How to search all content? [A: with Global Search in v2.8, now in public test]

hey @mr_rique, just curious: doesn’t the new quick open feature solve the filter problem for You? It searches all projects in a context-sensitive manner…

I use most often the new Forecast perspective which replaces the “Due Items” perspective in OF1.

When I need to search my content, I’m in this perspective. The problem is that the actions that do not have a due date do not appear in that perspective ! So I can’t find everything I have… :-(

I understand that I could change to the Projects perspective and then have access to all of my actions, but it’s a shame to have to change perspective just to perform a search…

There should be an option in the Forecast perspective to show at the end of the list all my actions that do not have a due date. It would work exactly as the Due items perspective in OF1, but with the nice layout of the Forecast with calendar events and dates. This would solve my search problem, as every actions would be listed there and I could have access to everything.

Omnifocus Ninjas, would it be possible just to add this feature in Forecast perspective ?

Thanks a lot for doing the best software on my Mac !

Gabriel

@mat_rhein, no the quick open feature does not act like a classic filter. For example, quick open only applies to perspectives, folders, projects or contexts. The filter (Search) feature acts as a true filter.

For example, we are working on a release of software and I am co-managing the tech team. The version is 1.8. I don’t have a project, context, perspective or folder named “1.8”. However, when viewing the Area of Focus that project would have tasks in (an AOF I have named after our database), all I need do is type the string “1.8” in the search control and my list is filtered to any story (sorry, task) which contains the string “1.8”. Quick Open could not do that for me.

Hope that clarified it!
Rique

@gabrielparriaux, I expect you’ve already seen this and it probably doesn’t meet your needs - but just in case you have not seen it - have you tried setting forecast to “show deferred items”? If you did that, your forecast view would show all calendar items you’ve synced with OF2, all due items and all deferred items. I’m curious why you would want forecast to show tasks which are neither set to “due” or “defer until” - can you explain?

Personally, if my forecast was not constrained to only those tasks which are due or deferred, it would be out of control. But possibly I am not understanding your use case.

Thanks
Rique

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I never used OmniFocus 1 but am diving into OmniFocus 2. Note that I am not a GTD guy or an Inbox Zero guy or anything formal, just a guy who wants to get organized! In my mind, Search should default to Global Search or offer that as an easy toggle. I’d go so far as to say that I want to be able to search across all items, including completed items, sometimes. Especially when getting started or restarted, it can be important to know if a certain action exists anywhere, including something that one forgot was completed.

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@gabrielparriaux, I expect you’ve already seen this and it probably doesn’t meet your needs - but just in case you have not seen it - have you tried setting forecast to “show deferred items”? If you did that, your forecast view would show all calendar items you’ve synced with OF2, all due items and all deferred items. I’m curious why you would want forecast to show tasks which are neither set to “due” or “defer until” - can you explain?

Personally, if my forecast was not constrained to only those tasks which are due or deferred, it would be out of control. But possibly I am not understanding your use case.

@mr_rique, thank you for your advices. Honestly, I don’t use the “defer until” field because I think I didn’t really understand what it is about… So, I hadn’t seen this way to set in Forecast the “show deferred items”, but as I don’t use deffered items, it doesn’t change nothing for me, sorry. Maybe you have a hint to help me understand the use case of “defer until” ?

Why I want forecast to show tasks that are neither “due” or “defer until” ? Well, I don’t really want it, because my focus is really on top of the list (yesterday, today, tomorrow or 2-3 next days). But I would need it as search doesn’t get to all my items in this perspective.

If Omni give us ability to have a search tool that really searches in all the database, then I don’t need anymore to show tasks that are neither “due” or “defer until” in the forecast perspective. Do you see what I mean ?

Thank you !
Gabriel

Just a short explanation: deferring a task would mean that an item is set inactive (and thereby potentially invisible) until the date set in “deferred”, when it will automatically become active. Thereby it is a wonderful tool to declutter Your task lists from stuff you anyway cannot take action on until date XX. An example would be taking the trash out: you just emptied the trash but want to remind yourself of taking it out each monday morning. So You set the defer date to next monday and maybe make the task repeating.
You may wonder what the difference to due date is: first, the task is inactive and therefore not messing up your actionable items. Also, nothing bad will happen if You won’t take out the trash on that next monday- so it’s not really due then. But from next monday on it will purposefully clutter up your lists, reminding you of it, especially if You also flagged it.

