Stop empty projects from appearing in my "Available" perspective

I have been struggling a bit with the OF2 learning curve. After reading a lot of posts, I figured out a simple workflow that I think will work for me, based on 4 perspectives.

My “Available” perspective simply lists available next actions, with this recipe:

  • Don’t use project hierarchy
  • Group Actions by: Project
  • Sort Actions by: Due
  • Filter by Status: Any Status
  • Filter by Availability: Available
  • Filter by Duration: Any Duration
  • Filter Contexts: Remaining

Works great, except for one thing: empty projects (ie, projects that do not have any tasks in them) appear in the list. I hope this upload works:

“Fix M&A” is an empty project, although OF is showing me the project title twice (which I don’t understand), once as the project title and once as a next action (but there is no next action in this project).

Is there a way to stop OF from displaying empty projects in this perspective?

I realize one response might be “don’t have empty projects,” but I sometimes do, and that actually works for my workflow. I realize I could just defer the empty projects, but then I get into the game of having to keep deferring the empty projects, and I understand that, in fact, this may what OF is trying to force me to do.

Appreciate any thoughts or comments. Thank you.

OF2 Newbie

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Have you tried unchecking “include projects and groups” at the bottom of the Organization preference pane?


I created a perspective following your directions and although I have a couple of projects that are temporarily empty I did not encounter the issue you documented. I thought that my empty projects being single-action made the difference, but changing them to parallel like you have in your example did not change the result.

I also had the preference lucasburke mentions checked, but unchecking it did not change anything.

I haven’t been much help other than to encourage you to contact Omni support directly from the app’s help menu. Perhaps with the new anonymize database feature they can identify what is different about the empty projects.

Thank you both very much for your advice. I tried the switch lucasburke suggested, but saw no change. Perhaps my database is the issue, and I will contact Omni directly.

Learning about and setting up perspectives has been more of a struggle than I anticipated, but I am getting there.


Hi there,

I (think) have the same question. Here is my project in ‘Projects’ view:

And here are my ‘Today’ perspective settings:

In that view, this project is displayed as:

When I now DEFER the first item, the container remains visible with no available items in it:

The only way to get rid of that record in the list is by deferring the container. Is it possible to hide empty (no currently available items in it) projects until there is a non-deferred item available?

I tried working with folders, and also deferring the containers, but that gets really messy.



I think @lucasburke’s’suggestion is what you’re looking for: uncheck the box "Include projects and groups" in Preferences>Organization. Have you tried?


Yes, I also tried disabling that ‘include projects and groups’ setting. Same problem. Also I notice that when I defer an item for 1 minute, and then defer the container for one month (for example), when the 1 minute deferred item has passed (so should show up again) it doesn’t show up because the container is still deferred.

I’m afraid that OmniFocus won’t do what you’re looking for, at the moment. If you could send a feature request to, we’d love to add it to the list!

The difficulty is that the project in question is Active, and while actions can inherit state from projects, the reverse isn’t typically the case. In addition, the checkbox in Preferences only affects “Don’t use project hierarchy” custom perspectives, so won’t make any difference in this situation.

As for the container deferral overriding the action deferral, that sounds like an excellent report to include in that same email. We’re encountering a logical structure vs. workflow issue, and we could likely make that work better!


Thanks for the response, Orion. Not what I wanted to hear, but I appreciate the response.

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I created the feature request, so hope that OmniFocus developers will implement it.

However, there maybe is a different solution! Isn’t it possible to use AppleScript to defer all empty groups for 1 day? Then at least it is off the list. A cron can run this scripts frequently. Who can write this Apple Script?

I actually found a script that can be used for this job. But it needs to be altered:

After fine-tuning my OmniFocus I now actually switched from grouping by Project to grouping by Context. I noticed that when I see all projects I still do not have a good overview. However, the context grouping seems to work much better for me. Especially since I watched the great video’s by David Sparks at and now have perfect meaning contexts. With this change my problem has been solved :-)

Bumping to keep the hope for this alive… This one bugs me every day I open my custom perspective. It clutters what should be a simple view.

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I agree, I’d like to see this too. What’s interesting is that in some ways, the “Stalled” status (which appears to apply to a project when no action is available) is an example of a project inheriting its state from an action. That is, Project = Stalled if Actions = 0. I’m hoping to see a similar idea: Project = Pending if Action has Deferred Date (— or some such).

Is this one any closer to being implemented? Why using Project Hierarchy in a custom perspective, I don’t want to see projects that don’t have any available tasks under them.

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+1 for hiding empty projects when Project Hiearchy is turned on in a custom perspective. After more than a year, what is the status of this request?

+1 What’s up with this, this was like the first thing I wanted to do with my custom perspectives when I installed the trial.

Edit: For those coming from google, there’s actually a solution - There’s a ‘is not a project or group’ filter rule, my bad!


@benshaw just created an account on the forum to say thanks you — looks like this option, buried somewhere in the view options — does precisely that!