How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?

Would definitely prefer the checkboxes to the left. On an iMac they are just too disassociated with the task. Plus the checkboxes to the left give a visual aid to the task in the row and help delineate stacked tasks.


I like them on the right. For me, it makes it easier to follow the hierarchy. It also allows me to do two different tasks with just control of my visual attention: 1) review hierarchy and 1) review status. If the circles were on the left, I wouldn’t be able to keep the tasks discreet.

I am on a MacBook Air 11", which probably inoculates me from the problem the big screen users are facing. But, I think we should approach the issue of line width/blank space separate from the check circle left/right issue. I’m OK with a preference choice for which side, but if not available, I’d like to keep it as it is.

Odd. Normal forms with checkboxes are usually… on the left.

I’m on a 11" MBA and it’s equally as terrible (in terms of both data density (now slightly improved) and the visual structure provided by checkboxes on the left).

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We’re rapidly approaching UI Freeze for OmniFocus 2. These features are not on the short list for 2.0. They’re still possibilities for the future.

Continuing the discussion from How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?:

Thank you for the confirmation (regarding the checkbox location/custom styling). I’m sure these UX issues can be discussed and debated for the long-term agenda (as Ken has suggested, with OmniFocus 2 evolving beyond 2.0).

In regards to other UX areas that have been responded to: namely data density (new update improves the situation but more can be done) and ‘one row’ interface request.

Are these features going to make it for the possible summer/autumn update?

I really can’t speak more precisely than I did above.

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Well, I honestly prefer the checkboxes on the left. I find it easier to scan long lists of ToDos. I’m still getting used to it, but if I had the choice, I would certainly choose the left side.


I understand you may not be able to speak about specific company information here.

Users are having issues with checkboxes in how they are the sole element used to convey a task’s status combined with their distance from the task title being maximized on large displays or running in full screen mode. Contrary to the title of this thread, this is not a feeling for users, and a task’s status is difficult to discern on large displays with the associated separation of key information. I propose such difficulties could be addressed along with keeping the current right-hand checkboxes, if another element assisted in communicating status on the interface; such as a change in text color similar to OF1.

I have sent in my concerns, along with other issues, via email.

Can you comment or have Ken address the concern?

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I may well be odd :)

However, what I set stands. Both my partner and I, when we use written to-do lists, check them off on the right.

A fair number of people I’ve worked with down the years have used strike-though instead of check-boxes.

As I said in a previous post, I’m absolutely not proposing that anyone should use right-side checkboxes: simply stating my own clear preference.

Purely out of curiosity: when you check off tasks on the right in written to-do lists, do you still check them off right next to the name (i.e., do you put the checkmark directly to the right of the name) or all the way on the right hand side of the page?

Personally, the idea of writing down on paper a list of tasks aligned along the left side of the page, and then checking them off in the corresponding position all the way on the right hand side of the page (which would be the equivalent of the current design) seems completely bonkers to me. Obviously, though, to each his or her own. I only raise it because I think it is an interesting analogy and runs into the same problems faced in the current design. While I could imagine such a strategy working so-so on smaller paper sizes, it seems like it would quickly get unmanageable if you ever needed to work on larger pieces of paper.

Checked off on the right side of the page, like this

  • description of some action or other…X
    where X is a scrawled tick/checkmark

Bonkers? Possibly, but chacun á son gout. Certainly natural to me.

I can completely understand all the reasons you give for not liking this. Even so, I like it.

I’m a check box on the left kind of guy when using paper. Alternatively, I might scratch a line through the task itself. But never on the right.

Using the OF2 beta, I also feel checkboxes on the left are preferred. Not only for my only personal convention, but also so there is a closer link between the action and its status, without the white space.

I also like the checkmark providing the nesting context, indenting as tasks sit within one another.

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So, just to add a couple of thoughts (though it’s late in this thread)…

My initial thinking is that I’m not fond of the checkboxes on the right, either.

Part of this is related to the whole scheme of density. I’m less unhappy today with the recent improvements in the data density of the beta.

I would say, however, that I always had difficulty with OF1 when sometimes trying to move actions and inadvertently checking them off as done. No similar problem occurs with OF2, given the checkboxes (should that be “checkcircles”?) on the right.

I’ve also now been able to start to re-train my muscle memory by clicking where those boxes used to be and hitting the spacebar to mark the item completed. Almost as good.

Hope this perspective is of some use.


For the past week, I noticed I’ve been clicking on the left of the action and using the spacebar to complete the action. Since that is the case, I feel like the circle should be there.


+1 on moving the checkbox to the left.

In general I’m finding that the layout of the actions isn’t quite there yet. Apart from the checkbox position, I’m wanting to see better wrapping of long task names. It’s odd, because I want to keep the windo narrow so the checkbox will be closer to the task name, but at the same time I want to widen the window to reduce ugly wrapping of long task names.

