iPad - organizing projects...must be missing something

I’ve usually only used the iPad version to review and complete items, or for quick on the go entry of info. Today I tried to use it to review/organize projects for the first time and I must be missing something.

I have a couple hundred projects, organized into multiple nested folders. I’m struggling with a) creating new projects where I want them to live, and b) to move them to the right place when they aren’t created in the right place. Drag/drop/scroll is unpredictable and rather painful. Is there some magic option I’m missing?

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if you long press the new inbox item button and move that to the spot where you want the project to be it will be created there.

thanks, that helps a bit. Drag/drop to sort things though, still is a problem.

Drag and drop on the iPad is a pain, has not gotten much better at all.
I find that if I get frustrated I open my macbook and quickly fix it. OF on iPad just does not cut it (yet)

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Great solution — though this problem demonstrates one of the several pain points in the iOS version — is to use multiple windows to organize. You can drag-and-drop between windows. I find this far easier for moving projects around folders.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, for me, OmniFocus on iPad is just unusable for anything other than ticking off tasks and review. There are many threads here in this topic. I’m still hopeful the iOS versions will get a redesign soon, but for now I’ve slowly moved away from OF because I use the iPad way more than my Mac now and I just couldn’t cope.


100% agree. I’m having the same problem — my OF is just getting stale because the friction of using it is just too much to make it worthwhile during a busy day.

I politely yet wholeheartedly challenge the iPad “unusable” criticism above. I only use OmniFocus on my iPad Pro (and IPhone) and have only ever done so. My work computer is a Mac however all my productivity and planning is done on the iPad.

I struggled at first on iPad but recent changes that include contextual menus and especially split screen, have been game changers. I now navigate the app and move things around pretty seamlessly. I agree it was really challenging to use before but this is not the narrative any more… it is much, much better. This is not to say I don’t want more improvements but it is certainly on the right path.

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So how do you sort your projects efficiently, and create new ones in the proper location? On the mac I can easily have two windows open and drag/drop between them, but haven’t found any way to do it efficiently on the ipad.

I wrote in detail some of the issues I had here: iOS App redesign?

I haven’t used OF for iPad in a couple of months, so maybe things have changed since.

I’d be interested to see if the issues I mentioned in the other thread have been addressed or how you manage them for a fast workflow.

I don’t think OF is unusable on the iPad at all! When I see these types of threads (whatever the software) to me it is just a little disagreeable. The software may not work the way you want or prefer but it works!

Are we all so entitled and lazy in modern society that a few taps make us that upset? Most things can be done, and nine times out of ten it’s a damn site easier than what we had before computers, iPads or phones. None of us are so important that a few taps/clicks etc, really matter surely

Of course there are always improvements that can be made, but then the some people start to complain about having to pay for them.

Who would be a software developer in 2020!

The user interface for sorting on the iPad is challenging at best, and exceedingly frustrating at worst. My original post was to try to understand if I’ve missed something, but so far, there’s no good workarounds for the sorting challenges. If you have a constructive comment or suggestion to work around the issues, that’s welcome, but rants (from anyone) aren’t.

Not a rant just my observations which are as valid as your perceived issues and equally entitled to be aired.

As for workarounds as I really do not agree with you blanket statement about the unusable iPad app I really doubt anybody would have a solution

I was about to answer that I wasn’t sure how you would like Omnifocus to work on the Ipad, as the earlier suggestion about using two windows didn’t seem to help you. Then I tried that myself… I took for granted that you could drag a project from a position in one window to another position in another, but I’m only successful if I place the project as the first one in a folder, otherwise it converts to an action group.

