Are we all just pretending Natural Language input is not a thing?


@mtrifiro Yeah I was surprised to the negativity as well. I have used a well known calendar app for many years that has natural language input and I fail to see why OF doesn’t consider it as an option for it’s many diverse customers.
Other todo apps have varying forms of natural language input so it is perfectly possible for it to be implemented in OF.
I would imagine this matter must be on the minds of the good folks at Omni, and possibly in a new version of OF, implement natural language input as a switchable option.


You are misunderstanding what is said. If you take a look at your screenshot you can easily see that it it is hiding 6 fields. What you see are icons and that’s it. It requires familiarity with the application in order to know what those icons mean and why 2 of them are actually greyed out. You also have no idea what kind of data you can enter: date (with a datepicker or by typing), numbers, text, something else?
From the looks of it you can probably expand that dialog to actually show you all those details. For a lot of people seeing the field name and what kind of value they can enter gives them more control over things. They see it as being more precise.

You also seem to not understand what this dialog is actually for. This is a quick entry dialog that is based on the GTD principle. That means that you only enter text. The item will get saved to the inbox. At a later time you go through all those items in the inbox and process them by assigning tags, projects, dates (due, defer), etc. Not everyone works like that. Some people want to do all that when they enter the item because if they don’t they might forget.

However, the biggest misunderstanding is thinking that this has anything to do with natural language input: it doesn’t. This is about the overall user interface of the application. Again, natural language input is not going to solve the user interface issues that are discussed here. It is, however, a very neat and useful addition for quick entry of items. Use and see it as such but do not make the mistake over and over again of thinking it is a way to improve UX. If you want to hammer in a screw then by all means do just that. That still doesn’t mean it is the correct tool to use (that would be a screwdriver in this case, not all screws are meant to be hammered in).

And lastly, if you want to use natural language input with OmniFocus then you can already do so with Siri. Very strange that people keep going on and on about the natural language input while OmniFocus has had this since OmniFocus 2! Try this article: Collecting with Siri in OmniFocus with Reminders Capture. As you can see things have improved greatly since iOS 11.


I also would like the option to parse text. I’m at university, and so the beginning of a semester is a major time–suck entering in dozens of simple actions that only need a name and due date, and assigned a class. Something like Assignment #1 due Apr 6th #EMGT2050 would be great.

This is only a personal reflection, but a couple people mentioned animosity and @steve28 I’m sure this wasn’t your intention, but I think that part of the tone of this thread was influenced by title. Without any context, “are we all just pretending Natural Language input is not a thing?” is a confrontation more than a feature request, and it’s easily read as a challenge to, or a criticism of, all the staff and users on the forum. Maybe that was part of where people were coming from with their responses?

I’d like to keep hearing about the feature request itself, and how it would work and the issues to its implementation that people have raised. I’m going to send in a feature request too, but the feedback so far has already explicated what it is I’d actually like to see.


Assuming you have the data in a parseable format you could easily generate TaskPaper for that - which would be extremely fast.