Omnifocus vs 2Do

As an avid Omnigraffle and Omnioutliner user (two of the best products on the mac!), I decided to give OF a try.

I’ve been using 2Do and found several issues with OF that I didn’t like while I did like others. Perhaps I just don’t know OF that well, but I thought I would post my findings here for comments:

What I liked in OF:

  1. Beautiful display
  2. Property sheets
  3. Export Options! WOW!
  4. Import from OO. WOW!

What I didn’t care for (or didn’t use correctly or optimally):

  1. No tagging.

Difficult without clever hacks (like putting special codes in the notes field or whatever) to logically group to-dos. You might have “cat” as a tag that you could use to group several to-dos in several contexts. Tagging is an extremely simple and amazingly absent capability here.

  1. No Date Offsets.

Say I have a customer who needs to pay me at the end of January. With 2Do, I can make the due date 1-31 and have 2Do remind me multiple times at various points (like 30 days before, then 15 days before, etc.), before this date. With OF, it looks like I’m limited to just what’s in the preferences. Sure, there is a workaround (or maybe I don’t know how to do this in OF, but that’s another usability issue) like scheduling the “due date” to be the middle of the month instead, but this is yet another example of me working to fit how the product works, not the other way around.

  1. I wasn’t able to change text colors even though OF let me open the font and text dialog. Not clear how this works, if at all. Just confusing.

  2. There is no end date for recurring tasks. Again, this omission forces me to “remember” when a recurring task works. The “computer” is supposed to take the load off me.

  3. Custom Perspectives.

I didn’t see a way to create the equivalent of the “Smart Lists” in 2Do. For example, say I want a perspective to show me tasks that are coming due in the next 5 days, and another perspective to show me tasks coming due in the next 10 days. Yes, I could go to the forecast screen (you can use the calendar in 2Do for this too), but I don’t see a way to really tweak the product how I want it.

Smart Lists/Folders, like “tags”, are standard Mac things now.

2Do handles everything the way I would expect so I imagine I’ll stick with it. As I said above, it’s quite possible I just don’t know how to use OF that well after only playing with it for a couple days. I was able to enter all my tasks in a couple hours from 2Do as a test.

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The Omnifocus manual is available here

Web edition or ePub format available. The iBook edition should be updated shortly

I guess I started with omnifocus and have just recently explored 2Do. I am finding it just as difficult to see what workflow can translate from Omnifocus to 2Do and back.

I loved Omnifocus’ review perspective, single actions list (similar to checklists), parallel and sequential projects, and a few other things. The use of hashtags in the notes section may feel strange but I’ve been able to adapt to it without worries.

I loved 2Do’s smart list, tags, and the ability to use it on an Android platform.

Otherwise, my workflow has been running very well for me in Omnifocus and I can’t imagine switching over.

I think it’s always best to find your workflow in 2Do and stick with it. Each app has its own strengths.

I am also learning 2Do and don’t expect to learn it overnight. It will take time.

I am kinda disappointed that 2Do for iOS doesn’t have very strong documentation for me to read. But I see that there is a new version for the Mac available. I guess I will have to put down $50 just to see the manual.

Be careful of the new 2.0 2Do version as there is a bug with Syncing. They told me it should be fixed in a week or so (today is April 2, 2015). I’m stuck with no sync until then. Also in 2Do, they just added several new notification options, like Text, email, and such. Very nice.

It’s possible that 2Do corrupted my Mac Server WebDav area, but when I tried to sync my updated to-dos I created in OF, I got a “Forbidden” message. No idea why.

I have to agree with you that with these to-do managers, seemingly like few other products out there, there is such a wide range of capability. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get just the right one.

The other thing I should have mentioned as a plus for OF is the incredible support that Omnigroup has for its customers. Second to none. The best! Omnigroup is the only company I’ve ever encountered where you can talk to a support person (who is technical, knows the product, and is friendly) and work with them in real time through a problem.

That’s a huge plus!


I was stunned by the interface, layout, and capabilities of 2Do on iOS. It’s meticulously developed/produced.

However, I feel like I’m finally at the point of having learned OF (at least at a basic level–now on to the 2-hour Mac Sparky screencast!), so I’m reluctant to go elsewhere.

I would consider 2Do as a possible replacement if it had the (truly) seamless sync that Reminders and Things both have… but 2Do’s sync is really not better than OF’s.

@morkus, thanks for the tip!

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The Mac interface for 2Do is even better. I like the notification options and the overall layout better than OF.

OF definitely has some good things going for it too. The OmniGroup is so awesome, it’s difficult to prefer 2Do when I absolutely love their other products.

