WorkFlowy: One List to Rule Them All

I like Workflowy. A lot.

A fantastic Outlining Tool!

I found this little gem of a program when I was searching for a simple outlining tool. I started out by looking for an app for my iPhone, but couldn’t find anything I liked. As I tunneled down further into Google’s search results, I found WorkFlowy and started playing around with it. What began as an interesting little toy is now an essential tool that I use pretty much every day.

A Few Details

If you’ve never heard of it before, WorkFlowy is a free, web based outlining tool that takes advantage of the broad capabilities of HTML5, the latest internet language standard. It is an amazingly simple (some would say “stripped down”) writing application that is laser focused on one thing: outlines. The result is a simple, fast, and eerily powerful tool for organizing your thoughts.

Because it is a web application, it works on all platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android, Honeycomb, Blackberry — you name it. Whether you use a mouse or a touchscreen, your outline is always available and will automatically sync across everything. It is the premier “cloud” outlining tool. In other words, if you have a web browser, you can be a super-powered WorkFlowy writing wizard!

An Example

Say you’re out and about and an idea strikes. You immediately whip out your smart phone, go to WorkFlowy, and jot it down. When you get home later that day, you fire up the laptop and get into the details. Pretty soon that chapter that hasn’t been cooperating is now flushed out and ready to rock. Want to share your outline? No problem! You can export it as a PDF or grant someone viewing and/or editing rights via email.

It doesn’t matter if you’re outlining your next novel, planning a birthday party, or jotting down your grocery list, WorkFlowy makes it easy to get your ideas down and organized quickly. The process is designed to be mind numbingly simple and intuitive — just type. Similar to powerpoint, when you want to create a sub-bullet, you simply hit the Tab key and keep typing. Make a mistake and want that sub-bullet to be a full bullet? Go back to the beginning of the line and hit the back key. Using a mobile device? All you do is type away with the in screen keyboard and, when you want to enact an action (indent, share, etc), tap the screen once and the action menu pops up. The entire process is amazingly easy and lightning fast. By stripping down the app, the WorkFlowy team has removed a majority of the impediments to recording your thoughts and reduced the limit to the single variable of how fast you can type.

How You Can Get It

WorkFlowy Mobile Icon

The surest way, regardless of your OS or platform, is to go to their website, http://workflowy.com, and sign up. You’ll need to enter a valid email address and a password. After that, you’re golden. To get it on mobile, I’ve found the best way is to go to the website via your device’s browser, then hit the “add to homepage” button in the bookmark function and the Workflowy icon will appear on your screen. From then on, tap that icon and you’ll go directly to the app. Alternatively, if you use Jolicloud, they have a dedicated WorkFlowy App that you can find in their app listing.

Whether writing a short story, novel, blog post or grocery list, you’ll be amazed at the benefits of using Workflowy to map out your plan. Best of all, it’s completely free. Check it out and get writing!

About Rob McClellan

Rob is the founder of ThirdScribe, a unique author services platform and social network. As a naval officer and diver, he spent a majority of his career doing a lot more than you would think with a lot less than you can imagine -- a skill that has proven extremely valuable in the start-up world. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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