The Sub-items setting was added by Notion as a way to better visualize parent-child relationships, allowing you to display your entries in a tiered structure for the following views.
As many of our templates contain databases with existing Parent Item → Sub-Item relations, we’ve put together a handy guide on how to enable this feature for any supported view in your system. Try it out in the following!
- Ultimate Tasks
- Ultimate Brain
- Creator’s Companion (Ultimate Tasks Edition)
For this example, we’ll be enabling sub-items for the Timeline View, as it is found in all of the templates mentioned above. The location of this page will differ depending on the template being used, so check for your template type in the toggle below.
Timeline View Locations
- Views (Toggle) → Timeline View
Ultimate Brain, Ultimate Brain + Creator’s Companion
- Task Manager → Quick Links (Toggle) → Page Links (Toggle) → Timeline View
Creator’s Companion + Ultimate Tasks
- Ultimate Tasks for Creator’s Companion → Views (Toggle) → Timeline View
Once on this page, click the ellipsis icon ••• to the left of the blue New button to open the View options panel, and then select the Sub-items option.
In this menu you’ll have the option to use an existing relation or create a new one. As the All Tasks database already contains a Parent Task → Sub-Tasks relation, you can click Property under Use an existing relation and then select Sub-Tasks. Here you’ll be given two additional options.
- Set on all new All Tasks views
- Set on this view
For this example’s purposes select the second option, Set on this view.
Success! The view will quickly update to display only top-level tasks, with those containing sub-tasks receiving an arrow icon ► at the far left of the row. Clicking this arrow will display all of the sub-tasks contained within.
Sub-items can be quickly created by clicking a parent task’s New sub-item button.
- Existing parent tasks: these will be shown with a black arrow icon ► at the far left of the row. Clicking this will display all of the sub-tasks and the New sub-item button.
- Regular top-level tasks: while hovering over these, a greyed out version of the arrow icon ► will appear at the far left of the row. Clicking this will display the New sub-item button.
You can also drag and drop pages under existing parent tasks to turn them into sub-items.
In the example shown below, an additional filter of
Design has been added to the view. As the parent task does not meet this requirement but has sub-tasks that do, the parent task is shown in a permanently grayed out and expanded state.
Turning Off Sub-items
If you wish to disable sub-items for a view, or all new views for that database, simply click the ellipsis icon ••• to open the View options panel, then click Sub-items, and then select Turn off sub-items. Here you’ll be given two additional options.
- Turn off for this view
- Turn off for all new views
Things to Note
Previous & Next Page navigation does not work for sub-tasks. When opening a sub-task from a view with sub-items enabled, there will be no Previous or Next Page buttons at the top of the entry, and their keyboard shortcuts will not work.
Database search does not take into account sub-items. Only top-level items are searched, any sub-items matching the term will not be shown.
In table views, a column’s ‘Calculate’ setting does not take into account sub-items. Only top-level items are used when calculating these values.
Sub-item structures do not remember their state and will always close. Unlike toggles, views with sub-items enabled will return to a closed state when you navigate away from a page and then return. Note: Parent tasks will remain expanded if they do not meet a filter’s requirements but have sub-tasks that do.