The OmniFocus 3 for iOS TestFlight preview

The OmniFocus 3 for iOS TestFlight preview

(Brian Mercer) #24

I was trying to think, from a technical perspective, how this could be done behind the scenes. Would you need a different hidden priority for each customer perspective?

At any rate, if even the Flagged list isn’t reorder-able, it’s hard to imagine now reordering tasks in a tag would possess any value at all.

(Wilson Ng) #25

If you click on the image, you’ll get a magnified view. The Discourse forums will clip off the preview image if it is too tall.

Sure, this is the Tags perspective in dark mode. At the moment, automatically switching between dark and light mode doesn’t work.


I think the thinking was that you can create a “today” tag in the context perspective (now tags) which I think is great as you can manually order the tasks you place within it but the problem is is how does one quickly access that tag from the home screen or set their main Apple Watch perspective or Today widget to reflect that? And if you can indeed create a perspective with that “today” tag, you can’t manually order it without going into the tag itself.

(Wilson Ng) #27

I’m still thinking about this. Our custom perspectives have a grouping and then a sorting. Maybe there could be a sort setting to allow user to manually sort? But if my custom perspective is focused on one tag (let’s say House), how will this affect the global tag order?

Still thinking about this one. :thinking:

(Wilson Ng) #28

And here lies the problem that I’ve been contemplating. Adding multiple tags creates a whole new row of dominoes toppling each other down and opens a new Pandora’s box. The single context in OF2 constrained us from worrying about this. Now that we have multiple tags, how does this affect our Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and Mac usage? Adding multiple tags isn’t as simple as just programming a feature into the app. It requires a thoughtful approach to this seemingly “simple” problem. But that’s what the TestFlight is for. When more users get involved in the TestFlight, we’ll see multiple use case scenarios. Hopefully, one of the 7,000+ TestFlight signups will introduce something that will solve most of our issues.

I personally haven’t used multiple tags a lot. Maybe someone from the Todoist or 2Do world can share how they’ve used multiple tags?


Thanks for the screenshots. Do they really have white on the tops and bottoms?

(Wilson Ng) #30

Yes… the white is on the top and the bottom. Remember this is still TestFlight. I think the cosmetic stuff will be done last. Omni is concerned about workflows, broken buttons, and trying to make sure the interface works.

Personally hoping for them to add a real calendar picker, text entry for dates (type in ‘Tuesday’ or ‘4d’ to mean 4 days) in addition to the iOS scrolling date picker.

(Wilson Ng) #31

To sort, we’ll have to manually go back to the Tag perspective and change it there. The custom perspectives have their own sort order (sort by due, defer, unsorted, tag order).

I don’t know if I’ll be doing much sorting. I already have my tasks sorted when I was in the Projects perspective. Usually my custom perspectives are sorted by due, by deferred, or whatever is the sort order that is inherent in OmniFocus - sorted usually by Project order.

I think the idea is to have your tasks planned out ahead of time instead of on-the-fly. I dunno. Put this in with your email feature requests to



Have they made any major changes to the Apple Watch app?

(Wilson Ng) #34

I don’t have an Apple Watch so I would t know. No one has talked about it in the private OmniFocus 3 Slack channel.

It’s still too early based on the chatter. Most of the development and testing had been focused on the iPad workflow with the iPhone interface coming in the near future. The Apple Watch features will probably come after wards.

Was there something about the Apple Watch + OmniFocus 3 you wanted changed?

I’ll ask in the Slack channel…


Thanks for the reply. I am hoping to they add “permanent perspectives”. Right now you can have one (which doubles as the complication and today widget on iOS) and then you can also have one that shows from your currently selected perspective on iPhone. I’d love to be able to choose a handful of perspectives that can live on the watch without any additional action. Let’s say I’m walking around my house and want to see what available actions I can quickly knock out in the garage while I’m up. It would be nice to have that context (now tag) or perspective always available instead of having to head back to my phone and select that perspective on my phone to have it mirror to my watch. I feel Ike the watch should be smarter than that. If I’m always needing to go to my phone then the watch just becomes a dummy list.

It’s like back in the day when you needed to head back to your Mac to put songs on your iPod. Now with Apple Music, that seems laughable.


Coming from 2Do, I would use multiple tags for different ways I could want to view/interact with a task.

  1. For instance, I was keeping a list of gifts for my kids in one list. So I would tag the tasks in there with their “name” + a “location(s)”. That way if I was out and about and stopped by a store (and the tasks weren’t paused) I would get an alert that such and such was available at that store.

  2. Another way is when trying to track upcoming projects that I’m trying to keep an eye on. For a while I had a “Weekly Plan” tag that I would use to follow what I was trying to get accomplished as big rocks for that week. So I could jump into that tag list to see how I was progressing. This was an extra tag on top of the tags I had already assigned to those tasks.

I’m sure other people have much more complex reasons / ideas for their multiple tag structures. For me I never got a ton out of multiple tags, but I did find them useful when I had scenarios like above. If that makes sense. So I’d rather have them than not (which I’m sure is why Omni is adding them now).


I coudn’t agree more. I’m a big tag guy as well and use them (in Things) in very much the same way. It’s not just for the tradition “contexts” like computer, office, phone but for other things like “today” for narrowing my focus for the day or priority when I don’t feel like combing through 50-100 available next actions but want to quickly see what’s most important for today.

