All About Inspectors in OmniPlan 4

by Omni on November 18, 2020

OmniPlan 4 is home to a variety of reimagined and redesigned inspectors (the panes on the right side of the main window that contain information and controls related to what you’ve selected) to help you find the things you need, and take control of those things once you’ve found them. Here’s your guide to the most-used controls available now.

Project Inspector

Kick off a new project’s structure and chronological flow with the Project inspector. This inspector contains all the tools you need to edit information related to the project as a whole—from title to file type and everything in between. With the Project inspector, you can set how the project is scheduled (including start and end dates), how your project displays units of time and currency, the number of hours in a work week, and more.

Milestones Inspector

Follow the critical path and track the time between project milestones with the Milestones inspector. This inspector allows you to set a slack limit for the project’s critical paths, monitor critical paths to individual milestones, and choose the color you prefer to highlight critical paths (so that your projects are on-schedule and color-coordinated).

Task Inspector

Fine-tune the details of individual tasks in your project using the Task inspector. Here you can see which resources are assigned to each task, adjust resource contributions, and add or remove existing resources from a given task. If you’re getting really detailed, you can also customize attributes—scheduling, descriptive details, dependencies, and more—for selected tasks with this inspector.

OmniPlan 4 introduces support for scheduling tasks manually. If there’s a piece of work that must happen on a certain day and time, setting it up in the Scheduling section is a breeze.

Resource Inspector

Assign and keep track of the work done by personnel and other project resources using the Resource inspector. Here you’ll add and edit important details about staff members, equipment, and raw materials used to complete a project. Stay on top of every resource’s workload and how their tasks intersect with the Assignments section. (Pro tip: The Resource inspector is most useful when you’re using OmniPlan in Resource View, so switch over to get the full power at your fingertips.)

Styles Inspector

Set up the visual appearance of your project with the redesigned Styles inspector, a streamlined replacement for OmniPlan 3’s Styles View that provides easier access to advanced styling options all in one place. With the Styles inspector you can edit every visual aspect of the project document, from the outline and Gantt chart to the appearance of individually selected tasks. Select your preferred font and customize item color, row color, and more (and if there’s a collection of style attributes you come back to often, you can save them for next time with Named Styles).

Custom Data Inspector

Add custom “extras” to your project with the Custom Data inspector, now in one convenient location with OmniPlan 4. Depending on the selection you make, you can add information to your project as a whole or update individual tasks and resources with notes, custom key/value data, and linked file attachments.

Lost in a world of inspectors? If you have any questions or feedback, email support@omnigroup.com—our amazing Support Humans are standing by, ready to help.

Omni Productivity Suite Now Available for M1 and macOS Big Sur

by Ken Case on November 12, 2020

The Omni Group creates productivity tools that are as powerful as you—designed for Mac, iPhone, and iPad—and we love the Mac! We’ve been developing for the Mac since 1989 (via its NeXT lineage), and over the years we’ve gone through many CPU transitions—from the Motorola 68030 to the PowerPC to 64-bit to Intel.

We were thrilled when Apple announced that the Mac will transition to their own Apple silicon. Apple has a decade-long history of making steady year-over-year improvements to the Apple silicon that powers other Apple products, including iPhone and iPad. We can’t wait for those same improvements to benefit all of our Mac customers. Our Mac customers are some of the most productive people in the world, and we know that many of you will be eager to start using M1-powered Macs.

Compared to previous transitions, this one has been a snap—because most of our code had already been ported to run on Apple silicon iPhones and iPads. By the time we received a Developer Transition Kit, our apps were quickly ready to test!

We’re very pleased to share that our app transition has been smooth and seamless. All our apps—including our free apps OmniDiskSweeper, OmniPresence, and OmniWeb—are now available as native Universal apps on M1-powered Macs, and can be either downloaded from our website or found on the Mac App Store.

Of course, we’ve been using these apps ourselves as we test to make sure they’re working well! Here are some ways that I’ve personally been using our apps:

With OmniPlan, I’m exploring different possibilities for our product roadmap. As I consider different options, everything is smooth and responsive.

With a plan, I bring my personal task list into OmniFocus. My data is securely synced between Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch using private encryption keys that never leave my devices—so I know that my tasks are always with me, but never exposed to anyone else through the cloud.

As I work through those tasks, I use OmniOutliner to compose my thoughts and ideas. All of this works perfectly on an M1-powered Mac.

And when I need to visualize something, whether for myself or to share with others, I have OmniGraffle at my fingertips as well. Shapes slide smoothly into place on an M1-powered Mac.

We have some great updates planned for the next year; support for M1 is just the start. We believe the future of the Mac platform is Apple silicon—and that future has never looked brighter!


(Feedback? I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on twitter at @kcase, or send me email at kc@omnigroup.com.)

The Omni Show: How Dr. Luc P. Beaudoin Creates “Cognitive Productivity” Software

by Omni on November 10, 2020



This week, Andrew welcomes Luc P. Beaudoin, Ph.D., creator of the Hook app for macOS and author of “Cognitive Productivity.” Luc led the development of cognitive productivity software at Simon Fraser University, where he’s an adjunct professor of cognitive science and education.

