Multitask with Omni and iOS 9

by Derek Reiff on September 16, 2015

Remember the initial introduction of the iPad? We do! It was huge, and everyone was excited about bringing our apps over. We weren’t sure how much work it would be, but knew the iPad would be a great screen to be productive with.

(Turns out it was a whole lot of work.)

Apple’s announcements last week have us super excited all over again. Bigger things are brewing…

But let’s talk about iOS 9.

Split Screen and Slide Over

It’s a cliche phrase to use, but “it’s never been easier” to get stuff in or out of our apps. With Split Screen and Slide Over, adding a new Inbox item to OmniFocus is fast, while referencing an Outliner document with OmniGraffle open sort of gives us goosebumps.

Split View

Spotlight Search

And never before have files—and with OmniFocus, tasks—been integrated more closely with iOS. In iOS 9, though, we’re happy to see Spotlight available across all of our apps:

Spotlight Search

Spotlight Search will start working right away: just pull down on your home screen and search. (OK, launch the app first.) We’ve set up indexing for pretty much what you’d expect:

  • OmniFocus : projects, tasks.
  • OmniPlan: document names, text.
  • OmniGraffle: document names, text.
  • OmniOutliner: document names, text.

Apple Watch, watchOS 2, and Fast OmniFocus

We’re really happy with the improvements to watchOS 2 and our OmniFocus app. Having a native app on the Apple Watch—no need for an iPhone connection for a response—is quite incredible. Check it out as soon as your watch finishes updating. (With some amount of convincing, we might be able to get someone to write about the technical side of the improvements over on our developer blog.)

And we’ve got some great Complications for you, too.

Complications on Apple Watch Face

When you customize an Apple Watch Face, OmniFocus will be a brand new option at each Complication size. In the biggest, you’ll see the first task that needs attention, along with a count of the actions that you’d like to show. (Based on the sum of whatever you select in OmniFocus 2 for iOS: Overdue, Due, Due Soon, Deferred, Flagged, and Inbox.) In the smallest, a simple badge count.

Apple Watch Complications and Today Extension options With Pro, you can choose custom perspectives.

Waiting on watchOS 2

Because Apple made a decision today to hold back watchOS 2 and because OmniFocus for Apple Watch requires watchOS 2, the app will not install on devices running watchOS 1. We expect that Apple will release watchOS 2 soon, but if your workflow requires OmniFocus for Apple Watch, hold off on updating OmniFocus for iOS.

Requiring iOS 9

Because of the significant changes and features that were just released, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, OmniPlan, and OmniFocus will each require iOS 9 for the latest additions. The Apple Watch app will require watchOS 2.

OmniGraffle 6.3 for Mac: Extensive Release Notes Edition

by Derek Reiff on August 31, 2015

Remember at the end of Mad Max: Fury Road when the water pipes were thrown open—wide open? That’s what OmniGraffle’s PM Joel did with this latest version of OmniGraffle. 6.3 is a major—but still free—update, and something we’re excited to make available today. It’s currently ready for both direct customers and those of you that bought in the App Store!

The list is long for features, fixes, and more fixes, but here’s a big one:

External Resource Folders

The most noteworthy addition is External Folder Linking. Add a folder anywhere on your drive to bring in all of your stencils and templates.

Open up the Resource Browser, tap the linked-folder icon in the lower left corner and add any folder—especially your OmniPresence or iCloud folder—and any new stencils and templates will appear automatically and stay in sync.

Oh, and we made Automatic Layout, Undo, export, Guides, Style Tray, text, drawing, the Stencil Window, Grids, sidebars, performance, Fill Effects, Drawing Tools, Inspectors, Quick Look, Preferences, Menus, Pasteboard, and overall stability a lot better. (Really, there’s too much to list. Everything is better.)

It’s a lot to process. Pore over the release notes and give it a download!

(And in a world with much too short release notes, this just feels good.)

OmniGraffle 2.2 for iOS with Actions and Document Provider support

by Derek Reiff on August 17, 2015

Today we’re releasing a great update to OmniGraffle for iOS! There’s a whole lot under the hood that makes it worth checking out right now, but there are also two Big Things:

  • Actions support (Pro)
  • Document Provider extension support (BETA)


Actions are brand new to iOS. Create new Actions on iOS via the Action Inspector, or use the Browse Action Tool to interact with Actions that you already added to documents from the Mac. You can jump to a specific spot in a document, toggle layers on and off, and link to URLs. (Certain actions on Mac won’t work on iOS, like “Runs a Script” and “Open a File.”)

