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

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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I bring the perspective of a highly technical (Software Architect) but relatively new user to OmniFocus. I never used OmniFocus 1 enough to be set in my ways.

I bought OmniFocus back in September for Mac and iPhone, but haven’t ended up using it as much as I planned. When digging into OmniFocus 1, I was quickly both amazed and overwhelmed by the sheer power of the tool. The flexibility was very attractive to me, as I never quite found a Task Manager that worked the way I liked but the price tag scared me off for quite some time. When I finally did make the leap to Omnifocus 1, I found the initial learning curve was very steep and all the power of the tool was not obvious unless you knew what you looking for.

I wanted some reasonable and helpful defaults to get me going, but then allowed me to learn more about the tool and use it to greater advantage. I was interested in the tool, since I was keeping extremely busy after all, so I wanted to make my investment in learning it gradually over time but start to reap some of the benefits early.

The first thing I notice about OmniFocus 2 when I opened it for the first time today was that everything was right out in the open. My side bar shows me the different views. A lot of the names are reasonably understandable but I think some tooltips for the sidebar icons could be helpful.

The inspect view is also right there for me to see immediately. That’s perfect. It was somewhat harder to discover in the OF1 unless you knew that inspecting was the way to get at most of the attributes about a task.

The one thing that isn’t in plain view are Perspectives. With the new design of the app, users aren’t naturally going to go hunting around the menus for features, unless they’re looking for something specific. I’d recommend having a button to “Show Perspective” on the main toolbar to highlight this powerful feature exists.

I’d also suggest leveraging the Welcome Template to orient new users to the basics to get them hitting the ground running. A few things that weren’t obvious to me right away were how to get a task out of the inbox and how to organize tasks into hierarchies.

On the UX side, I think you need better feedback on the state of the buttons on the toolbar/sidebar. The buttons don’t feel natural to me without a hover state. I’m used to seeing toolbar buttons raise when I move my mouse over them so I know I can click on them. For the view button in particular, I find the selection balloon doesn’t seem visually associated enough with the View button. It kind of looks like a speed bubble coming randomly out of the toolbar.

For the sidebar, on the other hand, you do a great job of showing context when it’s selected. It’s very obvious what UI action caused the change in perspective and which perspective I’m seeing (still no hover state change though).

It’s interesting that I’m actually trying to use OmniFocus to organize a very similar project to what you’re undertaking. We have an existing app with a loyal following of power users but dated UI that we’re trying to modernize. It’s always a balancing act between improving the user experience, while maintaining the power/efficiency that our loyal users crave.


You must work for Karelia then ;-)

I love the overall look, but I am having a really hard time with the data density, especially when I’m under pressure to scan through todos. The look of the lists are incredibly cluttered with repeating information that isn’t important when looking at todos. Note how before you could scan down a list of todos easily and just see them broken by category/folder. Now you’re gaze is interrupted on each line by the attachment graphic and context name. Also the due dates on the left no longer align with the grid, and cause visual distraction by having a random flow to them.

That’s my main complaint that isn’t related to a bug or partially completed feature.


I fear, as is often the case, that I’m in the relative minority in my general dislike of OF2.

That’s not to say I don’t like it; there are some aspects that I can appreciate (such as the Review mode), but overall, I don’t see OF2 as moving OF1 forward in any meaningful way.

In making into OF2 a modern looking app, I fear it hasn’t actually been modernized, and in fact many things are now more difficult to do than they are in OF1.

Now, understand this comes from a long-time user of OF1; was using some of the earliest betas, after having used the OmniOutliner AppleScripts that were the progenitor of OF. This is all to say that I’m pretty set in my ways and will find it hard to shift off OF1 without compelling improvements.

Here are a few bullet-point examples of issues I’ve found after a week or so of using OF2 only (no OF1 usage except to confirm behavior there):

  • No way to select an entire library. (The workaround is to create one more top-level folder and put everything in there, which is what OF1 basically did by default.)

  • Note icon is way too small and hard to distinguish

  • All the wasted space (“Data Density” seems to be the phrase of choice here), with the double lines for each action

  • No way to sort items in the list (e.g. by date added, changed, etc) except by selecting everything and applying a sort (which has odd behavior like moving items out of their folders)

  • The Note and Context are inexplicably separated from the Defer/Due Date and “checkbox”

  • There are way too many clicks needed to do stuff. No longer can you select a Project on the sidebar, hit [Return] and get a new action (instead you get a new project). No longer can you click and edit; you now need to click to select, then click to edit (sometimes requiring three clicks because the second click selects the entirety of the contents).

  • Despite long-standing requests, Contexts without Available actions still show up in the Contexts list

Well, I could go on, but I won’t bother.

Some of these are probably bugs; others are likely design choices that I don’t anticipate will change without a vocal user outcry.

I’m sure with enough time and effort I can learn to appreciate the differences, but I was hoping OF2 would make things easier, not harder to track my stuff.


I am agree with points 3 and 5. Evens that, forecast mode make a big diffrence for OF2.

I don’t really use Forecast mode, so this is ill-informed comment at best, but the calendar display seems — like much in OF2 — to be a step back, not forward.

This screenshot shows today (my day off!) on the iPad, iPhone and iMac, relative sizing as they appear to me on the respective devices.

I can see at a glance on the iPad and iPhone views that I have a nice block of free time from 9am. At first glance, the iMac view seems to show me occupied until 10am.

The iPhone display, with the appointment labels clearly distinct from the allocated time by virtue of being uncoloured and on a separate line, gives a better sense of my commitments and free time than OF2 for Mac.

Colouring the appointment labels, making the colour bolder than the time box and placing some — but not all — labels outside the time box for the appointment make for an inferior display.

Splitting tasks across two lines has made the Outline view harder to scan. Smushing appointments into a single line has made the Forecast view harder to scan.


Much better: Review and Forecast mode. Inspector.

Prefer from OF1; task data in columns (that I can sort or easily change) and not in 2 lines. Check box in the left.

At this time I´m still using OF1

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It’s so much cleaner in terms of layout than 1. I love the ability to quick edit a task on the left, as you select it rather tahn having to pull up its information.

Adding and categorising tasks is a lot lot easier.

The forecast view, integrated with my calendars, is such a useful thing to look at at the start of each day.

I wouldn’t go back. So far after using it for two days, it’s been so much better for me than 1. I’m sure there will be things that I would change as I use it more, but from what I can see so far, it’s awesome. I’m not a power user, but for someone who uses it every day, a big fan of where this is headed.


I’m liking the OF2. I have 2 days into exploring it and getting to know some of the new features. Visually it’s stunning. The interface is much more Mac circa 2014 and in some way the menu layouts have become cleaner. The side-bar is extremely helpful. When doing a full on project review it’s much easier having that information at your fingertips rather than having to dive into menus or options to change. The forecast tools have become my daily go-to on the iOS version of the app. So much so that for my daily and weekly review sessions I would only do them on the iPad. Now that this has been carried over to the Mac app it’s a pleasure to have this versatility on either platform. There are some bugs and some things that need to be cleaned up however viewing the change logs and understanding the group of extremely talented people that are involved with this project I have full faith that the product shipping to the consumer will be superb. Today I only used Omnifocus 2 and really enjoyed the experience. I worked in it for several hours today and had no need to revert back to Omnifocus 1.