Getting Started With Docs

We've written this very same guide in Whimsical Docs, so feel free to read the instructions directly in Whimsical to become a pro and see Docs in action. Read on if you prefer to stay here.


Most formatting options can be applied with markdown (type / in a new line) or Keyboard Shortcuts and are great if you prefer to add style to your doc as you type.

If you prefer to move around with your mouse or touchpad, you'll find out how to change the formatting for any selected text or entire blocks below.

Formatting Text

Select the text that you want to format and then choose one of the options from the toolbar:

Toolbar allows you to:

  • Add and remove Bold

  • Add and remove Italics

  • Add and remove Strikethrough

  • Add and remove Code Block

  • Add and remove Links

  • Decrease and Increase Indent

  • Change the Block Type

  • Add a Quote (in three different levels)

  • Add a Comment

  • Change Block Type

  • Apply multiple formatting options at once

Changing Block Type

To add a new block or transform one type of block into another type of block click the icon that is located on the left side of the text or line ( 1), or use the toolbar (2):

Move Content Around

Select the content you want to move and drag & drop from the left side to change its location.

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Embedding, Nesting and Linking Files in a Doc

Creating a Nested File

You can nest a file in your doc in the following ways:

1. You can create a nested board or doc by using the + sign next to the doc's title in the left-hand Sidebar Menu:

2. When typing in a doc, open the "block type" menu and select any type of file you would like to add.

3. You can also nest a file that already exists by dragging & dropping it under the doc from the left-hand Sidebar Menu.

If you don't want the already existing file to be nested into the doc but still want to link it, type @ and enter the file or card link or start typing its name:

The breadcrumb trail at the top left of your document shows you which files are nested within each other.

Right now, only two levels of hierarchy are displayed: the title of the file you're working in (on the right), and its parent (on the left):

You'll also be able to see which docs are nested within each other in the left-hand Sidebar Menu:

Deleting or Moving a Nested Doc

If you want to delete a doc that is nested in a parent doc, click on the vertical three dot menu in the upper-right corner:

You can choose to delete the doc from that menu, or show a list of all the deleted nested files. You can then permanently delete the files or restore them one by one:

If you want to remove the nesting relationship between a doc, but you want to keep the doc active in your files, you can drag and drop it out from the doc from the left-hand Sidebar Menu.

Embedding in Docs

While some things are better said than drawn, a picture is still worth a thousand words. Currently we support embeds from:

  • Figma

  • Airtable

  • Loom

  • Youtube

  • Vimeo

  • Any Whimsical board or doc

To add an embed, open the Add Block menu → Embed → paste the embed link and hit Enter:

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Sharing and Collaborating

Sharing a Doc

Click the Airplane icon at the upper-right corner and then click Get Shareable Link to access sharing settings:

Copy Link - click to copy the URL of your doc so you can share it with others

Anyone with a link - choose the level of permissions for the shared doc:

  • has no access - doc is not shared with anybody

  • can view - anyone with a link can only view the doc

  • can comment - anyone with a link can view and comment on the doc (commenting requires a free Whimsical account)

  • can edit - anyone with a link can view, comment and edit the doc (editing requires a free Whimsical account)

Require Password - enable if you want to protect the doc with a password

Add guest - add a guest viewer, commenter or editor to the doc by sending them an email invite

Sharing is disabled by default, but you can hover over the permission icons to check who can access the doc:

Sharing settings for files nested in the doc inherits the sharing settings of the doc.

Collaborating on a Doc

You can collaborate on a doc with users within your workspace if the file is in the Shared section of your Workspace or if you update link sharing permission to  can edit.

You can also collaborate on a doc with people outside your organization or workspace if you have publicly shared your doc and set the sharing permissions to can edit.

Lastly, you can also invite people outside of your organization or workspace to collaborate on a doc by enabling Guest Access.

See Who is Viewing the Doc

To see who has the doc open, check the upper-right corner of the screen. You'll definitely see your own avatar, but in case anybody else is viewing the doc, you'll also see theirs ( 1). The color of the diamond is assigned to each user at random and can't be changed, but it's there to help you identify who is working on what:

See Who is Editing the Doc

If somebody is editing a doc, you'll see a cursor with their name ( 1) and the doc will be updated in realtime. If text is selected, it will also be highlighted in the color of their avatar (2):

See who has made edits to the doc previously

You can also see who has worked on the doc at any point in time using the Time Machine (bottom-right corner):

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Comments and Discussions

  • To add a comment, select text → click on the Comment icon from the toolbar or press Command + Option + M on Mac or Ctrl + Alt + M on PC. You comment will now appear at the right side with your avatar bubble.

