Unclear which Flagged items are counted in Item Count badge and why

From what I can tell, Flagged items that are deferred do not show in the Item Count in the badge and menu bar, but Flagged items that are blocked by another task in a sequential project or task group do show.

This is frustrating, as it ends up showing a higher number of items than are visible in the Flagged perspective (or any other similar perspective), and there’s no easy way to find the blocked flagged items short of showing all Remaining flagged items which show both those that are blocked by a sequential task and by being deferred the same (grey).

To my way of thinking, the count should accurately reflect due or flagged items that are currently available to complete. Either that, or all flagged items both deferred and blocked should be in the count - the rules shouldn’t be different depending on the reason you can’t see the item. It’s too confusing. And I much prefer the option of only counting flagged items that are available to complete.

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There’s a lot of subtle variations in how people choose to use OmniFocus, but we tried to make the counting match what we think will work well for the most common productive flows we see.

  • The flag counting logic was chosen to reflect the number of flagged items you can make progress towards. If an action is available and flagged, you can reduce your flagged actions by simply doing the item. So it gets counted.
  • If an action is flagged but unavailable due to a preceding action in a sequential project, you can (presumably) make progress towards addressing the flagged action by doing the preceding action. So the flagged item gets counted.
  • If an action is flagged but deferred into the future, you can’t make progress on it by taking any direct action right now. So it doesn’t get counted.

I hope that helps make sense of the current behavior, even if it’s not your preference.

So this behaviour is by design? That’s crazy. At the very least this should be controllable by a setting, even if it’s a hidden setting. A flagged item that is blocked by another task is no different than one that is blocked by a deferral; in both cases they’re blocked specifically because no movement can be made on them right now.

For example, the blocking task in the project in question requires a different context to perform (i.e. I need to be at home but I’m currently at work), so the presumption that movement can be made is false. That’s actually the entire point of sequential projects, that a task needs to be done before another task can become available.


What’s the best way for me to find out which of my flagged tasks are the ones showing up in the dock badge? As far as I can tell, there isn’t a way to create a perspective that can show this. How can this be the intended behaviour?

While I agree that this behavior is unexpected (I never ran into it- but then again I am not so much into sequential projects)…

A perspective showing You only flagged and available tasks should do what you want it to…

Another workaround would be to defer the flagged item, which makes it disappear until the defer date/time is reached (exception:forecast view, where it will appear at the deferred day)

Hi Mat,

I have a perspective that shows me only the flagged (and due) tasks I have that are currently available. The problem is that the dock count is higher than what is shown in this perspective, because it’s also counting flagged tasks that are blocked by another task in a sequential project.

As far as I can tell, there’s actually no way in OmniFocus to just see the tasks that OF is counting as flagged in the dock icon if any of them are blocked in a sequential task. There is literally no way to see a list of tasks that agrees with the dock icon count in this scenario. In other words, it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack if you happen to have this scenario, which I do, all the time.

You’re right that a workaround is to defer such blocked tasks, but my problem is that I’m having trouble just finding them.

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ahahahaha…ha… Not so funny, actually… re-reading lizards clear statement again I can’t currently think of a solution for you at the current state of the app logic…
well, apart maybe from a “all flagged in system” perspective, that you then have to search those hidden tasks for (the project structure flattening out is no real supporter there, either ;-/…)

Does it make you feel better to know that you have company in misery? You have, now ;-)

Im having the same problem!

I really hate that the app badge will count projects which are flagged, when the flagged perspective (set to show available tasks) does not. It leads to a discrepancy and I always have to spend time trying to track down that flagged project.

And as you mentioned, a badge count discrepancy also happens when I flag tasks in a sequential project. Even if I’m stuck on the first task of the sequential project, the app badge counts the rest of the flagged tasks, whereas they are not counted in the Flagged perspective which shows available tasks. This is even harder to track down for me.

A bit frustrating that the badge (which should show flagged tasks) has a different count than the Flagged perspective inside the app.

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While it’s obviously imperfect, I’ve pretty much given up on using the Flagged badge count entirely. It can be turned off in preferences, and arguably if it’s not useful, I see no point in having it there at all.

My badge count is limited to overdue items, as those are the ones that end up being the most urgent and that I want to be actively reminded of every time I look at my dock. For everything else, I just stay on top of my perspectives – I prefer to only have numbers and alerts showing up on my icons if there’s some actual urgency to them, but that’s just my own personal preference, obviously.

FWIW, I don’t use badge counts on the iOS app at all – since there’s no reliable background sync mechanism, and I move between my MacBook and iPhone a couple of dozen times per day, the count on the iPhone gets stale really quickly. Again, I’m OCD about my badge counts reflecting things that actually require my attention – to the point where I coded my own push notification plug-ins into OS X Lion Server to ensure the iOS Mail badge count is always correct… nothing worse than opening an app because you think something is there only to discover later that the item was dealt with but the icon count wasn’t updated.

Same here, I’ve disabled badges for OmniFocus on all my devices. They’re a mess and only lead to confusion.

It’s a year-and-a-half later and I’m getting back into Omnifocus after using another product for a while. It is working out well, but I just ran into the same problem described here. I have a sequential project but the next action is to go shopping, which I can’t do until tomorrow. I finished all of my currently due tasks, but the counter still showed on the dock icon. Through trial and error I figured out the problem, and see that it is the sequential task issue described here. I’m thinking that because the first task in the sequence is deferred until tomorrow, the subsequent tasks should not show up in the counter now because there is nothing I can do about them. I can’t think of a useful situation where tasks that depend on another task that is deferred to the future should show up in reminders. Fixing this just takes some programming. I worked around it by deferring the subsequent tasks until tomorrow, but I shouldn’t have to do that.