Overall, how are you liking OmniFocus 2 relative to OmniFocus 1?

Thanks for the great feedback! But I’m not seeing the answer to the fundamental question for this thread: overall, are you liking OmniFocus 2 more than OmniFocus 1?

My overall, gestalt reaction is that I like OF 2 more than OF 1 (and more than the previous betas of OF2 from last year). However, I’ve just begun to use the new version (I didn’t know it existed until I decided to check the site, which I’ve been doing only every month or so), and will certainly be assessing all the features and UI elements more closely.

I love it. Great job, and much nicer than the “old” v2 we beta tested last year.

Only real problem I have currently is that the integration with MailMate is rather flaky. Sometimes it takes 5-10 minutes for something to appear in the inbox, and sometimes it never appears. It might be MailMate’s fault, so I guess I should nag Benny about it as well ;)

Smaller issues:

  • When clipping from the other app (using the “Service” thing), the Quick Entry window doesn’t get focus, so it might be hidden behind the current window?
  • The Clippings Shortcut workflow was rather confusing, even to an 8-year Mac veteran like me. I didn’t see the pop-under, and just seeing the Shortcuts window in System Preferences (that starts with the “Launchpad & Dock” section) wasn’t very intuitive. I guessed (correctly) that it was in the Services section, and was further stumped by having two identical “OmniFocus: Send to Inbox” services (I still have OmniFocus 1.x installed, and both versions provide a service. So an edge case, but still rather confusing).
  • I preferred having the checkboxes on the left. Also, I’m not very fond of the new checkbox visual. The the on/off state is OK, but the reaction when clicking is a bit overwhelming, like it’s exploding.
  • More keyboard shortcuts would be nice :+1:

Hi Ken. I just downloaded the release today. I’ll need to use v2 as my primary for a bit to get a better feel. Just wanted to give you some initial impressions. I’ll be sure to post a more specific answer to the discussion question soon. :) Cheers.

I have submitted other feedback elsewhere about feature requests, bugs, etc., but to just answer the question: I am really enjoying using OmniFocus 2. After just a few days with it, it feels like OmniFocus to me, and when I go back to OmniFocus 1, it is a big shock. Sort of like how picking up a phone with iOS 6 feels.

You should all be very proud of the work that you have done – this is shaping up to be a great update to an already amazing product.

Hi, Ken. I think you’re setting the bar too low. Do I prefer OF2 to OF1? If that’s your sole question, the answer is an emphatic yes. I also prefer the current OF2 to the initial OF2 release, primarily due to perspectives and forecast.

But (and I repeat), your bar is too low. At least as expressed in your question. Because I’d extend that question beyond “is it better” to “is it insanely great - and on a scale of 1 - 10, how close is it to insanely great?”

The greatest achievement for OF2, IMO, is that you’ve reduced friction considerably relative to OF1. However, the greatest obstacle to “insane greatness” facing OF2 is the friction that remains. I won’t go into detail now, because it’s been thoroughly hashed out in other replies and on other threads (re: data density, two line views, weird positioning of the checkbox, lack of adequate contrast, lack of themes - or at least font styles and choices - difficulties in drag an drop operations, and I’m sure I am forgetting other examples…).

OF2 checks nearly all of the boxes (or should I say circles) - and removes a lot of the friction that made OF1 such a challenge. I hope you ask - and answer - the question “does this design add or reduce friction?” with every choice you make w.r.t. OF2 from here on out.

So, to answer your question - overall, I like OF2 more than OF1, knowing that’s the bar to clear. And of course I’d like to clear far higher bars. Thanks for asking!



OF2 is an amazing upgrade. It looks great, very nice designed. Forecast is an excellent tool! Much easier to use, less options but more focus and usefull. Really great job. Congratulations.

Does OF2 help Getting Things Done?

I’m not feeling the love others have professed for OF2. Right now, I prefer OF1.
For me, the acid test of OF2 should not be 'do you like it more than OF1?, but ‘does it facilitate Getting Things Done with minimal friction’?

Initial Collection

With both sidebar and inspector hidden, entering new tasks is straightforward, but for bulk entry of tasks, ‘Classic mode’ (hit return for a new item) scores over ‘Modern mode’ (hit return twice for a new item): hitting Return twice gets old very quickly when entering 200+ items.

Initial Processing

To process tasks, I’m obliged to open the Inspector: otherwise, there’s no way to set Estimated Time.

The date fields in the Inspector score over those in the Outline window, which lack a date picker (for no apparent reason).

