I’ve been working with OmniFocus 2 during the past week and really love the new look and features. I feel that OmniGroup did an excellent job with this long-awaited new version.
I have to say that I was not particularly a fan of the interface in OmniFocus 1. It was definitely getting a tad dated. In Omnifocus 2, the UI got an overhaul. The new interface is clean, minimalist and streamlined – and moreover, it must less confusing to a new user.
In the Sidebar, you find 6 default Perspectives: Inbox, Projects, Contexts, Forecast, Flagged and Review. Clicking on any of the Perspectives displays the items for that Perspective in the center pane.
New Projects and Actions
Adding new projects and actions works similarly as in Omnifocus 1: click File ➪ New Project to add a new project or File ➪ New Action to add a new action.
When adding a new action, you can tab from one field to another: Project, Context, Defer Date and Due Date. In this version, the Start date as been renamed to *Deferred Until. Actions will not display until the Deferred Date has arrived. To move from the Deferred Until field to the Due Date field, press the right arrow key.
New Action Indicators
A new feature is the action indicator displayed as a circle. The circle can be one or more colors, depending on the status of the item. A yellow circle indicates that the project is due soon (by default, due soon means within the next 2 days). An orange circle indicates that the item is flagged and a red circle indicates that the item is past due.
To flag an action, move your mouse pointer over the circle until an orange box appears. Click the box to flag the item.
Contexts works the same way as in Omnifocus 1. When adding a new actions, you can add a new context by clicking in the Context field, typing the name for the new context and pressing Return.
The New Forecast Perspective
The Forecast perspective will be familiar if you have worked with Omnifocus 2 for the iPhone or Omnifocus for the iPad. This is probably my favorite feature of Omnifocus. The Forecast perspective displays your actions laid out by date – those items coming up in the future as well as past due items in an easy-to-read format. The left pane contains a mini-calendar that dislays a number, indicating the number of actions for each date. To see the actions scheduled for a specific date, click the day on the mini-calendar. A detailed list displays in the right content pane.
To include multple days in the list, drag-select the days on the mini-calendar.
From the content pane, you can mark items as completed by clicking the circle to the right of the action.
The Forecast perspective also can include events from your iCloud or Google calendar in Forecast view. To choose which calendars to include, click the Forecast icon in the sidebar. Then, choose and then select View ➪ Show View Options from the menu. Choose the calendars you wish to display.
The New Inspector
The Inspector no longer displays as a separate window but is now part of the main Omnifocus window. It also no longer contains separate tabs but now displays everything in a clean interface in the same window.
The Inspector is divided into sections: Title, Action, Dates, Repeat and Note. Click the disclosure triangle to show or hide a section.
You can now quickly add a day, a week or a month to any due date or deferred date by clicking on the +1 day, +1 week or +1 month buttons. You can also easily change the status or add a flag to an action from the Action area with one click.
Another one of my favorite new features is Quick Open. You can click the Quick Open icon on the toolbar or type ⌘ + O to lauch the Quick Open window. From the window, begin typing the name of any Perspective, Folder, Project or Context. As you type, a list of all matching items appears. Use the down arrow key to select an item to open and press Return.
The Review perspective helps to keep you on track and ensure that any projects or actions don’t slip through the cracks. This window displays all items since the last review (the default is 1 week – you can modify this setting from Preferences). To review an item, click the Mark Reviewed button on top of the center window. This will automatically move you to the next item to be reviewed.
The Pro version of Omnifocus includes the ability to create and modify custom Perspectives (an essential feature for me) and choose which ones to display in the Sidebar. The Focus feature is included in the Pro version, which allows you to hide everything except the projects you choose. The ability to use AppleScript is also an Omnifocus 2 professional feature.
I find Omnifocus 2 much more intuitive and pleasant to use than the previous version. The clean redesigned interface helps to manage tasks and projects easier and faster – and the new Forecast and Review features add extra power to an excellent app. It’s also nice to have an interface that matches the iPhone and iPad versions. My opinion: definitely worth the upgrade. You can download Omnifocus 2 from the App Store.
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