Omnifocus in the 2020 roadmap - VERY disappointing


OK. IF you have an external keyboard. I do not, nor do I intend to. I therefore prefer that OmniGroup improve on the features that I need for efficiency before attacking additional features for those with (optional) keyboards on their iPads.

Or, at least do the developments in parallel.



I get where you’re coning from, but I do think it’s very reasonable to assume that a large proportion of people who are invested enough in the iPad to pay for OF are also using some form of external keyboard. Personally, I use my Smart Keyboard almost all of the time, but I also have a Brydge external for when I’m really working in laptop mode. Can’t wait for the new Brydge keyboard with the integrated track pad, honestly — I suspect that is going to become a much more common use case in the next version of iOS.


Keyboard shortcuts seem like such a basic feature that I find it bizarre it’s an either/or with things like java scripting.

“Well, we can put in a touchscreen operated nitrous tank, or we can add a steering wheel.”

I’m hoping that this is why it wasn’t explicitly mentioned. It’s so obvious and so basic and so fundamental that it shouldn’t need to be pointed out as a major part of a roadmap.

Right? Right? I’m probably wrong.

I guess OF is best of breed in so many ways that it’s frustrating to see something so basic being ceded to lesser apps.

Help us Obi-Wan @kcase -enobi, you’re our only hope.


It seems obvious that this passage covers adding keyboard shortcuts. It doesn’t read to me as though the importance of adding them got reduced:

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.

That said, I think folks should just go off whether the shipping product works for them, and ignore descriptions of future plans for the most part.


I don’t think that’s a fair assumption at all, I’m lost without my Brydge keyboard, but I see lots of people using iPads (pro and non pro) without a hardware keyboard. I’d estimate that the percentage of iPad users is really small (way less than 1%). A little higher amongst pro users, but not massively, and higher still amongst those using OF. I doubt it’s significant though.


Sorry but could not help but wonder if it’s all about using the keyboard why did you buy a touch screen device in the first place?

I have used OF for a good few years, and for a long time largely on the iPad, like most apps that are multi device some things are better done on one OS, some on another. With all the keyboard shortcuts available in many many apps it’s pretty much impossible to remember all but a small subset, hence the rise of keyboard maestro and the shortcuts app.

I am typing this on an external mac keyboard, yes I prefer typing with an external keyboard, and keyboard navigation may be quicker for a small number of people but an easy to use touchscreen interface must be far more of a priority simply by weight of numbers using each method. I touch the screen to navigate, why? Because it’s a touch screen device, I do not touch my MacBook screen as its not a touch device, simple really.

As for the roadmap I found it interesting as always, but life and business is what happens while you are busy making other plans so what will be will be. Meanwhile I sometimes really wish people would just stop moaning about what they don’t have and be grateful for what they do.


Bravo. We can discuss constructively things we’d like, we can be frustrated about things we think would make life easier… but we can’t put ourselves in Omni’s shoes (much as we try)


The iOS/iPadOS apps added a Dark Mode and Shortcuts for iOS 13, and the iPad app got multi-window support.

Those improvements are significant and benefit most users, so it makes sense to me that they were given priority. Omni have always updated their iOS apps to take advantage of relevant platform improvements (like drag & drop), which is excellent.

Not all iPad users use a physical keyboard. Additional keyboard shortcuts are still planned as far as we can tell from the roadmap post.


You should take a look at the many threads about OF workflow on iPad been a pain, especially if using a keyboard.
I have abandoned OF as a project/task manager in favor of other solutions and only used it as an outliner with some nice features like tagging, perspectives, etc.
As I said OF on ipad has been the subject of many complaints like Omnioutliner has.
In general, imho, Omnigroup’s apps on ipad need a serious rethink.


Sorry, I just can’t agree with that. UX makes a big difference. I’m at the point now where entering a new task on the iPad (which is my preferred input device because of the smart keyboard always being there, making it fast to enter information) takes long enough that I don’t always use the app! Even little interface changes would help — for example, it would be really nice if when you are changing theproject for a task, the autocomplete options came up in order of recency instead of random (relevance?) matching. Similarly, why doesn’t tab switch between fields? Is there anyone who uses tabs in the text of their task? (Even if there is, that seems like it absolutely should be an environment setting)

Also, if you do have an external keyboard attached, adding tasks means constantly switching between the keyboard (because you can’t start specifying a project without typing) and the screen (to switch between task text, project, and then to select the due time.

I feel like I am probably an outlier in my use of OmniFocus — I need extensive nesting capabilities, I have a lot of parallel projects, and I rarely close a project out if there are outstanding tasks. I’m a consultant, and you can never tell when a customer will want to pick up where they left off, so deleting/archiving old tasks is rarely the right move. As a result, I have a couple dozen open projects that haven’t been touched (but which do show up when the project autocomplete is going).


Omni Automation for OmniFocus


I don’t have those same usability problems many of you have shared here, but I understand that how one uses an app can be deeply personal. So I appreciate your frustrations. Before you give up hope, though, you should listen to @kcase talking more in depth about the roadmap. One of the key initiatives for 2020 is re-thinking app interface flow and improving/expanding keyboard shortcuts. I was listening in the car, so I can’t point to the start time, but here is the link to the podcast episode:

(There was another discussion similar to this so I posted this in that thread as well. Apologies if you have come across this twice.)


thanks @ipersuade, had not seen that in my podcast queue yet. Will listen to it as soon as I can.
Would be very good to hear if indeed the promised iOS improvements are still on the cards


I just think we are so so spoilt these days, and probably no matter what any developer comes up with someone will always be critical and think they can do it better, there is never a “great thank you I am now more productive/organised/efficient than I was before thank to your hard work” and that is a shame.

I believe Omni has the right approach in general, but in the modern age you can certainly not please everyone or even close, and it is usually the vocal minority making the noise rather than the silent mainly happy majority, that dominate forums like these.


This. Lots of people are quite happy with “MacBook + iPhone” (I’m one of them), so I don’t fault Omnigroup too much for prioritizing features there.

There’s also a big web alternative that came out this year, so there’s that.

I’m sure they’ll get around to the iPad keyboard support eventually, but from a product perspective it would be much worse if Things offered a vastly better experience on Mac(book) or iPhone.


I’m sorry, I absolutely disagree with that. Look at Drafts, which is a near-perfect app on the iPad and iPhone, with a ton of power under the hood and a great interface. Greg Pierce is an absolute treasure, and his UX decisions are uncannily good. Or iThoughts, which has room for improvement, but the developers there have certainly prioritized for workflow. In fact, I often find myself laying out projects and decision trees in iThoughts now, and then occasionally copying elements over to OmniFocus as necessary.


Sorry what do you disagree with? The fact that very few vocal people on the internet are happy with the tools they have? I would think there is overwhelming evidence of that nearly everywhere!


Interesting. I have never been able to get on with the Drafts UI and general method of working. It just doesn’t work for me. Does that make it bad? No.

Personal productivity-type apps are intensely … personal.


I am agreed with @agambrahma


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