Hybrid hierarchical perspective (feature request)

Currently there are two main perspective types in Omnifocus. One that shows the Project Hierarchy an done that does not.

Both of these are useful but I think I a combination of both could be extremely powerful.

I am a fan of deeply nested hierarchies. For example if I am going away of a trip I will have an active called pack for trip, it might look something like this:

  • Pack
    • Clothing
      • Shirts
        • The Blue shirt
      • Pants
      • Shorts
      • Socks
      • Shoes
      • Underware
      • Jacket
    • Medications
      • Medication A
      • Medication B
    • Toiletries
      • Shaving kit
      • Toothbrush
      • Comb
    • Equipment
      • Computer
        • Ethernet Dongle
        • VGA Dongle
      • Camera
        • Telephoto lens
        • Wideangle lens
      • Tools

And this might be just a small part of the project for my trip

In a hierarchical perspective type this list of actions works well because you can collapse the sub-actions and keep them hidden most of the time, only expanding The clothing group when you are packing your clothes for example.

But in a context based perspective this falls apart as it creates a lot of clutter. All of the sub-actions only need to be visible when I decide to start packing. Any other times I don’t need to see the list of what I want to bring. I just need need t the the Pack activity.

What I propose (because I don’t think this is currently available) is a hybrid hierarchical view:

This would be similar to the context perspective but if an action has sub-actions they would be displayed hierarchically, and you would be able to collapse them to hide them when you don’t need to pay attention to the sub-actions.

I think actions should only show up once, so in my above example everything would fall under Pack action unless they ended up being showed before the pack action. For example. Lets say the due date for the pack action was on Friday, but the due date for the Camera action was on Thursday. In this case the Camera action would show first (with collapsable sub-actions) but it wouldn’t need to show up when looking at the sub-action of Pack.

Such a perspective would let me have as many sub-actions as I want/need without cluttering anything up.

Note this differs from a typical sort by due date project hierarchy perspective because those perspective sort entire projects by the actions with the next due date. I don’t need the whole project showing up because one action is due, I just need that action and any sub-actions.

I don’t think this is possible currently but would love to see this in a future version.

Thanks in advance.


You’ve written up your use case well. Have you sent it into The Omni Group? By doing so you can ensure that it’ll be properly filed away in their system.

I have. But I also wanted to get feedback from omnifocus community.

Never assume that your good idea makes sense to anyone else:)

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I do agree the functionality with action groups (=subactions in your example?) is kind of poor. I try to avoid it since perspectives do not handle them well.

I use a template project for packing The template has everything I could possibly pack (similar to yours). Then I duplicate it each time I go on a trip: FIrst I chek off what I do not need. The rest of it is my packing list for that trip (project) I focus on it while I am packing and check off each item when I pack it.

Subactions kind of complicate this method (maybe I don’t use them well enough), so I do not use them: I group items by activity category in the template, but the actual packing list is just a SAL.

I ended up with something similar, though I used omnioutliner instead. I works but isn’t as streamlined as I would like.