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

Continuing the discussion from How can the data density be improved?:

Thanks. I originally created this thread a few weeks ago because the lack of data density was something that frustrated me immensely (even during the 2013 version of OmniFocus 2). After all, what’s the point of a productivity application if you’re wholly unable to see all your tasks in perspective, and have to scroll down twice as much?

I understand that many people are satisfied with the status quo, or even the original data density (for those who have less tasks, …) but for the passionate minority, it is something next to nonnegotiable.

I’ve started off the thread and suggested that (I’ll post the image here again) that a set of options modelled after Gmail’s own data density settings would be most ideal.

  • Comfortable: The data density before.
  • Cozy: The data density now.
  • Compact: Even reduced data density, on the level of OmniFocus 1.
  • One Row: Same data density as ‘compact’, but with the much-wanted ‘one row’ option.


I must admit I’m somewhat happier with the tweaks in the latest builds, though I still really hope we’ll see a single line option in a future release as the data density is still considerably less than OF1 and far less than I’d like personally.

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For the latest on this topic, please see this post about trying an alternate layout.


The data density issue is a big deal that received a lot of early attention here. Ken Case kindly joined a thread and said it was something OmniGroup was absolutely planning to address in a few different ways. So far, I’m not seeing that this has been addressed and now the official version is being released in a few days. I find that very disappointing.

Are there still plans to improve data density, and if so, how far down the road?

It’s been done. See this thread:

To be perfectly clear: OmniFocus 2.0 has an experimental, in-development, nowhere-near-complete beginning of an implementation of a more compact layout.

If the experimental layout works for you, great! But it’s quite likely that certain functionality critical to your workflow doesn’t work with the compact layout.

In other words, the bridge is under construction. You may be required to jump.


Ok, so I’m confused, which I’m sure is largely my fault. Is the “experimental, in-development, nowhere-near-complete beginning of an implementation of a more compact layout” done in the version being released on Thursday but not currently in the latest beta version? Because I just installed that this morning and I’m seeing no improvement at all in data density.

And is that experimental layout an option one can turn on and off, so that worst case we can use it the way it looks now until data density reaches a mature resolution?

Yes. As in my previous post, I recommend you read Ken Case’s post called “Alternate layout which displays everything on one line with status circles on the left.”

It shows you how to turn it on and off.

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ah, got it, thanks. I thought that was referring to a prior post where Ken discussed the topic but hadn’t implemented anything. My bad.

I like it, but switched back to the current view until they get a functional check box and flag. But they are definitely on the right track here.

FWIW, you can set the flag with Shift-Command-L, and you can check completed with spacebar.

Not as good as just clicking with a mouse, but until they give us that, these work okay for me.

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yep, just not a great fit for how I interact with the app. And it’s really hard just to see the flag once set.

I’m confident they’ll get it cleaned up, and once they do I’ll switch over to that view. I like everything else about it.

Another moderator brought this thread to my attention. After some discussion, we feel like “when are you going to do thing_x” isn’t generally a different enough topic to warrant a new topic if one about that thing already exists.

In other words, I’m going to merge this thread with the existing Data Density one. (If you’re reading this post now, it’s in the thread I moved it to.)

I’m all for the option to increase data density, and I think Gmail’s current interface does it very well with its three levels of density. I always use “compact” personally.

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I am solely using the compact URL mod Ken posted- the current constraints bother me less than the less compact view does- funny, didn’t have any objections to the new two- rowed mode- until the alternative came along ;-)))

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I have been dreading the loss of data density in OF2, so I was very glad to see the experimental setting to put everything on a single line for each action. It is far better than it was. On the default OF2 setting it took twice the space to show the same data as my OF1 setup.

With the new setting it is much better though it still takes a little more vertical space (about 20%) as you can see in the attached screenshot showing the two versions using the same perspective. The spacing between each action is fairly close between the two (still slightly more for OF2) but the larger difference is the huge padding above and below the OF2 headings as well as the large font size. Would love to be able to suck that padding back to something much smaller.

That flag icon also needs work also to stand out more - I haven’t liked it on the iPhone and its not much better here.

OF2 and OF1 vertical space comparison showing exact same tasks:

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

Disclosure: Old version.

Yeah. There’s a lot of “denser is better” in this thread but I really value some clarity and clean design over just “more is more”.


I hope I had seen this thread earlier. Sent a few emails to the feedback team during beta testing but failed to get much concrete improvement.

So I’m a heavy user for OF with 60+ projects and hundreds of items that need my attention everyday. It’s simply impossible for me to work on OF2 right now due to the data density issue. I have a huge MBP 17" solely because I want to have larger screen work space but now OF2 wasted the majority of the screen space (literally more than majority). I really hope this could be fixed asap so that I can put my money on that.

Many thanks.

There is a temporary solution. See this post from Ken:

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The new layout seems to put a ton of unnecessary whitespace in the lists. Perhaps that’s to give more space for the title, but it also seems to put a ton of unnecessary whitespace that makes it more difficult to overview tons of tasks. There’s no way to get rid of that is there? Might be something good to look into. I’d love to optionally clean that up so I can view more tasks.