Frustrations with OF2

This is just a vent of my frustrations to share in view of finding others with similar thoughts or folks with words of possible encourage.

Of late, with the update to OF2, I’ve ended using OF less frequently. Each time I return, I find functional things that I miss from OF1. The usability of OF2 for me is no longer consistent or reliable compared to OF1. This is true on the desktop and the iPhone (where I am purposely still staying at OF1). The sense that I usually have each time I start back in OF2 is that GUI whiz-bang development took priority over maintaining let alone expanding core functions. My most recent letdowns include for example discovering that I cannot do any project development in fixed-perspective mode, cannot context click to create a new folder, and still cannot archive individual folders with reliability let alone one-step ease. I also have an underlying, nagging sense that feature requests to OmniGroup typically get dropped into an infinite-depth bin, are dismissed with a cursory “We appreciate your interest and will take your needs in to account along with everyone else’s”, and are handled in crisis mode with a kludge when the din (and/or bin) reach an overflow point.

Yes, I could go back to OF1. Or I could wait another few years for the next cycle of recognition to hit at OmniGroup and perhaps then get something back to what I hope to have (cynical undertones somewhat purposeful here).

I appreciate that OF is one of the best GTD tools around. I also appreciate the wide range of user insights and tips/tricks to make it do wonderful things. At the moment, I no longer have confidence in its sputtering development cycle. I cannot trust that it is going in a direction that will truly sustain or improve its efficiency let alone consistently meet my needs with affirmable reliably.

In the meantime, I am also finding new ways to view the bigger picture and to manage GTD from the top down (via Kanban boards in particular). As this becomes a more effective method for me to work, I may just decide to move on. Or maybe I just need a bit more time to adjust to the new paradigm and to re-integrate OF in to my workflows. Time will tell.


I have similar thoughts about OmniPlan 2. It looks nicer than OP 1 but main function like Critical Path calculation is broken amongst other things. Omni needs to get serious about both testing and function design. In regards to OmniFocus, I’m sticking with v1 for now.

Yeah, what he said.

Pains me to say it, but the look and feel clearly took precedence over functionality in the new versions. No sign that anybody at OmniGroup is interested in addressing the problems - all we get are the polite responses with no promises.

All we’re asking is for previous functionality to be present in the new thing


I also sense the new contest for attention about issues is no longer using emails to OmniGroup. Instead it is to get a huge number of “likes” on a post here. Sadly, I am often too frustrated even to do a search of similar issues and “like” the post. Seems a rather sorry way to have to work.

So, I wonder if I should do what might amount to a swamping of the list. Should I post item by item, one item per post, the agonies I have with OF2? At least then I will know, my case has been made and will gather some sense of whether I am alone in each case.

Or perhaps just start a list here that I edit in an on-going basis …

  • Absolutely no ability to do any level of focused project development when you are set in a user-defined perspective mode (everything new goes to the root: level)
  • The view settings pane usually always hides the main panel, making it impossible to use as a dynamic way to select through different views of the current selection of projects
  • Perspective windows can no longer be customized to save positions, show/hide status of the panes, and collapse/expand state
  • Clicking on folders to open/close them versus to select them is highly location-sensitive
  • Border-color and otherwise colorless indications of status in project pane make it nearly impossible to distinguish the status of a project efficiently
  • No ability to show just the left-most favorite perspective buttons sans the middle context or project list pane
  • No ability to context-click or select + menu choose to archive a entire completed project folder with one-step ease
  • In review mode, no ability to “select all” and do a “mark reviewed” in one swoop of everything
  • Cannot toggle between sequential / parallel / single action by clicking on what seems to be a “button-like” icon directly left of the project’s name
  • Use of purely outline mode with small icons for folders in project view is too hard to see
  • No context-senstive options when selecting just the blank background of the project pane in project mode makes the use of a smart mouse or multi-stroke mouse useless
  • Layout density of content is too relaxed (yes, I know this is a very high complaint)
  • Checkboxes are on right not left (again, I know this is a high complaint)
  • Unchecked state of Complete when completing last action still continually gets reset to checked state at some point during sync across multiple devices

I understand and apologize for the frustration we’ve caused! One of the things going on here is that the group of things we care about is much larger than the group of things we feel comfortable making promises about in public.

