Launched: The Explore Panel, successor to the plus button

As Coda has grown throughout the years, so has the number of places you might click to add building blocks like tables, buttons, drag-and-drop templates or lists. When we launched Quick Insertion (via the slash command) a few months ago, we heard your resounding feedback that (1.) it was helpful to have a faster way to add the building blocks you know and love, and (2.) the command also helped you discover new building blocks.

Given that feedback, we spent weeks engaging in user testing and fine-tuning our designs to consolidate access to Coda’s building blocks into one single panel. Now, you can browse and use all of the powerful features you might insert into a doc in one place. We call it the Explore panel.

If you’ve ever wondered: Does Coda have an easy way to do X? Consider clicking ‘Explore’ and then browsing or searching for a solution! Within the Explore panel you’ll find:

  • Templates : Drag-and-drop building blocks to add things like a team sentiment tracker, a text translation table, a question moderator or even a product roadmap timeline that automatically creates a table and gantt chart for your team.
  • Text & Media : Easily add a list, code block or emoji, or embed videos or music from other sites.
  • Tables : Start from scratch with a new table, or add card views, calendars and more.
  • Packs : Connect to Jira, Gmail, Slack and other tools to supercharge your doc.
  • Buttons : Add custom buttons and controls, including some commonly used ones like “Add a Row” or “Open hyperlink.”
  • Settings : Manage automations, page default styles, time zones and more in your settings.
  • Learn : Looking to level-up? The Learn section aggregates everything from the modules found on coda.io/learn, to our formula & API libraries, help center, doc gallery and support options.

As a reminder: Anything you can find in the Explore panel, you can also access using the slash command in your doc.

Heads Up! Over the next few weeks, we plan to deprecate the ‘+’ button in the top menu bar to continue streamlining the places you might look to find the tools that bring your docs to life.

We hope that the combination of the slash command with the consolidated Explore panel helps you quickly add powerful building bocks while you’re in your flow, and easily browse new capabilities you might not have had a chance to leverage yet.

29 Likes

if you ask me I would like to keep the “+” button somewhere rapid, are you sure that this is faster or better for pro users?
if i have to go into explore for every action that the “+” button would do, isn’t this a waste of time in comparison?
Thanks

Hi Mario, the “/” command is designed to replace the + button for rapid access:

The explore panel is really about discovering what Coda do; Once you know what you’re looking for, the “/” command is much faster.

2 Likes

@alden

When searching via slash access, either of these will submit the highlighted item: tab (left hand) or enter (right hand).

But when searching in other contexts, tab does not always submit the highlighted item.

For example, searching in Change column type, via both traditional column header access and the just-released sidebar access), is a right hand dominant process (mouse and/or arrow keys), but the highlighted item cannot be submitted with the left hand via tab.

This is obviously minor, but it’s a frequent point of friction that adds up.

2 Likes

I’m with @alden on this one: I noticed that I’m using slash commands for adding tables and buttons and views exclusively now.

A few additions I’d personally love:

  • Typing slash, then any text — would automatically create a table with that name instead of showing “no matches found”. It’s very often that I’m trying to type e.g. /DB Tasks and expect it to add a table DB Tasks (or insert a view of such table if it already exists, but let’s assume I know it doesn’t.) But Coda tells me that no matches found for this command, so I have to backspace and type /Table to insert the table instead, then New table, then edit the table title and type it again. This is my #1 pain point with slash commands.

  • After I type /Table name and it inserts a view, I’d appreciate if it brought up a filter editing panel right away. Because when I make a view, the most likely thing I’m going to do right away is set up a view-specific filter.

5 Likes

Hi Alden,

The drag-and-drop aspect of the Explore button is a good idea. In time, veteran users of Coda will not really need to use it for discovery of building blocks, but will use it nonetheless. Why not name it “Insert Blocks” or something like that?

Best,
Mike

1 Like

Hi Michael, thanks for the note. The panel includes settings and learn, not just insertable blocks. We wanted the entrypoint to be general enough to house everything in the panel. That said, the concern that “explore” might sound irrelevant to experienced users is a real concern and a risk we’re watching for.

1 Like

Hi @alden :blush:
for a moment i forgot about “/” power!
Yeah, i’m still used to the “old” way, but i believe in the introduction of “/” command and when the “+” button will be deprecated it will be faster :blush:
(Now it actually seems nearly redundant :smile:)

1 Like