Quick tips for working with Notion and work-around some obstacles that are part of the Notion app environment
As Notion is taking a growing part of your work and time, the little things start to come up and matter.
Some are issues the Notion team should put high on their MBF (Must be fixed) list, like the integration with grammar checking tools, others are things you just have to take in consideration while working with Notion.
1. Create a table instead of a property
Let’s say you need to relate tasks in a master list to clients. The intuitive approach is to create a property ‘Clients’ in the master list database page.
However, this can only work if you are really strict about managing everything in one big master list, and when your list of clients is not very long.
Then you need to weigh using a table for clients instead of the property.
A plumbing business with five employees might have hundreds of clients, while a website building company of the same size will have 20 clients. Both businesses have to track assignments related to their clients.
The plumbing team has to create a Clients table and connect it to the Tasks table.
2. When things get fuzzy, click ‘Open as Page’
To view and work on an item in a database, you click on it and get a clean-designed popup floating above the database page so that you can focus.
However, when work is Lengthening, especially if there is writing involved, things inside the popup might become a little fuzzy. The cursor is suddenly restlessness, paragraphs are tilting up and down, and scrolling is not that smooth anymore.
That’s the time to change the working mode by clicking ‘Open as Page’ on the top-left corner of the popup.
It will open the item as a full page, all the fuzziness will disappear, and working with Notion will be smooth again.
3. Keep parent pages clean
Each page in your Notion workspace can have subpages. All subpages are represented by a link in the parent page. When you create the subpage, the link is automatically appearing at the bottom of the parent page.
If the parent page is burdened with stuff – sections, lists, items – you might miss the new link at the bottom and even forget about it later on.
Notion is hinting us to structure the workspace hierarchically and keep the parent pages pure and minimalistic.
This approach is, of course, also much worthy when working with Notion and browsing the workspace in the phone.
4. Control properties order in different views
A database page in Notion can have different views. The basic is the table view (Tip: always create a database from a table). Useful views are the calendar and board view, and you can also view the database as a list or a gallery.
In each view, you can select what properties to show\hide and arrange the order of the properties for that view.
You can also set the properties order inside the item\page. This one should be your default order and reflect your working style.
5. Be cautious about dragging items between tables
When dragging from database A to database B, some of the data stored in A properties might be lost.
- Properties with the same name in both databases will keep the data and the order in the target database.
- Unique properties from the original database that have data in them will be added, with the data, to the bottom of the property list in the target database.
- Empty unique properties from the original database will be lost.
6. Don’t panic from the changing icon
When working with Notion, the browser tab shows the current page icon. Thus, the tab icon is changing as you navigate between Notion pages. This could be a little confusing.
Sometimes you might instinctively think that you somehow closed the page you were working on and get a little panic. It is there, with the fancy icon that you don’t even remember setting.
For pages without an icon, the browser tab will show the general “N” icon of Notion.
7. Embed from apps that are not officially listed
Notion lets you embed content from other apps like google docs and InVision and more. However, you can embed even more, from apps that are not listed in Notion, like Asana.
It will work fine in Notion’s web app, but not necessarily in the mobile app or the desktop app.
8. Importing from Trello: 5 steps
When importing a Trello board to Notion, a Notion page with an inline database (board view) is created in your workspace. The inline database includes all the information from Trello. Note: It is not a database page but a page with an inline database (board view).
This prevents you from positioning the page with the imported information under another page. To do this, you must first convert it to a table page.
Importing a Trello board – the full process
- Import a board from Trello. A Notion page with an
inlineboard will be created.
- In the Notion page with the imported information create a table view.
- Create a new Notion database page in the table view.
- In the new page with the empty table delete all the properties, leave only the name property.
- Go to the page with the imported Trello board, switch to the table view, select items and drag them to the new Notion page.