste, paste, paste (of a certain tag) wouldn’t do the trick…

Also, did you know that on mobile you can place your cursor and then dictate your tags? (“Hashtag, today” will give you “#today”)… I did that with this project:

Art Gelwicks (@ArtGelwicks)

Looking forward to seeing your posts over the coming months. It’s good to see more people starting to write about the capabilities of WorkFlowy from a practical application perspective.

Stefano F. Rausch
7 years ago

Good first ( starting ) post and it is reassuring to know, that you’ll be feeding the blog!

Matt O'Brien
Matt O'Brien
7 years ago

Good to see an active blog by a Worflowy active expert. I like the concept and starting to graduly adopt Workflowy.

I use an Ipad 90% of the time…… and would love to see two usability features added.
1. A single button to Collapse All or Expand All …. just like the Web App.
2. On the iPad….. place the + or – button on the left hand side (the same as on the Web client)….. as the + / – symbols get lost on the right hand side of an iPad when viewed in the normal landscape orientation.


Ian S
Ian S
7 years ago
Reply to  Matt O'Brien

I’m also on the iPad, I more recently started using this so I see your post if from a few months ago. But you should be able to still use the same functionality for expanding lists as on the web by double tapping the title for the page.
I’d love to see some of the expand and contract functionality of HandyFlowy added though.

Fully agree with point number two, I always end up tapping the bullet on an item to try and expand it and it throws me off when I get zoomed into it.

Vaughn Seward
7 years ago

So, when it is the 14th, would you manually move all the @TODAY tags (from the 13th to the 14th)? And how often in a day would you click the @TODAY tag?

7 years ago
Reply to  Vaughn Seward

Yep. You’ve got it. My @today tag is ambulatory. It rolls on to each new day, which I have to create (for my Journal and Health entries). Depending on what you’re looking at, when the next day comes around, you might want to duplicate what was yesterdays structure by holding down the Alt key and dragging its bullet. You can then change up the date – all still in filter mode. You can then go ahead and explode the @today tags in what are now yesterday’s entries by holding down the Alt key and clicking on the tags. Super quick. Aaah… I also need to point out that my @today tag for my Kanban Calendar task management system doesn’t move… I change the date on that. That accesses my Eisenhower Matrix, where I plot today’s tasks, which I pull from the next day in my calendar.

How often would I click on the @today tag? Dunno… how many times would you suggest? You could also save your @today outline, specifically for your task management as a starred page. That way it is accessible in the starred pages viewer by hitting “Ctrl + ;” as well… which would be accessible from anywhere… not just on your home screen.

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