04 Aug Notion Integrations: The ultimate guide to enhancing your workflow
What’s more fun than one killer productivity app? 2 killer apps working together – like Batman and Robin. And loaded with features, the Notion app is the ultimate Swiss-army knife. Yet there’s a glaring hole: Notion integrations are non-existent due to the lack of an official API. But Keep Calm and Carry On, thanks to a few native integrations (Slack, gSuite), a rich set of embeds and widgets and a growing list of services (like hosting and Kindle sync) through the “unofficial API,” Notion integrations are closer than you think.
1. The Notion API (aka the elephant in the room)
Notion currently doesn’t have an API and therefore can’t integrate with other apps through services like Zapier, IFTTT and Integromat. This significantly limits its flexibility and Notion’s ability to create complex workflows versus peers (like Evernote, Coda, Airtable and Asana). But the company has promised (without giving a date) that an API is the next milestone on its product roadmap and the recent hire of Cristina Cardova as Head of Platform and Partnerships hints that they’re taking the API seriously.
But even without an API, Notion has integrations (and workarounds) to supercharge your productivity and dashboards.
2. The Native Slack integration
Notion connects directly with Slack through a native (i.e. already built into the app) integration. After enabling the integration, you can connect specific Notion pages with a specified Slack channel. You’ll then receive alerts every time the page (or sub-page) is modified or a user adds a comment.
Here are step-by-step instructions for setting up the integration.
- Click Updates on the top right of any Notion page
- Select Connect Slack Channel
- Authenticate your Slack account
- Pick the Slack channel that will receive notification updates
But here’s a warning. This integration is still in it’s early days and be prepared for a lot of noise in your (newly linked) Slack channel. As Redditor RedKidney points out:
Be ready for it to spam literally every single change you make in the most verbose way possible.
3. Notion integration using embeds
The easiest way to bring other tools and apps into your Notion workspace is by using Notion’s built-in embed feature (and here’s our full Notion tutorial to get you going). Notion has pre-configured blocks to perfectly display content from the most popular apps listed below:
- Google Drive
- Google Maps
Notion also identifies most URLs and will embed them accordingly (and can support Image, File, Audio and PDF uploads). But sometimes you want to embed direct HTML code (such as a Mailchimp Sign-up Form or a Weather Widget). Notion Pro Red Gregory provides a great work-around to turn HTML into an embed-able link via the free HTML Save service.
4. Integrating Google Calendar
A supercharged Notion Dashboard isn’t complete without an integration with Google Calendar. Thankfully, it’s also possible to embed your Google Calendar to any Notion page using the following steps:
- Go to your gCal at calendar.google.com
- Scroll to Other Calendars at the bottom right and add a new one by hitting the plus sign
- Once you create the calendar, set the Access Permission Settings to Make available to public
- Scroll down to grab the Public URL to this calendar
- Paste that link into your Notion Page and… voila!
While you technically don’t need to create a new Google Calendar, it’s advisable because the calendar needs to be public and so you probably don’t want your entire life publicly available to the Internet.
5. The “Unofficial Notion API”
Notion has promised an official API as the next major milestone in their product roadmap. But it can’t come soon enough for Notion’s rabid fan base. And to accelerate the path towards more Notion Integrations, some forward-thinking hackers have taken matters into their own hands.
6. Create your own website using Notion
Notion’s clean design, easy-to-use databases and sharing capabilities make it a great place for sharing content publicly (as shown by our Notion template gallery). You currently can’t attach a Web Domain to a Notion page, but there are workarounds using the unofficial Notion API.
Shaan Puri who hosts the podcast My First Million took matters into his own hands to create the official podcast website using Notion. In his newsletter, Puri describes modifying Cloudflare’s DNS settings to proxy your domain to get around the “super ugly URL” (notion.so/0329483p2jlskdf230) and replacing it with www.myfirstmillionpodcast.com.
7. Integrate your Kindle highlights with Readwise
For the bookworms looking to take detailed notes from their Kindle reading lists, Readwise.io has created its unofficial Notion Integration. The integration works like a charm, updating all of your highlights into a dedicated table while adding meta-data including book covers, author names and Amazon URLs. (You can even use Notion formulas to resurface your best ideas.) Here’s Readwise’s tutorial on how their Notion Integration works:
8. Create customized embeds
There’s a budding ecosystem of customized embeds and add-ons that can span a wide variety of use-cases. Notion Pro Carson Jones created Chili Pepper to add forms to capture email address into your Notion pages. Fellow Notion Pro William Nutt created Notion Charts to seamlessly integrate and update real-time data from Google Sheets. And Alex Madrzyk created Indify to add Notion widgets including Google Calendar, Weather, Life Progress Bar and Quotes to your pages.
9. Increasing your productivity in using Notion
If you’re looking to increase the speed in which you add, search and capture data into Notion (for example, in a GTD system) you’ve got a few tips and tricks at your disposal. For cross-platform (and cloud-based) search Command E will query your Notion pages. You can also integrate Notion into Alfred (courtesy of Kevin Jalbert). And finally, Notion Pro Tommy Barav hacks together the Notion Clipper, Google Chrome and Keyboard Maestro to build a Notion Quick Add feature.
Your learning journey continues with GTD using Notion.