OmniFocus 2 for Mac

OmniFocus is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful productivity suites out there. The past 12 months have seen The Omni Group completely take OmniFocus into a new direction. While most users have liked the changes and the new look, Jared Sinclair isn’t a fan. My main complaint with the iPhone app was the lack of a ‘swipe to go back’ option and that has been added as of version 2.1. OmniFocus 2 for Mac on the other hand has been through massive beta testing in the last few months and it finally ships today. I’m going to talk about what I like and dislike about the look and feel of OmniFocus 2 for Mac here.

The original OmniFocus for Mac looked pretty boring overall and had too much going on without any breathing space. I absolutely hated the overwhelming amount of buttons on the top half of the app. I’m glad OmniFocus 2 for Mac has been redesigned the way it is because this is not just a powerful app now, but a good looking one as well.

OmniFocus 2 for Mac utilizes a more visual approach and uses nice large typography. The interface elements are spaced out better than before and the glyphs used are great. There are 4 main sections in the interface. The sidebar on the left has coloured glyphs and lists the Inbox, Projects, Contexts, Forecast and other groups. The colours used in the Mac app are the same as the ones in the iPhone app. The top of the app is no longer the crowded mess it was earlier. There are now just a few useful buttons like Clean Up, View, Focus and Inspect. There is also a universal search bar on the top right next to the sync button.

The main item view looks great. Your projects and actions have never looked this good. The use of large typography here with different project type glyphs and colours almost work perfectly. Flagging an item results in a two colour circle that is a little annoying when you want to quickly glance through your work. The flag icon and a two colour circle to indicate something is flagged is probably the worst interface decision made in this app. The inspector is on the right is a keyboard shortcut away, just like most things in OmniFocus 2.

OmniFocus 2 has a wealth of customization options for the main app view, ranging from the sidebar to font size and even granular view control for each section. The keyboard shortcuts are great and the universal clipper shortcut that lets you clip text from almost any Mac app into your inbox is extremely useful. It still has the sync options and email drop options as before, and I found the background syncing to work perfectly across iPhone and Mac for me. If you use OmniFocus, this helps get rid of the sync speed issues and “optimizing database” messages.

OmniFocus 2 is available as a Standard version with a Pro upgrade that unlocks more power user features. The Pro upgrade brings custom perspective support and automating via AppleScript. The custom perspectives are really useful if you want more control over what you see in the main view. This, combined with the Focus mode that let you really concentrate on the task at hand and AppleScript support will make the Pro upgrade an instant purchase for most.

The legacy feel OmniFocus had is now gone. Everything looks and feels better. This is a true modern Mac application. The best part about OmniFocus 2 for Mac is that it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as before. OmniFocus 2 for Mac is available for $39.99 and the pro upgrade is another $39.99. It is $39.99 for standard and $79.99 for a pro license directly from The Omni Group here. The upgrade pricing is explained here.

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