Intro to workspaces

Brian Park
Oct 17 '17 · 12 min read · 461 views
Everything you do in Notion takes place in a workspace. It's your virtual desktop to organize information and create things exactly the way you want — as just one person, together as a team, or across a whole company. Expand, edit, and mold it to fit your needs!
Here, we'll walk you through the features and tools that define every Notion workspace and how to use them!

The basics

1. Sidebar

  • Notion's expandable sidebar is your navigation system.
  • All the pages and databases you create will appear here.
  • You can nest pages inside each other for infinite levels of organization.
  • It's also home to your settings, trash, and other tools. We'll give you a tour below.

2. Editor

  • This is where all the content you create lives 🖋
  • Control menus are at the top (we'll go through those in more detail), but otherwise, Notion's editor is a blank canvas for you to write, plan, brainstorm, etc.
  • You'll notice that as soon as you start typing in this space, those top menus fade into the background, leaving you with your thoughts in a spacious zone of focus.

Sidebar tools

Control panel

The control panel at the top of your sidebar contains several key features:
  • Workspace switcher: Click on your current workspace's name to switch between the workspaces you belong to, create a new one, join another one, or log out. More here →
  • Quick Find: Click to open Notion's search window, where you can either type in what you're looking for or quickly jump to a recently visited page. More on search here →
  • All Updates: Click to see all your notifications in one place. This menu combines revisions that were made on pages you follow, mentions of you across your workspace, and new work assignments. A red notification badge will appear here when you have unread notifications. More on updates here →
  • Settings & Members: Click to open settings for your account information, workspace, payment plan, and billing information. More on that here →


  • Any of the pages under Workspace in your sidebar can be seen and shared by the other members of the workspace.
  • This part of your sidebar can be edited by other people on your team, and you'll all see the same navigation at all times (including any change you make).
  • If you're on a Notion Free or Personal Plan, you will not see this Workspace section until you invite at least one other person to it. Otherwise, all your pages are default private.

Nested pages

  • You can open up any sidebar toggle to reveal pages nested inside pages. We often call nested pages sub-pages.
  • For database pages, you can open the toggle to see all the different views you've created of that database. These are represented with a next to them, like under Team Tasks above.

Shared pages

  • Any pages that you've shared with only select individuals will appear under Shared.
  • You'll see this category in your sidebar as soon as you invite someone to join a private page.
  • Other members of your workspace who haven't been invited can't view these pages. This is helpful for one-on-one meeting notes, for instance.
  • If you want to remove a page from Shared without deleting it, hover over it, click ••• and then Leave.

Private pages

  • Every user's workspace comes with a Private section for their own pages. Anything you add here can't be seen by the people in your workspace.
  • This is useful for your own tasks or notes, or anything you want to work on individually before sharing with others.
Note: If you drag a page from Workspace into Private in your sidebar, everyone else will lose access.

Templates, import & trash

  • Templates (new addition!) opens our template picker, where you can create a new page using starter content to help you accomplish any one of 50+ jobs.
  • Import lets you add data from a number of other apps into your Notion workspace. We make it easy for you to move content over from Evernote, Trello, Asana, Word, Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, Quip and more. Guide to importing here →
  • Trash contains all the pages you delete. You can drag and drop them in here. You can also click on trash to search, view and restore these pages. More on this here →


  • Favorites is where you can pin pages you need to access quickly to the top of your sidebar. This section will appear when you favorite your first page (click the Favorite button at the top right of any page you're on). More on favoriting here →
  • Helpful for stashing pages relevant to your current projects. You can easily add or remove them as your workflow and priorities change.

Create a new page

  • Click the + New Page button at the bottom of your sidebar to create a new page, or on any of the + buttons that appear when you hover over your sidebar to add a page to a particular section. More on that here →

Hover options

  • When you hover over a page in your sidebar, you'll see both a + button to add a page nested inside it, and a ••• icon, which opens a menu of actions you can apply to the page: Delete, Duplicate, Copy Link, Rename, and Move To.
    • Move To opens a dropdown menu that lets you move the page into any of your other workspaces or pages.

Editor tools

Breadcrumb navigation

  • Always know where you are in respect to your page structure. See how the page you're currently looking at fits into other pages.
  • You can click on any page in this breadcrumb to immediately jump to it. Sometimes this will be abridged with a ... — click that to see or go to all the pages in between.


  • You can see the profile photos of everyone else who has access to the page you're on (sometimes this gets abridged to a notation like +16 others). If you hover over any of them, you can see the full list, their names, and email addresses.
  • Grayed out avatars are people who are not currently viewing the page but have access to it.
  • When you collaborate in real-time on the same content (more on that here), you can see people's photos moving around, corresponding to the block they're reading or editing.

Share menu

This menu lets you share the current page with others in a number of ways.
  • Public Access: Turning this on publishes your page to the web so that anyone can see it if they have the link. All links remain clickable, making it an ideal tool for building a public resume, portfolio, blog, simple website etc.
  • Workspace Access: Turning this on gives everyone in your workspace the ability to see the page, though you can set whether they get full, edit-only, comment-only, or read-only access.
  • Your Access: You default to "Full Access" on pages you created, but you can also remove your own access if you want (you're Georgia in the example above 😉).
  • Groups: You may also see groups that have been created in your workspace, which you can assign different access levels to. More on that here →
  • Invite a Person: Lets you invite another Notion user who either does or does not belong to your workspace to view the page. If they don't belong, they join as a guest.
  • Copy Page Link: Makes the page easy to share. The link will only work for people who have access based on your other settings.
  • Learn more about sharing here →

Updates menu

  • Click to get an overview of all the revisions and comments made on the current page.
  • Follow This Page: Turn this on to keep tabs on the changes made on the page. You'll see them aggregated across all the pages you follow in the All Updates menu in your sidebar. More on that here →
  • Connect Slack Channel: Turn this on to receive Slack notifications in the channel of your choice whenever a revision or comment is added to the page. More on that here →


  • Click Favorite to pin any page to the top of your sidebar under the heading Favorites.
  • This is especially useful if you want one-click access to pages that you're visiting repeatedly for a project.
  • To remove a favorite page, just hover over it in your sidebar, right click (or click •••) and choose Remove from Favorites.

