DISCOVER THE TOP 10 APPS AND TOOLS OF PRODUCTIVITY PROS

OmniFocus

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OmniFocus Premium Posts

The program OmniFocus is one of the best (and most complex) task management applications for Mac (not available on Windows). Here, you’ll find links to all our articles and tutorials about how to use OmniFocus to increase your productivity and manage your time.

Full list of Omnifocus articles, tutorials and screencasts

The ten-part article series introduces a fictional character (Tom Jenkins), and AE bloggers Thanh and Aaron give their perspectives on what the best way is to getting started with Omnifocus. Topics include:

  • The best way of setting up Omnifocus with structures and areas of responsibilities.
  • How to apply Getting Things Done (GTD) or how to make your own workflow.
  • Creating custom perspectives (next actions, today list, and more).
  • Using Omnifocus on iPad and iPhone in sync.
  • Cool tricks and advanced features.
  • Managing email tasks with Mailplane and Apple Mail together with Omnifocus.
  • How to use OmniFocus with Agile Results.

You can now also get our FREE OmniFocus training course. In this 6-part email course we’ll show you exactly how to get up and running with OmniFocus. Just subscribe below:

 

OmniFocus Premium Posts If you want a concise and practical guide to set up OmniFocus and use it the right way, our OmniFocus Premium Posts is the perfect solution. It has tried-and-tested solutions for using OmniFocus the right and effective way.

Where to get OmniFocus

The software is available on OS X and iOS. As of now it is not available on Windows. In order to grab a copy of Omnifocus, you can do that here:

If you are planning to use this task manager, you might want to read our Omnifocus review first.

Omnifocus is just one of the tools that we recommend and write about. There are a lot of other tools, apps and insights that we share in our exclusive newsletter. You’ll find a number of insights, and pieces of exclusive content that we don’t publish publicly on the site. If you like our Omnifocus content, you’ll definitely like our newsletter content even more. Sign up below and we will send you some great content right after you sign up.

Custom Theme

We also have made a custom Omnifocus theme that you can use on your Mac. This theme makes Omnifocus look a lot better and in our opinion uses the best color scheme possible. The video below will show you what it looks like and how you can install it yourself.

Click here to download the theme.

OmniFocus Premium Posts

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Charles Ngo October 19, 2011 at 1:35AM

Just installed the AE theme…definitely more functional with the highlights

p.s. shapow

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Thanh Pham October 20, 2011 at 10:02AM

Awesome. Glad you dig it :)

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Nealh December 11, 2011 at 7:21PM

I’ve also just installed the theme and find it very helpful.

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Thanh Pham December 12, 2011 at 2:55AM

Thanks Nealh!

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Vaida Bogdan December 14, 2011 at 6:19AM

I’m a things user, it’s simpler, cheaper and it gets the job done.

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AE Aaron December 15, 2011 at 1:42AM

We’ve got some upcoming articles about Things. I found it too simplistic for me the first time around, but different strokes for different folks.

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Соловьев Дмитрий February 29, 2012 at 9:48PM

I absolutely agree with you! I even purchased Things but after some days realized that I can’t get my tasks done(((

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Brian Renshaw January 16, 2012 at 5:27AM

thanks for this, I was just in the process of trying to change my theme for the best but this will work great!

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Thanh Pham January 16, 2012 at 3:17PM

Thanks Brian!

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Bethany OConnor February 24, 2012 at 12:29PM

Hmm.  I’m having trouble viewing this video, as well as your video about email management.  I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong or if for some reason the videos are not available right now?

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Thanh Pham February 27, 2012 at 4:57AM

I’ve tried watching the video on multiple computers and it seems to be working fine.

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Thomas March 5, 2012 at 11:20AM

Thanks for the Theme, works great and already makes save time!

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David April 27, 2012 at 9:07PM

Love the site guys. I’m new to GTD and Omnifocus but am already powering through tasks. I’ve found procrastination has been the biggest obstacle to productivity for me, and having a good system for tasks ensures I always have the next important task to move on to, rather than mindless web surfing…
Great theme too, makes Omnifocus look much nicer.

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Dallas June 30, 2012 at 9:22PM

I just installed the custom theme and really enjoy it however I would like to learn about the features and changes you have made. You referenced a detailed video about this theme in the installation instructions. Can you send me the link please.

