iOS 11, Omni, and the in-between

by Derek Reiff on September 19, 2017

OmniFocus, OmniGraffle, and OmniPlan have been fine-tuned and each have big updates that take advantage of the latest release from Apple, all out today.

At WWDC, where Apple first introduced iOS 11 and the new features and integrations available to developers, we were, like many others, thrilled with the new emphasis on improving iPad productivity. (And improving by SO much!) The new stuff—Drag and Drop, the Files app, the Dock, Siri—could each play a part in improving our apps. As we started implementing each new feature, we got even more excited about iOS 11’s improvements.


In OmniFocus, we’ve added Drag and Drop and native Siri support.

Drag and Drop is great in OmniFocus, and brings a couple of our most-requested features to fruition. First, you no longer need to enter edit mode to re-order actions in a project: just use the same drag and drop gestures you would use anywhere else in iOS. You can even create action groups by dropping actions on top of each other. Second, because you can navigate to a completely different area of the app before you drop the action you’re dragging, you can now assign Projects, Contexts, and Due Dates without having to use the Editor. In Forecast and want to push off something you had previous marked as due today? Start a drag, tap the Friday tile (for example), and drop.

Here it is on iPhone:

Moving actions within OmniFocus on iPhone

OmniFocus can do great things with content from other apps as well. Let’s say you’ve been assigned some tasks in OmniPlan for iOS. To see them in context with the rest of the stuff you have to do, just drag from the OmniPlan Gantt into OmniFocus. The tasks you bring over will keep the due dates that were assigned in OmniPlan, so you don’t have to re-enter them.

You can drag in content from just about any app to create new items in OmniFocus, and we do our best to preserve any applicable metadata: for example, when you drag a message from Mail (yes, you can finally bring in items from the built-in Mail app without using Mail Drop), we include a link back to the original message.

Finally, if you work with attachments, drag files in to and out of a task’s attachment tab.

Moving formatted text into OmniFocus

We’ve been using Reminders Capture as a way to harness Siri in OmniFocus since 2011, but the new Siri integration offered in iOS 11 is much more powerful. Previously, we could capture due dates and location triggers if there was already a matching context in OmniFocus, but you can now create entire projects, assign new items to any project or context (Siri calls them “lists,” so be sure to use that term), the previous due date functionality is still there, and we can automatically create a context with a location assigned if it’s something OmniFocus doesn’t already know about. Plus, you can use Siri to retrieve information from OmniFocus too: “Siri, what’s on my Product Meeting list in OmniFocus?” or “Siri, show me my Gardening tasks in OmniFocus!” You can even mark an item complete: “Mark water the lawn complete in OmniFocus.”


In OmniGraffle’s update for iOS 11, you’ll find a number of under-the-hood improvements and bug fixes, Files support, and a lot of new features that came along with Drag and Drop. OmniGraffle has a lot of moving parts—objects on the canvas, their representations in the sidebar, etc—and we’ve improved everything.

With support for the Files app, you’ll be able to browse your documents and “Open in Place,” meaning any changes you make after opening the file in OmniGraffle will be saved directly to iCloud.

Drag and Drop, and the brand new features in OmniGraffle that are derived from it, really strengthen the app. It is, of course, great for dragging content from other apps and into OmniGraffle, or the reverse, but there’s a lot that has changed within the app, too!

First, rearranging objects, groups, and layers within the app is just a…drag and drop. With the Navigation Sidebar open, you can now select an object—or multiple objects—to reorder your hierarchy or move it (or them) into groups or a different layer or canvas.

Plus, there’s an even better way to get graphics out of the app itself: on the canvas, after selecting an object (or several), long-tapping and dragging objects into another app will send over a PDF. If the app doesn’t want a PDF, a PNG image. When dragging text, the app will get RTF.


In a lot of the same ways Drag and Drop improved OmniGraffle, Drag and Drop has made rearranging tasks in OmniPlan incredibly easy. For example, you can now select as many tasks as you need (when you’ve initiated a drag for the first task, you can tap more to add them to the bundle) and drop them into a new spot or group.

Selecting multiple tasks to throw elsewhere

Dragging text from other apps is a fast way to import data. Bringing calendar events, reminders, plain text, or OmniFocus tasks into OmniPlan will create new tasks. If an app sends metadata with an object, anything that might have a date (or other data that OP can understand), like Calendar, for example, will be added to OmniPlan.

OmniPlan also includes support for the Files app and iCloud Drive Sync in iOS 11: tap a project you’ve stored in iCloud, it opens in OmniPlan. All changes are saved back to iCloud, and Local OmniPlan project files will now appear in the Files app. (We don’t currently recommend third party sync services other than iCloud. Many don’t support the file package format OmniPlan uses.)

Enjoy, and stay tuned for more this year! If you’re interested in the next major version of OmniOutliner for iOS, some would say there’s never been a better time to watch out for new additions to our test signups.

Let us know how each of our apps is doing on iOS 11! We want them to be the best.

Spark adds OmniFocus integration on macOS

by Derek Reiff on August 22, 2017

We’ve been beta-testing a brand new version of an app worth sharing: Spark. The team over at Readdle just released an update with some pretty tight integration between their email client for macOS and OmniFocus.