Projects are better, IMHO, in OF. But since I mostly use To-Dos, this isn’t a big deal. Not being able to set reminders in OF to remind me 30 days, 15 days, and as many intervals as I want seems like a huge capability miss, like tags, like smart lists.

“Things” is out for me since you can’t use your own WebDav server … you have to use their server for syncing. Oops.

2Do is just the best product I’ve fond that lets me handle everything how I want it to. Having installed OF this week, I was really surprised that it lacked backs things I was expecting.

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For the other post above, you can see the current 2Do manual for free if you visit this site:


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I find myself caught in a back and forth between the two as well. I have a soft spot for Omni but the new 2Do is really quite well designed. Extremely capable. The search capabilities are incredible. The UI is tops IMO. Overall it feels more modern somehow. I may try to live with it for a month and see how it goes.

My reasons for exploring 2Do is to see if there are any “smart lists” that I can create in 2Do but I can’t create in OmniFocus. But creating an infinite number of smart lists doesn’t matter if it isn’t being used. I’m trying to find the smart lists that matter.

In OmniFocus, I created up to fifteen custom perspectives that I thought were cool. But after playing with them for a few months, I found myself only using a handful of them on a daily or weekly basis. I am not counting the default perspectives that came with OmniFocus. At this moment, I have eight custom perspectives that I used on a consistent basis. The other custom perspectives were nice but rarely used. I deleted everything else. Sometimes, I will add a couple of new custom perspectives but I will use them for a short while and then delete them when I am no longer need them.

In the meantime, OmniFocus 2 seems to work well for me. But I can imagine myself using 2Do if I never had OmniFocus 2.

Is there anyone else who has played with 2Do have some favorite smart lists that they can’t recreate in OmniFocus’ custom perspectives?

That’s a fair point. Perhaps I’m trying to use 2Do simply because it exists. One area where I have felt an advantage is in creating a “People” context/smart list. I have found it much more pleasant in 2Do whereby I can just explicitly define the list. In OF I have had to nest things to separate work from home etc and as a result end up with messy hierarchy like “people:work:waiting:name”. Whereas with 2Do it’s just listed and grouped by name. Feels presented much more neatly. I also really appreciate being able to use colour I find this a terrible omission in OF.

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The search options (presets) in 2Do have become incredibly more powerful. I always leave the tags “panel” open so I can quickly find tasks by tag. There’s even now a location panel. WOW!

I just deleted my evaluation version of OmniFocus 2. It just didn’t have the features I want. I kept feeling like maybe i didn’t “get OF 2”, but I do get 2Do and it just works for me. It’s a lot less $ than OF and it syncs perfectly with iOS.

OF still excels with import and export options, but these are features I’d rarely use even thought I’m an avid user of OmniOutliner (excellent! program!).

For me, being able to quickly find tasks without having to work around the program’s implementation (OF) – no tags, for example, and being able to set stop dates for recurring tasks (again, me not having to work around the program and “remember” to stop a recurring task manually …seriously OF?), etc., just make 2Do a sweet alternative.

Although OF is an obviously good program, it just doesn’t compete with 2Do for my needs.

I found that the options I could set in custom perspectives were lacking for what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to drill down and see tasks based on many other criteria other than the few available.

I’m hoping for more flexible date capabilities such as repeat on the first and Thursday of each month and endong on July 15th.

Or getting smart list features for ultimate control of perspectives.

Omni will need to figure out how to do tags. It’s not as easy as it seems. I can think that might affect the outline view. If we had multiple tags, how would your tasks be sorted if you wanted to sort by tags.

But all this will require a change to the database structure.

The changes are a-coming…

I do like that 2do will fit users who think a bit differently. It seems that I have to think differently when I am using omnifocus or 2do. I have already abandoned Things because its feature set felt so limited compared to omnifocus. But I did appreciate the simpler interface and workflow.

I think it’s worth updating this thread once more to let you know I am quite happily back to Omnifocus. 2Do is a great app and this last update really was quite a big one. The issue for me come down to clutter and friction… OF keeps this to a minimum. Whereas i feel after really getting deeper into 2Do there was too much of it.


Glad OF works for you.

For me, I found myself not having the tools I needed and working around the software rather than the other way around. The best example other than missing tag functionality is that there was no expiration dates for recurring tasks. That means “I” have to manage/remember those. Huh?

The custom perspectives didn’t allow me to filter the things I cared about.

The endless nesting of contexts seemed unnecessary.

I’m a huge fan of OO and OG, but OF just didn’t do it for me. I deleted OF over a week ago.

