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BulletproofA-to-ZConsultingThe Streamline

Notion's Wiki Feature: Overlooked Superpower

Notion’s Wiki feature combines the flexibility of pages with the structure of databases.

If you’ve seen any of my other resources, you know that my #1 rule is to utilize the structure of databases for all information in your workspace rather than freely entering content. So you can imagine how much I love the ability to do both with Notion Wikis.

But there’s actually a hidden capability of Wikis that makes them extra useful. It’s the reason I recommend using a Wiki for the top-level page and the Resources database within any Notion workspace, just as I’ve done in the Bulletproof Workspace template that’s so widely implemented by Notion users.

I’ll explain that hidden feature and an important step to take when initially creating Wikis, which I’ve preconfigured in a template you can duplicate. But first, let’s explore the fundamentals of Notion Wikis.

Wiki Fundamentals

Create a Wiki

Home View

The default Home view is the freeform page view that’s unique to Wikis.

Database Views

The other views, including defaults and others you create, are database views.

Wiki Item Properties

You can add any of Notion’s standard database properties to Wiki items. But they contain two special properties that can be hidden but not deleted:

Horizontal Properties

When you open a Wiki item as a page, its properties display horizontally rather than the vertical arrangement of standard database items. You still have the option to selectively display or hide them.

The Superpower: Databases as Items

When you create a freeform page in Notion, you can make it a database. But a page that’s a database item can’t be a database. Instead, we always had to create a database within that database item, which convolutes the workspace and undermines my database-centric methodology.

But in fact, Wikis solve this problem. If a page contains a full-page database when you convert it to a Wiki, that database becomes an item of the Wiki. That’s enormously beneficial to managing master and secondary databases in a workspace.

Because Wiki items can be databases, the Resources database and top-level HQ page are Wikis in the latest Bulletproof Workspace template.

Upfront Configuration

There’s a critical caveat to using databases within Wiki: You must have at least one database in place when you convert the page to a Wiki. After creating the Wiki, you can duplicate an inner database, but you can’t add one from elsewhere in the workspace.

Wikis within the Bulletproof Framework

The latest version of my Bulletproof Workspace uses two Wikis:

  1. The Resources database, which is the catch-all database for documents, non-master databases and items that don’t fit a master database
  2. The top-level HQ page, which contains the Resources Wiki and other master databases, along with linked views that display the most relevant items from key databases

That means, in addition to having databases within Wikis, we have a Wiki within a Wiki: Resources is a Wiki and an item of the HQ Wiki.

Because a database or Wiki can’t be added to an existing Wiki, we must follow these preliminary steps when configuring Bulletproof:

  1. Create an “HQ” page.
  2. Within HQ, create:
    1. a page called “Resources”; and
    2. an empty full-page database called “Database Blueprint."
  3. Within Resources, create another empty full-page database called “Database Blueprint."
  4. Convert Resources to a Wiki.
  5. Convert HQ to a Wiki.

That gives you a Wiki within a Wiki. Each of those Wikis contains a boilerplate database that can be easily duplicated when you want to add databases as Wiki items.

For you to add to your workspace or reference for validation, I have a template available with these configurations in place.

And of course, it’s available to all members of Notion A-to-Z, along with the full Bulletproof template with all related and templatized master databases.

If you’re not yet a member of A-to-Z, we’d love to have you aboard so you can make the most of Notion.

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