OmniFocus’ recent builds (beta test build version 2.8 as of this writing) have introduced tabs, much like we find in our Internet browsers. Here’s an example:
I’ve been experimenting with using the tabs to organize how I approach work by sessions. Notice the above arrangement. When working, I do so from right to left. On the right are the project tasks:
I can work away, adding thoughts to the Inbox as needed via Quick Entry. When I feel that I have done enough work in the session, I close the tab with Command-w.
Using the above structure, this brings me to the Inbox, where I can process it as part of closing the session.
When I’m done processing the Inbox, and I feel that there is nothing more about the session that comes to mind, I once again close the tab with command-w to return me to the Dashboard:
… where I can mark the “Develop: Blog post on tabs” task as complete and once again decide what to do next.
There are 6 menu options related to tabs that are scattered throughout the menu bars:
- File > New Tab
- View > Show Tab Bar
- Window > Show Previous Tab
- Window > Show Next Tab
- Window > Move Tab to New Window
- Window > Merge All Windows
The last one, “Merge All Windows” takes all of your open windows and converts them into a single window with multiple tabs.
Using Keyboard Maestro, I’ve added shortcuts as follows:
- New Tab (Command-t)
- Show Previous Tab (Control-Option-Command →)
- Show Next Tab (Control-Option-Command ←)
- Merge All Windows (Control-m)
The “New Tab” function already has a built in command (Option-Command-t), but I prefer the same key command as I find in Safari.
Using the Go To Link Script
Jesse Hollington created a script that takes you straight to a link from a task in a note field using a Key Command. A neat side effect is that, using the command opens a tab. (If it just opens in the same window for you, see the footnote below.) 1. So, for instance, here I select a session I want to work on:
I’ve opened the note field to show the Copy as Link pasted link in the note field. However, the note field does not need to be opened for the process to work. I then type my assigned key command (Command-g) and a new tab with my desired project opens:
The system is not perfect as no system is, but it’s been fun to play with. There are still some variations I’m entertaining, too.
- Well, this works sometimes. Sometimes it opens a new window instead of a new tab. If that happens, I type Control-m to merge windows. I haven’t figured out what I’m doing differently to create the inconsistency yet.Also, you need to have the “Open in a New Window” option checked in the Open Panel (Command-o) for this to work, too:Otherwise, it just replaces the current window with the linked window.↩︎
Interesting. I have OF 2.7.2, which tells me it is the most recent version, and there is no option to use tabs. I’m assuming this feature is still in beta, then. It will definitely be a great feature when available since OF can be kind of “spread out” and you need to switch back and forth from various views a lot.
Yes – this is the beta build – v2.8 – I’m adding a comment to the main post now …
From a Sept 30, 2016 note from OF support, on the forum:
At the moment it is not possible to add a new tab to an existing window. I’m really sorry for the inconvenience this causes! We do, however, have an open feature request on file for that, and I’ve added your email there for the rest of the team to see. Not all requests will make it into the app, but we do take customer requests into account when planning future releases. Thanks for letting us know it’s important to you!
In the meantime, you’ll need to open a new window and merge them.
Yes – I may have gotten too excited here – this is for the beta test build – 2.8
Hi Kourosh! Thanks for the awesome tip on using tabs in OmniFocus! I’m restructuring my workflow to use this system. I have one question about the links in your dashboard. In your video, it looks like you open the project in a new and separate tab when you click on the link (or hit CMD+G with the GoToLink script. I’m having an issue where it’s opening the link in the same tab that the dashboard is in and not creating a new one. Any idea why this is happening? I thought it might be a setting in preferences but I couldn’t locate anything. Thanks for the assistance and for posting this article!
Hi JP –
It’s still in their test builds, so it’s subject to change. But, as far as I can tell, it’s related to
the “Open in a New Window” option checked in the Open Panel, which you can access via “Command-o” .
Thanks for this video Kourosh, can’t wait for official support for this feature. I’m playing with tabs and the dark theme as you have it in the video but my tabs are showing up as black text on black background so they are not visible. Are you using a specific theme to make the tabs text grey?
I’ve been playing with the OmniFocuscolors app but of course there’s no setting for tabs color yet. Any info would be great.
Thanks again for the work you do.
Answered my own question…a reboot of Omnofocus changed the text of the tabs to a light gray colour.
Thank you for great suggestion. I’m facing one minor issue. The script is always opening new window. It has never happen that it would create new tab. Have you by any chance found out when it opens tab and when it opens new window?
It seems to be much more consistently opening new windows for me nowadays. Maybe the Omni Group has made it more stable somehow. There is a way to make it only do tabs, but it is a system-wide adjustment. You need to go to the OS X System Preferences > Dock > Prefer tabs when opening documents: set to “Always”. However, since it’s a system-wide change, I’m only now playing with it to see how I feel about it.
Ok – great suggestion. I’ll play with that as well.
You can get it working by changing this hidden preference:
Mentioned by Ken Case here
Thank you, Evan! – I’ll give that a shot. Cheers 🙂