The Formula Editor

Learn how to write formulas within Notion's formula editor window.

When you click inside the content area of a formula property, you’ll be presented with Notion’s formula editor.

The editor is split into three parts:

  • The editor field. Formulas written here must be written in a single, unbroken line without line breaks or indentation.
  • A scrollable list of all available properties, constants, operators, and functions. Clicking one will add it to your formula at the cursor’s current location.
  • A context window the provides a description of the currently selected/hovered formula component. Also includes a syntax reference and one or more examples.

In addition to clicking formula components (constants, functions, etc), you can also start typing to automatically filter them. Hit enter when the one you want becomes highlighted.

When you’ve finished writing your formula, hit Ctrl/⌘ + Enter to exit the formula editor.

If your formula contains an error, you won’t be able to save the changes you’ve made to it.

Clicking away from the formula editor will result in your changes being lost, so make sure you copy your formula to your clipboard before doing so.

When there is an error in your formula, you’ll see a description of it at the bottom of the formula editor.

Learn how to debug your formulas and fix errors:

Fixing Notion Formula Errors – Thomas Frank

When you need to write a formula that’s more than a couple lines long, I highly recommend writing it first in a proper text editor such as Visual Studio Code first.

Visual Studio Code – Code Editing. Redefined
Visual Studio Code is a code editor redefined and optimized for building and debugging modern web and cloud applications.  Visual Studio Code is free and available on your favorite platform – Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Writing your formulas in a true text editor will allow you to add indentation, comments, and other quality-of-life features that make you formulas easier to read and debug.

Notion formulas don’t have a specific syntax, so I recommend saving your formula files as JavaScript files with the .js extension.

Note how I comment specific sections of my formula:

// First half of main else case - deal with opening hours

Notion formulas often require multiple levels of nested if statements, and these can get confusing and hard to keep track of. Adding comments above the function I’m calling helps me to understand my own formula code.

Notion’s formula editor doesn’t support newlines or comments, so you can’t simply paste your formula from VS Code to Notion. If you try, your formula won’t work.

For this reason, we need to re-format formulas before they can be pasted into Notion:

  • New lines must be removed
  • Comments must be removed

Fortunately, you don’t have to do this manually! Instead, you can do a find and replace operation using a regular expression that removes all of these elements for you.

Here’s the expression (refer to the regular expressions guide if you want to understand how this works):

(\n[ ]{2,}|\n|[/]{2}[^\n]*)

Good to know: You can use text-snippet apps like TextExpander, Alfred (macOS), or Espanso to find this expression to an easy-to-type keyword. I use nminifyas my keyword to auto-paste this snippet with Alfred.

  1. Copy and paste your formula. We’ll compress one of the copies, leaving the other as an easy-to-read reference.
  2. Open the find and replace window with Ctrl/⌘ + F and paste the expression into the find field.
  3. Paste in the expression above.
  4. Click the Use Regular Expression button.
  5. Select the entirety of your formula (just one of the copies)
  6. Click the Find in Selection button.
  7. Ensure the Replace field is blank.
  8. Click the Replace All button.

Once done, your selected formula will be compressed and ready to paste into Notion:

About the Author

My name is Thomas Frank, and I'm a Notion-certified writer, YouTuber, and template creator. I've been using Notion since 2018 to organize my personal life and to run my business and YouTube channel. In addition to this formula reference, I've created a free Notion course for beginners and several productivity-focused Notion templates. If you'd like to connect, follow me on Twitter.

🤔 Have an UB Question?

Fill out the form below and I’ll answer as soon as I can! ~Thomas

🤔 Have a Question?

Fill out the form below and I’ll answer as soon as I can! ~Thomas