One solution might be to have an optional maximum width for task names so that I can keep readability high. This might even be in addition to moving the checkbox.


With most all lists (written, computerized, whatever) having check boxes on the left, it is quite jarring to scan to the right for the status and check box. I feel a bit lost – where is it? there it is! It’s not tight or easy.


Unless I have missed a response from Omni, this is one of the few issues that is causing a lot of attention that hasn’t had a clear response. From a post in the data density post, it is clear that the UI freeze deadline is soon, and that checkboxes position changes don’t appear to be a part of this.

There is roughly equal support for both left and right aligned checkboxes in this topic with presumably a bias towards complaining meaning that maybe less people dislike the current right aligned checkboxes than we think.

However, I would like to hear a slightly more definite response, is an option for checkbox position actively being considered, could it make it for 2.0? Or would it be afterwards for 2.1 or not at all?

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Continuing the discussion from How do we feel about the checkboxes on the right?:

Sadly at this rate I’m probably going to stick with OmniFocus 1, despite my recently purchased license entitling me to a free upgrade to OmniFocus 2. There are a few issues that are major in terms of usability and workflow that just prevents me from using OmniFocus 2 as my daily driver (data density, one row vs two rows, checkboxes on the left/to provide visual hierarchy, editing tasks with keyboard (GIF of usage enclosed), …).

It’s quite telling when you have (some) customers preferring your old app as opposed to the new one, as it’s usually implied that new software is better than old one (otherwise, what’s the point?).

Yes, perhaps it’s just us in the passionate minority who really care about this sort of issue, but then again it’s the passionate minority who stick with OmniGroup (or any other software provider like DEVONtechnologies, …) in the long-run when things go bad, or the latest fad comes out (Clear, Things, …), and it’s us who evangelise about the software and build workflows around it, and write blog posts and tweet constantly and incessantly about it. It is us who constantly bother non-users about how bad their current implementation/app is, and how they should switch to OmniFocus, and then afterwards have praise lavished on us. It is us who eagerly waited (and asked) about the reintroduction of the OmniFocus 2 beta after its withdrawal in December of 2013, and then afterwards, eagerly used it to our delight (and sometimes, disappointment, due to UX problems).

Yes, it’s fine to ignore us – perhaps our contribution to the overall revenue pool is negligible, but in terms of long-run though it’s not an ideal situation.

The issues that we bring out is not just random or pointless, or for the sake of giving OmniGroup more work or trying to attack the company.

These are genuine issues that we, in the passionate minority, are concerned about. In terms of usability. Ease of use. Functionality. Data density.

Things that ‘normal’ people don’t really think or talk about, or notice or take into consideration.

Yes, it’s possible to ask, in terms of the overall experience, whether OmniFocus 2 is better than OmniFocus 1. But as mr_rique has said in the thread, that’s setting the bar too low.

We obviously have better things to do than to sit around on our computers and discuss on an online forum about minor things (like they do in the UNIX community, apparently, with things like Git vs Subversion and vim vs emacs, for example). After all, we’re using a world-class productivity suite here, made by a world-class dev team, OmniGroup, that has been developing for Apple’s OSes since NeXT. We have better things to do.

To sum things up: Yes, we’re a minority, but yes, we’re passionate about productivity. What we point out is perhaps indiscernible to the common user (although some people do point this out, whether or not they have used OmniFocus 1 prior to testing out OmniFocus 2), perhaps, but that doesn’t mean our points of contention (regarding data density, checkbox location for hierarchy/usability, etc) is any less valid because we are in the minority.

And to put the alternative case, perhaps even more valid because of our status as the passionate minority.

Thanks for reading.

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I may not feel as strongly as you do about this, but I am quite disappointed in the lack of attention this was given especially now that the latest builds are reporting that the work on the UI is finalized. If I’m not mistaken, this is by far the most popular post on this forum right now. I find myself going back to OF1 when I want to do any heavy lifting primarily because I find the checkboxes on the left easier to work with. That’s fine for now (although not ideal) while we’re in the test phase because I can go to OF1, but when OF2 is actually released, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing.


I definitely agree with this statement. I have for the first time ever, since my initial download and purchase of OF1, begun looking to other software in how my workflow needs can be met for a reliable GTD system. If I may ask: are there any contingency plans you have for when the “OF1 is no longer supported” comment comes into fruition? Personally, I have been running OF1/OF2 and Things (added this weekend) concurrently on my main system, begun writing new applescripts for Things in replicating my most basic OF1 automations, and I am looking at how I can adapt my nested workflow into a flat workflow adopted by Things. It bothers me that I am facing switching from OF1 to another software, but functionality issues where I cannot determine the status of a task easily is difficult to ignore. I am even considering moving everything to OmniPlan, but there is not iPhone application or mobile interface I am aware of to make such a move plausible and more to the point — convenient.

I would like to hear any ideas or thoughts you might have.