Apart from this, I second the necessity of a whole db search field. ceterum censio cartagine esse delendam ;-)

I don’t know that we need new functionality for the global search mechanism: just bring back the 1.x Command-F functionality, and I’ll be happy. I understood the “confine search to active project” paradigm and used to leave a second window open, set to the Library view, to do a global search from there when I needed to. It worked like a charm. I don’t know what Command-F does, now, but even when I can see the text I want, right there, it just beeps at me when I search for it. OmniGroup, please don’t follow MicroSoft’s lead of gratuitously breaking existing functionality.

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How do I do that? Can’t find it in the menu.

with best regards,
Omar K N
Stockholm, Sweden

I agree wholeheartedly - it seems like a regressive step to remove the global search feature. I’ve been caught out several times by this already.

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I couldn’t agree more, this is actually a deal-breaker for me. I’ve migrated from Things and I use search ALL THE TIME, and always for searching for this that I’m not currently viewing (hence the searching).

OF2 is quite expensive, so I’m not into the idea of a clunky workaround to have basic functionality like “search” working.

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I’m finding defer doesn’t really work that way in OF2. If you pass the defer date without doing it, poof the deferred item disappears, falls off, and hangs out lurking only in your project directory. It may look active but it won’t show up anywhere.

I’ve tried using defer until. I like that it hangs at the bottom of the list so it’s useful to mimic prioritization such as in the manner you describe. However, I find it too easy to lose things that fell behind the iron curtain of the forecast screen. In fact, I’m spending tonight searching for items which got lost because of this.

It seems to me that nobody on the OF team is engaging with this subject. Can anyone suggest why they don’t want to discuss this issue?

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Lack of time is a big part of it - we participate on the forums as we’re able, but it has to take a back seat to our other duties. I’m on the support team, for example - we’re still digging out from the spike in email that comes from a product launch. I have enough time to look a couple of topics a day right now.

Discourse put this thread in my Unread list today, so here I am. Being on the support team, I’m best positioned to suggest things like making a Search All perspective that auto-opens in a new window, then assigning a keyboard shortcut. But there are other questions I’m not going to be as able to answer.

We’re happy to help, but if you want a guaranteed answer from a particular product team, email is the way to go.

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In Evernote, Command-F searches within the currently open note, and Command-Option-F searches all notes in the database

Omnifocus could do something similar perhaps.

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I moved 3 posts to a new topic: Delivering support via email vs. forums

So, I don’t know if this is obvious to those here, but it wasn’t obvious to me. Turns out you can click on the “Projects” icon to clear your selection (of any projects), displaying all projects and actions (unless you have a filter for just remaining actions, for example). From there, you can search across your content.

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Yeah , I fear it is, although it is worth mentioning once more ;-)… the posters in this thread mainly expect global search to be available from the little central search field instantly…

Clicking on the Projects icon does NOT clear your selection of projects IF (1) you click on it from a different perspective AND (2) the last time you were in the Projects perspective, you had a specific folder or project/list selected. Instead, when you click the Projects icon, you’re switched back to your prior view.

You must then click a second time to clear the selection of projects. Or Edit --> Deselect All. This has taken me weeks of frustration to figure out.

I’m continually caught out by the confusing serach behavior, especially since there is no visual feedback in the search field to tell me where the heck the search will actually search. (Yes, a highlighted project should let me know that I’m now limiting my search, but that doesn’t work for me. I don’t see it. And often, the highlighted item has scrolled out of the window’s viewport.)

While we’re talking about searching all content, why doesn’t command-F bring the insertion point to the search field? Instead it brings up a dialog box I can’t ever see myself needing. Is there a way to move the cursor up there? Or is it just another click to add to the long line of clicks necessary to search for the action item I just put in the wrong place?

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All, I realize I am being repetitive, so please forgive me for that. But I just don’t find this to be a big deal at all. Creating the “All” layer is not a clumsy workaround, it is leveraging the way that the software is built today in a way that does not break any other aspect of my workflow. The search is basically instantaneous and I get precisely what I want. The only gap from my perspective is that it does not return completed tasks in my results set (and for that, I go to “Completed” in the sidebar and search from there). Other than that, I find the use of the “All” folder to be effective and responsive.