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10 Quick OmniFocus Tips

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As an OmniFocus user, you already how packed OmniFocus is with features. You might not use them all but today we want to show you some quick and easy tips to get more out of your OmniFocus. Whether you’re new to OmniFocus or a seasoned veteran, we’ve compiled 10 tips that you can implement right away to get more out of OmniFocus.

NOTE: If you want to know how to use OmniFocus effectively, check out our OmniFocus Premium Posts. It will show you how to set up, maintain and use OmniFocus the right way.

1. Multiple Quick Entries

Need to quickly enter a lot of thoughts into OmniFocus? No problem – use the quick entry box. You probably do this already (if not, shame on you!) but you’re not just limited to one entry at a time. You can have multiple. Just press SHIFT+Return to enter multiple entries.

You can have multiple quick entries.

You can have multiple quick entries.

This is a great way to capture a lot of things in one swoop.

2. Store Backups in Dropbox

If you’re like me and you have your whole life stored in OmniFocus – please make sure you save your OmniFocus backups in Dropbox. In case you ever lose your computer/laptop or your harddrive dies, you’ll always have a backup copy elsewhere.

OmniFocus backups in Dropbox.

OmniFocus backups in Dropbox.

Under OmniFocus > Preferences you can change the storage location.

3. Perspective Shortcuts

Did you know that you can assign shortcuts to all your perspectives?

Assign perspectives shortcuts in OmniFocus.

Assign perspectives shortcuts in OmniFocus.

When you go to Perspectives > Show Perspectives, you’ll be able to assign shortcuts for each perspective. This makes navigating around OmniFocus much easier and faster.

If you have a trackpad, I highly recommend you install BetterTouchTool which allows you to have custom gestures. Within BetterTouchTool I have specific gestures setup for OmniFocus, so with just a couple taps I can easily navigate around OmniFocus.

4. The Notes shortcut

Speaking of shortcuts, the most frequently used shortcut for me is CMD+’ (apostrophe). This expands the notes section. Instead of dragging your mouse all the way to the tiny paper clip icon all the way on the right, this shortcut is much faster.

This works even better when you’re using a perspective. Just go to Project view, press CMD+’ and you will see all notes expanded in one view.

Simple configuration in BetterTouchTool for OmniFocus.

Simple configuration in BetterTouchTool for OmniFocus.

For those of you with trackpads, get BetterTouchTool, assign four finger swipe down to this shortcut, and using OmniFocus becomes even more effortless.

5. Sync with iCal

A lot of people think that syncing OmniFocus with iCal (Apple Calendar) is not possible. That’s not true – it is possible as we’ve written about how to do that here.

You can still sync OmniFocus with iCal.

You can still sync OmniFocus with iCal.

Having your due tasks show up on your calendar is really useful, so follow these instructions on syncing your OmniFocus with iCal.

6. Mail Drop

With Mail Drop, you can email yourself tasks that end up in your OmniFocus inbox. As of now it’s still a public test but it’s been working fine with no hiccups.

Email tasks to your OmniFocus inbox.

Email tasks to your OmniFocus inbox with Mail Drop.

After you’re signed up, you’ll get a unique email address assigned and you’re set. This is especially useful for those who work in a Windows environment but still want to be able to get stuff in OmniFocus.

7. Automated Project Templates

Did you wish OmniFocus would come up with templates? While you can get creative with projects on hold that act as templates, it’s not nearly as effective as this automated solution by Chris Sauve.

He created a script that allows you to use dynamic project templates – check out the video below to see how it works.

If you want to use templates in OmniFocus, head over to this page, install it and set up your templates.

8. PopClip

Technically this is not part of OmniFocus – it’s another app – but it’s extremely useful for capturing. PopClip gives you that iOS popup effect on the desktop. Whenever you select text in iOS, you are given the option to cut, copy or paste. PopClip gives you that same effect but the cool thing is that you can customize it.

Clip stuff into OmniFocus with Popclip.

Clip stuff into OmniFocus with Popclip.

When you install the OmniFocus extension, you can easily capture stuff with just your mouse. If you’re someone who doesn’t use the Clipping feature of OmniFocus because you can’t memorize the shortcut, this is your solution.

9. Search Perspectives

If you use the search feature a lot in OmniFocus, you can also save it as a perspective. Think of it as a “saved search”. Just search for something, then go to Perspectives > Save Window As > New Perspective.

10. HotSpot

This is a little bit of an advanced tip, but we’ve written before about how the HotSpot Technique allows you to easily dump files into your OmniFocus inbox.

It requires Hazel and an Applescript (provided), and once you have it set up it’s super easy to drag and drop files into OmniFocus. Here’s a video that shows you how it works.

Click here if you want to see the YouTube version of this video.

If you want to have this setup, just follow the instructions here.

Do you have any OmniFocus tips that other AE readers should know about? Share them in the comments below!

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Posted by Tim Turner  | June 10, 2013 at 12:58AM | Reply

Thank you very much Thanh for your quick response

It worked perfectly now

Have a great day :)

Posted by Tim Turner  | June 9, 2013 at 11:10PM | Reply

Thank you for a great article

Quick question

With “Store Backups in Dropbox” do you set the same settings for your imac and macbook?

Posted by Thanh Pham  | June 9, 2013 at 11:19PM


Posted by Vincent van Andel (  | June 3, 2013 at 11:48AM | Reply

Heroes! Do I need more to say?!
P.S.: How is it with the ‘little’ update to the OmniFocus Premium book? Want a printed copy of it, so I’ll wait till you’ve updated it

Posted by Thanh Pham  | June 3, 2013 at 11:55AM

It’s almost done. Will be released sometime this month :)

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