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!

OmniFocus 2.8 for Mac is now available!

by Dave on January 3, 2017

Happy New Year! After a quiet couple of weeks, we are back in the office today and releasing OmniFocus 2.8 for Mac, which includes one of our most requested features: Global Search.

In OmniFocus 2.8, basic search works the same way it has since 2014: Click into the Toolbar Search field or hit ⌥⌘F and type the string you’re looking for. The outline and sidebar are filtered to show just items in your current view that contain that string (if there are any). The part that’s new in 2.8 is that instead of being limited to just searching the current view, you can click the magnifying glass icon in the search field and expand the scope! The three search scope options (Here, Remaining, and Everything) mirror the search options available in OmniFocus on iOS.

A Screenshot of OmniFocus 2.8

OmniFocus adds much more than Global Search, of course; the rest of the highlights of the release notes include full support for macOS Sierra’s tabs, a better Attachments window, a bunch of usability improvements and features to aid in troubleshooting, and as usual, a large number of bug fixes. We hope you’ll download the new build via software update or the App Store and check it out!

We’ve got a lot more planned in 2017 for OmniFocus! Next out will be v2.18 for iOS, which you can sign up to help us test. For the rest, Omni CEO Ken will reveal more in his annual roadmap post later this month. Thanks as always!

OmniFocus 2 for Mac: Available Now

by Dave on May 21, 2014

The last time we used this space to talk about OmniFocus 2 for Mac it was to announce that we’d ship in June.

So, hopefully this blog comes as a pleasant surprise (though we did drop a hint on Twitter!); the newest version of OmniFocus is available today, both directly from Omni and via the Mac App Store.

Pro and Standard

OmniFocus 1 was a huge success, and we think it provided great value for those who needed its power. That said, one of our goals for OmniFocus 2 was to help people who weren’t sure that they did need all that power, or worried it might get in the way. So we’ve chosen a streamlined set of features for the Standard edition of OmniFocus 2, while making some of the more complex features part of OmniFocus Pro. Those who are already making full use of the OmniFocus 1 feature set might want to go straight for Pro, but you can always start with Standard and then upgrade to Pro later.

Here’s an overview of the extra features you get with a Pro license:

  • Custom Perspectives: Create and save filtered and sorted views that are geared towards an area of responsibility, a regular activity, or a state of mind. Assign custom icons and hotkeys to make pulling them up a snap.
  • Focus: Hide everything but the projects you choose, throughout all views. For example, don’t get distracted by your home projects when you’re at work, and vice versa.
  • AppleScript: Use scripts to automate mundane actions, bring in data from other sources, and generally make OmniFocus infinitely powerful!

New Features for Everyone

Whether or not you choose Pro, OmniFocus 2 gives you a bunch of really cool features and a thoughtfully redesigned interface that looks right at home in the latest version of OS X. You can use the Forecast perspective to get a view of your actions laid out by date (and in context with what’s on your Calendar). In Forecast, assigning a due date to an action is as simple as dragging it to the appropriate day. The Review perspective gives you a structured way to take stock and make adjustments. OmniFocus 1 users loved the ease of Quick Entry, a way to capture OmniFocus items from any app. And now we’ve added Quick Open, a way to jump right to a folder, project, context, or perspective from anywhere in OmniFocus. And for those that need to generate reports for others to review or just to scribble on, we’ve beefed up printing and export so that the output is more like a document than a screenshot.

Pricing and Upgrades

OmniFocus 2 costs $39.99, with a Pro License at $79.99.

Customers who purchased OmniFocus 1 from the Omni Store can purchase an OmniFocus 2 Standard license for $19.99 or a Pro license for $39.99. If you bought OmniFocus 1 from the Mac App Store, you can buy OmniFocus 2 and get the Pro feature set for free. To make these options as easy as possible to take advantage of, we’ve created a separate page with step-by-step instructions.

Get Started!

If you’re looking for some help getting started, we recommend the set of “Support Short” videos we shot just for OmniFocus 2’s new interface. We’ve also created a whole new website called Inside OmniFocus to collect helpful information on workflows, systems, tools, and services that all work with OmniFocus. If you’ve been using OmniFocus for a while you might recognize the names and faces of our friends David Sparks, Sven Fechner, and Kourosh Dini. We’ve got new stuff from them, as well as from new friends Sabra Morris, Randy Hunt, and Jan-Yves Ruzicka. There’s a sweet User Manual available for free from the iBooks Store. And whether you have a question about how to use one of the new features or how to start fresh, our Support Humans are available by phone and email.

We hope you’ll check out OmniFocus 2 for Mac today. Just like all of our Mac apps, you can download a free trial from the product page (and switch between Pro and Standard during the 14-day period, so you can see which feature set fits your workflow the best). Thanks!

An update on Heartbleed from Omni

by Dave on April 10, 2014

You may have already heard about a vulnerability called Heartbleed that affects secure communication with websites (summarized nicely at The Loop).

In response to this threat, Omni immediately updated OpenSSL to non-vulnerable versions on all of our servers. We then revoked and regenerated all SSL certificates and keys. It is safe to change your Omni Sync Server password at this time. We don’t have any evidence of malicious behavior, but due to the nature of this vulnerability, we’re recommending that all users change their passwords anyway.

Online Stencil Search Returns to OmniGraffle

by Dave on April 2, 2014

Starting with the release of OmniGraffle 5 in 2008, we partnered with Graffletopia to provide in-app search for their free online stencil repository. Last year, Graffletopia became a subscription service, which meant that any stencils hosted there were no longer available in OmniGraffle.

We still feel it’s important for the OmniGraffle community to have a free library of user-submitted stencils, and we still want it to be easy to search for stencils from that library from within OmniGraffle. Since Graffletopia no longer offers that service, we’ve created a free Omni Library which can be searched by OmniGraffle 5 and 6 (starting with v6.0.5, released today) and OmniGraffle for iPad. We’ve already seeded the library with stencils that we used to host on our own OmniGraffle Extras page, but we would love for you to submit your own stencils as well.

We will never charge for access to these stencils; that’s not a business we’re interested in pursuing. We’re only interested in offering stencils which our customers can download and use for free, so we’re asking for submissions of stencils that are Creative Commons 0, public domain, or otherwise freely distributable.

We look forward to your submissions!