Deliver Actions to your OmniFocus Inbox with Mail Drop

by Dave on October 16, 2013

Mail Drop is a feature of the Omni Sync Server that many of you have been using for quite a while. After a year of private and public testing we’re ready to drop the “beta” badge and recommend Mail Drop to all of our customers who use Omni Sync Server with OmniFocus.

If you’re not familiar with Mail Drop, the concept is simple: send emails directly into your OmniFocus Inbox. For example, if your Twitter client doesn’t support “Send to OmniFocus” natively, but does let you email tweets, send that latest Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen photo to a special @sync.omnigroup.com email address. The next time you open your OmniFocus Inbox, you’ll see it waiting for the artistic Photoshop you planned on your bus ride home.

Here are some other ways you might use Mail Drop:

  • Bridging the gap between your Windows PC at work and your OmniFocus system.
  • Processing actionable emails on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Setting up a special email address to allow a partner to delegate actions directly.
  • Using if this then that to automate all kinds of internet-y things.

So what are you waiting for? Log in to your Omni Sync Server account and create your first Mail Drop address. If you have questions that aren’t answered by our Mail Drop Support Article, drop our support humans a line.

iOS 7 & Omni: What’s new, what’s cool

by Derek R. on September 17, 2013

Today we’re very happy to announce that new versions of OmniOutliner for iPad, OmniPlan for iPad, and OmniFocus for iPhone are available to everyone via the App Store!

Really cool, really tilted

We‘re really proud of these new apps and have spent a lot of time adapting to both the new design aesthetic and overall improvements in iOS 7. These apps are gorgeous, offer more functionality, and—we think—really represent Apple’s suggestion of deference, clarity, and depth.

OmniFocus 2 for iPhone was truly developed from scratch for iOS 7. First, we put together a home screen that was capable of showing a bit more than before. We all love Forecast — in OmniFocus 2, you’ll get a peek at your week on page one. With iOS 7’s tint colors, each badge and each view of the app has a specific feel. And if you need to go all the way to the Home screen, tap-and-hold the back button to get there.

All with iOS 7’s new Background App Refresh.

In OmniOutliner 2 for iPad, there’s of course the brand new look for iOS 7 — and a lot more, too. We’ve added dozens of hardware keyboard shortcuts so you can stay in the zone and leave your fingers on the keyboard while you work. We completely redesigned and rewrote the Doc Picker, too. Outlines are downloaded via OmniPresence in the background, and you can organize your files by folder. (The same folders you’ll find on the Mac, if you’re using OmniPresence there!)

New templates make it easier than ever to get started without fiddling, and theming support means you can change the look of your entire outline after the fact rather than worrying about that up front.

And in OmniPlan 2 you’ll see a fresh, iOS 7-inspired interface—and the new Doc Picker. But we’ve also added a number of powerful features which were previously only available in the desktop edition. View a task’s scheduling influences, or highlight the critical path so you can understand which milestones are most essential to keeping your project on track. Sharing is easier than ever: you can still do collaborative editing with others using OmniPlan, but you can also AirDrop HTML and PDFs.

There’s also a new in-app purchase for importing Microsoft Project™ files. It’s designed with a try-before-you-buy model, so you can preview the result before you tap Purchase.

Each are a new app and a new purchase — separate from v1. OmniFocus 2 for iPhone is $19.99; OmniOutliner 2 for iPad is $29.99; OmniPlan for iPad is $59.99. OmniPlan’s in-app purchase for Microsoft Project™ support is $39.99.

OmniFocus 2 test going quiet

by Ken Case on June 24, 2013

Folks,

Thanks so much for all the great feedback on our test builds of OmniFocus 2! We’ve learned a lot about what works well for you and what doesn’t, and two weeks ago we were also inspired by Apple’s latest designs with their emphasis on deference, clarity, and depth.

Things are going to get quiet around here for a while. We’ve had plenty of feedback on this test design, so we considered turning off these test builds altogether—but we’ve decided to leave them up (as is) since some of you have told us that these builds—even in their rough state—are helping you to be even more productive. (And yes, we’ll also continue to send out test invitations to those who have been waiting patiently for a chance to try version 2.)

We’re looking forward to applying the lessons we’ve learned, and we’ll be back with some fresh builds later this year!

As always, we welcome your feedback! You can reach us by sending email to omnifocus@omnigroup.com, tweeting to @OmniFocus, or calling 1-800-315-OMNI or +1 206-523-4152.

OmniFocus at Camp 1 Vineyard

by Derek R. on April 3, 2013

This is the third in our Customer Stories series.

Late last summer we traveled down to Rancho Alamo Camp 1 to talk to Michael Werk, owner and operator. Before (an alleged) retirement, Michael spent days traveling and directing commercials for TV. Now he’s owner/operator of a vineyard, winery, farm, and Bed & Breakfast.

