Hiding column checkboxes for some rows only?

Use case: In some documents, I’m using a column for marking rows as action items during meetings. However, I only need a checkbox for some rows, i.e. parents, since anything nested underneath is just additional information but not a topic in itself.

Currently, when I configure a column as a checkbox column, it adds a checkbox to every row which is completely superfluous since I need them for less than 20% of the total rows.

Is this possible, or do I need to use a workaround with status checkboxes or something else instead?


It’s surprising there aren’t more people here to answer questions.

From what I can tell, the Checkbox column type displays a checkbox in every row and there is no way to turn that off for certain rows. Same for status boxes (which are interesting because a parent’s status box is automatically checked when all its children’s boxes are checked. )

If you are just adding additional information you could of course put that in a note. No checkbox is displayed next to a note when you’ve selected View > Notes > Display Inline.


@unfunfionn Your best bet for working about this limitation is enabling row status checkboxes in your document, then manually disabling the checkboxes you’d like to hide by highlighting those rows and selecting Set Status > None in the Edit or contextual menu.

I’ll add your vote to our open feature request to hide checkboxes in checkbox columns!

Thanks again! Glad to know there’s at least a workaround!

Me too, me too!

Hi ains.

Yes, your suggestion works, but…

If you do that, you can no longer set the status of the parent item (which still has a visible checkbox). If you set the status of that parent item to “None”, then it’s parent’s checkbox can not be checked.

I think that is because OO includes the following logic: “IF all the children’s checkboxes are checked, then check the parent’s checkbox”. Automatically. So the user doesn’t have to do it.

Since the children’s statuses (is this a word???) are set to “None”, are not visible and can not be checked, the program refuses to check the parent’s checkbox.

Two comments/suggestions:

1- Remove the “set-the-parent’s-checkbox-status-based-on-the-status-of-the-children’s-checkboxes” logic. I can do it myself. Or, at least, make that behaviour user-selectable via a global preference.
2- About the use of checkboxes. As far as I am concerned (and I realize that not everybody might view this like me) the usual situation is this: I am in the middle of a 10 million page (item) document when I decide that I need to create a small checklist. I cannot turn checboxes ON, set the status to “None” for 9,999,995 items just to have those few items with checkboxes! ;-)

OO doesn’t let me do the opposite of what you suggested, i.e. “Hide Status Checkboxes” for the whole document and change the status to “Visible” (or “Unchecked” or “Checked”) for a few items.

Alternatively, I could create that small checklist externally in another OO document and embed it (or link it) into the main one. But there are other problems doing that.

My two-cents.

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Another vote strongly in support of this request. I often face exactly the same situation:

I am in the middle of a 10 million page (item) document when I decide that I need to create a small checklist. I cannot turn checboxes ON, set the status to “None” for 9,999,995 items just to have those few items with checkboxes!

I face this situation practically on a daily basis, now that I switched to using OmniOutliner (from NoteBook). None of the workarounds are practical, IMHO.

Hi, Pie.

Have you tried Checkvist (not a typo)?

I was in the habit of using that program for stand-alone checklists.

I’ve found that if I ask it to remember me, and do not log out, I can create a checklist (in Checkvist), paste the URL in my OO document and BINGO! I have a checklist in my OO document. (Well… not in the document, but linked to it…)

Drawback: you have to be online for this to work (Checkvist is a Web app).

Give it a try and see if you like it.

Thanks for your suggestion. It’s an interesting idea, but the fact that the list is not part of the document makes it not suitable for my own needs.

The correct solution is for OO to support the ability for users to selectively enable checkboxes for specific items. Keeping my fingers crossed … :-)

Here, here. I want this to work like Circus Ponies Notebook used to work! It’s very limiting to have status check boxes as a whole-document setting. Should be a style thing, and available by individual style or row level. Or individual row.

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Is there any progress on implementing this feature? Status checkboxes are certainly a great thing to offer, but I have to imagine there’s a big majority of us who need them for only part(s) of a document and not every single row. Making that a native option would really open up a wide range of additional uses for this FANTASTIC application. Thanks!!

