Features I wish Notion had
Notion is one of my favorite tools when it comes to just organizing life. I use Notion to organize my own personal workflows and it continues to become a larger part of my business workflows. I’ve now transitioned my entire content creation workflow into Notion and it feels pretty dang good.
With me using Notion more, I keep noticing certain features that I wish Notion had. Yes, Notion has been adding a lot of key features recently like better databases and finally, recurring tasks. All of these developments have made Notion an even better user experience.
However, I’m still confused on why certain key features are just non-existent in Notion at the moment. So, in this post, I’m going to cover three main buckets of features I wish Notion had: Automations, Charts, and however clickbaity it might be, better writing!
Let’s start with my number one complaint with Notion: automations.
On this site, I talk a lot about automations in all of the different no-code tools. I’m a big fan of native automations because they can solve so many different problems and save me a lot of time on mundane tasks.
In Notion, there are no native automations whatsoever.
It’s examples like if I’m working on a piece of content with a team and I update a status in Notion, I would love to have the ability to have notifications or tasks be automatically created for someone else on the team. Yes, they do receive notifications in Notion and via email if they want, but that’s if they’re following the page and they receive a whole slew of notifications there.
I would love for Notion to have the ability to create native automations where if I do change the status of something, it sends a Slack message to a particular channel or gives a more unique notification in Notion to a particular team member.
I have these types of notifications setup with team members in Airtable and it streamlines communication so much. The amount of messages and emails I don’t have to write now because of these automations in Airtable has been significant. The less repetitive messages that I have to personally type, the better.
Native automations would really help Notion connect more to other tools that organizations are using too and help incentivize organizations to at least try Notion out more seriously. It would be going down Airtable’s path a little bit as Airtable is becoming the “Connected Apps Platform” but I don’t think that’s the end of the world. The Connected Apps Platform that Airtable is building is mostly through automations and integrations and is a big reason why enterprise customers sign up for Airtable. If Notion wants more enterprise customers, assuming that they do, I’m guessing native automations are on their way.
Speaking of Airtable - can we get an Airtable and Notion automation? Like have a Notion page automatically be created in an Airtable record? Please? THAT WOULD BE SO COOL!
Charts and Dashboards
This next part of features I wish Notion had is one that kind of confuses me. Notion is a database tool, yet there’s no native way to visually show that data in a chart. How can you be a database tool and there’s no way to present data in a dashboard natively?
My only guess is that it’s because Notion is much more text heavy rather than numerical or standard data driven, but it still feels odd that there is no way to show data summaries or just data in general in a great visual way.
Where I could see charts and dashboards being helpful in Notion is when you are managing a content calendar in Notion and want to be able to see how things are going from a high level perspective. This is more important for teams working on a content calendar, but it would be really cool to see charts of where the statuses of content are, how much content is produced each month, or even how many words have been written in a particular week.
I typically don’t want to get too granular when it comes to data, but seeing high level production rates and being able to see the ebbs and flow of content production would be really neat in Notion. Even just being able to do quarterly or annual reviews more effectively when it comes to content would be wonderful.
Maybe this is another instance where Notion can be inspired from Airtable and create their own version of Airtable interfaces?
I will admit, this next part of the post is a little clickbaity, but whatever. The next feature I wish Notion had is better writing. Yes, I said better writing even though Notion is known for its quality of writing (or typing).
The keyboard shortcuts in Notion are absolutely wonderful and the more I type in Notion, the more I question why every tool like Google Docs hasn’t made the same keyboard shortcuts available. Writing in Notion can be a joy…with a few exceptions.
First, you can’t handwrite anything in Notion. In the past month or so, I keep wanting to handwrite more as I’ve noticed I’m taking better notes typically and I’m retaining information so much more effectively when I handwrite anything. The value of handwriting for me keeps increasing.
What I would love to see in Notion is some sort of handwriting block or a different type of page that allows you to handwrite in it. I’ve started to take more and more notes in GoodNotes with my iPad and that is one really good experience. The way you can organize notes in Notebooks in GoodNotes is pretty good and all of the different page layouts are fantastic.
However, a lot of my own personal operating system lives in Notion. To have my notes in GoodNotes and everything else in Notion not connected at all really stinks. I’ve tried looking at different solutions to how to connect them and there’s not a good way without adding a lot of manual work to myself. I don’t want to download every note as a PDF in GoodNote and import it into Notion. That’s brutal.
I would love a way to integrate my notes in GoodNotes to particular databases in Notion at a minimum. That would be so beneficial.
Besides handwriting in Notion, the other part of writing in Notion that can be a little annoying is the way Notion handles word counts.
For me, word counts are important because they help me see if I’m getting too lengthy on different pieces of content or maybe I’m just not writing clearly. Word counts play an important part of my own content production. Definitely not a make or break thing, but important for me when it comes to creating content in Notion.
The way word count currently works in Notion is that it shows you the entire page’s word count and you have to click the 3 dots in the upper right hand corner every time you want to see the word count. The word count is also buried in that menu.
I wish that the word count wasn’t buried in that menu and that there would be a way to see the word count right on the page like you can in Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Clicking up there every time is a bit annoying. Yes, it’s only one click, but clicks always take up more time than you think.
I wish word counts could also be more granular and be a field in Notion. For example, you can’t highlight a paragraph and see how many words it is in Notion like you can in other document tools.
Like I mentioned earlier in charts and dashboards, I would love to see how many words I’ve written over months and years. Like a time created or last updated field in Notion, it would be awesome to have a field where it shows how many words are in a page and then be able to do calculations off of that. As I grow as a creator, I’d be interested to see how my own word counts fluctuate over time.
So those are my main three buckets of features that I wish Notion had. There are some minor features I wish Notion had like native forms ore more granular sharing permissions, but they’re just that, minor features.
Tally Forms integrates with Notion really well so native forms aren’t as crucial as they might in a tool like Airtable or SmartSuite. Granular permissions would be helpful, particularly if someone has more sensitive information in a Notion database. I don’t have that problem personally, but I know others definitely do, especially if they have a team.
I’m sure over time that some of these features will show up in Notion. I just hope that they are here sooner than later.
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