Your Top 3 New Features for OmniFocus Mac

I became inordinately excited when I read the OmniGroup’s January 24, 2017 blog entry detailing potential upcoming changes to OmniFocus. I wanted to invite everyone to share your top three potential new features on your wish list. What three new features would make you most productive?

Here are the top three features on my wish list:

1. Estimated Time Totals Displayed in Group Headings (e.g, by Project, Context, etc.)

Right now, the total number of items in a project or a context is displayed in the project or context heading. OmniFocus also shows an item count at the bottom of the window. It would save me so much time planning if the program summed all the estimated time and displayed it alongside the total number of items. This way you could see instantly how much time a particular list of items will take to accomplish.

2. Conditional Formatting of Item Backgrounds

This feature would permit background coloring of items based on conditional criteria. For example, highlight all items for a given project in light blue. Highlight all items in High Priority context in light red. Highlight all items with a $ character in it in light green, etc.

3. The Ability Choose More Than One Context for a Given Item

This finally looks like it’s coming, based on the 1/24/17 blog entry. Fingers crossed.


I wrote this in April 2014:

As of March 2017:

  1. there still aren’t date pickers in the date fields of the main Outline and the Quick Entry Window
  2. still can’t see Project List from Inbox
  3. still can’t see Projects with upcoming reviews (e.g. tomorrow) in the Review Perspective.

Also, when viewing Stalled Projects, beginning to add an Action immediately removes the Project from the Perspective, rather than when adding the Action is complete (i.e. when the Project is no longer stalled).

All of the above are features of OmniFocus 1 removed or broken when OmniFocus 2 was released, and haven’t been fixed three years later. Before we get all excited about new features, perhaps we can have back what we’ve lost?


I’d really like Estimated Time to get some love all across: visible on iOS without going into task details, displayed in the fluid layout on Mac, Estimated Time totals. The way it currently is, it almost may as well not be there. I’ve occasionally resorted to even using contexts as time estimates, but it falls apart when I need an actual context.

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I’d like a smart list feature. Similar to the iTunes smart playlist or MacOS Finder’s smart folder feature. Create criteria that helps to narrow down your tasks to a custom view. Things such as due within the next 7 days and unflagged.

I’d also like a more user-friendly theme editor.

  • Multiple contexts
  • Drag from inbox to project
  • Conditional formatting
  1. Manual sorting in custom perspectives.
  2. Manual sorting in custom perspectives.
  3. Manual… More flexibility in dates for defer/due. There are things I need to do on the last day of the month, or every second Thursday.

@wilsonng I totally agree. I’m hopeful, too, as I look at what OmniOutliner has developed as filters, and think this would be super cool for OF.

Also, I’d like to be able to Focus on a Context.


I’d like to link to a note in Apple Notes from OF. In such a way that the link works in both OS-X and iOS.


Yes, I agree 100%, smart collections (also found in Mail, Contacts) should really be standard in any serious app at this point.

This one doesn’t bother me as much. I can always create a custom perspective grouped by review date to see upcoming reviews. But if I did this, I’d be tempted to stay in review mode forever. I’d rather just look at what needs to be reviewed today and move on with life.

If there is a project that needs more frequent review, I can just change the review frequency to a shorter time from such as every 1-3 days.

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In the preference settings, I turn off cleaning up immediately. The tasks will stay until I leave that perspective.

I would like to be able to focus the forecast. As is, the forecast shows me everything. But I need the forecast to focus in on just work items to get a good picture of my work load. If I could add a focus to forecast, I’m sure I would use that in several other ways also.

I would also like to be able to focus the review perspective, the same way I can focus any other perspective. I really want to separate my work review from my personal review. They use different energy and need to be done at different times. i.e. I want to review my work while at work. I want to do my personal review while relaxing on the couch with a cup of tea on the weekend. I separate the projects with top-level folders, but for the forecast and review perspectives, I can’t limit what I see by focusing on those folders like I can in other perspectives.

You might get what you want by focusing on a work folder first, then hitting Forecast.

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Thanks for the suggestion, TheWart. I tried it but don’t see it making a difference. Have you seen it work? If so, how exactly do you focus on a work folder first. What I tried was going to the Projects Perspective and selecting the work folder, then going back to Forecast.

Think you’re missing one step. After selecting the folder, hit the “Focus” button (or choose “Focus on [folder name]” option in the View menu, or use the key combination). Then when you go to either Forecast or Review, you should see those views limited to only the projects in the folder you focused on.


I’m going to guess this is the equivalent of a regular iTunes playlist. No filters or conditions. Just drag and drop tasks into this regular perspective. I can see how a lot of folks want to create their own Today list with this method.

I didn’t know I didn’t know this. Thanks, and wow this is useful.

That is correct, about 70% of my tasks are deferred and flagged. I have a today list with due/flagged where I create a sorted prioritised list in the morning. Right now i’m abusing the duration field as a priority to manually order items, but this is a bit cumbersome.

Right. At the moment, the only thing Est Time is good for now is ordering items. Use it the same way myself.