View Use Preferences Doesn't

I’m a keyboard kind of guy and I prefer the one line layout, so I’ve set my (global) preferences layout for custom view and checked off all columns. This lets me rapidly tab across and change most anything I need to on a task and generally speeds up my workflow, or at least it should. Since the default for all views is Layout Use Preferences that’s really what I should get. Except Omnifocus doesn’t use those preferences it decides what’s right for me on each view.

  • Inbox I don’t seem to get contexts - this one’s really strange because I’m sure I used to
  • On the project view I don’t get a column for projects
  • Contexts I don’t get contexts
  • Review I don’t get projects
  • I don’t remember what it did on the forecast before I changed it but it wasn’t pretty
  • etc.

Furher, if I switch to a custom view and select my columns, when I go to the perspectives list it still shows use preferences. Everything else may be by design, but this is almost certainly a bug.

Now I understand in each of those cases that it’s removing what it thinks is redundant – I have the projects out to the side in projects and review, contexts in contexts. Except the sidebar shouldn’t count because if I, for example, uncheck contexts and select Use Preferences it isn’t as though that sidebar goes away.

Maybe this is the behavior that everybody wants and I’m just being pedantic. But, very simply, Use Preferences doesn’t do what it says its going to. Instead, I’ve had to go through each view switch to custom layout and manually check off each box, making the global setting irrelevant.

At this point, I’m setup the way I want, so it’s sort of irrelevant, but it does sort of feel like I’ve had to use a work around that I shouldn’t have needed.

That’s it, I guess. Anyone else have any thoughts on it?

Could you take a screenshot of the Layout area of your preferences panel? I’m especially interested in the status of the lowest two items under Custom Columns which you can uncheck to control most of this behavior.

Sorry for the trouble. It’s a bit tough to tell what your setting are without a photo, but you may want to be sure in your preferences, and any custom perspectives that do not use the preferences that those two items are unchecked.

They weren’t checked but hitting reset and then unchecking them seems to have done it.

Actually, you’ll see in the screenshot that those controls are no longer have any effect. Past that I can have different settings in my perspectives menu and context view settings. At the moment the view setting seems to be overriding the perspective menu, but I’ve seen it both ways…

So my problem seems to be solved but there are still a few kinks.

Thanks for the reply! This is making more sense now that I can see your preferences.

If your window isn’t wide enough to display everything selected in the center outline view, columns will truncate which may be why you can’t see the contexts in your inbox. Looking at your screenshot, with the sidebar and inspector up, it’s unlikely that all of those columns will fit in the view.

A few options to try to help you detect the cause & possibly select a workaround that is best for your needs:

  1. Try a smaller font size in Style preference. System font at the smallest size shows the most columns in my testing here.
  2. Close the Inspector and see if more columns can show.
  3. Close the sidebar and view the columns.
  4. Try full screen width and see which columns appear.
  5. In each view, go into View settings and make sure you have it set to “Use Preferences” if you’d moved away from that as part of a test.

I hope some of these suggestions can help get your view settings consistent across all of OmniFocus. Sorry that it has been a bit difficult to get them all configured. Window size, style selections like your font and text size, and even the length of your project and context names all impact how many columns can be displayed in each view. In views with the inspector and the sidebar taking up room, this can be a bit tricky to configure. Good luck!

If you need some more specific help, please contact our support humans, who can be reached by email to