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Tony August 21, 2012 at 8:40AM

Guys, first off just let me say this site ROCKS! Now my problem/question. I’m in Costruction Sales and need a bit of direction.I’ve been using OF for about 3 weeks and I keep finding myself second guessing on whether I need a folder or project or something completely different. My stream of customers is as follows: Architect-General Contractor-Sub Contractor-Dealer Sales with multiples of each. Also, all of these parties can overlap on any number of different projects at any time. Thanks in advance for your guidence.

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Thanh Pham August 21, 2012 at 6:40PM

The way we normally address is this is by being certain what each means:

folder = area of responsibility
project = focused outcome and has an end-point
list = no end-point and ongoing

If there is a lot of overlap, single action lists might be the best solution.

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Tony August 22, 2012 at 3:46PM

Thank you for your quick response! I believe I was just “over thinking” the whole process. Your concise directive put me on the path to Organization!!!!

Thanks again.

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Anton September 5, 2012 at 7:46AM

Hi, Thanh and Aaron!
Do you know about great guy Brett Terpstra, who made clipper from Chrome to Omnifocus? I think, this one tool can be used to extend your quantity of OF tricks. Anyway, I found this clipper quite useful.
Link at his website is here: http://brettterpstra.com/omnifocus-clipper-for-chrome/

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Gerhard September 23, 2012 at 12:44AM

Agile is super impressive and AE more so. As a newby to OF – I find setting up Agile in OF per AE blog, challenging because I do not yet have ease of use with OF. Reluctant setup OF as per AE OM Series Part 01: as it might do a conflicting setup vs Agile and confuse my mind? I suspect I need to ‘learn’ OF before continuing? Some guidance please, gentlemen. I have now been hugely inefficient trying to get to grips with OF and Agile in OF. I bought MacBook Air specifically for OF as a result of impressive work of AE. Thnx.

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Thanh Pham September 23, 2012 at 3:39PM

There are different approaches to this. If you really want to use Agile Results, I suggest you learn that first. Along the way you’ll start using tools to implement and our articles can help with that. Once you have AR and OF working for you, then our OF series can be useful to learn more about the advanced features of OF.

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Kwanza Bowe September 26, 2012 at 7:44AM

Hi Aaron & Thahn!

Thanks so much for sharing your tips and tricks with the world!! Finding your site this past weekend was an immediate stress reliever for me and I spent all day Saturday reading most of your site. This is what I have been searching for and wanting in order to get going with GTD and OmniFocus.

I have one small issue. I do not have a Mac (yet), waiting for the iPhone5 to be available in The Bahamas (eta Nov.). I have an iPad that I “share” with my 7 year old son, that will eventually be his. If I get started with OF here, will I be able to move my files/data over to a new iPad or Macbook when I get one?

Thanks so much!

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Thanh Pham September 26, 2012 at 5:27PM

Yes that is definitely possible. What you want to do is sign up for Omni Sync Server (https://manage.sync.omnigroup.com/) and set it up on your iPad. That way all your data will be stored on the server. When you get your iPhone and/or Mac, all you need to do is setup the sync and it will download the data from there. The extra benefit is that your data will also be in sync on your iPhone, iPad and Mac.

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Kwanza Bowe September 26, 2012 at 8:07PM

Awesome…no more excuses now! I’m ready to get started.
Thank you again for your help.

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Russell James October 8, 2012 at 6:56AM

You guys are insane! Thanks so much for all these Omnifocus resources.

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Thanh Pham October 8, 2012 at 3:17PM

Thanks Russell! Insanity is a good thing, right? ;-)

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Russell James December 13, 2012 at 6:44PM

Of course! :)

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Jason October 17, 2012 at 5:31PM

Hi Thanh,
I only have OF for ipad and iPhone. I am a little overwhelmed by not being able to find a way to use perspectives…it seems like perspectives make it possible to funnel things down to simple lists of action. I downloaded some default perspectives but they aren’t very good. I just want a way to click on one button and have a clean list of what I want to look at. If you could help me, I would be extremely happy and grateful.

Thanks very much.

Jason Cheshire

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Thanh Pham October 17, 2012 at 7:45PM

Hi Jason,

We have written about perspectives here:
http://www.asianefficiency.com/task-management/omnifocus-series-part-05-perspectives/
http://www.asianefficiency.com/task-management/omnifocus-series-part-06-perspectives/

The thing with perspectives is that they are limited on iOS. As of now, only project perspectives are available (context perspectives are desktop only). That does limit the power of perspectives.

Also, perspectives should be tailored to your needs. It’s best to figure out what your needs are and to build perspectives around them. But hopefully some of ours can help.

