Notion ships timeline view, hidden properties, and more

Notion ships timeline view, hidden properties, and more

It's about time: gantt charts, page customization and more arrive to Notion — here's our breakdown.

Hello there! Welcome to Digital Opsessions issue #0003

Shared: Nov 11, 2020

Today, marvelous talents at Notion decided to make it a bright Wednesday for us and share three major updates in the app! As part of the Notion Ambassadors group, we were fortunate enough to beta test these features and help spread the announcement news.

Here's what's up

⏳ Timeline View (Gantt Chart)

It has been a loooong dark 469 days since this Tweet has swept the world of project management. Frankly, it feels like the gap between season seven and season eight of the Game of Thrones. Only this time, you're going to be very happy.

Now that I think about it: Pfizer's vaccine announcement to COVID-19 is like Arya to the Night King (if you know what I mean — no spoilers).

How to Timeline View

Starting today, you will see the timeline view option show up in all your databases and linked database views. This is how it looks like:

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Here are some main configuration options to be aware of.

Timeline by

Just like with board and calendar views, you can choose what dates the Timeline view indexes by.

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In our case, we're arranging our content calendar by two date properties. To do that, toggle the use separate start and end dates option. We also like to enter both start and end dates in one property, but needed filtered visibility in the view. So we added a two simple formula properties:

  1. Start date: start(prop("Promotion Dates"))
  2. End date end(prop("Promotion Dates"))

Note that the "timeline by" setting will not sort your records chronologically by default. You need to enable this option if you need it.

Show table

For the first time in Notion databases-and-views history you can fully hide the table! That comes in handy with timeline view — if you just want to see that beautiful timeline. You'll also notice that you can limit the amount of records that show up without filtering, but more on that below

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The Good / The Bad

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Things we love

Moving multiple date-specific records is seamless. Now, if you need to adjust a project timeline that has multiple pieces to it, whether its tasks, milestones, or events, you can just select them all, drag and all the dates will adjust accordingly. We use this, for example, to adjust whole complex project schedules to start from a given date — very handy!

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Hiding the property table is possible! If you'd like to see the timeline view in its full glory you can now toggle the table on and off. In the other Notion views, you cannot hide the main "Name" / ID property.

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You can timeline by separate properties. The default Notion date property does not allow filtering or sorting by the date range. It uses the start date. That can be tricky and annoying when you want to filter your timeline view. Luckily, you have the option to timeline by separate fields!

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Things we hate

Data overflow: Items look bad when you show more than one property in the timeline, or when an event takes place on a single day (then item is just a small white dot, and text overflows). When more than a few properties toggled on the timeline, the UI of each becomes visible cluttered. For both the table and timeline, a "wrap cells" options would be great.

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Only full width. Currently timelines with a table toggles "on", do not adjust to standard width.That's annoying because for some it might be useful to see the table and timeline on the standard width.

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Paid plans limits

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With the introduction of Timelines, Notion team added a new pricing tweak — a limit on the number of Timelines you can use. You can only add 3 timelines on a Personal plan and up to 5 on Team plan. For unlimited timelines you have to buy Enterprise

💝 Notion Proposal Template w/ Project Schedule

We managed to lay our hands on the Timeline view before the release, and had the chance to prepare this proposal template with a Gantt chart included!

It's easy to try — just duplicate it into your workspace and drag all milestones, meetings, deliverables and billing activities to your project's start date. Voila! You now have a complete, detailed project schedule aligned with your preferred dates.

You can change any part of this template — remove or add new records, change default structure, introduce new types of project activities, such as legal (marking the date when the contract is signed), holidays, events.

We use this template ourselves to spin up new client proposals — it saves tons of time on routine editing and allows us to focus on things that are essential, like pain points we help clients address, or our unique approach.

Making these kinds of documents in Notion is enjoyable — you can templatize pretty much any common structure. If the lack of Gantt Charts is something that was stopping you from going all-in on Notion, now is the time.

Get the template!

🙈 Hide Properties, Comments, Backlinks

Properties

Power users know that complex. data-heavy workflows in Notion were tough to work with so far. When making structures that's more sophisticated than a simple "Basic CRM" workflow, properties tend to pile up — at some point, when opening a page, you don't see its content on the first screen, just properties.

Not anymore! Now you can hide properties you don't use and get straight to that page content every time you open a page.

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The best part is that you can set up advanced rules on when to show or hide specific properties — for example, you can show a property only when it's not empty for the current page, or always hide a specific property on a page (you can always open it up manually).

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Comments, Backlinks

It's simple with comments — you can just hide them for a page. Same with backlinks, but you can also select "Show in a popover". That option will display a small "X backlinks" button indicating how many backlinks a page has. Then you can press that button and view the backlinks.

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This functionality allows to keep any workspace clean, and the main use case is for large organizations managing tons of data.

🔐 Advanced Page Permissions

Previously, when you shared access to a page with someone, they would automatically get access to all the subpages in it. Now when you open up a subpage you can see exactly what page it inherits permissions form — and then change permissions for this specific subpage.

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This is useful when you have private pages that live inside a larger page — and you want to share the parent one without sharing these specific private pages. Think company's internal wiki with a subpage that contains sensitive data.

You can also add group permissions — Notion team mentions the use case of giving Engineering team access to most of the workspace except a couple read-only pages.

👻 Limiting Visible Rows in Databases

Notion will now show you a "Show X records" option when working with database settings — and will clip all the records above the number selected. Previously, if you had a huge database, it will display all the records in an infinite scroll as you move down the page — this might have been okay for small databases, but quickly got hard to manage with additional information load.

Target audience of this update

Timeline view, page customization, advanced permissions and row number limits — all of this seems to be targeting enterprise users, who need more control over large setups, Notion team is obviously hitting the nerve with big teams here.

Some features will also be handy for small teams and individual makers — authors can use the timeline view to manage their content editorial, freelancers can use it to control their work load. Advanced customization is valuable for anyone who keeps data in Notion.

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