With the latest iPhone version of OmniFocus (1.6.1), we have a new “experimental” feature of perspectives. One of the neat things added in the updates to OmniFocus (I cannot recall which update) is that perspectives are now synced across systems. Taking advantage of this, we can create a customized perspective that can work well on the iPhone.

To best use the customized perspectives, we need to keep some limitations in mind:


  1. The iPhone will only take context focused perspectives. In other words, if you have saved a perspective to focus in the Planning Mode, it will not be available.
  2. The iPhone is nowhere near as powerful in processing power as is the computer.
  3. As far as I can tell, the feature is useful only for those who are simultaneously using the full computer version as there is no way I know of to directly customize a perspective on the iPhone.


I’ll use the routine maintenance system mentioned earlier to illustrate the idea.

In order to maximize the ability for the iPhone to use a Perspective, we should make sure that there aren’t too many tasks for it to process all at once. In other words, giving it a filter view across all of your Projects will take several seconds to process. While several seconds does not seem like much, waiting between each action can be frustrating. This is not a limitation of OmniFocus, rather we are juggling many many tasks and projects in a system with only so much processing power.

The folder “Routine Maintenance” has 3 projects in it called “Daily”, “Weekly”, and “Monthly & Other”. Prior, I would also have a few routine maintenance tasks scattered throughout my projects and folders as they related to those areas of responsibility. Now, I’ve moved those stray tasks into the maintenance folder.

Having done so, I can create a new perspective very specific to maintenance tasks:

  • Select the Routine Maintenance folder
  • Focus on the folder «Control-Command-F»
  • Go to the Context view «Command-2»
  • Choose your filters, for example:
  • Go to the Perspectives menu
  • Select Save Window As
  • Select New Perspective
  • Type in “Whatever-Name-You-Want”

The Perspectives settings should now look something like the following:



The next time you sync over the network, you should have a svelte new ready-to-go perspective to view your maintenance tasks.


Addendum (2010-02-10):

As of the update to iPhone OmniFocus v 1.6.1, the perspectives link function works.

Note, an interesting feature on the iPhone that is actually not available on the full desktop of OF is a back button. If a perspective link in the notes field is selected …



the perspective will appear; meanwhile, a back button appears above the perspective to return to the link:




This post is now transferred to UsingOmniFocus.com. Further commentary may be made at that site.