How to show actions from several contexts at the same time? (iOS)

Of course there are “Perspecitves”, with which I can show actions from more than one context at a time. Yet I want to have the option of choosing multiple contexts, which will then be displayed alltogether. Let me give you an example:

I have a context with actions I can complete when being at the same place as Person A. I have another context with actions I can complete when being at least on the phone with Person A. If I am at home, I need to see just the actions I can deal with on the phone; If I am at the same place as him, I need to see the actions from BOTH contexts.

I do not want to create a Perspective for every of my 10 co-workers… That would make everything chaotic and messy.

Multiple contexts (or something equivalent), among other things, will be coming:

So why is it impossible for Omni to implement “Multiple Contexts” in OmniFocus?

But you’ve got to be patient…

That is not what I meant! I was talking about the ability to VIEW actions from more than one context at the time without having to create a new perspective.

Sorry, I read your post too fast. But my guess is that the future multiple context solution will solve your problem too.

Hey there! I can think of a couple ways to tackle your workflow.

The quickest answer, I think, is to simply select multiple contexts in the sidebar. If you hold down the command (⌘) key, then click on a series of contexts in the sidebar, they should all be selected. OmniFocus will show you the tasks in every selected context in the main content area.

If you don’t want to set up that selection every time, you could make each person’s Phone context a sub-context of their named context. That way, when you’re in the room with them, you pick the named context; if you’re just on the phone, you pick the sub-context. OmniFocus will also show you actions in a selected context’s sub-context, so in person you’ll see everything, and on the phone you’ll only see the subset of actions that you’ve placed in that person’s Phone context. This has the slight disadvantage of requiring lots of Phone sub-contexts (one per person), but of course it’s your workflow – you’re welcome to decide whether or not it works for you.

Do either of those approaches help?

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The first approach is how I work … on my Mac. My question was related to iOS though. There I don’t have the sidebar, which is why I cannot select multiple contexts to be viewed…

I think you will need to use the OmniFocus 2 universal with the pro upgrade in-app purchase.

If I remembered correctly, OmniFocus 2 for iPhone doesn’t have the ability to create and edit custom perspectives. That was reserved for OmniFocus 2 for iPad with pro in-app purchase. The iPad version recently added iPhone compatibility and is currently the app to use.

You will need to create a custom perspective. At the Home screen, pull down to reveal the secret toolbar at the top. On the left side of the screen, tap on the “perspective” icon with the plus symbol. This will create a perspective.

Name it
Choose “Don’t use project hierarchy” - This is the first one selected by default.
Choose your presentation (group actions by… and Sort actions by…)

At the bottom of the perspectives editor screen, you will see “Select Contexts”

Tap on the contexts that you would like to see in this new custom perspective.

Tap “< Back” to return to the perspectives editor screen

Tape “Save” at the top right to save your perspective.

Here is what is said about perspectives in OmniFocus 2 for iOS

You cannot go to the default context perspective and select multiple contexts. You’l have to use a custom perspective.

I own the pro stuff on my Mac, and these perspectives are synced to my iPhone just fine.

I guess there is just no solution to my problem yet, because creating perspectives - no matter on what device - takes way too long for what I’m looking for…

If all the contexts you want to view together are grouped under the same parent context, couldn’t you view all tasks in the umbrella context? I assume that’s not what you want, however.

Oops, you’re right! I’m sorry about that – I missed the iPhone tag up at the top of the thread.

I think my second approach above might still apply (and track with what @teronel mentioned) – if all the tasks are kept in the same parent context, but some are directly contained and some are in a child context (“Phone” or similar), you should be able to view either the parent or child context’s “All Actions” list on iOS.

If that doesn’t work for you, we’d love to hear how we can improve your workflow!

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If it is a group of contexts that you frequently use, then it would make sense to group them together to create a custom perspective. Then you just add it to your Home screen so that you have quick access to it on your iPhone. There is no need to drill in and out of the various contexts anymore.

For example, I am at my office. I can go to the Contexts perspective and select @office to see all of the things I need to do at the office. But I also have to check my @Mac, @iPhone, and @Agenda contexts too.
So I create a perspective that focuses on @Office, @Mac, @iPhone, and @Agenda. I can see all of these contexts but avoid seeing my other contexts (@Errands, @House).

Are you finding yourself repeatedly going into certain contexts in particular situations? Use the custom perspectives to create commonly used perspectives to put on the Home screen. For the other contexts that you don’t really visit often enough, it is easy enough to go to the Contexts perspective and find it there.

If you are looking for something in particular, there is always the search feature to find what you are looking for.

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I would also suggest to create a context within a context. Like this:

@Person A

For actions that you need to be in the same place, just use @Person A. For phone use @Phone.
When you are in the same place as Person A, open your @Person A context and go to “All Available Actions.” This will display all your tasks related to Person A.
When you are at home, just use the @Phone context.