Perspective with Context Hierarchy doesn't show contexts on tasks and projects - just wondering why?

Here are my perspectives settings, which I use every day:

The Focus field is for a folder.

I just don’t get it why context is excluded from the task. Doesn’t make sense.

You can save your sidebar selection as part of the perspective, which will restrict the content area to just tasks assigned to those selected contexts.

@KyleS I want to see all the contexts in that case, but it’s not the problem I’m writing about.

I’m asking:

What is the reasoning behind that, in a custom perspective with a context hierarchy, it is impossible to see the context of a task? Why the functionality if like that? I want to understand what would be a reason for that for the big idea/approach. It was designed like that for a purpose. I want to understand what is the purpose and reason for that functionality.

Someone from Omni will have to give you the official answer. There are two answers that I can provide:

  1. You can always see the context of a task by showing the inspector panel. Selecting a task shows all its data, including Context.
  2. You’re perpective prioritizes Due Date over Context. You’ve effectively told OF that Context matters only insofar as it populates your perspective (per @KyleS’s response above). From that point on, you’ve told OF that Due Date is the organizing principle in that perspective.

I now prefer the lack of column vie win OF2 v. OF1. I like not having the Context visible in perspectives like the one you’ve constructed. You can always create another perspective and switch easily via the keyboard to get two views on tasks important to your goal.

That way I see the context only of 1 task.

For some perspectives I need the sorting done truly by “Due,” so I’m left with sorting and grouping by “Due.”
I need context hierarchy because otherwise I don’t see truly the due for tasks.

Is there any particular reason why seeing context is not preferred by you?
I’m assuming you wouldn’t prefer to see contexts in the Forecast perspective as well, am I correct?
Do you use Forecast?

The point is, it is impossible to create anything close besides already existing Forecast perspective. Switching windows, perspectives won’t do.

I need a Forecast perspective for only one area of responsibility, the folder. I need to quickly see what’s upcoming and see contexts, which determine important information for me.

@KyleS is this coming anytime soon? Forecast is exactly that kind of perspective, so it’s already there.

A task in the perspective with Context Hierarchy:

Exactly the same task in the Forecast perspective:

Why not Group by Context, and then Sort by Due in your custom perspective? That’s what I use for my Communications perspective, which lists all the email and phone calls I need to make.

If you still do not want to group by Context, you can still see all the Contexts which populate your Due Soon perspective by looking at the Sidebar panel. If you select one or more of the Contexts there you will see all of the tasks which are labeled with that Context.

I certainly don’t want to see all my due dates, all my contexts, and all my task names in a custom perspective. That, for me, is satisfied by the Projects perspective.

Thanks for the ideas.

I’m curious how is it “satisfied by the Projects perspective” for you? I’m curious about your process, maybe I’m missing something.
You can’t view tasks in a Projects based perspective like in the Forecast perspective.
Any examples on the difference between what would the Projects perspective do better than the Forecast, if you would want to see tasks just by the due date (like people view in the Forecast perspective)?

@TheWart I’m not sure what wasn’t clear for you. I will write in points, so it will be harder to miss:

  • I started the topic because I want to understand what is the reason that it is designed like that. I feel I’m missing something, which could help me to improve my workflow.
  • Forecast already has the Due only view and people use it.
  • It’s impossible to focus on one single area of responsibility (folder, project) and see all the task in the order of due date, like in Forecast.
  • @TheWart, regarding your statement:
    • Choosing contexts in Sidebar make is impossible to view regardless the context. I don’t know what’s not clear about what I wrote and the problems, that you’re suggesting that in the first place.
    • Exactly the same goes for Inspector.
  • @TheWart, I’ll write using your quote:
    If you “don’t want to see all your due dates, all [your] contexts, and all [your] task names in a custom perspective”, it just means you don’t need to view tasks in the order of due only, and probably you use Forecast for day to day processing, or don’t use it, because you don’t have need for it. Either way, that doesn’t mean there is no answer to the topic of this post.
  • @TheWart, the facts are that the Forecast perspective already has that option, to view the context, people use it, it works great, and people do not complain about that, or say that they don’t like to have the Forecast perspective where they can view tasks by due date:

@TheWart, a few questions to you:
Is it bad for you to see the due date twice in the Forecast perspective?
Why is it bad for you to see context in the task in a context based perspective, like in the Forecast perspective?
Why is it bad to have the ability to very easy reassign any tasks to another context, which you can do in Forecast?

John has different areas of responsibility, 3 of them are:

  • Home
    • including family, his kids, their school, his parents, wife, house maintenance and repair, bills
  • Work
    • including multiple co-workers, with many projects and more tasks
    • some co-workers are present also in other areas of responsibility of John
  • Travel
    • there are several trips planned this year, which John has a couple of projects for and still a long to do list to do before he leaves

Assuming John has his own system/process in OF, which works great for him, and that he is a very strict follower of the GTD method:

  • John is unable to see the bills exclusively for the Home area of responsibility (some of them payed thru the same channels as his bills for car, etc.). He also can’t see materials and tools necessary to buy only for the Home. Etc.
  • In John’s Waiting context are people who also figure in his other areas, besides Work. It is impossible for him, to see all work related tasks by due date. Mostly, he is interested to see with one quick glance, how many people are close to the deadline. He switches to the Forecast for a quick view, but it’s all mixed with many different tasks. Luckily he noticed, a task which includes Mary, the co-worker, has a close deadline, but it’s still on waiting. He better send her a reminder. It’s good he puts Due dates in tasks with the Waiting context (Waiting ▸ Mary) to inform him when is the latest date to receive documents from Mary. Not so good that he cannot see that in his custom Contexts Hierarchy perspective, Clients.
    • John got the response from Mary, that the task was delegated to Adam, but he is unable to edit the context quickly in his perspective.
  • I think we get the idea.


  • Forecast has it, people use it, no one complains on seeing the date twice, no one would complain seeing the context twice
  • Would help to easily and quickly 1) see all the contexts for an area(s) of responsibility and 2) edit the changes without the need to take the hands of the keyboard, going to inspector or switching perspectives (easier and faster processing with the ⇥ key or other keys)
  • Customized Forecast view for desired areas of responsibility