OmniFocus 3.8 Launches with Support for Omni Automation

by Rosemary Orchard on May 28, 2020

The most powerful task management software on the market just got even more powerful! With Omni Automation, every user can leverage plug-ins and scripts to accomplish more every day, automating routine tasks and integrating with other tools and services. Omni Automation scripts work across Mac, iPhone, and iPad can be shared with others and can be written by anyone—using the same JavaScript language that powers dynamic web pages.

Screenshot of the Packing List plug-in

“We’ve always believed in the strength of iPad as a productivity platform, and in 2016 we set out to bring more of the power of our desktop apps to that transforming piece of glass,” explains Ken Case, co-founder and CEO of the Omni Group. “A key element of that power has always been user automation, and with Omni Automation we pioneered delivering a deeply integrated scripting environment which customers could use on Mac, iPad, and iPhone. With OmniFocus 3.8, Omni Automation is available for all of our Mac, iPad, and iPhone apps—and I can’t wait to see how our customers leverage this to build great custom solutions for themselves and their teams, saving significant time and increasing their productivity like never before.”

Omni Automation plugins and automation in OmniFocus Pro offer a level of customized automation previously not available on iOS. While the Mac has had support for AppleScript since it’s earliest days (and was started as a combination of OmniOutliner and AppleScript known as Kinkless GTD), this has left some of the most popular devices out of part of the automation loop. OmniFocus recently added more Shortcuts support, but Shortcuts, like AppleScript, are restricted to one platform—and they can’t offer the unique abilities that come from writing a script. Below are two example plug-ins you can download and use, or look at, to see how this new feature can enhance your OmniFocus workflows—on Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Now, with Omni Automation, plug-ins can be written once and will work the same on Macs, iPhones, and iPads.

Packing List Template

When you travel on a trip, one thing that is the same for most people every time is their packing list. You might add snorkels for a beach holiday, and the length of your trip likely determines a parka for a trip to Lapland, but the number of socks you take! You can create and use a plug-in to ask you how long your trip is, and have it use this information to generate a packing list for your trip. As well as smart entries on the list (like six pairs of socks for a six-night trip), it can also add static items (like your iPhone charging kit). Now you don’t need to worry about finding your template list or duplicating a base project and editing it—you can just run a plug-in.

Find out about this plug-in.

New Link-Back Task

In our complex world, we sometimes have tasks that are linked to or even depend on, each other. Ideally, these tasks would be connected to one another—so when you complete one, you can jump to the other and complete that too. With a plug-in, you can make a new inbox task which contains a link to your currently selected task in the notes—saving you the legwork of getting the link to the task and pasting it into the notes of the new task!

Find out about this plug-in.

Integration with OmniPlan, OmniGraffle, and OmniOutliner

All Omni Group applications now support JavaScript plug-ins—so you can transfer your data from one application to the other with ease. You can also turn a project in OmniFocus into a project plan in OmniPlan, a hierarchical diagram in OmniGraffle, or import templates from OmniOutliner.

We encourage you to explore existing plug-ins and the reference material in each app. Whether you’re an automation novice or a fully-fledged developer, we hope you enjoy OmniFocus 3.8.

Download the app for Mac or iOS, and if you have any questions or feedback, email omnifocus@omnigroup.com—our amazing Support Humans are standing by, ready to help.

OmniFocus 3.7 for iPhone and iPad Includes New Shortcuts

by Rosemary Orchard on April 20, 2020

OmniFocus 3.7 for iPhone and iPad is now available with several new actions for Today’s Forecast, Find Projects, and Find Tags Shortcuts.

New action for Today’s Forecast

The Today’s Forecast Shortcut now returns items from your Forecast perspective. Find Projects and Find Tags help you locate a project or tag by name, which you can use with our existing shortcuts to find or add items.

The Today’s Forecast action is brand new and returns all of the items from your Forecast view for today. This includes projects and tasks due today, as well as those with the tag you have selected to be included in your Forecast preferences.

Your daily forecast shortcut can be tailored to your needs—it can provide weather information, an overview of your calendar, or whatever type of overview you like. With the new Today’s Forecast action in Shortcuts, you can pull in information about daily tasks due, along with tagged items with your Forecast tag (or choose either of these individually). You can also include a count of these tasks in your daily overview in addition to the titles of the due tasks.

new shortcuts on OmniFocus 3.7 iPhone

Find Items faster

The Find Items action was introduced in OmniFocus 3.4 but has been updated in OmniFocus 3.7 to return the URL, allowing users to open that specific task. With the updated Find Items action, it’s now possible to add the URL to a note in a document, or simply open the URL to jump straight to the task.

New actions for Find Tags shortcut

With the Find Tags action, you can type in the name or partial name of any tag to find it. The Find Tags action returns one or more tagged objects—feed these items into the tags section of the Find Items action or use the URL for each tag to open it directly in OmniFocus. You can also use the output or multiples of this action with Add to Variable as a tag in the Add Item action.

Combining the Find Tags and Find Items actions in Shortcuts allows users to find items with one or more specific tasks. For example, in OmniFocus, I have some tags based on how much energy I have, which looks like this:

Find Tags and Find Items actions in Shortcuts

With a shortcut, I can be prompted for my energy level and then see which OmniFocus items might be well suited to boost it:

Shortcuts based on current energy level

New actions for Find Projects shortcut

The Find Projects action works in much the same way as the Find Tags action, just type in the name or partial name of any project to find it. Users can expand the action with Show More, then choose to find projects in a specific folder within their database. Return all of your projects (or projects within one or more folders) by leaving the text filter empty. Each returned project is an object—get the names of each project and the URL to view the project directly in OmniFocus. The Add Item action also accepts a project output from the Find Projects action as the input in the project section instead of hard coding a project or choosing it each time with the Ask Each Time variable.

Working with Database Objects

As OmniFocus now offers easy access to tags and projects, the Get Database Object from Input and Show Database Object in OmniFocus actions have been retired. The same functionality is available by opening the URL from the object of the OmniFocus Item (task, tag, or project).

OmniFocus 3.7 for iPhone and iPad underscores The Omni Group’s commitment to providing tools as powerful as you. Learn more about what’s included in this release.

Download the app, and if you have any questions or feedback, please email support@omnigroup.com—our amazing Support Humans are standing by, ready to help.