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Notion Explained: Synced Blocks

For quite a while, my Global Blocks post was among the most popular on Notion VIP. Since discovering that little trick, I knew it would eventually become an official feature, and so it did in June 2021 with the debut of "Synced Blocks."

What are Synced Blocks?

Blocks are the various types of content you use within Notion pages, such as text, headings, bullets, toggles, images, databases and third-party embeds.

Synced Blocks are blocks, or groups of blocks, that exist in multiple locations. When you update one instance, all other instances reflect that update. They're "synced."

Why are they useful?

Users often place identical content across numerous pages. Previously, an update to that content required manually updating every page. With Synced Blocks, a single update addresses them all, thus saving loads of time while keeping information accurate and consistent.

Here are three common examples:

  1. Instructional comments for users
  2. Navigation menus
  3. Global page footers

The latter two are particularly useful for public-facing websites published with Super.

How to use Synced Blocks.

Notion Synced Block

When editing a Synced Block, you'll see a red border around its contained blocks. At the top, a dropdown menu lists all pages containing the Synced Block. The "Original" page is labeled as such.

You can create a Synced Block from scratch or from existing content.

Create a Synced Block from scratch.

Create a Synced Block in Notion

You can create a Synced Block just like any other block: When editing a page, click + next to an existing block, or with a blinking cursor, type /. You can then choose the Synced Block type. You can then use the same methods to add blocks within the synced block.

Create a Synced Block from existing blocks.

Notion Convert to Synced Block

To convert a block, or a group of adjacent blocks, to a Synced Block, highlight it. Be sure to highlight the full block(s), not the internal content. You can then hover over any of the blocks, click ⫶⫶, and choose Turn intoSynced block. You can also prompt this menu with cmd/ctrl + /.

Create instances of Synced Blocks.

Once you've created the original instance of a a Synced Block, you can click Copy and sync in its upper menu, then paste wherever you want a synced instance.

Use the single-block shortcut.

For Synced Blocks that will contain just a single block, you can simply copy the block's link from its ⫶⫶ menu, paste it into another location, and choose Paste and sync. This converts the original to a Synced Block and creates a synced instance where you pasted.

Un-sync blocks.

Unsync Notion Synced Block

If you'd like to edit an instance without affecting the others, you can choose Unsync from its ••• menu. Within the original, you can Unsync all.

Take care to share.

Keep in mind that in order to see a synced block, a user needs access to the page containing the original instance.

If you hit any roadblocks while tinkering with Synced Blocks, tweet @WilliamNutt.

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