How to get started

Not sure where to begin? This article will give you a solid understanding of how to setup to manage your projects and tasks.

Adding projects and tasks

Each item in the Outline can be anything: a project, a task, an appointment, a link to an email or file, or just plain text. Using the item types described below, you can specify what you want an item in your outline to represent.

Projects, tasks, and lists

Set the style of an item by right clicking it and selecting the item type or by typing one of these characters at the beginning of the item.

#Projects (headers) display larger and bolder than other items. You can use these to visually differentiate projects from everything else.

[ ]Tasks display a checkbox to their left which you can use to complete them. You can also complete any item with the checkbox on the right.

*Bulleted lists show a bullet next to each item.

1.Numbered lists show an automatically incrementing number next to each item in the list.


In other note apps you might create different files or documents for different projects, but in everything should be kept in one file and organized as a hierarchy.

To move items around in your hierarchy, indent an item under the project above by pressing Tab and unindent it by pressing Shift + Tab.

Managing projects makes narrowing your focus to a single project or context easy. Remove distractions by zooming, searching, and filtering your outline.


Zoom into an item to show only its children and hide everything else. This is the best way to focus on a single project.

Search and filter

Search for a keyword or #tag to show matching items. And use’s many different filters to customize your view by showing or hiding specific item types.

Headers: When you want to hide anything not related to projects

Tasks: When you want to see only tasks and ignore other notes

Completed: Hide completed items to focus on what’s left, or show only completed items to see what you’ve done

Star: Show only those high priority starred items

Priority: Show only prioritized items


Click the menu in the top left of the pane to open the Overview. The Overview lets you quickly scroll to items in view or zoom into them.

In an Outline or Calendar pane, it shows all of your items with children. In the Gmail pane, it shows your Gmail labels. And in the Drive pane, it shows your folders in Drive.


Collapsing is a good way to hide projects you don’t look at very often, or keep details of projects closed until you’re ready to work on them. Click on the arrow on the left side of an item to collapse it, or click the [arrow] icon at the top of the pane to collapse everything.


Press ! or + Shift + D to open the date picker. There you can either type a date or repeat date like "every friday" or click on a date in the date picker. You can even drag across the calendar to select a range of dates.

Using multiple panes to create boards

Each pane is a separate, customizable view on the same data in your file. You can combine multiple panes together to create your own boards.

Add a new pane

To the right of the panes is the Add Pane area. Click a pane type to add it or click the zoom icon next to it to choose an item to zoom the new pane to.

Drag and drop

Grab an item on the left side to drag it. You can drag it around the same pane to rearrange it, or to a different pane to move it to a separate project or milestone.

Put panes together

Combine multiple panes with their own search and zoom to create custom boards. You can use multiple panes to create completely custom workflows:

Email + GTD

Organize your emails on your todo list.

Kanban Boards

Drag tasks between stages of your projects.


Use tag searches combined with a calendar pane to always know what's next.

Project Management

Get an overview of what your team is up to.

Agenda + Calendar

See your upcoming schedule from every view.

Save multiple boards

In the sidebar on the left you’ll see “My First Board” which is created for you by default. If you click “New Board” all your panes will disappear giving you a new Board with a fresh set of panes to arrange for a different purpose. Switching back to “My First Board” will bring back your original set of panes. With Boards you can save a set of boards for each of your workflows, such as one for working with email, one for focusing on today’s tasks, one for planning future tasks, etc…