Coda vs Notion?

Long time Notion user here.

I regularly create productivity templates for my time management coaching clients.

I looked at Coda a long time ago and found it less intuitive than Notion at that time. But recently, there are a few things about Notion that it looked like Coda might be able to solve.

So I started testing Coda and am favorably impressed so far with it’s speed and interface.

From those of you familiar with both, what are some advantages Coda has over Notion? What have you been able to do in Coda that you couldn’t in Notion?

Looking for additional reasons to move over to Coda and would love to hear your thoughts.

Coda Pros:

  • More powerful
  • Easier to build complex workflows
  • Easier formulas
  • Pack system is amazing
  • Good community

Coda Cons

  • Mobile app hurts to use
  • Worse free tier
  • Not as widely known about (compared to Notion)
  • (Desktop) Ui is subjectively a bit worse than Notion, but it’s not bad

For me, overall Coda is so much easier to build in and it’s a lot more powerful. However it’s harder to get people to try Coda because the free teir makes it hard to experience Coda’s benefits with all the limits.


Agree with Micah_Lucero,

In my opinion, Notion’s great popularity also comes from its extremely generous free tier. This has encouraged template markets, YouTubers…

Notion is designed to allow for great versatility between project management and wikis, but it’s also a weakness because it can’t replace specialized tools and complex workflows as it lack specialised functions on it’s core features. I see it used a lot by individuals looking to organize their ideas (Second brain stuff).

The limitation of Coda’s free version makes it less popular for individuals, while it’s more popular among professionals or teams looking to build complex systems that replace many specialized tools.

In my opinion, it’s the CFL formula system that makes all the difference between there two tools, it’s the core difference, if you don’t plan on using it, it’s probably better to use Notion for its simplicity.

i managed to build some amazing things with CFL like a workload graph in the timeline or a weekly timesheet with buttons, it’s impossible to do the same with Notion. it’s almost infinite possibilities, but it require you to be a little on the geeky side, or hire someone to do it in your place.

If your needs require complex systems go for Coda,
If your needs require simpler one and better UX go for notion after trying and after they removed their free tier limitation, i see them as a better alternative for individuals and simpler systems. Unless you need a database in that case coda is better..

And Yes the mobile app … :smiling_face_with_tear: Please Coda change this app, just Copy Paste App code (Ux design King) it will change our life.


My company, Agile Dynamics, has spent decades automating workflows for clients in finance, aerospace and clinical research (where everything is subject to strict audits).

We have used almost every tool out there to find the ‘magic solution’. Full-stack traditional programming is very slow and expensive with only so-so results.

Spreadsheets with a small number of macros have been the fastest and cheapest and most flexible way to go. So, we thought the new NO-CODE tools would be even better! But alas, not so.

With spreadsheets, the users themselves can create and modify workflows as they have the business expertise AND the spreadsheet experience to be self-sufficient.

So we tried to introduce them to Bubble, AppGyver, Thunkable, Carrd, Webflow, Glide, and Airtable. But they did not find them useful - it turns out that the way spreadsheets work is ideal. Its the ability to build tables and worksheets, toss in some formulas, add a smidgen of macros - and get a quick workable solution with no bugs.

Something about the way formulas work and how tables can be edited by users was where the magic lay. The no-code tools we tried had GREAT user interface designers (pixel-perfect layouts etc), but the business logic was very hard to implement. And Airtable didnt allow the easy rich-text document-like information-rich content-management that is vital to these business processes.

But Notion WAS seen as a good solution. Tables and rich-text combined. Easy to build and modify workflows. They LOVED it! We couldn’t understand why at first.


They quickly discovered severe limitations in Notion:

  1. the formula language is horrible and very limited (these users are spreadsheet whizz-kids)
  2. the inputting of new records into the tables is not ‘locked-down’
    so users can select the wrong templates and even create child-records that are not properly linked to the parent records etc (‘widows’ and ‘orphans’).
  3. there are NO automations like macros or buttons. even recent new features do not help.

So when we introduced them to Coda - they LOVED it. All the capabilities they needed AND it behaves like a cross between Word and Excel.

  1. the Coda Formula Language is a delight - easy to write and understand and has all the features
  2. all data input operations can be managed thru Dialogs and Forms with validation logic
  3. its easy(ish) to add automations AND you use the same language (no VBA or JavaScript)
    • buttons are easy to add exactly where they are needed
    • automations triggered by new rows, data-changes, time-of-day, day-of-month, external triggers
    • unlike spreadsheet macros; Coda uses the same formula language for automations - brilliant!

So our spreadsheet whizz-kids can build the automations they require just as quickly as with spreadsheets+macros BUT the user-interface is WAY better than spreadsheets.

And we can integrate easily with and Zapier to extent the no-code paradigm farther.

So Coda became the one-and-only no-code (actually its low-code) platform for our clients and we are migrating spreadsheet-based workflows over to Coda.

The ability to add new features using Packs is a huge advantage, although our users/makers outsource that to experienced developers as it requires a high level of javascript know-how.

One downside of Coda is the Mobile runtime which is extremely odd. But we found ways to manage that. It is possible (using tricks and gimmicks) to build a workable mobile version of your workflows. Not easy. But doable. For tablet users, we bypass the mobile app and use the desktop browser interface.

We have had several clients who were NOT spreadsheet whizz-kids and thus found the learning curve for Coda to be too steep - not worth the candle - so they have gone back to Notion.

So I see Notion as the kids-play-sand-pit where they are safe and comfortable (because you cant do very much) and I see Coda as the adults maker-lab with all the power tools and big-assed materials needed for serious projects.



Here is a video we did some time ago that explains our research results for No-Code tools, and why Coda came out as the #1 choice for our specific needs…



I agree with all of the above, but I’d add one Coda Con: no web clipper.

Personally, I love-love-love Notion’s web-clipper for saving articles to read, recipes, products from shops, etc. Coda’s browser extension will just add the URL to a table but won’t capture ANY of the content on the webpage.

Ultimately, I have continued to use Notion for my personal stuff & am using Coda for work, where database relationships & workflows add much more value.


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