Advanced OmniFocus Functionality [Video]

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By popular request, here is a guide to some of the more advanced ways that OmniFocus can be used. This is less of a “this is my OmniFocus philosophy and system” article and more of a “here are some cool ways to use the application that you may not have been aware of” piece.

If you don’t know what OmniFocus is, it is a powerful database-driven task management application for the Mac. We have an in-depth series on how to get things started with OmniFocus coming out in a few weeks – this article assumes that you already use the program and are pretty familiar with the basics of task management.

OmniFocus Premium PostsIf you are looking for a shortcut to use OmniFocus the right and effective way, check out OmniFocus Premium Posts. It’s our guide that is simple, practical and it has a lot of field-tested workflows and solutions to help you use OmniFocus the right way. Click here for more information.

In part, these short videos were inspired by both Merlin Mann’s talk and David Spark’s talk from MacWorld on how they use OmniFocus.

UPDATE: If you want to see how we use Omnifocus, check out our Omnifocus series.

Preference Options

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Right-click and save: Asian Efficiency OmniFocus Style / Theme

Cool Functions You Didn’t Know About

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Perspectives

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Photo by: Jerry Ferguson

If you liked this post, you may like our OmniFocus Premium Posts – the simple guide to use OmniFocus the right and effective way. Click here for more information.

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About

I'm originally from Australia, but have lived all over the world for the past 5 years. I love taking things apart and putting them back together, and one of those things is the idea of human performance and how far we can push the limits of what is possible. Most seemingly "impossible" problems are solved by a solution at a higher logical level, or by borrowing a framework from a different discipline. What I write about comes from hearing about something and then trying it out in my own life, often with surprising results. I hope you get a lot out of it and feel free to get in touch with me anytime!

19 Comments

Posted by Marloes  | May 7, 2011 at 8:11PM | Reply

Great article! Learned a lot!

Marloes

Posted by AE Thanh  | May 23, 2011 at 5:17PM

Thanks Marloes! 

Posted by Sean Price  | May 23, 2011 at 1:19PM | Reply

 Great post!

Posted by AE Thanh  | May 23, 2011 at 5:17PM

 Thanks Sean!

Posted by Russfrench New Zealand  | June 6, 2011 at 10:06AM | Reply

Can I ask what the anti-procrastinate icon in yr  O.F. toolbar is? and what it does?

Posted by AE Aaron  | June 6, 2011 at 1:59PM

Yup. It loads up a list of tasks to do when you’re low energy and want to procrastinate. I go into more detail about it in the next OmniFocus tutorial which is going live in about an hour =)

Posted by AE Aaron  | June 6, 2011 at 2:00PM

Yup. It loads up a list of tasks to do when you’re low energy and want to procrastinate. I go into more detail about it in the next OmniFocus tutorial which is going live in about an hour =)

Posted by Bojan Djordjevic  | December 26, 2011 at 4:45AM | Reply

Picked up the theme… Looks great

Posted by Lulamae Broadway  | March 16, 2012 at 1:59PM | Reply

Some helpful stuff – but you didn’t explain Action Groups that well – your mouse is clicking around to create nested lists, but you don’t show us what you’re doing.

Is it “add child/aunt”?

Also, more detail about how you created your perspectives would also be helpful. The big takeaway here is just “use them” not “here’s how you make them”

Am going through your series of posts, maybe there’s more info there.

Posted by Aaron Lynn  | March 17, 2012 at 9:10AM

Hi Lulamae,

I actually use keyboard shortcuts to do nested lists.

Control + Command + Right moves an item one level in, Control + Command + Left moves an item one level out. Control + Command + Up/Down move the items up and down.

We definitely have more on perspectives in our series of posts – there’s an index of them here: http://www.asianefficiency.com/omnifocus/

– Aaron

Posted by duckzila  | April 19, 2012 at 7:11PM | Reply

hi,

I’m looking for a feature and i seem not to find it anywhere. Is it possible to get the number of the actions in a project?? You can see that on OmniFocus for iPhone, but I don’t find that anywhere on the mac version.

thanks,
victor

Posted by Thanh Pham  | April 26, 2012 at 1:30PM

Hi Victor you have to install some script on the Mac. You can find a lot of them here:
http://forums.omnigroup.com/forumdisplay.php?f=44

I hope you can find what you’re looking for there!

Posted by gbp  | May 8, 2012 at 12:34AM | Reply

It is sometimes hard to understand what you are saying. The volume is uneven and I have to increase the volume to the max on macbook.

Posted by Aaron Lynn  | May 8, 2012 at 2:23AM

Hey Gbp, sorry about that – have you tried earphones? I just had another listen through and it seems to be OK for me with 1-2 bars of volume on my Mac.

Might also be a case of accents – I’ll make a note to include transcripts for future videos.

Posted by Steve  | May 26, 2012 at 2:38AM | Reply

In the end of video “Cool Functions You Didn’t Know About” you are saying that you have to unflag the actions otherwise they still show up in your today list. But why don’t you just put the Availability Filter to “Available” or “Remaining” instead of “Any Status”? This would automatically clear the items from your Today list.

Whats also cool is if you put the Today filter to Available instead of Remaining you can flag your repeating actions (daily, weekly, monthly) and they will automatically show up in your today list once they become available. Then you just mark them as done and once the task is available again it is back in your today list.

Posted by Christopher J  | October 11, 2012 at 1:41AM | Reply

Thanks for the posts and videos! I highly appreciate that you used your own working version of OmniFocus in the videos, it gives me a much better visual understanding of what others are doing/using and the ‘real life’ capabilities of the software.

Cheers,
Christopher

Posted by Thanh Pham  | October 11, 2012 at 1:59AM

Thanks Christopher! Glad you like it. There will be more videos coming out soon.

Posted by Mike  | June 17, 2013 at 1:49PM | Reply

I like the videos, but what I liked best I can not find. How do you get start and due dates to show?

Posted by Thanh Pham  | June 17, 2013 at 10:42PM

In OmniFocus:

View > Show View Bar
Also: View > Columns.

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