Update: Notion finally added built-in progress bars! They’re less customizable but super-fast to set up. I added a section on them to keep this complete.
Notion is great. Notion is amazing.
If you’re using Notion for every single thing as I am, you probably keep a ton of tasks in it.
One of the best ways to make your task lists more functional and more eye-pleasing is by adding progress bars.
Check out how big the difference is between this project view with and without the notion progress bars:
Much better, right?
If you’re already experienced with Notion, you can just pick those up below. To learn how to use and customize them, continue reading.
Here’s the “trailer” video I made on the topic:
Now, let’s start from the beginning:
Why use progress bars in Notion
Good looks are one reason, of course, but I believe progress bars have a much higher value than just making a pretty picture. Not that the pretty picture doesn’t matter.
The best way to get anything done is:
- Get started.
- Make small, consistent steps until you finish it.
The thing about getting started is that it’s incredibly hard. It can be both frustrating and unmotivating to find yourself not being able to get started.
I solve that by building momentum.
It’s far easier to get started after you take a look at all the progress you’ve made recently.
That’s where progress bars come in.
Using a progress bar, you get a realistic view of, well, your progress. This can pump up your motivation and easily get you going.
Why yet another progress bar template for Notion? What makes this one special?
I know, I know — there are already several Notion templates for progress bars.
I actually used several of them before making my own.
The unique thing about my progress bars is that they’re more precise. I didn’t find any progress bars that show a step smaller than 10%. I made ones that can go as low as 5%.
If you fancy that, you’re my kind of person.
If that sounds cool, let’s get some progress in your own Notion templates pronto!
How to use the Notion progress bars.
How to customize the Notion progress bars.
The cool thing is that you can use any special character or emoji to create your own progress bar.
Here are some of the looks you might get:
So, how do you use it?
You’ll need two columns:
- A column named “Progress” — a decimal number that goes from 0 to 1 (0 meaning 0% progress and 1 meaning 100% progress).
- An equation column with the actual progress bar — you should copy & paste the formula from the table to make your life easy.
That’s all there is to it, doing those two steps you should be able to get any progress bar from the example up & running.
Now, how do you customize this thing?
That part is a bit more tricky.
This is what the formula looks like:
It’s a bit daunting but worry not!
There are two things you need to do to customize it:
- Replace all the progress characters with the characters/emoji you want. Use the Find & Replace function in a text redactor.
- Change the “magic numbers”. You’ll notice there are two underlied 1s in the formula. That’s no accident — those are the “magic numbers”. Because of the fact that emoji have different character sizes — they don’t always display correctly in such a formula. To fix that you multiply their size by a small number (1, 2, 3, or 4) and that will fix the display for you.
Just try out a few combinations replacing each respective 1 with either number until you get the desired result (e.g. a 10-character progress bar that looks normal).
It’s not the easiest process (digging through formulas is tedious) but it’s very achievable. If you get stuck — ping me on Discord.
How to use the built-in Notion progress bars?
How to switch between the bar & ring progress bar?
Notion finally did it!
First, the built-in progress bars look like this:
They do a few things better than my progress bars:
- Easier to set up (no formulas)
- Clean look
- No issues between Mac/iPhone & Windows/Android (some emoji progress bars look weird if you switch the OS)
They also do a few things worse:
- Lack of customizability (line or a ring, that’s all, folks)
- You can’t expand them in a crazy super-formula (containing a progress bar, a timer, how many tasks you have for the fortnight, and all that 🤷)
Let’s go into setup.
Make sure your property is a number.
Next, edit the property and in the Show as section, pick Bar or Ring.
Now you have 3 settings you can adjust:
- Color — does exactly what you think.
- Divide by — the property you picked contains one number X; here, you pick a second number Y (1 in this picture). The progress percentage is X/Y.
Note: If you don’t want to think, just add/remove zeroes until your progress looks right.
- Show number — you can have just the progress bar or the progress bar + your original property.
You’re now a certified by Jordan master of all progress bars*.
*not a real title… yet
Oh, I also added examples of those to the template, so you have ALL THE OPTIONS 👀 in one place.
That’s all there is to it. Enjoy having precise visible progress in Notion!
If you have any extra questions, Ask them below or in our Discord!
Not sure what to read next?
Learn why you need your vacations!