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LORDY ME! This would be my #1 Feature request and it would work like this:

_ Checkbox would be a per-line style option (as opposed to per-document)
_ View options to show only Checkbox lines, Checkboxes unchecked, Checkboxes checked
_ Dreaming now: Checkboxes can push into OmniFocus as action items (with link back to OO doc)


Thread is now 2 years old and checkboxes are still useless. Any word on when checkboxes will move to per item basis?

This works just fine for me in OmniOutliner 5: I can set the status of individual rows to “None” to have their checked status hidden, and those rows are ignored by the parent’s status.

Hope this helps!

I too used Circus Ponies Notebook – that has a very good solution… it was so good… I’d just love to see that in OO

  1. Shortcut to add action item: [] Make sure I remember to do this
  2. A master list of all action item in a document… yeah, that was a GREAT feature of CP.
    2a. OO could make this better… buy organizing by groups/hierarchies.
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I just spent 30 minutes reviewing the ‘State’ of apps that fulfill the same basic area as OO. Some conclusions:

  • I still miss Circus Ponies
  • OO is still the best “alternative” on the whole
  • OO has some pretty big “holes” and gaps… that make it far from ideal… and make me continue to look for an alternative…

I think that the ‘status box thing’ is quite a big issue. Here is my Best suggestion…

Add a status box as a row style option

As a row style, it just becomes another capability to add a style that may or may not include a status box.

Roll child status boxes (if present) up to the parent

Pretty basic here… from a code perspective, the parent just needs to be able to say “all_children_checked()”, and that method just needs to filter the children: children.filter(row => row.has_checkbox).

Version 5.1? Or version 6? I’d pay a full version upgrade RIGHT NOW if this feature were added… no problem.

Maybe OmniGroup is being “green”… I mean, a single boolean flag PER notebooks is so much more efficient than a flag “PER ROW”. Think of all the disk space they are saving…

I’m not sure if I didn’t communicate clearly in my earlier post or if I’m just missing something about what you’re looking for, but as I noted above OmniOutliner already has support for leaving checkboxes off individual rows, and parent rows already know that when they’re calculating their own summary status they should ignore child rows that have no checkbox.

Does that cover what you’re looking for? Or am I missing something?

(What we don’t have yet—the subject of some of the rest of this thread—is the ability to do this in checkbox columns. But the main status checkbox for the row itself already supports this.)

Thanks very much for clarifying Ken. This is a huge help! For me at least, the ability to do this in other columns is now not very important.

@kutenai: I agree re Circus Ponies, though OO is closing the gap. Filtering on rows is a big step toward CPN, though it still lacks CPN’s nice handling of attachments (you still can’t edit embedded attachments or resize the previews).

For following Ken’s suggestion re checkboxes, I’d suggest the following if you have a doc that has some sections that need checkboxes and other that don’t:

  1. select all the highest-levels rows for which you want checkboxes
  2. do a “focus”
  3. cmd-a to select all the now-focused-on rows
  4. right-click and make “set status” to unchecked
  5. unfocus.
    Now, everything in the needed sections has a checkbox, and none of the other rows has one.


ok, I might have spoken to soon…
I’ve tried your suggestion @kcase . I set status to none for everything except the todolist sections of my outline files, and then I made checkboxes visible. So that’s fine. Unfortunately, now every single line of text I add to any part of the file comes with an empty checkbox attached to it. New lines aren’t inheriting the “none” checkbox status of their parents, and it’s not practical to turn off the box for every single new line of text. Is there some setting I’m missing that will get new items to inherit properly?
Thanks for any thoughts on this,

Ken, sure thanks for your update.
No – that does not cover what I"m looking for. Or, maybe I should be more precise and say that it theoretically does, as I could theoretically do what I want, but in practice, the implementation is much too difficult to work with.

Lets say I want SOME rows to have checkboxes. Currently I must turn on “view status checkboxes”
Then, each row I add gets a checkbox… I have to turn it OFF if I don’t want that. So, major issue #1 here… it’s way inconvenient.

Major issue #2 – you really neglected to add any “keyboard” shortcuts to this…

Major issue #3 – If I have a large OO Doc and I want to add a few checkboxes… I have to turn ON show, and then I’d have to go to every existing item and turn them all off… so I could have them ON with just a few…

And, as previously mentioned, each new row/sub-row, etc. gets that damn checkbox…

So, really, no, it does not come close to satisfying the need.

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