OmniFocus Essential Training

with Chris Mattia
please wait ...
OmniFocus Essential Training
Video duration: 0s 3h 37m Beginner


Join Chris Mattia in OmniFocus Essential Training as he shares how to capture and organize projects and action items into a system for managing tasks and getting work done. This course covers working with projects and contexts, dynamically building to-do lists, creating custom views with Perspectives, and synchronizing the OmniFocus database across multiple computers. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • The philosophy behind OmniFocus
  • Creating an actions list
  • Organizing projects with folders and action groups
  • Scheduling parallel and sequential actions
  • Adding photos and audio to actions
  • Integrating with iCal and Mail
  • Backing up and exporting data
  • Using the OmniFocus iPhone app


Hi, I'm Chris Mattia and welcome to OmniFocus Essential Training. OmniFocus is a task management application designed to capture all of that stuff that is constantly swirling around in the back of your mind. That is what's preventing you from moving forward on your projects. If you're familiar with David Allen's {italic}Getting Things Done{plain}, you'll feel right at home in this application. If you're new to task management, then don't worry. I'll guide you through step-by-step and have you checking items off your list in no time.

I'll teach you how to capture and organize all of your projects and action items into a trusted and logical system. Then we'll get your projects moving forward by determining your next action. I'll teach you how to become more efficient by using context to dynamically build your to do list. Finally I'll show you how to unlock the power of OmniFocus by synchronizing your database across all of your Macs, including the OmniFocus application for iPhone and iPod Touch. I'll be your guide through this course.

So let's get started with OmniFocus Essential Training.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about OmniFocus Essential Training .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: In the “Working with Parallel and Sequential Actions” movie, the instructor shows how to make tasks in an OmniFocus project sequential. When the project becomes sequential, the first task in the project becomes bold and the remaining tasks are dimmed.
However, when following with the exercise files, the visual effect is not shown. Also, all text appears in red, which does not happen in the video. What is causing this problem?
A: The problem here is that the Project due date is in the past, so all of the items below are showing up in red.
To fix this, the user can click one time on “Make Presentation to client” at the top of the list so that it is highlighted, then click the Inspect button in the tool bar to bring up the Inspector window if it is not already up. On the Project tab, make sure the project due date gets reset to any date in the future. The sequential items then show up as described in the video.
Q: I’ve downloaded the exercise files and followed the directions in the "We all have Projects" video, but I cannot get the same results as the instructor. What could be causing the problems?
A: Since the recording of this title, there has been a change in OmniFocus' functionality. In the chapter 1 movie “We all have Projects” (timecode 00:02:11), there is now a difference between the current update of OmniFocus and the version that this title was recorded and released for. On September 8, 2010, the Omni Group released the OmniFocus 1.8 update. In the Release Notes for that release, it is noted in the Workflow Improvements section that they made the following change to the application: "Groups of actions in the Inbox will no longer be automatically converted to projects when cleaning up. You can still promote them to projects by dragging them to the sidebar or by outdenting (Cmd+[). (This means that you can drag an entire project into the Inbox and it will stay there until you decide what to do with it.)" This is a different result than the version of OmniFocus that this title was recorded under. The Command+[ keyboard command and dragging, however, still do work as described in the video. In order to convert that group (Bring Salad...) to a project, you need to now either drag it or promote it (Cmd+[).
Q: I'm having problems with the exercise files for this course. In the "Using the exercise files" movie, the author instructs me to swap my existing OmniFocus database for the one provided with the exercise files, which I did, but the data in the Omnifocus UI isn't updating. It's still pointing to the old database. How do I get it to update?
A: The first database you use in this course is identical to the default OmniFocus database as it appears straight out of the box. We have you swap databases to avoid overwriting any data you might have created there, but if you are working with a new installation, nothing will appear to have changed.  But don't worry; as long as you placed the exercise file in the correct folder in the Library, you will be working with the correct database.
Q: In the "Using the exercise files" movie, the author instructs us to add the exercise files to the Library directory, but I can't find that folder on my computer.
A: If you are working in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, the Library folder is hidden by default. To unhide it, open a Finder window, hold down the Option key, and click the Go menu. Click the Library option that appears in the Go menu and a new Finder window will open, revealing the Library contents.
You need to do this every time you want to see the Library. To permanently unhide the Library, you need to use a Terminal command.
Launch Terminal from the Applications/Utilies folder. Type the following in the Terminal window:
chflags nohidden ~/Library

The Library will appear in your user folder.

please wait ...