We’re also coming to accept that no matter how many disclaimers we put around a prediction that’s not a promise, some folks will read and/or remember it as one later. That also ends up causing disappointment and frustration, so we try to answer questions about the things we do know and to be honest about the things we don’t.

My main frustrations are not about waiting on promises that never get fulfilled. My main frustrations lead me to a sense that development on OF is going toward glitz and glitter at the expense of sustaining let alone improving efficiency.

Here is an analogy: With the step from OF1 to OF2 on the desktop and iPhone, I feel like I am being asked to drive a glitzier Mustang convertible where the engine has been stripped from eight cylinders to four, has had its fuel injector taken out in place of an old fashion carburetor, has had its stroke cut in half, and has a single exhaust pipe instead of two. Wow! It is fancier and shinier and brighter red than last year’s version. But it won’t run as efficiently as its older, well-worn-looking parent.


Similar apologies here! If this information would be helpful to you, that’s a decent approach. I don’t think the other reasons for doing so are as good - it’s not likely to produce the outcomes you’re trying for.

I’m still working on finding the best way to respond to concerns like yours. Wanting a new version of one of our apps to have all the features you used in the previous one is the furthest thing from unreasonable. I totally get it. However, it’s also somewhat different from our own goal, which is to try and ensure that the new version is a better tool for more people than the previous version was. We judge our efforts towards that goal on the overall tenor of the feedback here, on twitter, in the App Store, and by looking at sales data. Overall that data tells us OF2 is one of our most successful releases ever.

Which, of course, doesn’t help you, but seems worth pointing out even if it’s just so you don’t think we’re pants-on-head crazy.

Following on to what I said to @timjbuck: sometimes we’re faced with a choice between being honest with customers and giving them an answer that’s going to please them. I’ll make sure that all of the concerns that you listed are written up and that you’re attached to them appropriately in our development database so we can incorporate them into our planning. I can’t quote you a timeline, though. It seems very likely that’s not the answer you were hoping for, but I do hope it’s still helpful.

(Note to other readers/visitors: email to is always going to be the most reliable way to get feedback to us in a way that ensures it shapes our planning, but when we’re able to capture feedback on the forums, we’re happy to do so.)

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Sorry! I didn’t see your latest post before submitting mine. I can understand that frustration. Glitz for it’s own sake isn’t our goal, but I think it is fair to say that “OmniFocus 1 was incomprehensible and hard to use for a lot of people” was one of the main problems we were trying to solve with v2, and that the folks who knew (and were fine with) that version don’t get as much value out of that work.

As we were working on v2, our assumption was that the folks who preferred v1 would stick with that version until we added whatever features they needed, then upgrade at that point. In hindsight, we probably didn’t articulate that well enough in advance. Not sure what the exact solution is, but we’ll try to do better in the future.

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Thank you Brian for the ongoing follow up.

I remain frustrated and mostly underwhelmed. I only need to look to the other apps that I love and see their steady, consistent, reliable, relentless FORWARD progress to know how software development truly can be done right. Developments on OmniFocus mostly pale for me in comparison.

In OF2 for desktop and iPhone, I hope soon to see a return of and improvement in core features with a major revision step, not a partial-revision step.

Enough said.


I’m frustrated as well. I’m a mac+iphone+ipad user from OF1, and the usability has gone down. Simple, obvious things like being able to reformat the font and size were removed. I used to look at OF1 every morning with a sense of ease an comfort. Now it’s pain and resentment as I squint at the tiny, thin type in the sidebar.

If there were a competitive GTD app, I’d have left already.


I created an account just to come in and say the same. I’ve been a OF1 laptop/ipad/iphone user for years, and it’s served me very well. When the new version came out, it looked a bit goofy to me, but I just figured I’d get used to it and plunked down the money for OF2 on all three systems.

But the problem is that the UI is just a mess. I have no idea where to look. It’s a giant mass of uncommon icons and circles and highlights and total lack of visual depth. It’s just overwhelming and makes me not want to use it… and big surprise, despite numerous attempts I’ve never been able to successfully make the conversion.

I’m just going to have to find some other product, regardless of if it does everything I need or not. This is just feature creep and bad UI. And just for kicks, if you want to see more bad UI, look at the breadcrumbs at the top of this forum - they’re visually meaningless to anyone who doesn’t know what a breadcrumb is.