Spark + OmniFocus logos

Of course, OmniFocus can already collect text from many other apps using Clippings, but when an app like Spark includes its own integration, a lot more than text is possible.

Spark’s implementation is pretty great: choose OmniFocus from the export menu, decide whether you’d like the full text of your email or simply a link in the note of your new action, and then pick a Due Date (or not)! Your task is added to OmniFocus with the original email a click away, so feel free to archive.

Head over to Readdle’s announcement to learn more.

Using Spark with OmniFocus

Testing the OmniFocus integration of SiriKit on iOS 11

by Derek Reiff on July 28, 2017

We just recently started our TestFlight of OmniFocus 2.21—you can still sign up!—that includes iOS 11-only features: Drag and Drop and SiriKit support. So far, so good! Here’s a bit more about how SiriKit and OmniFocus will play together.

You can now access OmniFocus data directly from Siri. Siri doesn’t yet know about the OmniFocus database structure, so both Projects and Contexts are represented as “Lists”. Here are some example phrases for you to try:

Item Creation:

  • “Add a task named foo in OmniFocus”
  • “Remind me about foo at 5 PM in OmniFocus”
  • “Add foo to my bar list in OmniFocus”
  • “Remind me about foo when I get home in OmniFocus” (requires the location to match an existing context and opens OmniFocus to complete)
  • “Create a list called foo in OmniFocus” (always creates a project)

Marking Items Complete:

  • “Mark foo as complete in OmniFocus”


  • “What lists do I have in OmniFocus?”
  • “Show me the foo list in OmniFocus”
  • “What lists did I create today in OmniFocus?”
  • “What lists are completed in OmniFocus?”

Have the Developer or Public Beta installed on a device and want to help test out these new features? Sign up here. Same goes for Drag and Drop. How’s it working for you?

Free downloads: OmniPlan and OmniFocus for iOS are free to try

by Derek Reiff on July 26, 2017

Hey, we’ve got some updates!

The first, OmniPlan 3.6, features a better dark theme and optimized inspectors, designed to reduce the number of taps required to manage your project. We’re also transitioning OmniPlan—and OmniFocus—to free downloads. Both updates contain a free 14-day trial; the Standard and Pro features are unlocked (and discounted for existing customers) via In-App purchases.

OmniFocus 2.20 Doesn’t Change Much, But…

Switching over to a free download pretty much does it for this release—there’s only one other minor bug fix—so current customers shouldn’t see anything different. Plus, if you own version 1 of OmniFocus, you’ll see discounts for both Standard and Pro purchases if that version is installed. (If it isn’t, you can find more details about upgrading here.)

One hiccup that we’ve found, though: some of our Family Sharing customers who purchased Pro prior to the switch to free downloads might see OmniFocus run in read-only mode. We already have a fix, but until it’s approved, start a free trial to continue as normally as possible. We’re hoping the fix is out later today, but if you need help, give us a call or email!

We’re also looking for intrepid OmniFocus-on-iOS-11 testers. OmniFocus is looking really good on iOS 11, and we’re just about to start a new TestFlight. If you’re ready to put up with beta software, head over to our Test page. You’ll see Drag & Drop and SiriKit integration.

OmniPlan 3.6 and a Better Dark Theme, Optimized Inspectors, and More

In this release of OmniPlan, we’ve optimized our inspectors for faster project management, completed its Dark Theme, and added support for importing and exporting elapsed time values from/to Microsoft Project.

OmniPlan 3.6 for iOS

The new inspector-containing sidebar is pretty easy to notice! What used to be contained in three separate popovers, it’s now just one unified sidebar. It’s a bit similar to our new inspectors in OmniGraffle 3, so we imagine folks will be able to edit tasks, resources, and project-wide settings quite quickly.

Finally, in 3.6 we’ve enhanced our dark theme to cover everything: Inspectors, Popovers, and Share Sheets.

For new and existing customers, upgrading to Standard or Pro should be straightforward. For a bit more guidance, check out our support article.

Plus, Read-Only Mode

If you go past the 14-day trial on either of these apps, you can continue to read and export your tasks or files. There’s no editing, but still works just fine if you need to reference a project or open a file from someone.

Check out the CMD-D | Masters of Automation Conference!

by Derek Reiff on July 20, 2017

We love a niche conference. CMD-D | Masters of Automation is just that, and we love everything about it. Put on by legendary scripting champion Sal Soghoian, CMD-D is set to cover the state of scripting and automation on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The conference is loaded with great speakers and topics—we’re happy to be a sponsor.

The day begins at 9 AM on August 9th. Buy your ticket now, and save 30% with the code OMNIROCKS!

Here’s a peek at a few talks and sessions:

  • AppleScript/AppleScript Obj-C/Javascript for Automation (JXA)
  • Automator
  • iOS Automation with Workflow
  • Cross Platform Scripting on iOS and Mac OS with Omni Automation (That’s us!)
  • A Keynote by original AppleScript team member Jon Pugh
  • A Keynote by Andy Ihnatko
  • Live Podcast Automation Q&A hosted by Jason Snell
  • And more! Find the full agenda here.

We hope some of you can make it!