The problem with using the Inspector is that I have to toggle between it and the Outline for every task (or at least, every task I want to have an Estimated Time, which is pretty much all of them): there doesn’t seem to be any way to advance to the next task while still in the Inspector?


There’s no way to compare the Estimated Time for all of the Actions in a Context, when this is one of the four criteria for ‘choosing actions in the moment’ (i.e. context, time, energy, priority). Perspectives allow for sorting by Estimated Time, but it’s still necessary to scroll through the Actions with the Inspector open to view the actual Estimated Time for each.


Unlike the Inbox, pressing Return in the Quick Entry Window closes the window, which is disconcerting if initial collection has accustomed you to pressing Return to create a new item in the Inbox in Classic mode, and doubly annoying if Modern mode has taught you to press Return twice, as the second Return is passed to the active program.

The Quick Entry Window has the same limitations as the Inbox — no date pickers, no Estimated Time — without access to the Inspector to overcome these limitations.


With no view of the Project list from the Inbox, having to either open a new window to view the Project list (or hit Space in the Project field) is a bit clunky.


Review mode is fine for reviewing all projects due for review on or before today, but offers no clue that there are twenty due for review tomorrow. If I build a better Review perspective, it would be nice to be able to remove the built-in Review perspective from the sidebar so as not to have two ‘Review’ perspectives to choose between.

Currently, OF1 wins on each of these points: OF2 makes every stage of the GTD process a little more awkward. To make OF2 as (or more) friction-free than OF1, I would suggest:

  1. default to ‘Classic’ mode, not ‘Modern’ mode, for data entry
  2. return the Estimated Time field to the Outline
  3. add date pickers to the date fields in the Outline and Quick Entry window
  4. support advancing to the next Outline item from the Inspector
  5. permit viewing of the Project list from the Inbox
  6. give some indication of Projects with upcoming reviews &/or support removing the built-in Perspectives from the sidebar.



Really enjoying it so far - in particular:

  • Finding it much more intuitive.
  • It takes up much less horizontal space - very welcome on my MacBook.
  • Between the side tabs and customising the view bar I now have room to pin all the perspectives I want.

The only thing I have to go back to OF1 for at the moment:

  • Manipulating the expansion state of perspectives.
  • Unregistering clients in the sync settings.

I like OF2, but I miss things like styles for big red overdue type. I’d prefer checkboxes on the left, too. It’s the way i’d do a checklist on paper. You can see what’s done at a glance.

I absolutely agree that the question of whether OmniFocus 2 is better than OmniFocus 1 isn’t the ultimate question we should be asking. We’re going to continue making OmniFocus better and better for many years to come, and it would be short-sighted to only be looking at whether it’s better than OmniFocus 1.

However, there’s a time for looking ahead to the distant horizon, and there’s a time to focus on the space between where we are now and the next intersection. We need to know what obstacles are in our path before we stop selling OmniFocus 1 to new customers and instead start selling them OmniFocus 2. We’re certainly not going to stop developing OmniFocus 2 as soon as we hit that transition—in fact, making that transition will finally give us the opportunity to start making some more fundamental changes which we’ve been impatiently planning for years. But we need to know whether the road is clear to make that transition or not, and that’s why it’s important to focus this thread on the question of whether OmniFocus 2 is ready to replace OmniFocus 1 for most customers.


Hi, Ken. Fair enough. And I’m really pleased with your answer, because I feel I’ve elicited the real answers you were looking for.

It’s not quite as broad as you posed it (although I understand why you phrased it as you did - open-ended questions are always the best focus group questions)… would it be fair to say that it really boils down to this… “Are you comfortable enough, productive enough, with OF2 to adopt it as your full-time replacement for OF1? If not, why not? And if so, then knowing what you have - today (don’t consider future enhancements - answer per the current state) - could you ever go back to OF1? If not,why not?”

So I will answer that question - I am both comfortable enough and productive enough with OF2 - after just a few days - to adopt it as a full-time replacement for OF1. Knowing what I can do with OF2, relative to my awkward attempts to “bend” OF1 to my purposes, I could not (and would not want to) go back to OF1.

Given my decisive endorsement of OF2 relative to OF1 (and actually relative to just about anything else available for GTD as of today), I still see many opportunities to reduce friction, even without changing the data structure,and I hope at least some of those opportunities are seized. Given what you can do with a new data structure, I’m excited about future enhancements also.

I hope that more directly spoke to what you are looking for in this thread, without in any way taking away from my previous comments (concerns) regarding friction.


That clarifies the question nicely.

