Notion Foundations: Your Guide To Blocks

In this Notion Foundations lesson, you’ll learn more about blocks which are essential to getting the most out of Notion. We touched on the basic blocks in the previous lesson, Starting Out With Notion.

Notion describes a block as:

Different types of content you can add to a page: a to-do item, an image, a code block, an uploaded file.

You can think of them as different building blocks you can mix and match to design your page or dashboard. Below is an example of a few blocks put together to create a daily journal.

Blocks In Notion

Blocks intro

As you can see, this page is made up of several blocks. Some of the commonly used ones are:

  • Text – paragraph of text
  • Headings – Titles and subtitles can be broken down into three levels (H1, H2, and H3)
  • Image – along with images, you can also embed Youtube videos
  • Databases – we’ll cover this in more detail in the next lesson
  • Pages – Subpages also form part of blocks. As described in the previous lesson, pages can live in a nested page structure

How To Add Blocks To Your Page

The power of Notion is in the ability to piece together your own blocks. There are two ways to create a new block in Notion.

  • Start by typing “/” anywhere on the page, and it will pull up the blocks menu. Scroll through the list and either hit Enter or select it with the mouse.
Add new block
  • Alternatively, you can click “+” to the left of a block.
Add a new block with plus

You can also pull up several blocks by typing in the shortcut code. To find the full list, check out Notion’s keyboard shortcuts.

Formatting Blocks to Perfection

The true beauty of Notion is in its endless customizability.

Blocks aren’t just about content – you can also play around with their formatting to make your pages visually appealing.

Text can be aligned left, right, or center, and size can be increased or decreased based on your preference.

Plus, with the ability to add a color background to a block, you can really make your important notes stand out.

How To Modify And Move Existing Blocks

So you’ve started adding blocks and realized you’d prefer to add a toggle header instead of a standard Heading 2. Click on the six dots on the left of a block – this will call up the block menu. If you click, hold, and drag the block, you can also move it around.

Block menu

Within the block menu, you’ll see several options.

  • Delete
  • Duplicate
  • Turn Into – modify your existing block into a new type
  • Turn Into Page – turns the block into a new subpage nested within the current page.
  • Copy Link – creates a URL to the block. This helps you to create links around your workspace and help you to navigate to specific sections of a page.
  • Move To – move your block to another page
  • Comment – similar to Excel, you can add comments to a block. You can find a tutorial on how to turn comments off here.
  • Color – you can adjust the text or background color of a block

If we focus on the “Turn into,” you will find a list of block types to change your existing block. In the example below, the tick next to Heading 2 indicates the current block type.

Turn into block menu

What Is A Synced Block In Notion?

A synced block is a block or group of blocks that can be copied to other areas of your workspace and kept in sync.

Synced blocks are helpful for placing identical content across several pages – for example, a navigation bar menu. You’ll only need to update your menu once, and it will update across Notion. Pro-tip – you don’t need to update the original source either.

You can start by creating a synced block from scratch or converting an existing one into a synced one.

New Synced Block

To create a new block, type in /sync and select the option under Advanced Blocks.

New synced block

Synced blocks are identified with a red border – anything you add to this block can now be copied and synced across any page in Notion.

Red border synced block

Convert An Existing Block Into A Synced Block

Highlight the blocks you want to replicate and click on the six-dot block menu. Go to “Turn into” and select “Synced block.”

Convert to synced block

Again, the red border identifies that the group of blocks is now part of a synced block, and you can copy-paste it onto any other page.

Synced block 3 tasks

This is really powerful when you combine it with template pages. You don’t need to replicate changes repeatedly if you have several blocks that make up your daily journal. Saving you time! Check out our guide on How To Save A Page As A Template In Notion.

Understanding Advanced Block Types

Beyond the basic block types, there are several advanced blocks that Notion offers, each serving a unique purpose.

Here are a few examples:

  • The ‘Callout’ block allows you to highlight important points in a standout box.
  • The ‘Quote’ block is perfect for emphasizing notable sayings or parts of your text.
  • The ‘To-Do Lists‘ are perfect for creating checklists of tasks – dopamine hit anyone? 😉 
  • For the coders out there, ‘Code’ blocks allow you to jot down code snippets
  • And don’t worry mathematicians; Notion’s got you covered with the ‘Equation’ block – learn to write fractions in Notion!

Now that you know how to use blocks in Notion, I suggest you experiment and play around with the various advanced blocks. This will help you to unlock the full potential of Notion!

Embracing Collaboration with Blocks

One of the best things about Notion is how it makes collaboration a breeze. Blocks can be used as a collaborative tool in several ways.

Assign tasks to team members using ‘To-Do’ blocks or use ‘@’ mentions in text blocks to bring something to their attention. Share blocks easily with others, turning Notion into your team’s information hub!

Solving Common Block Problems

Occasionally, you might encounter a hiccup while working with blocks. Try out some of these solutions.

  • If something is not working as intended, use the shortcut Ctrl + [. This will make you return to the previous page. Then try repeating the action.
  • If you’re having trouble moving a block, make sure to grab it by the six dots that appear when you hover over it.
  • Can’t seem to nest a block? Some block types, like databases, cannot be nested.
  • Is the synced block not updating? Check if you accidentally created a duplicate instead of a synced block.
  • If all else fails, a good old-fashioned restart of the Notion app always helps!

Explore and experiment with blocks. They’re the heart of Notion’s versatility!

In the next lesson, we move on to Page Layouts to help you design visually appealing pages and dashboards.

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