Luc’s work, intertwined with his interest in project management and visual communication tools, led him to OmniOutliner and OmniGraffle, which he uses to build intuitive software based on his cognitive research. The study of cognitive science has influenced every facet of Luc’s life, especially when it comes to creating human-centric software that helps people become more productive individuals. For him, the goal of cognitive productivity software should be to enable people to develop applicable skills that make them better people, not just to (in his words), “memorize stuff.” His desire to help people spend less time searching for notes, images, and other information to stay in the zone during the creative process inspired him build Hook, an app that enables users to instantly “hook” relevant links to another resource that can be easily recalled when needed on Mac, the web, or in the cloud.

To learn more about Luc’s ongoing Hook projects and how he’s integrated OmniFocus, OmniGraffle, and OmniOutliner into every aspect of his work—and how you can obtain a discounted version of “Cognitive Productivity”—tune in to The Omni Show.

Achieve more of your goals when you download OmniFocus, OmniGraffle, and OmniOutliner for Mac. And if you have any questions or feedback, email support@omnigroup.com. Our amazing Support Humans are standing by, ready to help.

OmniFocus 3.11 for iOS Adds New Widgets

by David Lonning on November 9, 2020

Since iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 were announced, we’ve been hard at work developing updates to go along with their exciting new features.

Last month we introduced OmniFocus 3.10 for iOS with support for the new iOS 14 date picker, making it easier than ever to set and update dates in the inspector.

Today we are happy to announce that OmniFocus 3.11 for iOS is here, bringing eagerly anticipated new iOS 14 widget designs to OmniFocus for the first time.

OmniFocus 3.11 for iOS adds a curated set of widgets that you can add to the Today View or your Home Screen to access your most used perspectives and most timely action items from wherever you are on your device. This includes:

  • A Forecast widget with a calendar view for today and the days ahead

  • A Perspective Items widget with a list of upcoming items in a perspective of your choice

Both of these are available in small, medium, and large widget sizes, and can have their font size customized to suit your needs. The update also includes a New Inbox Item widget—a large, friendly button for immediately opening OmniFocus to add a new item to your Inbox.

We’re hard at work finishing up our next update for OmniFocus for Mac compatible with Big Sur—and shortly after that, Big Sur widgets come to the Mac as well. Stay tuned for these updates in the coming weeks!

OmniFocus 3.11 for iOS is available as a free upgrade for all OmniFocus subscribers and all owners of OmniFocus 3 for iOS. To see how OmniFocus can help you accomplish more every day, start your free trial by downloading OmniFocus 3 for iOS from the iOS App Store.

OmniFocus for the Web Adds Support for Custom Perspectives

by Ken Case on October 27, 2020

Many busy professionals choose OmniFocus because of its power and flexibility, helping them tame the chaos and focus on the right tasks at the right time. We have some exciting news to share today for OmniFocus for the Web users, but first I’d like to talk about where we started and our progress to date.

When we launched OmniFocus for the Web, we included the core set of built-in perspectives from our first iPhone app. These built-in perspectives let you work with task lists from your inbox, project lists, and tag lists, giving you different ways to slice and dice your tasks.

We also included basic support for filtering those lists, so you could focus on:

  • your remaining incomplete items,
  • available items (that aren’t blocked by an earlier task or a defer date),
  • the first available items from each project (so you can see the next action that will move those projects forward), or
  • the entire list (including completed and dropped tasks) so you can view the full history of a project.

After launching OmniFocus for the Web, we immediately turned our attention to adding our trademark Forecast perspective, which displays upcoming tasks on a calendar so that you’re not surprised when a due date arrives.

We’ve done several other minor updates since then, but today marks the moment many of our web customers have been waiting for—the day we take the web app beyond those basic features and add support for our most important Pro feature.

OmniFocus for the Web now has support for viewing custom perspectives!

With custom perspectives, you can customize your own views in OmniFocus to truly make the app your own. You can set up personalized combinations of filter rules to show you the items you’re most interested in, and those custom perspectives are synced to all your devices. Want to see every flagged task related to work that hasn’t been completed, grouped by when you last edited those tasks? Or perhaps you want to pull up a list of everything you have finished, grouped by completion date? Or see everything in your Family folder tagged with Errand or Groceries, but not if it contains the word “egg” or belongs to a project tagged Birthday?

OK, that last example is a bit ridiculous, I know, but all of these views are easy to define using a custom perspective—and now that custom perspectives are supported in the web app you can access those perspectives from any desktop system.

(I should note that it’s not yet possible to create or edit custom perspectives using the web app: that process still happens on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. We do want to support that eventually, but being able to view custom perspectives everywhere is a much higher priority than being able to edit them everywhere.)

Custom perspectives can be marked as favorites so that they always appear on your sidebar, and can even be bookmarked in your browser for direct access.

Because custom perspectives are much more flexible than the built-in perspectives we were previously displaying, we ended up building a whole new set of back-end APIs to support them. These newer APIs are more flexible, allowing more types of content in the presented outline to allow grouping by date and so on. And they also have much better performance for large databases. Even when testing large perspectives with tens of thousands of items, our new custom perspectives will display results in a blink of an eye.

This update is free for all OmniFocus subscribers (thank you for your support!). If you would like to give OmniFocus for the Web a try, you can start a free two-week trial at web.omnifocus.com. Cross-platform OmniFocus subscriptions are $9.99/month. If you already own OmniFocus for Mac, iPhone, or iPad, add a web-only subscription for just $4.99/month.

Enjoy!


(Feedback? I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on Twitter at @kcase, or send me an email at kc@omnigroup.com.)