In my mind, the main obstacle to using OmniFocus 2 as my primary task management tool is the two-line-per-task layout of the main outline view. None of the rest of my gripes are show-stoppers – they might make things a bit slower or more annoying, but they don’t don’t get in the way of the fundamental work. The action layout, on the other hand, really makes it much harder to look at all my tasks and actually understand what I need to do. The extra line reduces the data density, making it harder to fit everything on-screen. And, more important for me, interspersing the project/column label on the left with the action titles breaks up the content and is incredibly distracting.

I have been using OmniFocus 2 with good success for the last few days, but, today, when I sat down to do my weekly review, I just couldn’t do it – I needed to switch back to OmniFocus 1. I needed to review big projects filled with sub-action groups and different parallel/sequential options, and I found it very difficult to get a real sense of what was actually going on in OmniFocus 2.

Personally, if I were you, I would not ship OmniFocus 2 until you can offer an option for a denser, single-item-per-task layout.


there seem to be at least two points of view about styling. the first is a sort of down-to-earth, pragmatic attitude which says it’s just eye candy, looking cool, whatever, but the important thing is Getting Things Done, not admiring how pretty the interface is. however there are those, myself included, who see styling as an aid to focusing and efficient working. one thing i loved about OF1 was the amount of control over how the interface looked available to the user with theming, choice of typeface, and background and text colours. i’m really missing this. i love the clean and minimal interface design with OF2, and i appreciate that this could be undermined by handing over all the choice we had with OF1, but at present the approach seems a bit like Henry Ford’s - ‘any colour you like, so long as it’s black’.


small note on attribution here. i believe that Kinkless was not merlin mann’s brainchild, but a set of scripts devised by ethan schoonover.

credit where credit’s due.


To answer the question directly, OF2 is already capable of completely replacing the old version. Both looks and functionality (especially the mouse-over fields that default to invisible) help a lot to make the interface calm and less cluttered- I really like OF2!

Benefits of the new version standing out for me are:

  • Forecast perspective rocks! Now that You can drag and drop within the next month intuitive planning will be a lot easier- Calendar integration is a very helpful thing- it would be nice to have a shortcut to show/hide cal events
  • Review perspective provides enough overview to process even large projects.
  • The built-in inspector is the perfect decision! Handling changes in even the deepest specs of a task are now only a matter of memorizing where precisely the element is located in the constant inspector. This will help a lot

To sum it up, for me OF2 has improved in every respect compared to OF1, making it a complete replacement for the predecessor.

By this measure, I would say you have achieved this already. Since I migrated scripts, and perspective focus was fixed I have not had to go back to OF1 for anything.

The only thing I don’t like is an opinion (checkboxes on the right), and certainly not a reason why OF2 should not be released.

I’ve been trying to use OF 2 instead of version 1 for the last few days. I returned to v 1 today.

Without a more compact view option, OF 2 just doesn’t work for me on a MacBook Pro 13 inch. Especially the two-line display just doesn’t work for me. It makes scanning the outline more complicated. Another obstacle is that view options are hidden behind the “eye” icon. Besides, there aren’t any real new features that make the switch worthwhile.

While it’s nice to have a “quick open” feature and being able to defer items with a single click, this just doesn’t make up for the obstacles.

I’m afraid without a more compact view option, I’ll stay with version 1 for the time being.


We need to know what obstacles are in our path before we stop selling OmniFocus 1 to new customers and instead start selling them OmniFocus 2.

For me right now, nothing. I’d pay for OF2 as it is, although happily I expect it’ll get more refined as June approaches.

The density issue doesn’t currently affect me due to the way I prioritise my work (I flag a few things to work on and work through those, so I don’t often have more than 5 things on screen at once).

On my wishlist is more keyboard shortcuts (especially in review mode: go to next/previous, drop project, mark project as on hold etc.) - I’m a heavy keyboard user so the more the merrier. But as I said that’s a wishlist rather than a blocker.

I really tried to love OF2. And, in most ways I do love it as much as many other beta-testers do (see the overwhelming positive feedback on this page!!!). But, I am finding obstacles that make me go back to OF1.

Obstacle 1: Too much poking in the eye of Sauron: No more view bar and unreliable perspectives. See my post here:

Obstacle 2: Nested project structure not clear at a glance: Action groups don’t show sequential or parallel setting in the main viewer. See my post here:

Hope this feedback is helpful to the OmniGroup.

I’ll continue to be around and keep running OF2 from time to time. Hey, as I said: I am really trying to love OF2!

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