Custom perspectives is one of the main features that OmniFocus 3 offers that allows you to create a pre-saved view of your projects and tasks for quick referral. I have always longed for a way to create perspective groups because I have a long list of perspectives.
Disclaimer: The screenshots shown in this post reflect a beta test product. Features and appearances may change in the final version 3.0.
Problem: Too many perspectives creates a long Perspectives Menu
I wanted a way to have distinct groups of perspectives in OmniFocus 3. I demonstrated a perspective grouping in OmniFocus 2 using the top toolbar for my Planning perspectives and the Perspectives sidebar for my Doing perspectives.
My personal setup has four distinct perspective groups:
Contexts - This perspective group contains a list and of common GTD contexts that I frequently find myself in. This is a shortened list of some of my frequently used contexts. This is most frequently used as my Doing perspectives.
Physical Location -
- Physical Location -
- End-Of-Day Review - At the end of the day, I run through a series of perspectives to follow up on today’s activities and prepare for the next day. This is my daily review.
Planning - I use this perspective group when I need to go into Planning mode. Perspectives include:
- Checklists - This perspectives group contains all of my checklists. This is a convenient way to access any lists that I refer to throughout the day.
Grouping my perspectives using fake custom perspectives
An effective way to group my perspectives is to create a custom perspective with the Pro edition of OmniFocus 3. Use the Perspective Editor (
Show Perspectives) to add a title header.
Here is a sample of my perspectives groups on my iPad:
Next is a screenshot of my Perspectives group on my Mac.
OmniFocus 3 for Mac has eliminated the ability to put custom perspectives in the top toolbar. I was able to overcome this by using [Keyboard Maestro]. It’s an invaluable app that just sneaks up on you. You don’t realize how much you can do with KM until you find use case scenarios for it.
Grouping my perspectives using Keyboard Maestro
Keyboard Maestro is a MacOS X automation app that expands the capabilities of your Mac. You can find KM here:
I created different palettes that hold a group of related perspectives. Watch the video of my Perspective Groups.
Creating my OmniFocus 3 Perspectives Group
I start up Keyboard Maestro and choose
Launch Keyboard Maestro Editor
New Macro Group. You’ll be creating a macro group which will contain the different tiles that will invoke the perspective chosen.
Change the macro group settings to show:
- Available in these applications: OmniFocus
- Available in all windows
- Show a palette until: the hot key <hot key> is pressed
If you want this palette to be visible in any app then choose Available in all applications.
Change your hotkey to a keyboard combination of your choice. You can also customize the icon by dragging an imagine to the top left to the KM Macro Editor.
Click on Palette style to see an example of your KM Macro Group.
KM Macro groups will default to show the Macro Group as a standard palette window:
If you turn on Shrink, your palette will shrink into an icon. Hover the cursor over the icon to expand the icon into a full palette. Shrinking the palette is helpful for Macs with smaller screens.
Creating the the Perspectives inside the Macro Group
New Macro to create the first macro for this group.
Add an icon if you desire. Set the Menu Title to Perspectives. Next, set the Menu Item to the Perspective’s name. This KM macro simulates going up to the Perspectives menu and selecting the perspective.
KM has a habit of sorting the title alphabetically. I added a number before the perspective name to enforce my personal sort preferences.
Download the KM Macro Group file linked below and change the perspective names to fit your OmniFocus setup. You can duplicate this macro group to have multiple perspective palettes.
As an added bonus, I was able to initiate the iOS Homescreen which features two columns. Change the palette style and enter ‘2’ into the Columns field. This will simulate the home screen that you get when using OmniFocus 3 for iOS.
Keyboard Maestro is a popular app that can add palettes to any app that you may have. Personally, I’m terrible at remembering hot key combinations. Sometimes I like having palettes on screen to remind me of a workflow that I should be performing. I also like having palettes to choose some of my most common actions in an app.
I hope you enjoyed this little demonstration. I’m just getting back into Keyboard Maestro myself. Thanks to @nostodnayr and @rosemary for giving me the idea to use KM to create customized palettes for OmniFocus 3 for Mac.
Keyboard Maestro - Download the OmniFocus 3 palette zip file.
OmniFocus 3 icons courtesy of Josh Hughes