The Omni Show: How John Gruber Uses OmniOutliner

by Brent Simmons on December 11, 2019

In the latest episode, we talk with John Gruber, blogger at Daring Fireball and host of The Talk Show, about how he uses OmniOutliner.

He uses it for project management — for accomplishing a recent server move, for instance. He has a very-long-running outline called “Hacks” where he stores bits of scripts and command-line incantations.

Along the way we also end up talking about Think C, Filemaker, Silo, and interviewing Hair Force One. :)

Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Brent Simmons on November 27, 2019

To everyone celebrating the US Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, we wish you the very best day. We’ll be celebrating too!

In the past few months, we’ve shipped updates to our Mac and iOS apps, and now we’re all looking forward to a long weekend with friends and family — and delicious food.

As always, we’re thankful for you. Last year, we wrote, “Because of you, we can do what we love — which is to make apps that help people get their work done, whatever it is, and hopefully have some fun while they do it.”

That was true then and it’s true now. So we’re going to take a few days off — and then re-open the office on Monday, ready to go!

Using OmniFocus 3.4 with Shortcuts

by Dave on November 22, 2019

OmniFocus 3.4 for iOS is out, and includes several new shortcuts that take advantage of iOS 13’s new capabilities. You can use these new actions in combination with the others in the Shortcuts app not only to automate tedious or error-prone tasks, but to create workflows that previously weren’t possible at all.

These new shortcut actions are additions: OmniFocus still “donates” your activities to Siri so that they show up as suggestions in Shortcuts, Search, and your Home Screen. And the Add OmniFocus Item and Add TaskPaper to OmniFocus actions that have been included in the Shortcuts app since it was Workflow are still being maintained by Apple, though we plan to replace them once we can offer the same functionality in an Omni-supplied shortcut.

We’ve assembled some example Shortcut workflows, complete with comments that explain the individual steps. If you follow the links below on an iOS 13 device, you can take a look at what each shortcut does, and optionally install it (in order to download any third-party shortcuts, you need to make sure that Allow Untrusted Shortcuts is turned on in Settings > Shortcuts).

Find Items

Find Items lets you search for items in your database based on availability, project, tags, dates, and more and pass them to other actions. It’s especially great for grabbing lists of items and sending them to other apps to create agendas, reports, and action items in other apps. UI possibilities in Shortcuts are limited, but we designed this action to be very similar to custom perspectives in terms of the types of filters available. Here’s what it looks like:

Screenshot showing the Find Items Shortcut.

Here’s an example that uses Find Items to email a meeting agenda based on a tag: iCloud link.

Here’s another example that uses a date filter to make a note containing the items you completed today: iCloud link.

Find Items is also used in several of the example Shortcuts workflows we show for the other new actions below.

Show in OmniFocus

This action shows a project, folder, tag, or perspective chosen from a list, or an item passed from the previous action.

Here’s an example that uses Find Items to prompt for a project, then open a random action from that project–you could easily adapt it to show you a random tagged item instead: iCloud link.

And here’s an example based on a shortcut that Josh Hughes has been using during TestFlight to show him a specific perspective (chosen using Setup Questions based on the time of day: iCloud link.

Get Database Object from Input and Show Database Object in OmniFocus

Find Items passes an OmniFocus Item custom type as output, which you can use with Show in OmniFocus as-is or drill into to access various item properties like Due Date. The Database Object actions are what you want to use to connect to shortcuts which can’t pass that custom type. Since Get Database Object from Input accepts JSON (with attributes type, primaryKey, and version), you can use it in cases where you already have those values for an item (for example, from an omnifocus:// URL), and want to use it in Find Items.

We’ll share some more examples using these actions soon; if you have any requests please let us know!

iOS 13 Features: Check!

by Brent Simmons on November 22, 2019

All of our apps are now available with support for iOS 13 features! We’re excited about this — and we bet you are — because iOS 13 adds a bunch of new features that will help you be more productive.

See New in Omni Apps in iOS 13 for an overview of what’s new — plus videos that really show off some of the new features such as Dark Mode and multiple windows.

OmniFocus with iOS 13 Features Now Available

by Brent Simmons on November 21, 2019

OmniFocus 3.4 adopts new productivity features in iOS 13 — features that will help make you more powerful, so you can accomplish more every day.

Some highlights:

Native Dark Mode: when you switch the system to Dark Mode, OmniFocus will appear in Dark Mode. It looks cool, yes — but, most importantly, this makes the app more accessible for many people. (It can help with eye strain, too.)

Multiple windows: on iPad you can open more than one window at a time. When you need to make similar changes in more than one place, you can do so without having to flip back and forth between perspectives. When you need to refer to one perspective while working in another, you can have both visible at once.

Context Menus: you can quickly perform common actions via 3D Touch or a touch-and-hold gesture. This can help save on taps, and it helps with discovery — you can see at a glance what commands apply to an item.

Shortcuts with parameters: in iOS 13, shortcuts can take input, and data can pass from shortcut to shortcut. Among the new OmniFocus shortcuts is Find Items, which runs an advanced search on your items with filters based on status, project, tags, date, and more. You could use this to create a weekly report, for instance, or to send a list of items to someone on your team. (We’ll have more to say on new OmniFocus shortcuts in an upcoming blog post.)

There are a number of other changes, too, which will help you be more productive. Read the change notes for details!

PS Here’s a screenshot showing OmniFocus running in Dark Mode, on an iPad, with two windows open:

Screenshot showing OmniFocus running on an iPad, in Dark Mode, with one window showing Inbox and a second window showing Forecast.