What to use OO for? (For Omnifocus users)


I keep reading about Omnioutliner and how people use it with Omnifocus. I downloaded the trial to give it a shot but I can’t manage to understand what the application is good for.

For me as a user who has close to his entire life in Omnifocus, do I need Outliner? What do you use it for that Omnifocus can’t?

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I recently purchased OmniOutliner mainly for writing business process user documentation. I’m working on my first draft now and finding it quite helpful. I could do the job in Word but it would require a lot more effort to keep things consistent and tidy. OO is good for imposing a structure to my work.

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I can´t tell what you need, since I don´t know your needs. But I can tell you how I use the program and why I think it´s valuable.

To summon I use OO for reference notes and as a part in my workflow for develop ideas to solid projects.

I use OO in many ways. Foremost I have a workflow where I mindmap, export to .opml, open in OO and work more with the text, maybe go back and forth between mindnode and OO to develop my idea, finally I export the text again and open it in Scrivener where I write my final draft.

I have about the same workflow when I brainstorm and develop project ideas and projects, except that I don´t do the final draft in Scrivener, instead I drag the oo-file over to OF and make a projekt of it there.

I also use OO for notes, and since I can view OO-doucments in Devon Think, I use it for reference notes of different kinds to projects in OF.

Kindest regards

There have been a couple good threads where users have shared their uses for outliner. Here’s a reply I made that includes my uses and links to those threads.

For uses with OmniFocus, I’ve heard of a couple. Some people prefer to keep checklists there since you can have a column for ticking things off. Another use is as a daily task list, after you’ve analysed and prioritised in OmniFocus, some people find value in not having it open all the time and presenting them with temptation or perhaps taunting them.

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@dvcrn, I guess you could use Omnifocus as an Omnioutliner Light, as it is possible to organize items hierarchically – like in an outliner – in Omnifocus. But your Omnifocus structure would suffer from it, as you would then get items that aren’t doable tasks. Omnioutliner also more willingly accepts all kinds of material. It’s great for creating structure in dissimilar material containing of for example text parts and screenshots. Here are some more of my thoughts about using Omnioutliner:
Uses for Omnioutliner

Then the use of columns is a feature in Omnioutliner not existing in Omnifocus. To me, that feature will get a leverage when The Omni Group in the next version of Omnioutliner will make filtering possible. Then I will probably consider Omnioutliner as my lightweight database app. I use Filemaker extensively, but for less pre-planned databases in smaller dimensions, I think Omnioutliner will be great. It will let me gather structured information and filter it for seeing only whatever information that is meaningful for the moment.

I use Outliner to capture information on a project by project basis (I’m a project manager by profession). A new project gets a new file, and then I use the outline structure for various categories of information (Requirements, Governance, Stakeholders, Testing, Training etc etc). I’ll capture notes, documents, mail etc, so that I have a kind of one-stop-shop with all the info for my project.

I used to use Circus Ponies Notebook for this, but that got shut down. I can’t get on with MS Onenote (too little structure).

OO has two major weaknesses for my purposes: there’s no clipping/forwarding service, so on a Mac you have to copy/paste or drag/drop and on IOS there’s no usable method (copy/paste on IOS is too limited); and there’s no filtering (it’s on its way, though.


i use it mainly for transcripts during conference calls, lectures, sessions or on the go. The indentation hotkeys makes it really great for capturing much information in a short time period in a hierarchical order. I use it to develop and structure big new projects before they go to omnifocus.
And one of the best use cases is the direct ppt export, so that you can prestructure your slidedeck.

EDIT: And in combination with omnifocus i really like it as an extended clipboard for tasks, when you need to get your OF information elsewhere…

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I use it for a similiar scenario like yours. But where do you keep your todos regarding that porject? What I do for now is I create a Project in OF and link that in OO. Thanks!

When this was my workflow, I kept to-dos in OmniFocus - I mirrored the OO structure in OF projects (similar to what you do, if I’ve understood properly.

However, my workflow has changed a lot in the past year. I really struggled with the lack of a clipping service for OO. I now use a combination of:

DevonTHINK - has a great clipping service and highly scriptable. DT items can be sent to OF as actions
Curio - for high level planning, from which I can define a set of OF tasks.
Tinderbox for ‘blue-sky’ thinking, prior to the Curio planning.

Both Curio and Tinderbox work well with DevonTHINK.

So I don’t use OO as much as I used to

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Thank you very much for your response! I just found out for myself, that it is the BEST way not to store any todos in any project etc. (nevertheless whether it is in oo, in dtpo or evernote.). I made it a habit / or lets say Im forcing myself to store all my todos in OF, even if they fit very nicely into the project im working on right now. I just found out that this is the best way to proceed for me. otherwise I will loose track of my todos.