A Beginner’s Guide to Bullet Point Note-taking
What is Workflowy?
Workflowy is a notetaking app that uses bullet points to outline your ideas. You can sign up for a free account at workflowy.com and get started with the online web app. You can also access it via the desktop app for Mac or Windows as well as on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
At first glance, Workflowy is somewhat minimalist. However, it is incredibly powerful once you get to know it. I’ve been using it for years. I use Workflowy to outline blog posts and articles. I use it to plan online courses, take notes on books, and organize resources for the kids’ soccer team I coach.
If you’ve never tried it, you can sign up for free right here. When you use this link, we will both get an extra 100 bullets added to our monthly allowance!
How to Use Bullet Points in Workflowy
Everything you do in Workflowy starts with a bullet point. It’s the singular mechanism for adding text, but it’s also how you organize your notes.
You can have as many bullet points as you want. Simply tap Enter at the end of a line to add a new bullet point, or click the plus sign underneath your last text entry to add a new one.
If you want to group your thoughts together, you can indent bullets. This nests them together as part of an organizational unit. To nest a bullet point, click on the text you want to indent and tap the Tab key on your keyboard. To outdent, a bullet, click on the text and then press Shift + Tab.
You can nest an infinite number of bullet points. Nesting allows you to create a structure for your notes, and you can expand or collapse nested bullet points, so you only see the ones that you want to see.
Use the arrow to the left of a bullet to expand or collapse it, or click the three-dot menu in the top-right corner to expand or collapse all bullet points.
Using Bullet Points as Folders
If you click on a bullet point in Workflowy, you will zoom in closer to make that bullet your top-level view. When zoomed in, the name of the bullet you clicked on becomes the title of your page.
When used in this way, bullets are like folders on your computer. Clicking on a folder takes you deeper into your file structure and reveals the contents that are inside it. Clicking on a bullet point in Workflowy has a similar effect. It zooms you in so that you can see the bullets that are nested inside it.
To zoom out, you can click on the breadcrumb menu at the top of the page to go back up a level or to return to your home page. You can also use the sidebar to select a top-level bullet you would like to return to.
Organizing Bullet Points in Workflowy
To move a bullet, use your mouse to click and drag it to a new location. You can nest or un-nest a bullet when you move it to a new location. If you move a bullet that has nested bullets, everything under that bullet will move with it.
To delete a bullet, hover your cursor over it and click the three dots to the left of the bullet. Here you will see an option to delete it. You can also click and drag to select one or more bullets, and then right-click on your selection to delete the bullet(s).
If you deleted something accidentally, you can restore it from the Settings menu. Simply click the three dots in the top-right corner and select Trash. A window will open with all your recently deleted bullets. Click the restore icon to bring it back to life.
Formatting Text in Workflowy
There are numerous formatting options you can take advantage of in Workflowy to help make your text stand out. For instance, if you select some text with your mouse, you will see a formatting toolbar with standard options like bold, italic, and underline. Keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + B (Windows) or Cmd + B (Mac) also work.
You can add external links using the link tool. All you have to do is select the text you want to hyperlink and then click the link icon. If you prefer, you can use Ctrl + K (Windows) or Cmd + K (Mac).
To add some color to your page, you can change the font color or highlight text in a color of your choosing. You do this by selecting some text and clicking the A icon from the formatting toolbar.
Templates and Ideas
Now that you know the basics, you are probably starting to think about all the ways you might use a note-taking app like Workflowy. If you need some help with this, click the question mark in the bottom-right corner of the screen. This gives you some examples of how you can use Workflowy for Notes, Tasks, Routines, Projects, and Meetings.
However, if you are looking for something more specific, be sure to check out the Workflowy Template Gallery. It has dozens of templates that you can copy and make your own.
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