Document Provider extension

Document Provider extension support in OmniGraffle 2.2 for iOS

Plus, with iOS 8’s Document Provider extension, you’ll be able to store documents directly in iCloud! It’s important to point out that some other storage providers will automatically show up if you have them installed, but not all are equal. (Or support the file package format.) You could lose data using storage providers other than iCloud, so we’ve marked this feature as BETA while we work with individual providers to improve compatibility. To turn it on, tap the gear icon, head to Settings, and toggle on the “Use Cloud Storage Providers” switch.

Find out more in the Working in the Cloud chapter of OmniGraffle’s manual.

We’ve also done a lot of work on Inspectors so that they’ll work on smaller screens, fixed some crashes, and improved freehand drawing. Enjoy the new features!

Let’s Test OmniPlan 3

by Derek Reiff on July 29, 2015

Four years (and change) ago we offered customers a chance to test the latest features for the next big release of OmniPlan—v2. The biggest of those: collaboration. The year was 2011, and you could use MobileMe to sync projects with your team.

Now it’s 2015, and we’re ready to test OmniPlan 3! OmniPlan 3 offers some pretty serious new features—and a lot of improvements—as we’ve taken your feedback and requests over the past few years and turned complex project management processes into something that we’re proud to showcase in the friendliest PM app.

Dashboard view of multiple projects in OmniPlan 3.

We’ve added Multi-project Dashboards, Monte Carlo simulation, Network Diagrams, a brand new set of reports, and Earned value analysis.

Network diagrams in OmniPlan 3.

We know that a lot of the interface is still a work in progress, but we’ve added so much new functionality that we wanted to get your feedback on it as soon as possible! Your critique and feedback is critical. Sign up to test and let us know what you think.

When you find bugs, head to Help->Send Feedback…! When you think of a better way to use Feature X, send feedback! Now we need to know which bits are best and what we need to focus on next. We’ve written up some guidelines for great bug reporting to help you make your feedback as effective as possible.

Have at it!

Push-Triggered Sync in OmniFocus

by Derek Reiff on July 15, 2015

Today we released OmniFocus 2.6 for iOS with a new Dark Palette, Swipe to Flag, and Push-Triggered Sync, a new feature in OmniFocus that helps keep your database up to date. We’re starting a gradual rollout to our customers now—read on to find out when you’ll start seeing push and how to tell if it’s enabled for your account.

What it means for you

When Push-Triggered Sync is enabled, OmniFocus for iOS will start syncing more frequently in the background as you make changes on other devices. This means that OmniFocus on your iPhone or iPad will have your latest changes right away, no matter where you make them. Because you’ll be syncing more frequently, the amount of data in each sync should also go down; your syncs will finish much faster.

Push-Triggered Sync doesn’t change how OmniFocus is already syncing your data. Whether you’re using Omni Sync Server, another hosting provider, or running your own server, Push-Triggered Sync just sends a timely notice to OmniFocus: “Sync now, please”.

Since this feature is still new, you won’t see the full benefit until all of your iOS devices are upgraded to the latest version of OmniFocus for iOS or OmniFocus for iPhone (the latter is currently waiting for App Store approval). This isn’t just a server-side change; the copies of OmniFocus that you run on your devices need to be updated to support push. We’re starting with iOS and iPhone in version 2.6 and then adding push to the Mac later this summer.

When you’ll see it

If you’re syncing with a service other than Omni Sync Server, Push will be enabled for you as soon as you install version 2.6. No matter where you sync, you’ll need to have OmniFocus for Mac 2.2.1 installed in order for your iOS devices to receive push triggers from your Mac.

Omni Sync Server users: we want to make sure we don’t start a fire in the server cabinet. To start, only our OmniFocus 2.6 TestFlight testers will have Push-Triggered Sync enabled. When all is well and we’ve determined how quickly we can bring new people in, we’ll start adding more. It’s a big jump from 1,000 TestFlight users to over 100,000 active Omni Sync Server users—multiplied by all of their iOS devices!—but we expect this rollout period to be weeks, not months.

You’ll be able to check your status by tapping on Push in OmniFocus Settings. If you see “Awesome,” you’re in! You’ll start seeing Push entries in the (new) Sync log! If it’s “Holding” instead, you’re still in line.

OmniFocus Push Settings


This implementation of faster sync changes the amount of anonymous data that is sent to Omni from OmniFocus, but presents no new privacy implications for task information in your database. Check out our support article for all of the technical details.

As always, if you have questions about any of this, send us an email!