Just as I put everything back in Things 3 after my look at nvim OrgMode, OmniFocus 4 released which meant I needed to dig in to see if the years long development cycle has yielded any changes that changed my opinion from OmniFocus is legacy software to…you should use this app.

For OmniFocus 4 the application is now a universal purchase of $149.99 for macOS, iPadOS, iPhone and Apple Watch. I used my OmniFocus 2 key to get the bundle for $74.99 USD. That would still leave me unable to use OmniFocus on my Linux laptop though so to get that functionality I’d need to spring for another $4.99/month to get the web app included.

My Issues with OmniFocus

Back in 2021 I highlighted the lack of keyboard control as a big issue with OmniFocus. While you still have to use the Tab key far to move between elements as you enter a task far more than I like, OmniFocus has made some improvements.

You can now use P to change the project that a task is assigned to and N will take you into the note associated with the task so you can edit that. In fact, there are a decent amount of keyboard commands in OmniFocus 4. It still falls far behind Things 3 though in what you can do on the iPad.

OmniFocus provides no keyboard commands to split windows. I regularly want to open a specific day to see what’s going on while also working through all the available tasks to choose what I’m going to do on that day. While this is possible in OmniFocus it requires a right click on macOS and a long press on iPadOS to open a perspective in a new window. Then to close the window you also have to head back to interacting with the UI to close the dialogue[1].

Another problematic keyboard command is pressing the R key to access task repeat cycles. On iPadOS this brings up the dialogue needed to set a repeat cycle for a task, but on macOS it does nothing that I can see. It doesn’t highlight the task repeat UI or open the Inspect menu so you can find the repeat options. It just does nothing despite the documentation saying it works.

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A final issue is probably the biggest one, there is no way to multi-select tasks and then move them all to a project. I regularly have tasks that get put in my Inbox at the same time that pertain to a specific project so highlighting them all and moving them in one shot is a big time saver. I wish OmniFocus would let me save some time.

Should You Use OmniFocus?

Honestly, there are more issues with OmniFocus that I’m not getting in to at the moment because a whole post dunking on an app seems wasteful. There are issues with nesting tasks on iPhone taking multiple taps, there are issues with perspectives and trying to see only your tasks for today.

I suppose the end question is, should you use OmniFocus as your task manager? If you’ve been using OmniFocus and like it, stick with it. If you’ve tried it in the past and didn’t like it, there is nothing in the OmniFocus 4 release that is going to change your mind.

OmniFocus still has the best/only review feature for a task manager and I love that part of the task management workflow. I have no idea why other applications haven’t implemented something like it all these years later.

If OmniFocus works for you, I’m happy for you and don’t encourage you to switch. For all others, Things 3 or TickTick are far better options in my opinion.

  • [1] This is in contrast to Things 3 which offers many keyboard commands for dealing with windows: https://culturedcode.com/things/support/articles/2939808/