Keyboard only navigation sucks. I should be able to add @tags@and #projects without having to use a mouse !flag

Like most power users, I use the keyboard almost exclusively (Vim, Vimium, Terminal, Keyboard Maestro, etc…). So when I switch to Omnifocus, it feels like jumping out of a rocket and slamming into a brick wall.

It’s very clumsy for a power tool, especially one as mature as it is.

I’m not saying using inline commands like @tags#project !flag is the best way, but there should be some way. (though this would also fix the issue with task entry on iPadOS).

I’m sure some will say it’s not friendly to non-power-users, but there are simple ways to design around it. e.g. enclosing meta-data in a set of backticks.

I agree with your overall request, and would always welcome expanded keyboard-based control. Natural language parsing would be especially welcome.

Though, I’m curious: Can you not just tab through most fields? When I bring up the Quick Entry window, I’m able to enter all my information without touching the mouse - including setting a flag. In the main window, I’m able to use custom-defined shortcuts to switch Perspectives, arrows to navigate, tab to edit.

Also, you mentioned Keyboard Maestro. I’ve built a few macros to bridge OmniFocus’ keyboard shortcomings, such as this one, which I use to quickly defer tasks by 1 day:


This works pretty reliably to click that teeny-tiny “+1 Day” button in the inspector sidebar. There’s probably a way to achieve the same thing in AppleScript…but who wants to write an AppleScript in 2020?

Just jumping in to note that you’re not alone in the quest to get Fantastical-style natural language input in OmniFocus:

It’s not too bad in the quick entry, but following GTD principles; I usually don’t tag during quick entry and just dump directly into the inbox.

Processing an inbox (tagging and adding projects) is a pain because the first two tabs selects “done” and “flag” respectively, then you need to “Key down” to select the next item (which requires moving hands off home row), and then tab twice again…

Ideally, we should be able to type “@tag” or “#project” while having a task highlighted (but no input selected) and then use CMD+K to clear it (and move to the next highlighted item). That would increase efficiency by 80%.

I actually considered making a Keyboard Maestro shortcut for what I discussed above, but I don’t think OF has the option for selecting Tag or Project input fields.

We don’t necessarily even need Natural Language parsing, because there’s too many scenario and gotchas for new users. Even when I use Fantastical, I can never remember what the correct keyword are, or sometimes it interprets keywords where I don’t mean for it to be.

But something like @Tag #Project is pretty much foolproof in terms of interpretation and pretty difficult for new users to confuse given it’s a social media convention to precede metadata with a symbol.

Until they solve this, you could fix this on your Mac using Keyboard Maestro. Have KM open a text input window, type in your string using @tags#project !flag $note and then have KM recursively grep to parse your string. KM could then build a TaskPaper string and paste it into OF.

The ninjas at the KM forum could probably help you with that, if they haven’t built it already.

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You could do it with TextExpander, too.

According to the Omni roadmap, working on keyboard shortcuts and overall flow of apps is a key initiative for 2020. @kcase talks about it here:

I had assumed by “Keyboard shortcuts” and “Overall flow” they meant bringing iOS to parity with Mac and then adding in some interface changes; I’m not sure if they’ll be releasing power user features.

That said, the JS automation might be a work-around if its performant enough. Though hopefully they do consider adding inline-metadata to the core engine. It would do wonders for fixing the iPadOS usability issue

Here here! I’ve been missing this since migrating back from Todoist a year ago. Considering this feature is mature and quite standard across many apps it’s a 101 for the roadmap. It’s no longer an innovation it’s a hygiene factor. Please get this into the app!

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