OF1 was a great product. OF2 is difficult to the point of not being useable by most people. Sorry, but it’s time for me to go.

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I am frustrated as well with OF2 and all the missing functionality of OF1. As of this morning I have re-downloaded OF1 from the archives and synced my data and all is good now with OF1. Hopefully they will get OF2 up to the level of OF1 in the near future.

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Signed up just to voice my opinion also. Have spent the past two weeks trying to love OF2 and just reinstalled OF1.

Building software to please everyone is an almost impossible task, so I do empathize with the challenges OmniGroup faces with OF2.

For me … I came from the Kinkless GTD days, the move from Kinkless GTD to OF1 was like a bunch of dreams come true. I held the same hope for the move to OF2 especially having grown to love the forecast and review features in the iPad app but sadly, have been disappointed in how OF2 fits my deeply ingrained OF1 workflow.

My sentiments echo a lot of the other posters, the biggest killers for me:

  • Data Density - the layout, font choice and size, two line tasks - as something I look at many times a day they are just visual distractions and require significant cognitive energy to scan and visually parse. I have tried the tighter data density hack that brings back one line with the check circle on the left, this gets closer to the mark aside from the fact it breaks the ability to check tasks off :(

  • View Ribbon - I lived with the view ribbon on, and would often tweak and adjust my project filters to show by due date, available from time to time … I have poked and prodded at the OF2 view dialog and have been unable to, in any fast or flexible way slice and dice my views the way I am accustomed to :(

  • Keyboard Shortcut changes - command+’ opens a note option+command+’ to close? WAT! … i’m a little baffled why the shortcuts needed to change. It is a toggle after all … the muscle memory retraining required alone was worth the switch back to OF1.

I do however love the addition of forecast and review views. These were what I had been holding out for on the desktop app, sadly the benefits these give me in my daily and weekly workflow are completely hampered by the impact to my daily workflow in the current views.

As I said, I really wanted to love OF2 - trying to please everyone is a huge task, I just feel that visual design was prioritized over what OF has been the king of for so many years, and that is as a productivity tool.


I needed a space to put my frustrating thoughts about OF2 way of sändning things from Mail to OF. If you are using a threaded view in Mail, then just getting the input dialog up is SLOOOOOOW.

PLEASE! Do something about the Mail -> OF workflow. I’m actually considering moving back to Things because of this. THEY manage to provide a nice user experience. Somehow that is what I thought that was the core of OSX development…

I’m ready to go back to OF1. Where can I download it? Lack of Inbox in projects is the deal breaker for me. Also, will it work w/Yosemite?

Thanks to everyone with supporting comments. I am glad to know that I am not alone.

We shall see what happens in the OmniFocus universe in less than a week after the release of Yosemite and iOS8. Paradigm shift … likely not. Re-invocation of abandoned core features … let’s continue to insist on it. More GUI whiz-bang pop dazzle … hopefully not!!!

There is a link to download OF1 at the bottom of the OmniFocus page ( right before the OmniFocus for iPhone information.

I just reinstalled OF1. Wow, forgot how great it looks. So refreshing. So glad I went back. Much, much more productive with it.

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I´m also sticking to OF1, it´s a great piece of software, far better than OF2. If I was the omnigroup I would go back to OF1, and just refresh the looks of it a bit. It´s easy to understand and works perfect.

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Agreed. I am not using it at the level of some of these guys in here, but I used OF all the time. Here’s what I’ve been having trouble with:

  • Cannot figure out what Deferred is all about. Doesn’t show up in forecast when i defer to a date, don’t know how to find anything Defered without going through a full Review. Fields are hard to navigate, small and finicky. Disclosure triangles also slow to respond, and hard to click on.
  • The whole mail workflow got destroyed
  • Emailing to my OF inbox takes the text of the msg and makes it impossible to read in the notes field

that’s for starters. really a disappointment. After reading this, I’m going back to OF 1 as well. Trying the trial ver of Things 2, which is going very well, thank you very much. $40 I don’t want to spend, but hell.

And hey, OF Developers? Your team leader really needs to get his mind right about what OF is for, and who its for. The look was very impressive, but looks ain’t enough.

Lost faith.