I might consider it again if they add the missing functionality so I’m not in charge of remembering things and the software would help me instead of the other way around.

  • m

I have suffered for trying multiple apps (Things, 2Do, Wunderlist, The Hit List, OF, paper), and I think what I’ve learned is that it’s not necessarily the featureset that makes a winning app, but the fit of the glove, so to speak.

In other words, it seems to me a highly personal fit for what works and what doesn’t. I don’t think there’s a “best app”; I think there’s a “best app for me”.

Being exposed to the options and what’s available is pretty cool. This is a neat discussion.



I have tried 2Do myself and although I really loved tagging and the level of control you can have over your tasks, I’m still with OF2. The showstoppers for me were:

  • not being able to easily group all my personal tasks and all my work related tasks in dedicated views. Tagging each task ‘work’ or ‘personal’ is not an option for me as it’s additional work. In OF, I simply keep them in separate top level folders. Things allow for assigning tasks to areas (e.g. one can tag all tasks in ‘Home’ and ‘Finances’ areas as ‘Personal’). In 2Do, I’ve found no way of achieving that. Also, tags assigned to projects do not propagate to the project tasks which is rather awkward and limiting.

  • not being able to assign to a task ‘Someday’ or ‘Waiting’ contexts in a way that would make the task disappear from the general view. Sure, you can tag accordingly, but the tasks will remain visible in their lists. Smart lists may seem to be a workaround but you’d need to create too many of them to follow effectively.

OF surely has its limitations but to me it remains the best overall personal task manager out there.


I did like the Smart list and the robust search features (AND, OR) that 2Do has. Hopefully OF2 will have more robust search features and a stronger set of criteria tools in the perspectives editor.

Tags, as powerful as they are, didn’t really do anything more that I couldn’t do with hashtags in the OmniFocus Notes section. I guess the OmniCoders will have to figure out how to make tags compelling enough in OmniFocus because many requests have been pouring in for tags.

As @deturbulence stated, we’re all trying out different programs just to see what is out there. I’ve discovered that every time I try something new, I have to decipher the design language (aka user interface). I try to see how I can duplicate some of what I used in OmniFocus in another program. I also do the same thing but in reverse - can I do the same thing in OmniFocus?

I saw that 2Do had an example of creating a “Tomorrow” smart list. But I can do the same thing by going to forecast and see what tomorrow has for me. Tags can be replicated somewhat by using the # hashtag in the Notes section.

I did grab a copy of the iOS version of 2Do just to see what I can do. I was able to successfully convert some of my workflow to 2Do. But I didn’t find anything that would make me want to switch. I did like that 2Do did offer a different user interface for those that just find OmniFocus 2 a bit too complicated for their needs. In the end, I’m too tired to continue further in making it work in 2Do when my workflow is clicking in OmniFocus.

I’m sticking with OmniFocus because I do appreciate the awesome tech support and the user forums where we are all trying to figure out ways to improve our workflow. I guess there must be something in the OmniWaters that has bloggers talking about OmniFocus more than the other task managers.


I’ve been using OF for years but I feel like it’s too much work to keep up. Also really bummed with their insane pricing strategy – overpriced on all platforms. After playing with 2DO it looks like a simpler and more affordable solution – I’m gonna jump ship and try it out for a couple weeks. I’ve certainly invested a lot of time and money in OF, and it will be there if I change my mind, but I’ve gotta actually USE the system I choose… (Honestly I’m also a gadget freak who’s obsessed with having the “best” task management system… I’m spending an irrational amount of time looking for the right solution – I may very well just be crazy… LOL)

You’ll like 2D0. It syncs perfectly with Mac Server and then with your other devices.

With OF, I couldn’t get pat the major shortcomings – like the program not being able to have a date by which a repeating to-do would terminate (forcing ME to have to remember that). The advanced version didn’t seem that advanced. The custom perspectives didn’t let me customize what I wanted.

And, OF just seemed tedious to use and unintuitive.

I’m sure OF is “Great Software” and all that, but OF is just not for me. I was totally amazed by how much I didn’t actually like it.

2Do is simple, it works, it syncs, and it keeps getting better.

Maybe OF 3 or 4? Who knows… It doesn’t seem like OF is “listening”.

  • m

2Do has a few sync options which have advantages and disadvantages. Dropbox sync is nice but you won’t gain web app access. You can use it only with the iOS, Android, or desktop app. Syncing with Apple reminders limits you to whatever limitations that Apple Reminders has. I think there was a toodledo sync that has its own quirks.

2Do and OmniFocus have their own beauty and warts. It is like a marriage. You find someone to marry who can deal with your quirks and you can deal with theirs,

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