Wish: Show Top-level Folder in a Custom Perspective

When I add a new task to OmniFocus with a ⇧⌘Space shortcut, the Quick Entry popup window prompts me for the details. In this post, I want to focus on the “project” name:

The Project dropdown menu is a “folder : project” list. My folders are the names of clients, friends & organizations. You’ll note that many of the folders have like-named projects (e.g., Mac, FileMaker, admin). The two-fields-in-one make it easy to select from the menu with just a few keystrokes.

My “Due Soon” custom perspective shows a list with these columns: Project, Tags, Due Date, Note Button, and Flag Button.

The serious shortcoming of this custom perspective is the “Project” column shows only the project names, leaving me to guess the top-level client, friend or organization folder name. For example, who asked for a Mac “upgrade to Mojave”???

I’m posting this for advice & discussion before emailing a feature request to the OmniFocus team.

– Ward

P.S. After a very helpful conversation with Aaron (Omni Group Tech Support), I updated the title of this post, replacing “Top-level Project” with “Top-level Folder” and made that terminology correction in the body of this post.

you could go about this in several ways with the tools available now I think.

Add the name as a tag next to the name as the top level, so you know who asked for the change. Or instead of “name: mac” / “name:admin” as projects you could do just a project named “Mac” with the name added as a tag.

I do get your point however that sometimes showing some level of project info might be useful.

Interestingly, full paths for nested tags ARE shown, which almost makes me wonder whether it would be effective to invert the use of tags vs. projects.

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Thank you @Janov and @noemi for your comments about Tags.

Using Tags doesn’t work well in my situation because (1) I have hundreds of open tasks with “person name : project name” notation and thousands of closed tasks, (2) it seems awkward to reverse that notation, and (3) I’m already using Tags for other purposes, e.g., task priority.

I also think that using more tags is the way to go. You can create several groups of tags in addition to task priority, and apply as many as needed to actions. In addition to each person, ‘Mac’, ‘FileMaker’, etc, look like good candidates for tags since they indicate the tool (context) to be used for a task.

Many perspectives will show a selection of actions across many projects in the database, so it’s useful for every action to be sufficiently described by the combination of its: project name + tags + action name. For this reason, I recommend against relying too much on action groups or project folders to provide meaning to things that they contain.

If you prefer not to modify all your existing tasks, there is a less elegant quick fix: change the project names to fully describe them: ‘Anita Admin’, ‘Anita Mac’, ‘Becky Admin’, etc. There will be duplicated information in the full path in the selection drop-down list, but your perspectives will be clear.

One thing I failed to mention is that I have years of experience with OmniFocus 1, where the person name (i.e., top-level folder) and their groups of tasks (i.e., projects) both displayed in my “Due Soon” custom perspective.

I’m a recent convert to OmniFocus 3, prompted by a new iMac running a current release of macOS.

After a very helpful conversation with Aaron (Omni Group Tech Support), I updated the title of this post, replacing “Top-level Project” with “Top-level Folder” and made that terminology correction in the body of the original post and my subsequent replies.

Aaron added our conversation and a link to this topic to an existing feature request for including Folder name in Custom Perspectives. If you’d like this enhancement, please let the developers know with a brief email to support@omnigroup.com. The more users they hear from, the more likely we’ll see Folder names in a future OmniFocus release.

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