How can the data density be improved? [OmniFocus 2.3 added custom columns layout]

Totally agree! I chose OF1 as it is the only to do app that allows me to manage long and complex projects. Current data density of OF2 would not allow me to do it anymore.
Love all the other features introduced in v2, but data density for me is a must

1 Like

@Philster, rather than making a plus-one post, please use the “like” button on a post you want to lend support to. Discourse uses that information to ensure that the threads/posts that matter most to the community get the most attention. Plus one posts don’t have the same effect. Thanks!

1 Like

I agree that data density is by far the biggest problem with the current design (which is beautiful). Building on what others have said about the second line (notes, context/project, defer/due), I find that it not only wastes space but also makes the lists much less readable. Instead of just being able to skim the text on the left to see my action titles, that text is interspersed with other text (context/project) of a completely different sort. It makes it very hard to skim — I have to try to filter out the contexts/projects as I try to focus on the important content.

I would love to have a “high-density option” with only a single line of text. I would also love the ability to go further and hide the context/project title entirely from the tasks view. I find contexts primarily useful for filtering, but once I am looking at a filtered list of tasks in a perspective, I don’t need to see the context for each task. Being able to turn off the context/project indicator would make the lists more readable and allow a single-line, high-density view without being overly cluttered.

It also might work well as a per-perspective option, so that, for example, I could set my “Phone calls” perspective to not display the context for each task since they all, by definition, have the context “Phone.”


I would like to add that this is the major problem with the current design.

Please add 2 things to make this application usable again:

  1. The ability to turn off the note/context/due date line
  2. A “compactness” data density preference

I know UI designers like to impose their view of how their app should look on people. One of the great things about OF has always been its flexibility in perspectives, etc.

All of this becomes meaningless if I have so much white space on the screen, and a bunch of distracting info (context, etc) on the screen at all times.

There are many long-time users here unhappy about the lack of choice here. While impossible on the iOS version, it is quite simple to add these options to the desktop. Please listen to your users on this one Ken.


Continuing the discussion from Overall, how are you liking OmniFocus 2 relative to OmniFocus 1?:

Fantastic post by UOF in the main ‘how are you liking OF2’ thread. Thought I’d attach it here just for reference, as his post is excellently written and spells out his thoughts on why he wants more data density in OF2.


We’re very definitely listening, and the designs we’re trying to implement for 2.0 call for more data density and more contrast even in its current two-row-per-task layout.

We’re also looking at providing a compact one-row-per-task layout option for those who want it. Whether that’s something we can fit into the June release or whether it has to wait for a later update, we’ve definitely heard the concern and we want to address it. (And if a compact layout option doesn’t make it into 2.0, please bear in mind that 2.0 is just where OmniFocus 2 begins, not where it ends! And that meanwhile, until we break sync compatibility—which we won’t be doing in 2.0—there’s nothing stopping folks from continuing to use OmniFocus 1 alongside OmniFocus 2 to get a more compact view of their tasks.)


Personally I don’t get the two line data view. Unless one has a very long task name, there’s inevitably wasted space. I’d put it into one line a la “Task Name / Project / Defer / Due” (for context view), and that will only spill over to two lines if the task name is long. I’d put the circle on the left, followed by the task name, and then right justify the project and dates.

that my main gripe with OF2 at the moment, majority of time I just want a simple list - personally would want dates in that single row but be happy to view context / project in some kind of progressive enhancement ux - rollover/click but - tricky ux/support balance for sure - looking forward to seeing what/if come up with.

Thanks for the personal response Ken, always good to know you are listening.

I think the key here is choice, not trying to get it perfect for everyone. People clearly process visual data in different ways, so having options like more or less white space is a great way to personalize the UI. It looks like the ability to change text colors, bold, etc. have gone away, so its going to be harder for people to find something that works for them now, and if you leave the data density at one level without those changes, you will probably lose some people who can’t adapt.

Very glad to hear you are thinking about the one-row option as well! Its really necessary for some perspectives.


That’s great news! It would be ideal, however, if user’s had some choice about what showed up in that single-line view. I personally couldn’t use a one-row-per-task layout unless it included Defer/Due information, but I would prefer to leave out Project/Context information to avoid clutter.

I’ve been using OF2 for almost a week, and I noticed the data density is the biggest weakness. I vote for a single row of data as well. I know I’m used to it, but I agree that seeing the Actions on the left while the Contexts/Projects/Due are on the right is a better layout for faster processing.

For instance, I could go to my Inbox with a list of actions without Contexts or Projects. Then I would go to the Context row, start typing contexts, arrow down, type another context, arrow down, etc. I could do this with Projects as well. CMD+K, and those with assign data would disappear. I liked seeing all of the data at a glance on one screen. In OF2, I don’t see a fast way of multitasking actions into Contexts / Projects without dragging or highlighting them in bulk unless I’m missing something.


I find this to be a problem too. I love the new look of OF2, but I wish I could strictly see a list of actions like OF1 with a view option or a keyboard shortcut.

I moved a post to an existing topic: Request to add custom styling in the outline view

I really agree with this topic.
I think that with the new “two line” design, the constantly present note “icon” and number of available actions displayed within the project’s row, the tasks themselves are not prominent enough. They just don’t stand out as much as they used to. In OF1, a quick look was enough to get an overview of the tasks within a project. Now, if you’re looking at many projects with just a few actions in each, you have to take your time to “filter” the actionpoints themselves from the other stuff. This is especially disturbing when tasks are deferred and you have a bolded “no available actions” then 1-2 grey tasks, all with the note icon and context.


Right. What’s the downside? One line when possible, two lines when necessary is strictly better than two lines always. Well, perhaps there is some advantage to e.g. having the project name left-justified (in context mode), but that seems a bit of a stretch, especially given its non-prominent light font.


I love the two lines, but I agree I want them optional. I need to see actions as a single list as well. Perhaps another CMD+ALT keyboard combo like collapsing and showing notes.

1 Like

Sometimes it takes a while for to get used to a new feature. But after a week of testing OF2 I’ve gone back to using OF1. I just find that it is just too hard to navigate larger projects this way. Otherwise OF2 is an excellent step forward.

1 Like

You all saw my earlier post that we’re already looking into this, right?



Thanks for this.

I hadn’t found this topic before writing to the preview support address yesterday. There’s also a somewhat larger discussion about theming, which would be nice as well, but as I said yesterday I understand you can’t do everything at once.

I appreciate that Omni basically did the same thing when OmniOutliner 4 came out, making available a template theme (“Compact”) to re-adjust interline spacing back to where the older versions were. This addressed the same complaint - that the look of the UI wasn’t really oriented toward larger displays.

Hopefully those of us in the test can help debug and provide further feedback…

1 Like

There are a few things scattered about this forum that omni staff or you have said are noted, heard or being worked on.

Would it be worth including big gripes that are being worked on in the not ready yet bit of the release notes?

I suspect that most of us testers/early adopters read the notes with each build we download so it might cut down on people shouting about things that Omni have heard and already decided to action.