In OF3, it’s wild that when I’m looking at a task (on iPhone for example) there is no + button to add a task within it (make the current task being looked at a parent of a new task). Unlike in OF3 for Mac which makes it easy to enter tasks within tasks with the “add inside” command. So on iPhone & iPad I have to make my new tasks and then drag them within their parent tasks.
Has this been addressed? Can we quickly and easily add tasks within tasks on iPhone or iPad yet or do I still have to manually/awkwardly drag everything into the hierarchy I desire? Even just to long press on a task to trigger the popup menu and have the option in the menu to create a new task (within that task I long pressed on)… it’s just so surprising this simple function hasn’t ever made it to OF3. Is it in OF4 now?
Thanks to whomever takes the time to answer
There doesn’t appear to be a button for this, but I didn’t look to see if there’s a way to configure something. On the iPad, this is pretty simple if you have an external keyboard because you can just use CMD-] to indent the new task. (Which is pretty much what I’ve needed for ages, so I’m happy with this)
Thank you. Can you tell me if a long press on a task triggers a pop-up menu with the option to make a new task?
Yes, in OmniFocus 4 you can long-press on a task and choose Add Inside.
That’s great news. Thank you for taking the time
I did also notice that if you have a task selected, creating a new task defaults to creating it at the same indent level as the selected task. That also helps for creating subtasks of action items, for example.
I noticed this too. I decided to upgrade to OF4 and I see this has not been updated yet.
If the Omni team is reading these posts (i can’t really tell yet), when we make a new task while a particular task is selected, the more intuitive result in my opinion is that the new task becomes a child to the one selected. If we wanted to make a parallel task to other tasks we would first select the parent of those tasks, similar to how all bullet point lists in all text editors works.
You provide endless subtask tree capability (unlike most task managers) which is amazing… yet you don’t seem to endorse it when new tasks made on iOS run parallel. I would expect them to indent within the task I have selected when creating a new one. Please 🙏🏼 consider changing this
If adding a new item always placed it within the selected item, then pressing plus five times would give me items that were more and more deeply indented (because each time you add an item, it becomes the selected item, so the next add would be placed inside your new items). Like so:
This is definitely not what I would expect! And it’s not how most outlining tools behave (speaking as someone who has been using outlining tools since the '80s). Instead, you usually get something like this:
- First item
- Second item
- Third item
- Fourth item
- Fifth item
There’s usually an easy (but separate) option to add a child inside the selected item, and that’s what we’ve done in OmniFocus (as well as in OmniOutliner and OmniPlan). We have an “Add Inside” keyboard shortcut that you can use on devices with a keyboard, while on iPhone you can either drag the plus button onto an item to add it as a child or (as noted above) you can long-press on that item and choose “Add Inside”.
I hope this helps explain our design choices!
On iPhone you can drag the ±button onto a task to create a subtask. (I just learned that five minutes ago myself).
You can also drag it onto projects.
Hey kcase. Thank you for taking the time to formulate your detailed reply.
I was talking specifically about when you have a task selected (you’re looking at its details after just tapping or clicking on it) and you choose to make a new task while it is selected. I understand the two methods you shared, however long pressing or dragging is extra time and I would think that when I have the task currently selected, if I tap or use a ‘new task’ command, I would think it would automatically make one nested within the one I have currently selected.
I otherwise I agree that new tasks made without anything else selected should simply go parallel to each other
I don’t think that’s a good idea. There are situations where you want to edit a task which means that it will be selected. In your case it means I first have to deselect the task before I can add a new item. If I don’t do this then it will create it as a subtask which is not what I wanted to do. The intent was to add another task, not a subtask. And yes, there is an option to select the subtask that should have been a task and then outdent them but that’s additional work.
It makes more sense to have a separate way of adding a subtask like the “add inside”. I’m a bit torn on where it is located in the context menu though. On one side it makes the context menu look cleaner and easier to navigate, on the other side it is hidden inside a submenu of the context menu which makes it a little bit harder to get to.
I would like to also point out that the “add inside” is something you have to do once. What it does is make the task a group and add a subtask underneath it. Afterwards you can simply use the + symbol and add new subtasks because it is now inside that group. Another thing to note here is that you can simply add all the items as a task underneath each other then select all of them and use the indent option.
As @kcase mentions this is quite common with outlining tools. However it is not just outlining tools where it works this way. The reason why apps do it this way is quick data entry. You first add all the data and after adding it all you start organising the data. Meaning that you group items, add styles/markup, order things, etc. This is no different than how the writing process works: you first start jotting down ideas, sentences, etc. then you organise them, you work out the “bugs” (wording, spelling mistakes, etc.) and finally you write the final version.
That all makes sense. I see your point and logic.
It seems the GTD method of dumping everything out of one’s mind and organizing afterward is one of Omnifocus’ central philosophies on task management. I personally have things already categorized in my brain before I input them into my task managers, so I want to quickly and easily categorize as I make them.
The way you wrote your response, it sounds like you have a hand in designing the UI. If that’s the case, I humbly and respectfully add my vote that the ‘add inside’ function is found in the first pop-over menu and not in a subcategory. Seems a lot more important to have that option front row center than options like ‘forecast flag’, ‘show in tags’, and ‘drop’ which I’m going to guess people use a lot less on average than they do ‘add inside’
I’m just a customer like you but since I’m a sysadmin/system engineer I have quite some experience with users, software and workflows so that’s where the response comes from. I have the same categorisation in my head as you do but instead of trying to accomplish that immediately I just do it in steps (the ones I mentioned). As a result I hardly ever use the inbox. Learn how the software works and work with that oftentimes helps a lot.
Regarding the “apply forecast tag”: I think that is used by quite a lot of people because it allows you to add items without a due date to the forecast (only for the today view) so that you can plan what you should and want to do today. In previous OmniFocus versions you either had to set a due date, tag it or set up your own perspective (each comes with its own set of pros & cons). In OF4 there are 2 additional options for this but I don’t think that will change things because the old ways still work.
Omni had a lot of preflight tests of OF4 in the past couple of years just to get the UI and workflows right. There must have been lots of feedback showing that “add inside” is not used as much as the things you mentioned. Or that it makes more sense to have it in a submenu on the context menu alongside similar kind of actions. That’s information I don’t have so I’m just taking an educated guess; don’t pin me on that.
Keep in mind that there are lots of different workflows with how people do their task management. Luckily OmniFocus is very flexible so it can cater to lots of different workflows but it won’t cater to all workflows. There might be some stuff that works for you and some that won’t. Best is to e-mail Omni to let them know what doesn’t work so they can see if and how they can fix it.
Lastly, something new I learned today from another post on the forum here: you can drag over items with 2 fingers (on an iPhone or iPad) to select items. That makes the add-task-then-indent process a lot quicker.
Thanks for the tip, it is greatly appreciated!
I didn’t mean to downplay the utility of the forecast tag. It’s brilliant at preserving my self-esteem (by avoiding the pitfall of consistently rescheduled deadlines with too many tasks assigned with due dates). It was perhaps a bad example to use as a less important feature than ‘add inside’. You got my point regardless.
I’m sure there was a lot of consideration put into every single element of the UI. They had a lot of time since OF3 to improve on things. I’m just surprised I seem like the odd man out with my desire to more easily create subtasks on iOS. Despite all the workflow options we have with this highly adaptable app, it’s strange this one thing isn’t considered more important.
Complaining aside, I tried that dragging with 2 fingers feature. Brilliant! Thanks for that. That’s the sort of time saving I’m looking for with my ‘add inside’ gripe.