Using Fargo in a workgroup

Fargo has powerful collaboration features which make it great for coordinating a workgroup. We use Fargo in exactly this way to manage the development of Fargo itself. This doc shows how you can do it for your group.


Every member of the team has their own outline, and their own Dropbox account since Fargo stores its outlines in Dropbox.

As the day goes by they narrate their work, making notes in the outline.

Every team member has all the others' outlines in their Bookmarks menu. The people they work most closely with are in their own tabs. When another team member updates, that's indicated by a lightning bolt icon appearing next to their name in their tab. Click on the tab to find out what's new.

When you want to view the updates of another member, choose their name from the Bookmarks menu. Their outline opens in a new tab.

Every team member has an outline

1. Start at, connect with Dropbox.

2. Create a new outline with the New command in the File menu. The title should be your first name, something like Susan or Pablo. This is going to be the name that shows up in the tab when other workgroup members read the outline.

3. When you want to explain something you're working on, click the + icon at the top of the left sidebar. Screen shot.

It creates a new note, in a calendar structure.

Enter the description of the event, using the tools of the outliner to expand and collapse and reorganize. See the Outliner Howto for basic instructions on using the outliner.

Depending on your style, and the nature of the event, the note could be a single line like "Good morning, ready for a new day of work!" or could have a list of things you want to accomplish during the day. Or anything that's relevant to your work and the other people in your group.

Tip: It's often a good idea to edit your note in a private outline, and copy/paste it into your status outline when it's ready, so there's a single update for each new note. Every group develops its own conventions over time.

4. As the day goes on, as you accomplish things, or have questions for other team members, post them as notes in your outline, again using the big + icon.

Preparing to share

Before sharing your outline, you might want to give it a longer title and a description. Here's how to do that.

1. Be sure the outline is open and in the active tab.

2. Choose Set Titles from the File menu. Screen shot.

3. Enter a long title and a description. You may want to edit the short title at this time.

The long title will appear as a suggested name for the Bookmark in a later step when people follow your outline. The long title should at least contain your first name and last name, where the short title should probably only have your first name.

Sharing your outline with team members

Once you're rolling with your outline, you should share the outline with other members of your team.

1. To do so, choose Get Public Link in the File menu. (If you have multiple outlines open be sure the tab of the outline you want to share is in the active tab.)

The public link is only public if you share it publicly, so the title of this command, while consistent with Dropbox terminology, is actually a bit misleading.

2. Confirm that you want to create a public link, then copy the URL that appears in the dialog.

3. Send the URL to team members via email or chat.

Watching a team member's outline

In the previous section we explained how to get a sharable link to an outline. Now we show you how to follow one of those outlines.

1. Copy the URL you received via email to the clipboard.

2. In Fargo, choose Open By URL in the File menu.

3. Paste the URL into the text area in the dialog, and click OK.

4. The outline should open in a new tab.

5. Choose Add Bookmark from the Bookmarks menu. You can edit the name of the bookmark with something more descriptive.

When the team member's outline updates, the icon next to his or her name will change from a person to a lightning bolt. That's how you can tell they updated. Click on the tab to see what's new.

If you want to close their tab, choose Close from the File menu. Any time you want to find out what's new, you can choose their entry in the Bookmarks menu.

That's it!

Setting up a workgroup is fairly easy, and so is outlining.

However, communicating your work with others is an art. So, while you get benefits from organizing your work this way right from the start, it gets better as you go along, as you develop standard practices specific to your projects and team.

If you have questions on how to use Fargo as a workgroup tool, please use the smallpicture-user mail list, or post a comment here.

If you want to share what you've learned -- please do! This is a new art, and we can all benefit from each others' experience. Write blog posts, or give presentations at conferences. We're anxious to hear how you're using Fargo for workgroup collaboration.

Dave Winer
May 24, 2013

Posted on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM by admin.