  • You can mention other members of the workspace by typing @ followed by their name.

  • To edit a comment you've already posted, click ... next to the comment you want to edit → Edit Save the changes.

  • To delete a comment you've posted, click ... next to the comment you want to delete → Delete.

  • To resolve a comment thread, click on the comment bubble → Resolve. Only editors can do this. - Resolved comments can be viewed in the comment settings.

  • To show or hide all resolved comments from the doc, click the Comments icon (upper-right corner) and choose your desired setting.

  • To subscribe or unsubscribe to comment notifications or discussion notifications via email, click the Comments icon (upper-right corner) and choose your desired setting. Unsubscribe / subscribe is associated with the specific doc you're in.

  • You can also add comments by replying to email notifications you've received. Email comments support rich text formatting and image upload. You can't mention a specific person from your workspace when replying to comments via email.

  • If you want to start a discussion about the entire doc, scroll down to the bottom of the doc and click Start a discussion.... Discussion notifications work the same way as comment notifications.

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Restoring a Doc

You can restore the contents of a Doc with the Time machine. Read this article to find out how.

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Docs Keyboard Shortcuts

There are keyboard shortcuts we all know, love and use (think copy, paste, cut, delete, etc.) and they can be used in Whimsical Docs as well. Here's a list of keyboard and markdown shortcuts that are perhaps a bit less known but worth remembering.

Formatting Shortcuts

On Mac



Command + \

Ctrl + \

Heading 1

# then space

# then space

Heading 2

## then space

## then space

Heading 3

### then space

### then space

Bullet List

* or - then space

* or - then space

Numbered List

1 then space

1 then space

Check List

_ then space

_ then space

Section Divider

*** (at the beginning of a new line)

*** (at the beginning of a new line)

Line Divider

--- (at the beginning of a new line)

--- (at the beginning of a new line)

Change Block Type

/ (at the beginning of a new line)

Command + / (at any time)

/ (at the beginning of a new line)

Ctrl + / (at any time)


Command + B (text selected)

* (type on both sides of text)

Ctrl + B (text selected)

* (type on both sides of text)


Command + I (text selected)

_ (type on both sides of text)

Ctrl + I (text selected)

_ (type on both sides of text)

Code Block

` ` ` (at the beginning of a new line)

Command +⇧+ K (text selected)

` (type on both sides of text)

` ` ` (at the beginning of a new line)

Ctrl + Shift + K (text selected)

` (type on both sides of text)


Command +Shift+ S

~ (type on both sides of text)

Ctrl + Shift + S

~ (type on both sides of text)

Add Link

Command + K

Ctrl + K

Add Quote

Command + >

Ctrl + >

Decrease Indent

Shift + Tab

Shift + Tab

Increase Indent



Other Shortcuts

On Mac


Add Workspace Link



Add External Link

Option + K

Alt + K

Add Comment

Command + Option + M

Ctrl + Alt + M

Select Text

Shift + Arrow Keys

Shift + Arrow Keys

Open Nested File

Command + Enter

Ctrl + Enter


Command + F

Ctrl + F

Pin / Unpin Sidebar

Command + E

Ctrl + E

Go to Parent File

Command + Esc

Ctrl + Esc

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To search for any content in your workspace, press Command + F on Mac or Ctrl + F on PC. Alternatively, click the Magnifying glass icon (upper-right corner).

From there you can find:

  • Files and folders based on their name (type + Enter)

  • Any information within the specific doc (type + Shift + Enter)

  • Any content in the workspace (type + Cmd / Ctrl + Enter)

  • Content in project  cards

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Try enabling Focus Mode (bottom-right corner) to avoid any distractions and concentrate on the doc and nothing else.

Once you enable Focus Mode, you can also customize your preferences:

  • Full Screen - if enabled, will enter into full screen mode. Can be disabled by pressing Esc.

  • Paragraph Focus - if enabled, will highlight the paragraph where your cursor is located.

  • Typewriter Mode - if enabled, will keep the paragraph where your cursor is located in the middle of the screen at all times.

You can show or hide the sidebar using ⌘ + E on Mac or Ctrl + E on PC or by clicking the Pin icon at the upper-left corner to have more focus on the doc and not the other things happening in your workspace.

Document Width and Text Size

If you find it more comfortable to read in a wider document or write text in a smaller size, you can use the Text Options icon to set your preference.

Note that this will only change the view you see. If you share the doc with other people, it will default to the view they last used. And - when you next view any Doc, it will default to the last Text Option settings you chose.

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