Are you a Notion fan who’s been eyeing Tana’s alluring features like quick capture, outlining, and super tags?

Well, you’re in real luck!

Because we’ve got a blog post that’ll help you incorporate Tana-like functionalities into your Notion workflow.

Let’s dive in and make Notion even more amazing!

Quick Capture

Tana excels in quick capture, making it easy for you to capture your thoughts or information instantly.

Notion, on the other hand, falls short in terms of fast information capture.

But don’t worry, there are workarounds to enhance this aspect within Notion.

  • Notion app: The official Notion app itself allows you to capture information on the go. By creating an “Inbox” page or database in Notion, you can capture all your daily information in one place. To enable quick capturing, use widgets on your mobile apps.
  • Instant Notion: This handy tool enables tagging and offline capture, making it convenient to quickly jot down your thoughts even without an internet connection. You can also use its home page and lock screen widgets for easy data input. For most users, creating a master inbox database and adding Instant Notion to that database is recommended.
  • Drafts: If you’re an iOS user, you can leverage the Drafts app, which has an Action that integrates with Notion and automatically sends any text you input in Drafts to Notion.
  • Save to Notion: This Chrome extension, you can easily send your ideas or clips to any of your Notion databases.

In addition to all these things, I have a page called Inbox in Notion. By default, all my ideas go to this page. I have also created an iPhone iOS widget specifically for this page. This allows me to use Inbox as a scratchpad throughout the day, capturing any new ideas that come to mind.

At the end of the day, I process your inbox and organize the items into their respective locations within Notion.

Tana-like outlining in Notion (4 tips)

Tana offers powerful outlining functionality. It combines the benefits of mind mapping and outlining, making it a valuable tool for brainstorming, project planning, and note-taking from different sources.

When it comes to Notion, it does provide the ability to indent bullets, to-dos, number lists, and toggles, allowing users to create some level of informational hierarchies. However, it lacks a dedicated outlining functionality.

For example, you cannot zoom into any of the bullets, nor can you easily collapse them unless it is a toggle list. Overall, Notion is not designed as an outlining tool.

However, there are strategies you can implement to enhance your outlining experience.

Tip #1: Use subpages extensively

Create subpages for each section in your page.

For example, when reading a book or taking a course, you can create subpages for each lesson. These subpages provide an additional level of indentation.

Notion side-peek view with subpages to to effectively navigate the 1st level indentation

By opening these subpages in the side peek mode, you can take notes using subheadings, bullets, and sub-bullets. You can also use toggle heading 2,3 to add more.

This approach allows you to maintain a reasonable level of indentation levels while effectively structuring your information.

Tip #2: Add indentation lines

Added to subpages, you can follow this tutorial that describes how to use custom CSS to add indentation lines in Notion.

Notion indentation lines

This has helped me to outline effortlessly on Notion.

Tip #3: Use toggle headings effectively

Notion has toggle functionality for all heading levels, which you can use to organize your content.

Untitled 133

Under each heading, you can add toggle subheadings. Then, you can add bullets and sub-bullets to further structure your information.

👉 Note: The background color added to subheaders in the screenshot is due to custom CSS I’ve added using Stylebot for Chrome.

.notion-selectable.notion-sub_header-block > div >div {
    width: 100%;
    max-width: 1123px;
    background-color: #2d2d2d;
    border-radius: 8px;
    border:4px #2d2d2d solid;

Tip #4: Table of content extension

To further enhance your outlining experience in Notion, you can use the Table of Content (TOC) extension, available as a Chrome extension.

Notion sidebar table of content2x 1

This extension adds a table of contents right within Notion’s sidebar, making it easy to navigate through your document’s structure.

It saves you time by providing quick access to different sections and headers within your Notion pages.

You can also utilize an extension called Smart TOC. This is a universal table of content extension for Chrome that allows you to implement table of content functionality not only in Notion but also on any website.

Smart TOC

For this extension, I have set the keyboard shortcut as CTRL-1, which toggles the table of content on any website I’m viewing, including Notion.

Instead of expanding the sidebar and toggling the table of content toggle, I can simply hit this keyboard shortcut, which universally toggles the table of content on any website.

Daily Pages

Tana has a feature called “Daily Pages,” which allows you to quickly jot down tasks, highlights, meeting notes, and other thoughts without worrying about organization.

To replicate this feature in Notion, you can create a “Days” database to house your daily pages.

Notion daily pages database 1

To automatically create daily pages in Notion, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new template with a variable for the current date, such as @today, in the template title.
  2. Schedule the creation of this template every day at 12 am.

When you start your day, a fresh page will be waiting for you, allowing you to plan your day and capture your thoughts.

I’m using a Notion Life OS called Core System, which already is optimized for this.

Turn blocks to database items

Tana allows you to tag notes and convert them into database items effortlessly.

This feature enables easy filtering, sorting, and applying properties to your notes.

While Notion doesn’t offer the same effortless tagging experience as Tana, there’s a way to achieve similar functionality.

In Notion, you can utilize the “Turn Into Page” feature to quickly transform any block of text into a database item.

Logging a task remotely to “Tasks DB” from the daily page workspace

When you turn a block into a database item, all indented content under that block becomes page content within the database item.

When you click on “Turn Into Page,” Notion provides database and template suggestions for you create database item.

Notice how I created a new video note right in my daily page

You can open a converted database item link in side peek mode.

This enables you to work on the primary content inside the database item without interrupting your flow.

Although Tana’s approach is more seamless, Notion’s “Turn into page in” feature still provides valuable features that many users may not be fully utilizing.

Backlinks are an excellent way to navigate related information within an integrated workspace like Notion.

Notion backlinks

While Notion’s backlink management feature may not be as powerful as tools like Roam Research or Tana, it does provide basic backlink functionality.

In Notion, you can manually add backlinks to link pages together.

By using the “Turn Into Page” feature mentioned earlier to create daily notes within a database, you can seamlessly create database items while automatically adding backlinks from the daily page to the respective database item.

This way, you can easily reference your daily notes when working on specific items throughout the day, gaining more context and maintaining a clear connection between related information.

To enhance the backlinks functionality in Notion, you can utilize a Chrome extension called “Evergreen Notes for Notion

Untitled 2

This extension adds a sidebar within Notion that displays backlinks, relations, and references to the current page.

It provides a convenient way to explore the contextual links you’ve created, offering a significant portion of the backlink-related features found in tools like Roam Research or Tana.

Closing thoughts

👉 My inputs: The main issue in Notion is deciding where to put content. However, with Tana, you can easily create and tag content to organize it in various ways. To solve this problem in Notion, you can use a structured framework like Core System, which operates within Notion. By using a system like this, you can enjoy Tana-like features while still utilizing Notion’s powerful capabilities.

To wrap up, using Notion like Tana is possible with a bit of thinking and experimentation. While Tana may have some alluring features, it’s essential to recognize the strengths and versatility of Notion that we often take for granted. Before succumbing to the shiny object syndrome, remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Notion is continually evolving, and with a few updates to its backlinks, turn into page feature, and search functionality, it can close the gaps with Tana when it comes to functionalities.

On the other hand, Tana has a long way to go to catch up with Notion.

For many users, there’s no solid reason to migrate their entire workflow to Tana.

Instead, consider using Tana strategically alongside your existing Notion setup. By referring to the ideas presented in this blog post, you can combine the strengths of both apps and create a synergistic workflow that suits your needs.