Multiple Contexts per Task [now in TestFlight]


I usually have a task titled “Call \Jack re: dinner” with a context of “Phone”. Then I can search for the backslash for any people I need to contact. Or make a custom perspective with the search text as “”.


@nick @wilsonng thank you , I’ve tried a \ and @ and whilst both work they both feel very clumsy, tags is the correct way forward for me. A natural progression to a GTD methodology.


I’m not sure about multiple contexts. It might break my confidence in knowing that each task can only belong in one place. What I’d really like is the ability to move tasks up and down ordered in a different sequence in the context view rather than being based on the projects’ tasks order. Sort of like a ‘manual’ sort order option.

A tip can be to have a context called ‘calls’/‘meetings’/‘colleagues’ and then you start each task with the person ‘Jason: call to talk about …’, etc. Then the tasks get sorted by the names so they’re grouped together. This also works for a ‘shopping’ context where you prefix tasks with the actual shopping location: ‘grocery store: buy …’, ‘hardware store: buy …’.

Omnifocus unfortunately does not make it easy and seamless to create contexts and moving them into the right parent context quickly and then manage them. So I don’t think you should try to have a lot of contexts. I used to have it that way and I ended up managing the contexts more than getting stuff done. The UI/UX of Omnifocus makes that hard to keep flexible unfortunately.


@jonolo6 I do not think a context and a tag as the same thing. I do not see that adding tags alters the way I work with contexts.

I always felt that a context was more physical or tangible whereas as tag could be much softer. As I said earlier having Call as a context but have a tag to tell me whom would help, the same for the Waiting context.

It is of course inevitable that context and tags will become blurred, perhaps just dropping contexts in place of being able to add multiple tags is the way forward. This give people the flexibility to use just contexts or a combination of tags.

If tags come this autumn I’m certain there will be Supporters and Detractors.


I get ya @lwaddo. Misunderstood earlier. Yes tags should solve for the creating many contexts problem.


This feature will be coming one quarter later than originally planned. Sorry for the delay!


Thank you for letting us know, even if it is a little disappointing.


I’m really glad that Omni Group decided to incorporate the tags into OmniFocus 3, as opposed to a version 2 update. It’s a functionality shift that seems more appropriate with a concurrent launch of a revised version of the product. Keep up the great work, @kcase and @omnigroup!


For me as for some others here, contexts and tags are distinctly separate and should be used separately.


The early indicators state that tags will be replacing contexts. This is gonna be a major shift in our workflows.

The sentence is in the second paragraph:

supporting multiple tags per item (replacing contexts),


Why the shift? If I only assign one tag to an action, will that not work in exactly the same way and allow the same workflow as a single context? I’d expect it too.


Maybe we can think of it as just a different label for the word “Context.”

There was some shifting when we learned to use the label “Defer date” instead of “Start date.” The term “Defer date” was introduced in OmniFocus 2.

Now, we can have more than one “context” when we use tags. An energy tag, a priority tag, a tool tag, etc.

I’m looking forward to multiple tags but I will have to consider not putting too many tags. Tag-mania can run wild and just overburden the workflow.


Just so. Among the obstacles I ran into when experimenting with 2Do:

  • Finding, very quickly, that I had so many tags that they were a hindrance, not a help. It becomes easy (a) to create tags because you can and they seem useful and (b) to create multiple minor variations on the same tag because you’re trying to process things quickly. What’s the difference between “Planning”, Project Planning", “Plans”? Answer: not much really
  • 2Do does some apparently nice but ultimately annoying things - like tagging imported email with the name of the sender (it’s a default and can be turned off)

I spent a lot fo time trying to develop an organisation strategy for 2Do that took account of tags, list, list groups and projects. In the end, it was too much effort


Spot on. The best use I can think of for multiple tags is a “waiting” tag to accompany whatever other context is naturally there. But this is already easy to do with a text expander snippet and a saved perspective looking for waiting tasks.

Given how fast OF search is and how flexible perspectives are, I really don’t get what people think tags will give them.


For me I think it will fell more natural to select and assign tag(s) that it currently does to remember to add a \ or @@ before the name so I can use it with a search. Also, so far I’ve not managed to get Sir to understand

'Speak to \Fred about the presentation"


Agreed, my experience exactly


Absolutely, a ‘waiting’ tag would be something I’d take for a test drive if it was an option but exactly as you say, the search and highly customisable perspectives make it easy to create a trusted system and to get more done in a spirit of calm which tagging alone is unlikely facilitate.

In OF2 (when tagging arrives) it will be a supplemental advantage, not a sole means of organisation as in T3.

I envisage cautious use of tags in OF2, a small collection of important keywords to supplement the fantastic OF2 perspective system.

Totally agree. This sums up exactly how tags should be approached if and when they arrive.


the search works really well without any special characters before a word. I’d bet the overlap between tag text and action text would be fairly minimal and a standard special character isn’t really that necessary.

If it is important, you could set up a keyboard shortcut or text expander snippet to standardize your tag so you don’t need to remember what it is. For “waiting” tasks I use “//// Mike” or “//// Jane” after the text of an action, but just type x/ to expand a shortcut.


I’m not sure I understand, are you typing x/ then relying on a keyboard shortcut or text expander app to convert it to ////? You then use //// is search and perspectives?

I’m not sure what this achieves, why not just type // and search for // in the same way?


I wouldn’t get too hung up on my own particular syntax, main point is it’s easy to create a personal keyword system for the few cases where it is useful.

(I like the four slashes because it never appears naturally and is easy to spot in a list)