Contexts with no actions are not hidden

In OmniFocus for Mac, in the Contexts perspective, contexts with no visible (according to view preferences) actions are hidden from the sidebar. This is nice because it shows me only what I want. There was a whole thread about this around the 2.0 release time where a lot of people complained when it was changed. Empty context titles appearing in perspectives - and how to hide them

In OmniFocus for iOS, all context are shown in the menu, even those with no visible actions. Is there anyway to make the iOS version work like the Mac version?

@CubsThisYear This isn’t a helpful response, but how is this possible in OF for Mac? I can’t find a way to achieve what you describe.

Thanks and sorry to take us off track.


I’ll continue being unhelpful and say that I have no idea how I got this to work in the Mac version. The thread I mentioned references a hidden preference but I don’t eve remember doing this. Maybe someone from Omni can chime in here and clear this up?

Isn’t that exactly what the perspective setting “Filter contexts” is used for?

@CubsThisYear I just checked that thread, and it refers to some pretty old builds well before OF2 was generally released, so I don’t know how relevant any of that content is. This might be smelling more like an email in for support.

@vloris Filter context only kinda addresses this - there is a filter option in custom perspectives, but it still doesn’t omit all non-relevant contexts from the sidebar (i.e. my “Today” perspective shows me only flagged + due, so right now, there’s only one item, yet my whole complement of contexts is listed). The stock Contexts perspective doesn’t have a filter at all.

Does that make sense? I haven’t had much coffee yet.


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Hi all! I, too, have not had coffee yet, but I at least have a couple clarifying questions, and hopefully we can get to the bottom of this.

@CubsThisYear: you said in your original post that contexts with no actions are hidden from the sidebar? The thread you linked is about the main content area, where hiding empty contexts should be the default behavior. If you’re seeing this in the sidebar too, can you maybe explain a bit more about where you are in the app (Contexts vs. custom perspective, for example), or post a screenshot?

Furthermore, what do you mean when you refer to the “menu” on iOS? On iPad, OmniFocus makes a sidebar/content distinction like the Mac; on most iPhones, OmniFocus just shows single (progressively more granular) lists. A screenshot for comparison here might be helpful as well. Thanks!

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Set thread status to “Watching” and getting popcorn. Regardless of how this goes, I think it will be helpful for me, too.

Thanks guys!


Couldn’t get to this for a couple of weeks and now I’m more confused than before.

Here are two screenshots from my OS X version. They are both of the built-in “Contexts” perspective. The first is with View set to “First Available” and the second is with View set to “Available”.

Two things puzzle me. 1) Why are contexts with no viewable actions hidden in the “First Available” view but not in the “Available” view. 2) Why does it say “3 first available” at the top of the actions pane in First Available view

Now for completeness here are two screen shots from my iPhone. They show my “Office” context along with subcontexts. Again the first is with view set to “First available” and the second is with view set to “Available”. In both, contexts with no viewable actions are still displayed. Also similar to OS X the Computer context lists 3 first available actions even though there is only one.

OF makes certain assumptions about how to handle actions that have no context. They don’t seem to fit your demands - and they certainly don’t fit mine.

Here’s my demand and my solution:
For actionable projects (yes, I’ve got others, too), I want to have two perspectives:

  • an “action!” perspective that only shows me actionable stuff.
  • a “think about it” perspective that also shows remarks to myself, thoughts, sometimes/whenevers.

Actionable projects get a default context of “-no action-”, this context is “on hold”. My inbox is configured to move an action out of it whenever I assign a project or an action. And in case I only assign a context, the action goes to a “Small Stuff” project.


  • In case I add (another) context to any action, it’s actionable.
  • In case I don’t, the action automatically gets that “-no action-” and is filtered out of my “action!” perspectives.
  • In any case, if there’s a defer or due date, it will still show up in the built-in “Forecast” any in any custom perspective involving due items.

Hope that helps!

Other candidates for “on hold” contexts are: “-Template-”, “-Reference-” and “-Help-”. Usage is obvious.
I extensively use “personname” contexts in a hierarchical tree together with the iOS App “Launch” and custom perspectives that I extremely quickly call up from there: From locked phone to list in three button presses I can perform blindfolded.
I quit using “waiting for” or suchlike but do have “personname Jour Fix” for low-urgency / high-interaction-frequency chaff.

This doesn’t really speak to my question. I’m not talking about actions with no context, rather contexts that have no viewable actions (according to current view preferences). I think there are arguments to be made that these could be handled a couple of different ways, the thing that I’m trying to figure out is that within Omnifocus and across different platforms that OF runs on (iOS, OS X) it doesn’t seem to be handled consistently.

This is an ancient topic but maybe it’ll help someone. I just found that (at least on my setup) Projects that have no tasks assigned to them are what show up in my Contexts perspective under “No Context”.

When you add any Action to those projects (I always assign a context when I do that), they disappear from the list. So it’s a nice way of calling attention to Projects that you aren’t moving forward. But the label seems odd. I thought it was trying to get me to assign a Context directly to that Project. (I have to say I don’t really understand why you’d do that, since most of my projects have multiple contexts depending on what action I need to get done.)