OmniFocus Speed Tips

I’ve blogged about key commands and time saving tips for TextMate. Like most programmers my day is spent in my code editor primarily but I also make heavy use of OmniFocus to organize the days tasks and I hate having to grab my mouse (the keyboard is way faster). Here are some of the things that make my navigation around OmniFocus fast.

Switch Columns

If you’re navigating between the columns lots then ⌘4 is your friend. It jumps keyboard focus from the left panel to the right panel and back again.

Tasks and Sub-tasks

Projects are best organized by breaking items down into bite sized chunks, this is where tasks and sub-tasks come into play. You create a new task by pressing enter and if you want it to be a subtask press ⌘]. If you want it to not be a subtask press ⌘[.


OmniFocus comes on more than just your Mac, it’s available for iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. Of course it’s silly to sync them by hand so OmniFocus offers multiple sync options. I’ve found the most reliable way is with MobileMe. You can sync all your changes with ⌃⌘S.


I love the notes but feel they should be displayed all the time (how about an option OmniGroup). If you want to toggle all your notes then ⌥⌘’ will do it for you. If you’re editing a note then using ⌘’ will allow editing of a note. This is also a good way to see the contents of a note for a single TODO items when it has focus.

Switch Your Mode

Typically you’re going to use one of 2 views on the desktop, Planning or Context. Getting the mouse out to switch is a waste of time so get familiar with ⌘1 and ⌘2. They’ll change from Planning (⌘1) and Context (⌘2) modes.

=== Focus

Getting focussed on one project from the Context view is an integral part of how I use Omnifocus. I do want to see everything I have to do that day but while I’m working on stuff for one client I just want to see the items I have due for them. Using ⌃⌘F will jump you right in to focus mode and repeating it will let you see everything you have to do that day again.

=== Date Entry

Everyone knows that you can use day abbreviations in the ‘due’ and ‘start’ fields of the quick entry box, but how can you make it for next Tuesday? OmniFocus makes it easy just use ‘next Mon’ or whichever day of the week you’re aiming for an OmniFocus will skip the first occurrence of Monday and use the following one.

OmniFocus quick entry - skip the next Monday
OmniFocus quick entry - skip the next Monday

Adding to that is setting the time of an entry. You can simply use ‘Mon @ 10a’ to set a TODO item for Monday at 10am. No more hitting that terrible info menu for an item to set a specific time.


I paid for all of the applications myself but most of the links above are affiliate links.