How to prevent automatic assignment of context to actions?

Currently if a project has a context assigned to it, all child actions created within that project are automatically assigned the same context as the project. Is it possible to turn off this behavior so that the actions are not assigned any context automatically?

Yes, if you do NOT set a context to a project.

So if the project has a context assigned to it, I take it that actions will automatically be assigned the same context, and there is no way to turn this behaviour off?

That’s the single purpose of assigning contexts to projects.


That’s too bad.

Here’s what I’m trying to achieve: I would like the “No Context” list to normally be completely empty, so that I can use it to see any actions where I have forgotten to assign a context. I don’t want any projects or sub-projects to appear in “No Context”, even if they are inactive or completed, as they will clutter up the screen and make it difficult to identify actions.

The problem is, if I assign a context to projects to move them out of the “No Context” list, then I run into the problem of the same context being automatically assigned to child actions. So if I forget to change the context of the action to something different, it might be lost in the same context list as the project.

A simple solution would be to have the ability to turn off the automatic assignment of context to child actions. Too bad it can’t be done. Thanks for your thoughts anyhow.

If you don’t want projects and action groups to show up in ‘No Context’, you can change a preference to not show them. (Preferences, Organisation, In perspectives without project hierarchy: [do not] include projects and groups)

But this could impact how you work in other perspectives.

Hi, I assign the context ‘-no action’, which is on hold, to any new project. That way I gain the possibility to differentiate between actionable actions (given an actionable context manually) and mere thoughts, reminders and minutes that I also gather under a project.
eMails summarizing the current status can be added to the project that way, automatically getting the context ‘-no action’. I don’t see them in my custom perspectives for getting stuff done, but I see them when I plan the project during e.g. reviews.
During review, I’ll also catch actionable actions that have been mis-labeled, achieving your intention. Not ideal, but it works.

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Thanks for pointing this out. This might work for me.
I haven’t been using OmniFocus for very long so I don’t know yet if I will need projects to appear in other perspectives.

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll keep it in mind.

FYI, right now I have all projects and sub-projects in a sub-context ‘@Project’ under the context ‘OmniFocus’, like this:


Projects and sub-projects don’t become available until all child actions are completed. At that point I figure the only action should be to check it off in OmniFocus, or assign more child actions. So if I look at the OmniFocus context I can see if there are any projects that require attention as well. I also should see any mis-labeled actions, provided I haven’t already checked them off. I’ll see how this works.