(Justin DiRose) #38

I use the following categories of tags in Todoist:

  • Work Modes (Admin, Coding, Writing, etc.)
  • Batch Tasks (Email, Calls)
  • Impact (High Impact, Low Impact)
  • Nouns (Software, Locations, etc.)
  • People
  • Task Status/Type (Waiting, Routine, Recurring, Direction[my word for goals])

Most of these items are what you’d find on any normal GTD user’s Context list. What’s powerful about multiple tags is you can add more metadata to the task. I have many tasks in Todoist with multiple tags, and they assist me in surfacing tasks in different ways.

For example, I have a task to prepare and send invoices monthly for some side projects I work on. That task is tagged with HighImpact, Admin, Computer, and Recurring. This means this task will surface on any filter/perspective looking for those tags. I can batch in different ways, too, i.e. if I want to batch very effective work, focus on HighImpact tasks.

While GTD purists may not like this approach, I’ve found it helpful to use more tags because each task often hits more than one mode.

(Brian Mercer) #39

What makes reorder-able lists useful (outside of OF’s Projects perspective) is the ability to have a list of tasks that one can move around on the fly, as needs and priorities change throughout the day. In order to do this in OF2, one needs either to use Est Duration as a placeholder for Task Order or use Due Date and Time to allow for sorting, which is of course cumbersome.

The solution these past many years for me has been to export tasks out of OF2 into an app that does do this (e.g., OS X’s reminders app) or to use OF2’s In Box as a proxy for this function. Neither solution is ideal. To hear that not even OF3’s Flag perspective is reorder-able is discouraging indeed.

A typical perspective use for me is to have a Time Slot contexts withe the following sub-contexts: First Thing, Morning, Lunch, Afternoon, Evening, Night. It would look something like this:

Timeslot : First Thing
Timeslot : Morning
Timeslot : Lunch
Timeslot : Afternoon
Timeslot : Evening
Timeslot : Night

These mostly contain repeating tasks, with some highlighted special tasks (usually flagged). My hope had been to be able to look at everything in the “Afternoon” context/tag and be able to add and reorder things easily.

The difficulty with going directly to the context/tag to do this is that repeating tasks throughout the week can show up in different sub-contexts/tags based on a given weekday. For example, “Workout” may show up in the “Morning” context/tag on a weekday but in “Afternoon” on the weekend. So the tags would be cluttered with non-relevant tasks, unless you were constantly redefining these tags on a daily basis. And still, having to go the Tag perspective, find a “Today” or “This Morning” tag and reordering things also seems cumbersome.

Is there no way to have a built-in perspective that would allow for simple re-ordering? I’d suggest making the Flagged perspective allow for this if the Flag field wasn’t used for so many other things.

(Wilson Ng) #40

This might be a change in workflow but instead of using a flag, create a tag and use it in the same way you use flagged. Then you can manually sort any way you want.

There’s chatter about what’s the difference between Flagged and Tagged. It’s mostly philosophical discussion. But Flagged will probably stay because we’ve gotten so used to it being there in OF as a visual cue. Taking it out might be too disruptive a change.

(Wilson Ng) #41

I think I’m too old school. Switching between digital and a task felt like too much context switching for me. I’ve always looked at OmniFocus in the morning and wrote down the important things to do today on a small notepad. It was easier to work from my notepad instead of looking at the phone or a watch.

I liked the look of seeing all those crossed-off tasks on the sheet and get that good feeling of accomplishing a lot and seeing the end of the list get closer. It’s hard to get that feeling on the phone or watch when the complete task disappears into the digital oblivion.

But maybe it’s because I’m not a watch kind of guy?

(Wilson Ng) #42

There is a discussion in Slack channel about possibly giving us the ability to select tag(s) to display in Forecast perspective. Normally, the Forecast perspective will show tasks with due dates and optionally tasks with deferred dates (as set in the preferences window). The ability to possibly show tag(s) might give some users what they wanted. A way to customize the Forecast perspective.

(Krauszenberg) #43

Thanks, Wilsonng

Ok, we can use tags instead of Flagged, but I have a couple of questions regarding this change:

Tags list do not have a counter (icon badge or even the one from the start screen). I still have to tap on the tag list (for example, Today) to see how many tasks I do have. Flagged Perspective, on the other hand, not only shows me how many tasks are currently flagged, but I also can see its number outside Omnifocus (Icon badge, Widget, etc).

I can´t see the point of introducing a quite restrict manual sorting. Why not put this in all perspectives? I mean: why not let me manual rearrenge the tasks in a custom perspective? Its too cumbersome to change the order in tags perspective only for change a custom perspective. I cannot see what advantages there are to restrict manual sorting only to Projects and Tags perspectives when other incredible more basic apps, such as 2do, Todoist and Things, had wholesome adopted them.

My opinion, though. I alreay send an e-mail to Omnifocus support to let them know that I find manual sorting an important feature in other perspectives, such as Flagged.

(Wilson Ng) #44

Don’t worry. This is TestFlight. Omni is still rolling out stuff a little at a time. For example, task delegation won’t be in the first golden master release. But it will come a little bit afterwards.

Once they get manual flagging finalized in the Tags perspective, they might be open to putting it in custom perspectives. Gotta roll out manual sorting first in one perspective before figuring out how to apply it to custom perspectives.