Sequence of Actions

Hi all,

I am not sure how to do the following in OF1 or on my iPhone (OF2).

I need to schedule a date in the library (item 1); as soon as I schedule the date, I need to let someone else know that I’ve done so (item 2). I tend to forget about doing item 2.

I do not know the exact date on which I will accomplish item 1, so it is hard to predict a date until which I can defer item 2.

I have been thinking of making item 1 the parent and item 2 the child, but if i check of item 1 (the parent), won’t item 2 be deleted as well automatically?

If I create a parent and make item 1 and item 2 children, I am getting stuck with what to call the parent….

This is a minor but annoying for me problem.

Your suggestions would be highly appreciated.

OmniFocus considers parent items to be containers for the children; checking off the parent completes all the items inside the container.

The task you’re describing sounds like a sequential project. When you complete step 1, step 2 will automatically become available so you can be reminded to complete that as well.

I’ll be happy to provide steps for you to do that, but can you clarify which version of the app you have installed on each device? Your post mentions both OF1 and OF2 in different contexts, but if you let me know (for example) “I have OmniFocus 1 on my Mac” or whatever, I be better equipped to help. Thanks!

I have OF1 on my Mac and OF2 on my iPhone.

Both of the tasks I am referring to are part of a large project. I do not want to create a separate project for these tasks because such sequential tasks occur quite often for me within the same project.

I would be interested to know how to do the sequencing in both OF1 (on my mac) and OF2 (on my iPhone) because when I am at work, I only use my iPhone to enter tasks.

Thanks in advance.

I personally think that the best way is to make them the same action: notify whomever it is right when you make the reservation and before you check off the task.

Another option is to give the “notification” action a special context that you check for available actions at the end of every day. Make a sequential action group with the reservation as the first task and the notification as the second; give the notification task your special notification context. It will only be available after you make the reservation; if you don’t notify whomever right away, you will still catch that task at the end of the day when you review that context.

To make a sequential action group in OF1 Mac, select any action and hit shift-G to surround it in an action group; you can then toggle it from parallel to sequential.

On the iPhone, you have to make an action that will be your group and then move an action into it from the info pane. Then, you can change it to a sequential action group by tapping on the name of the group when you are looking at its actions.

I think I will follow your first suggestion–make them the same action. It would be nice to get the satisfaction of checking an item off, but I will go for the easier option.


In retrospect, I should have said “sequential project or action group” in my response - the latter can exist inside a project. Apologies!

In OF 1 for Mac, you’d create such a setup with the following steps:

  1. Add a row to the existing project: give it whatever name appropriately encapsulates the two steps for you.
  2. Select Outlining -> Add child from the menu bar. The resulting action will represent step one. Name it appropriately.
  3. Hit return on the keyboard to add a row that’s a peer of the one you added in the previous step - that will be step 2.
  4. You can now select the container row you created in the first step and use the “group” pane of the inspector to make the group sequential.

To make the steps easier for other visitors to find, I posted the steps used to create an action group in the iPhone app over in that forum. I hope that helps!

Hi @Brian I’m having a similar problem which I posted about earlier today. In your solution, using Amy’s project example above, she creates:
Parent: Library Meeting

  • Child 1: book a conference room at the library
  • Child 2: call Linda to advise her of conference appointment

If her larger project is Sequential and her Project View is set to show only available tasks, then once she completes the last task leading up to this group, then this would appear:
Parent: Library Meeting

  • Child 1: book a conference room at the library

An easy mistake for her to make (or at least one I worry about making) would be to book the conference room and then check the Parent task as complete, instead of checking Child 1. In this case, Child 2 is never revealed as a “next action” and instead the next parent action pops up.

Is there an option to set up an Action Group up such that the Child Actions must be completed individually before you can mark the parent as complete? This would a great safeguard against mistakenly marking tasks as complete–especially in sequential projects/action groups when you can’t even see what you may have mistakenly marked.

(btw, I’m using OmniFocus 2 for Mac)

In an action view the parent will not be available unless all of the children are complete. Does that help?

Thanks for the reply, @lucasburke. Yes, that sounds like exactly what I want, but I’m not quite sure what you mean by “an action view.” Or anyway, I’m not getting this result… In my view settings, I’ve tried toggling between “First Available,” “Available,” and “Remaining” views, and none seem to disable clicking Parents before all the children are complete. Am I missing a step?
I’ve tried all sorts of combinations of Parallel, Sequential, and Single Action projects with Parallel and/or Sequential action groups underneath…

Hey again @lucasburke, actually I went back and I’m seeing now that in the Context perspective, I’m able to work through exactly what you describe. By giving all of the actions in a specific project the same context, I’m able to tick through the children sequentially before being allowed to click the parent. That’s great. I just wish it was an option in the projects perspective, since that’s the perspective I generally use.

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