Michael uses OmniFocus to directly support his vineyard and winery projects, and it can get pretty deep. The folder structure might seem a bit daunting at first glance, but multiple varietals over many years can lead to a lot of the same tasks, timeshifted by days, weeks, and years.

It’s safe to say he has a system.

The Story


We talked to Michael in Los Alamos, CA. It was a pleasure to get to know Michael, Natalie, and Max during our visit. A huge thanks to Kalyra Winery, too.

Help us make OmniFocus the best app it can be

by Liz on March 27, 2013

We test stuff internally. Eventually it’s released as a final product. But in between there, we do a thing that might be called a Beta or Private Test.

Why are we doing that? With the small group of people testing and developing it right now, we already have a large cache of bug fixes to work on. Outside feedback is crucial as well; we need feedback on the design now so we don’t spend a bunch of time polishing a potentially wrong design into perfection. That’s why we plan to start giving some folks access to OmniFocus 2 early.

Phase 1: Internal Test

For a few months now, we’ve been using OmniFocus ourselves. This has helped us shake out the most obvious and painful bugs. I hit several crashes (and wasn’t even able to report them fully, because our Crash Catcher wasn’t working properly either). I lost data a few times. And I had to flip back to OmniFocus 1 a few times when a feature was just completely missing. I know some of you wish you had access to OmniFocus 2 a month ago, but we don’t think it’s helpful to anyone if we ask you to put up with all of that. We got OmniFocus working well enough to show off at The Debut. Then we put in a lot more work to get it sturdy enough for some of you to start using it.

Phase 2: Private Test

There are now over 17,000 of you who have expressed interest in helping us test OmniFocus. And we love that you’re so eager to help us. But if we ask all 17,000 of you to take the app out for a spin all at once, we’ll suddenly have thousands of emails all reporting the same issue. So we’re going to do a phased roll-out. We’ll give access to a few (hundred) people at first. Once we’ve fixed the big issues they’ve found, and our Support Humans are caught up on emails, we’ll add some more folks to the testing team. This will help us get the feedback we need about the app while still providing the level of support we promise for our shipping applications. We want to know about crashes and other errors, of course. But we also hope you’ll tell us what’s confusing, annoying, or tedious – these emotions suggest that perhaps there’s a usability bug we can fix or a workflow we can simplify.

If you want to get in on the Private Test phase, make sure you sign up, and double-check for a confirmation email.

Phase 3: Public Test

When we’re close to shipping, we’ll fling wide the doors, and everyone can download OmniFocus 2 and take it for a spin. At that point, the functionality of the app will be all there, and we’ll be putting most of our energy into getting localizations and setting up the machinery for the formal release to both our store and the Mac App Store. However, this is also a last chance for you to let us know about any bugs that might really really need fixing before we ship.

How to help us test

So, once you get that exciting email saying “You can now download OmniFocus 2 test builds”, now what? Take a deep breath and think about whether this is really something you want to do right now. The builds will be generated and posted automatically, so you might run a particular build of OmniFocus before anyone at Omni does. There is a small but real chance that the build will destroy your OmniFocus data or worse. Make sure you’ve got backups of your computer data. And if you’ve got a really big assignment due on a Tuesday, maybe wait until Wednesday before taking a test build out for a spin. If all these warnings don’t scare you away, follow the instructions in the email to download and install the app.

We realize it’s probably futile to ask that you not talk about the app at all in this phase. So we will simply ask that if you do talk about or share screenshots of OmniFocus 2, please clearly indicate that this is not a final release. A great place to discuss the app is in the OmniFocus 2 Forum. (And please do NOT share the application itself.)

So you downloaded the app, and started using it, and something went horribly wrong. Now what? First check if this is on the “What’s NOT Ready” section of the Release Notes (available in the Help menu). For example, right now Review doesn’t look at all like the mock-up we showed at the Debut. Sending us an email telling us it’s unfinished won’t help, because we already know it’s a problem.

Otherwise, please tell us about it. You might be the first person to encounter it, or the first person to give us a critical clue we need to detect the root cause of the problem. Bugs are often best reported via email, because it is so frequently useful to include specific data about the issue. (We will still be answering the phones—during business hours—and twitter as well.)

If possible when reporting a bug please do the following:

  • If this is a new issue, please start a new email thread. Replying to an old email thread to tell us about a new bug can make it more difficult for our Support Humans to respond efficiently. (If you’re continuing a conversation about an ongoing issue, it’s fine to reply to the email conversation already in progress.)
  • Please mention what revision of the app you’re running. (Send Feedback will include this automatically in the subject line.)
  • Tell us the story–what were you doing right before this happened, did you recently upgrade your OS, does this only happen at the coffee shop?
  • Include a screenshot. A picture can be “worth a thousand words” even in a bug report.
  • If there are error messages, a console log will often provide more detailed errors than what pops up in the alert box.
  • If the app becomes unresponsive, including a sample can help us figure out what the app thinks it’s busy doing while it “beachballs” or “hangs”.