Notion Foundations: Page Layouts

As I’ve mentioned in the Starting Out With Notion lesson, pages can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like. In this lesson, we’ll introduce headings, dividers, and the multi-column layout concept. 

This will enable you to start designing your own dashboards, similar to the one below. The example below is a PARA-inspired Resources page that stores all my notes and information aka my second brain. Another topic for another lesson!

Page layout intro

Notion is designed to get thoughts out of your head and onto the page. Once they’re there, you can rearrange, organize, and structure them to think and write more clearly

We discussed adding, editing, and moving blocks around in the previous lesson. Now let’s take a look at structuring your page so you can distill key messages in a simple manner.

Use Headings To Signpost Your Page Layouts

By headings, I mean the Heading 1, 2, and 3 blocks. You can call a heading block by using” /heading” or “/” followed by h1, h2, or h3.

Headings block

You may be wondering why this is important – headings help users to read and understand a page. Think back to some essays you have written, the headings help to represent the key concepts and ideas of your paper.

The headings level also helps to visually define levels of importance in your text and help guide your eyes to the key points.

Finally, using the Heading blocks will enable you to automatically create a Table of contents. This will help you navigate long documents that have multiple headings and subheadings. Additionally, the table of contents will automatically create links that help you navigate to those headings.

Table of contents

Add Some Dividers

I’m a big fan of these dividers and it just helps to break up a page. In my opinion, it also helps to add to the aesthetics of a page!

Divider example

There are two quick ways to add dividers:

  • Type /div then hit Enter
  • Type – – – (three hyphens in a row) and a horizontal divider shows up.

Related article – How To Add Vertical Divider In Notion. You can find more information on adding toggles to your layout in How To Open All Toggles In Notion.

How To Create Columns In Notion

Before we discuss columns, I suggest you use the “Full width” option as the columns can look quite squished if you use the standard container size. As a reminder, you can change this in the top right ellipsis (three dots) and toggle on Full width.

Like most things in Notion, there are a couple of ways of setting up columns on a page.

  • Type /column and you will find options to create 2-5 columns. The shortcut to these is /2c, /3c, /4c, and /5c. There are no caps on the number of columns across the width of a page, but at some point, it’ll be quite messy!
  • The other method is to simply drag and create another column. Click on the ⋮⋮ symbol to the left of a block and drag it into the new column position. You’ll notice a blue line that will help guide you when creating the new columns. Tip – you can select several blocks and move them into a column in one go.

One thing to be conscious of is using Notion on a smartphone. If you have several columns, the Notion app will automatically stack columns on top of each other (similar to a website).

I tend to only use certain pages on my phone – for example, a note-taking page where I just brain-dump ideas. Using my personal dashboard will be almost impossible!

Can You Make Columns Within Columns In Notion?

The short answer is yes you can create nested columns. I find it easier to drag and drop nested columns as it’s a bit cumbersome to try to add the column blocks through the menu.

Nested columns

Now that we’ve covered some of the core concepts of Notion, we’ll move on to a simple Personal Dashboard build project.

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