WorkFlowy Window: An Alternative to the Chrome App

Note: This post updated (Nov 2018) for Chrome 70.

WorkFlowy offers an excellent Desktop App, and it’s very popular with WorkFlowy users. There are good reasons for the popularity:

  • Offline support: A requirement if your internet connection is patchy or non-existent.
  • Focus: WorkFlowy is all about focus. The app offers a clean window with no bookmarks bar, no address bar, and no tabs to distract you.
  • Workflow: some users simply prefer a separate window vs keeping a tab open in the browser.

So, What is “WorkFlowy Window”?

Confession: It’s a name I made up… for a feature already baked into Chrome. If you are a Chrome-ninja, you probably already know about it. But I suspect many non-ninjas (and even some ninjas) may not be aware of some compelling advantages WorkFlowy Window offers over the Chrome app.

The Bad:

First, let’s talk about what WorkFlowy Window can’t do, and it’s a biggie: Offline. If your internet connection is reliably patchy or non-existent, you can stop reading. In fact, I still use the Desktop App, but only in offline situations.

The Compelling Advantages Stuff:

If your internet connection is non-patchy and reliably existent, and it’s the focus and workflow you desire, WorkFlowy Window gives you that and much more:

  • Multiple instances: You can put WorkFlowy Windows side by side. While you can’t drag bullets between them, you can use the standard edit operations (including multi-edit) to copy, cut and paste bullets between the two.
  • Custom Shortcuts: Speaking of multiple, you can setup custom shortcuts to launch instances into specific nodes… make one for “Work” and one for “Personal”.
  • Chrome Extensions! That means Stylus, WorkFlowy To Google Calendar, Clip To WorkFlowy, and Tampermonkey to name a few. You can access extensions via keyboard shortcuts or the right click menu. As of Chrome 70, there is now a 3 dot menu icon in the title bar you click for icon access.
  • Copy Bullet URLs via right click on the bullet, or click the 3 dot icon for the zoom parent.
  • Find on Page via Ctrl+F (and Ctrl+G to quickly navigate through them)
  • Search Google by selecting text, and right clicking
  • Cleaner toolbar with no Edit-View-Window menu
  • Spellcheck turn it on or off, just like in Chrome.

Sounds Good, How Do I Do This?

  • Launch WorkFlowy in Chrome. (Zoom on a specific bullet if desired)
  • Click the Chrome’s Customize icon (3 dots) in the upper right.
  • Select More Tools > Create Shortcut
  • Name it as you like, and click Create.
  • Voila! Chrome creates a shortcut to your shiny new WorkFlowy Window.
  • Access the shortcut via your Desktop or chrome://apps .
  • If your shortcut opens in a browser tab: open chrome://apps > Right Click the shortcut > Check “Open as window”

Windows Tip: If you want to pin this to your Windows Taskbar, launch the desktop shortcut, and pin that instance to the taskbar by right clicking on the icon.

Happy Windowing!

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WorkFlowy’s Secret Alt+Shift+0 Keyboard Shortcut

(and how to fix it Windows)

Update 12/8/2015: WorkFlowy has changed these shortcuts for Windows users, but left them the same for Mac and Linux users. Chromebook users are reporting problems.

WorkFlowy has great keyboard shortcuts, including a handy hidden pair that allow you to quickly navigate between siblings in your WorkFlowy outline. They are great for reviewing a list of items, in all of WorkFlowy’s zoomed and focused splendor. And if you use WorkFlowy, you may have list or two to review.

Mac & Linux:

  • Ctrl+Shift+0 goes down the list
  • Ctrl+Shift+9 goes up the list

Windows:

  • Alt+Shift+0 goes down the list
  • Alt+Shift+9 goes up the list

Let’s have GIF Master Frank of Do Way, Way More in WorkFlowy fame show you:

Flip through journal

Warning! This pair is addictive.

If you use Windows you may discover Ctrl+Shift+0 doesn’t work, meaning you can only go “up” your list… and that pushes this tip into the “not so handy” column. Here’s how to fix it:


* Hit the Windows Key and type *”control”*
* Open the Control Panel desktop app
* Under: *Clock, Language, and Region* Click: *Change Input Methods*
* On the left Click: *Advanced settings*
* Under: *Switching input methods*, Click: *Change language bar hotkeys*
* With *Between input languages* selected, Click: *Change Key Sequence..*
* Click: both *Not Assigned* radio buttons, and Click: *OK*
* Click: *Apply* and *OK*
* Restart the computer

Clip To WorkFlowy

Do you bookmark a lot of webpages in WorkFlowy? Looking for an easy way to create links between distant WorkFlowy bullets? Clip To WorkFlowy to the rescue. With a single click, the webpage title and url get captured, formatted and copied to the clipboard for one easy paste into WorkFlowy. Paste into any browser, the Chrome app or the mobile apps.

Clip To WorkFlowy comes in three flavors: Google Chrome Extension, bookmarklet, and the Workflow App for iOS.