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Dan November 20, 2012 at 5:12PM

Actually try this link from OmniFocus, should enable perspectives on your iPad,
http://people.omnigroup.com/kc/DebugOmniFocus/EnableiPadPerspectives.html

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Juan November 27, 2012 at 4:23AM

Hi Guys,

I’m so thankful I found your site just as I needed to get things more organised, your insightful and comprehensive posts have really made a difference to my efficiency!

I’m an Omnifocus convert and very happy about it, I showed the system I set up to my business partner and he’s jealous that it’s only Mac-based, since he works on a PC and has no need to switch. Do you or your readers know of any Windows alternative to Omnifocus that are as versatile and configurable?

Thanks,
Juan

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Thanh Pham November 28, 2012 at 12:22PM

Hi Juan,

We’re not familiar with any Windows equivalent at all. I guess you’ll have to tell your business partner to make the switch to the Mac :-)

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g November 29, 2012 at 2:22AM

Great site! Still deciding between using OF or 2do for Mac but your OF series really explains a lot of things. One question though, is there any way to integrate OF with a calendar app such as Fantastical/Busycal? Would be great to see meetings on the dashboard without opening OF

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Thanh Pham December 10, 2012 at 10:38PM

Yes OmniFocus has a forecast feature that incorporates a calendar within OmniFocus. It’s only available on iOS for now though, but it should be in the desktop version soon.

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Nhlanhla December 11, 2012 at 11:42AM

Hi Thanh

I came across your website guys by default through a friend of a friend on facebook. He had shared the link and the title thereof was catching. I clicked on it and right away I loved what I saw and realised its going to help me big time. I am still new on this site and am gonna do my best to revolutionarise my life through this as I know that PROCASTINATION is my BIG challenge!!! Thank you very much.

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Kpatel December 20, 2012 at 3:35AM

No Windows alternative? I’d rather not switch to a MAC. =/
Hope some kind of program pops up for windows users!

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Natalia Prieto January 19, 2013 at 9:02AM

Guys,

Excelent tool! It has been so useful for my work. I just has a few conserns I would like to share with you and hope someone could answer me or give a few tips:

1. Do you think I could manage working with my ipad and iphone as in my work I do not have a Mac ?
2. If I had a Mac I use gmail, will the calendar work anyway?
3. Gmail has a very different concept as you do not work with folders has anyone had the experience of using gmail and still apply omnifocus?

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Wilson Ng January 22, 2013 at 6:39AM

At the moment, OmniFocus for iPhone, OmniFocus for iPad, and OmniFocus for Mac have different feature sets. The last time I heard, the Omnigroup is working hard on trying to bring parity to all three versions.

The Mac version allows you to create perspectives (project perspectives and context perspectives) but it doesn’t have the iPad version’s Forecast or Review mode.

The iPad and iPhone versions don’t allow you to create perspectives.

The iPhone version doesn’t have the weekly review perspective.

At the end of January 2013, a first public viewing of OmniFocus 2 for the Mac will be unveiled with some kind of beta program starting up shortly thereafter.

You can just use gMail and gCal from your web browser.

There is a commercial application called BusyCal that allows you to sync your Google calendar to your Mac. But I’d just use gCal in my web browser.

Apple’s mail program can also be set up to connect to your gMail account.

OmniFocus does have a “clipping extension” that allows you to create tasks from e-mails in the Apple Mail program.

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Mike Dodson March 20, 2013 at 12:52PM

Thanks for all the suggestions you (and the other comment authors) have given to make my life (and many other people) more efficient! You’ve all encouraged me to change my behavior in several productive ways.

Here is my attempt to give back…

In meetings and through the course of my daily activities I like to write to-do’s down in my paper notebook. I then transcribe them into Omnifocus at the end of the day so they are properly captured along with everything else – except I don’t like doing the transcription step.

So I created a web app that I use to take a picture of my to-do’s and it automatically extracts them from my handwritten notes and puts them in my Omnifocus inbox!

Since OCR doesn’t always work well on my handwriting, I use an algorithm to extract the relevant parts of the image and attach those to the new actions I create in Omnifocus. So if the software can’t read what you wrote, hopefully you can.

If any of you would like to use it, I’d be happy to share. There is no cost or obligation, just beware that it’s not exactly a production environment so sometimes the server gets stumped on how to process an image and it may take a few hours before I can clear it. The processing won’t always be instantaneous.

Check out http://jot-it.herokuapp.com if you want to try it out.

Oh, and I’m very open to improving the software, just understand that I can only justify spending limited time on it.

Thanks,
-Mike

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