There is a trick, though, that you might nog be aware of. If you tap and hold on a project, ignoring the aggressive popup menu in IOS 13 (you might have to drag the project upwards to get rid of the popup menu), you could drag it where you want. Or, at least you could in IOS 12… All the new possibilities in IOS 13 seem to have messed things up. I’m having problems with this. The trick, otherwise, was that while you tap and hold on the project you would like to move, you could use another finger, preferably on your other hand, to locate the folder you are looking for by tapping on the required buttons just as you would for simply showing the items in that folder, and then place the project there. This works fine right now in IOS 12 on my Iphone, but I’m having big problems when I try to do it on the Ipad in IOS 13… Sometimes I manage to place the project I would like to move as the first project in a folder, but if I try to place it elsewhere it converts to an action group. It seems like a bug.

Now I totally understand your frustration! This was so easy in IOS 12! I would strongly recommend you to send an e-mail to The Omni Group where you as specific asyou could describe what you would like to be able to do, as they right now are working with making the navigation easier. This is from the roadmap for 2020:

We’re also continuing to improve the flow of using our apps—particularly on iPad and iPhone. We want easy navigation, so everything in the app feels like it’s right at your fingertips—whether your fingertips are using the mouse, touch screen, or a hardware keyboard.

As we do this work, we’re also actively listening to your feedback. When we hear that you’re repeatedly encountering pain points in our apps (whether you’re encountering performance or stability issues, or dealing with common workflow issues such as time zone changes in OmniFocus), we will be setting aside time for addressing those issues.

I’m seeing the same behaviour in the outline (the right pane): I can drop a project only above the first project currently in the folder. If I drop it anywhere else, even being very careful that the blue drop-position indicator box is as far to the left as it can go, it becomes an action group. It seems to be in the right place for a fraction of a second (it appears in bold with a disclosure triangle next to it) but then it snaps to being an action group placed as the first item under the project immediately above.

To me, the most natural method of rearranging projects is through drag & drop directly in the Project sidebar (the left pane). I can easily reorder items (both folders and projects) inside the currently displayed level. I expected to be able to pick up a project, navigate to a different folder with another finger, and drop it there, but that doesn’t work.

It’s not a huge issue to me because I don’t frequently move projects to different folders. I go to the project inspector and use the ‘Move’ icon and popover.

This said, while some interactions could be improved, I wouldn’t call the iOS apps ‘unusable’!

For capturing tasks quickly it’s great. For reviewing projects and actions to see what’s available/next it’s usable, though a bit clunky (really wish there was a ‘back to home’ shortcut when drilled down multiple levels into folders and projects for example).

In this case, I’d never tried to do my weekly review, but I was away from my computer and had some time and tried to give it a go. That involves both creating new projects from inbox items and sorting them into the right place, or creating new projects in the right place directly. That’s the use case that is exceedingly difficult/painful when compared to the mac app. To be fair, touch interfaces do have serious limitations, so I don’t blame Omni for the situation.

There’s other things that I do as well, like multi select several new inbox items and send them all to the same project, sort by project name, and so on that I haven’t tried yet since I couldn’t get past the sorting problem.

So for me, i’m back to using the mac version to do any review-like things, and just use the iPad/iPhone version for quick tasks, which is where I’ve been all along. From that roadmap above though, I hope that Omni isn’t looking at Catalyst to create a common app across both platforms - the mac one is vastly more usable and powerful for certain use cases, and it’d be a shame to lose that.

This already exists :) Do a long press on the ‘back’ button in the top-left corner.

I think that’s highly unlikely, at least in the medium-term, since Omni already has a highly capable AppKit app, with Mac behaviour and things like AppleScript support, etc.

The Omni Group support have now confirmed the problem with moving projects anywhere else than to the first place in a folder on the Ipad. They have filed a bug report, and as a work-around for the moment they have suggested the same solution as @MultiDim did: dragging projects in the navigation sidebar. This works fine for me as long as I keep the project in the same folder. But as @MultiDim also noticed, that does not work for moving the project to another folder. To do that, you have to combine the two methods.

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@Jan_H Thanks for sharing that info. No need to attempt dragging to anywhere but the top of the outline!

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