1) Google Chrome Extension:

WorkClippy1280x800

  • The webpage title becomes a WorkFlowy bullet item, and the url appears in the note.
  • Optionally activate with a keyboard shortcut.
  • Special formatting for intra-WorkFlowy links.
  • No special permissions and no persistent memory footprint.
  • Currently no support for selected text.
  • Find it in the Chrome Web Store
  • NEW! If you only use WorkFlowy in a Chrome browser tab try Clip To WorkFlowy BETA. It automatically goes to your first WorkFlowy tab.

2) Bookmarklet:

  • Supports selected text, which appears after the url in the WorkFlowy note.
  • New in version 2.5! Automatically copies to the clipboard. No more prompt. You manually paste into a new WorkFlowy bullet.
  • Special formatting for intra-WorkFlowy links.
  • View the Clip To WorkFlowy bookmarklet code

Bookmarklet Installation:

3) Workflow App for iOS:

WorkFlowCTW

  • Access through the iOS Share Menu
  • Supports selected text
  • Works in Safari and apps that use the in-app Safari browser.
  • Automatically copies and launches WorkFlowy in Safari so you can paste.
  • Special formatting for intra-WorkFlowy links.
  • Requires purchase of the excellent Workflow app
  • Get Clip To WorkFlowy for Workflow (Version updated Jun 14, 2016)

Happy Clipping!

Launch Bookmarklets with the Keyboard in Chrome

I use a lot of bookmarklets. They’re great for all sorts of tasks… but they have some drawbacks. First, they can eat up space on your bookmarks bar. To add insult to injury, Chrome offers exactly one option to customize the favicon: the blank page… which means you better name them and use more valuable space on your bookmarks bar. And you have to use the mouse to activate them. You can nest your less-used bookmarklets in folders to solve the first issue, but what about keyboard shortcuts?

There is an easy way to create keyboard shortcuts to bookmarklets (and websites) and it’s all built into Chrome without the need for extensions.

Let’s assume we have an existing bookmarklet on our bookmarks bar, and we’ll convert it to a keyboard shortcut and free up some space. For this example we’ll use a bookmarklet called “SiteSearch”. It searches the current site for any selected text, and with no selection it presents a prompt to enter your own site search terms.

site_search
If you want to play along at home, you can create your own SiteSearch bookmarklet by selecting all the code below, then dragging it to your bookmarks bar.

javascript:(function(){var%20s=window.getSelection().toString();if(s){var%20i=s;}else{var%20i=prompt('Search%20Site:%20%20'+location.hostname,'');}if(i==null){return;}else{u='https://www.google.com/search?q='+encodeURIComponent(i)+'%20site:'+location.hostname;}window.open(u);})();
  • Right click on the bookmarklet and select Edit to show this:

Edit_Bookmarklet

  • With the Name field highlighted, hit tab to move to the URL field.
  • With all the code in the URL field selected, copy it to the clipboard.
  • Hit Cancel to close the edit form.
  • Right Click on Address Bar and select Edit Search Engines.

EditSearchEngines

  • Scroll to the bottom of “Other Search Engines” until you see three empty boxes.

Other Search engines

  • Enter the bookmarklet name, SiteSearch in the first box
  • Enter a keyword shortcut. In this case, I use ss because it’s fast to type.
  • Paste the bookmarklet code into the URL box.
  • Press Done, because.. well, you’re done.

How to use it:

  • Press Alt+D (or Ctrl+L) to highlight the address bar
  • Type your keyword ss. The first match will be the bookmarklet name.

bookmarklet_address

  • Press Enter. Boom! You just activated your SiteSearch bookmarklet with keyboard.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Google Chrome Extensions

If a Google Chrome Extension displays an icon in the toolbar next to the address bar, you can probably set a keyboard shortcut that duplicates clicking that icon. It’s convenient and really simple to setup.

  1. Go to the Extensions page:
    Type chrome://extensions in the address bar
    -OR-
    Click on the icon in the upper right, select More Tools > Extensions

  2. Scroll to the bottom and click “Keyboard Shortcuts”

    Bottom_Extensions

  3. To open this dialog where you can define your custom keyboard shortcut:

    extension_keyboard

All you need to know about key combinations:

  • Be careful not to override existing keyboard shortcuts you might use.
  • All key combinations must include either Ctrl or Alt.
    (Ctrl = Cmd if you speak Mac)
  • Ctrl+Alt combinations are not permitted.
  • Supported keys: A-Z, 0-9, Comma, Period, Home, End, PageUp, PageDown, Space, Insert, Delete, Arrow keys (Up, Down, Left, Right) and the Media Keys (MediaNextTrack, MediaPlayPause, MediaPrevTrack, MediaStop)

Update 3/6/2016: As of Chrome 49 you can hide the extension icon from the toolbar and still activate it via your keyboard shortcut. Just right click on the icon and select “Hide in Chrome menu”.

That’s it!  You may never click a toolbar icon again.