••• Menu

This menu contains many editorial options and actions:
  • Style: Choose from three different typography choices to format your page.
  • Small Text: Turn this on to make the type smaller throughout your page.
  • Full Width: Turn this on to shrink the right and left margins of the page.
  • Page Lock: Turn this on to prevent any edits from being made. This is good for preventing accidental edits on very important pages.
    • Database Lock: For databases, this option changes. When you turn on the lock, people can still enter data, but they can't change views or properties
  • Add to Favorites: Pins the page to the top of your left sidebar.
  • Copy Link: Copies a link to the page you can share with people who have access.
  • Page History: View past versions of the page going back 30 days (for paid plans only). Much more on this here →
  • Show Deleted Pages: Opens up Trash so you can restore or permanently remove sub-pages you've deleted. More on this here →
  • Import: You can add documents and data from a number of other apps (Evernote, Trello, Google Docs, etc.) to the page. More on importing here →
  • Export: Download the page as a file to your computer. Databases get saved as CSV files, while non-database pages get saved as Markdown files. You can also export your page or database as PDF or HTML.
  • Move To: This opens up a menu where you can choose any other workspace or page to move the current page into.
  • Word Count: A handy reference for the number of words on any page.
  • Last Edited: See who last made a change on the page and when.

Help & support

  • Click the ? icon at the bottom right of the widow to open Help & Support options.
  • Chat With Us: Lets you send a message directly to our support team from the app.
  • Guides & FAQs: Will take you to the Help & Support Center you're reading right now 🤓
  • Join Us: Job openings at Notion — we're always hiring!
  • Keyboard Shortcuts: A shortcut to seeing all our keyboard and Markdown shortcuts.
  • What's New: Release notes for features we've launched, and a peek at upcoming features.

Team vs. personal workspaces

One last reminder that a workspace operates slightly differently if you're using it with a team than if you're using it on your own:
  • Personal workspaces default to keeping pages private unless they're explicitly shared.
  • On a team, any page under the Workspace heading of your sidebar can be seen and most likely edited by all members of your workspace (unless otherwise specified).
  • Sidebar organization under Workspace is also viewable by all members. The page arrangement will look the same to everyone, although individuals can toggle different pages open or closed without affecting everyone's view.
  • You can learn more about team sharing and permissions here →
  • If you're on Notion's Free Plan, you can invite as many members to your workspace as you want as guests and give them different levels of access. More on guest access here →
  • On Notion's Team or Enterprise Plan, there are members and admins with different levels of permission. Learn more about that here →


  • Can I switch between workspaces that are associated with different email addresses?
    Currently, you can only use the workspace switcher at the top left if you're using the same email address for each workspace. We don't support multiple email access yet, but it's on the to-do list 😅What we generally suggest as a workaround is having one account logged into the desktop app and one in a browser, or both using our web app with one using an incognito window.
  • I clicked the Create or Join Workspace button, but it will only let me create a workspace. How do I join a workspace?
    You can only join a workspace via the Create or Join Workspace button if that workspace has the Allowed Email Domains setting enabled, which lets users with your email domain join the workspace automatically.
    If this is not the case, you'll need to ask an admin from the workspace to send you an invite.
  • My sidebar doesn't have any sections. How do I turn those on?
    The sidebar sections reflect the sharing settings of your account. If you have more than one person in your workspace, a Workspace section appears in the sidebar for your collaborative work with that person, and the Private section is there for your personal pages that are only visible to you. That said, you can enable these sections manually by clicking Share at the top right of any page, and turning on the Workspace Access switch.
  • When I subscribe to a paid Personal Plan or Team Plan, does it cover all my workspaces?
    Paid subscriptions only apply to one workspace, and don't cover the whole account. Workspaces are completely separate silos, so you won't be able to link any content between them. We recommend using the least number of workspaces possible, and taking advantage of top-level pages in your sidebar to stay organized.
  • How can I migrate all my Notion content to a different workspace?
    1. Log into the account that has the workspace.
    2. Consolidate all of your pages under one top-level page there.
    3. Share this page with full access to the email address of the destination account.
    4. Log into the destination account and navigate to the workspace switcher.
    5. Access that shared top-level page.
    6. Select all the sub-pages, click the ⋮⋮ icon and select Move To. (Note: you can only move sub-pages, you will not be able to move the top-level page.) 
    7. Select the destination workspace.
    8. ​Voila! Your content has a new home ✨
  • What if I accidentally deleted something permanently? Any way to get it back?
    If you accidentally delete a page, a workspace, or even your entire account, we can help! Accidents happen 😅Just send us a message in the app by clicking ? at the bottom left on desktop (or in your sidebar on mobile). Or email us at
    We keep per-minute backups of our database, which allows us to restore a snapshot of your entire content at any minute in the past 30 days if you need it.
  • How do I log out of my Notion account?
    Click on your current workspace's name at the very top left of your sidebar. Scroll to the bottom, and you'll see the option to Log Out next to your email address.
    On mobile, tap the icon at the top left, then tap the workspace switcher at the top of that menu. Tap Log Out at the bottom.

Related guides

Something we didn't cover? Message us in the app by clicking ? at the bottom right on desktop (or in your sidebar on mobile). Or email us at ✌️

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