The Rise and Return of Outliner Applications

Dynalist, Workflowy, Bear will all make a rise to fame this year

Francesco D'Alessio
3 min readMar 17, 2020


The focus in the last few years has mainly been on the world of to-do list applications, note-taking tools, and calendar applications, but one resource that has been left out of the many big parties has been outliners.

What’s an Outliner?

Outliners are straightforward tools that allow you to organize your thoughts, tasks, and projects. They’ve typically been reserved for those who don’t get on well with project-focused task management tools and the feature-rich note-takers, that like a balance between the two of these productivity resources.

In the last six months, with the success of Notion, many people have been turning back to this essential wiki/doc style tool as an escape from the traditional handles of productivity management online.

What have people been using?

Folks have been flocking to Roam mainly.

Roam Research is a new outliner tool for managing ideas and planning lightweight personal projects, but with a twist. Roam allows users to connect and network notes together, a little like how the human brain works.

While Roam isn’t the only tool on the block, it’s among the top tools to go to right now, for those individuals who can’t grasp the workspace natures of Notion but want a simple management tool to get work done and ideas flowing.

What will this space hold?

The prediction here is that many people will shift towards Notion as their centerpiece of productivity, their hub, ditching tools like to-do list apps, note-takers, and maybe, but maybe not, calendar…



Francesco D'Alessio

Uncovering the future of productivity software. Building Tool Finder. Discover tools:

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