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chartier 2010-12-07 01:11 PM

Frustrated by modes, views, and sorting
I open OmniFocus in Planning Mode, click a project or single-action list in the sidebar, choose Sorting > Due, and nothing happens.

If I focus on the the project or list, or double-click to open a new window, and choose Context Mode, the Sorting > Due filter works.

But I want my first use case to just work. I don't want to have to open a separate window or switch to context mode. Why can't Sorting > Due just work on whatever I'm looking at?

jbrown 2010-12-07 01:26 PM

Sorry for the confusion! Sorting in Planning Mode only sorts projects as a whole, rather than individual actions (as you noted, to sort individual actions you can go into Context mode and use the View Bar). The main reason we don't sort actions in Planning mode is that we wanted to preserver the order of actions you entered into the project, while still giving you the flexibility of sorting actions in Context mode.

If you'd like to do a sort of "forced sort" in Planning mode, you can highlight all actions you wish to sort, then select an option from the Edit>Sort menu. Hope this helps!

whpalmer4 2010-12-07 02:24 PM

There are two different operations going on here, but confusingly they are both called sorting. The view bar and associated commands allows you to sort your *view*, and the Edit->Sort command allows you to sort your *data*. Only the latter actually changes your data; a good way to see the difference is to open a second identical window and change the view bar settings. Changing the view bar settings in one window does not affect the display in the other, because the underlying data has not changed, but using the Edit->Sort command will likely affect the display in the other. They aren't generally interchangeable, and most people need both, sooner or later. And as previously mentioned, it doesn't usually make sense to sort on a per-action basis in Project mode unless you are actually rearranging the data, so view sorting (and grouping) in Project mode works on projects as the atomic unit, and in Context mode, works on actions as the atomic unit.

artwheat 2011-01-12 04:14 AM

Doesn't the sort order in planning mode impact what shows up when viewing the "Next" perspective in Context view? Sorting in planning view is important if you are attempting to use OFocus as a GTD tool.

whpalmer4 2011-01-12 07:58 AM

The usual rule of thumb with OmniFocus is you plan in Project mode, and execute from Context mode. Certainly that is what you do in GTD—look at your next actions sorted by context and consider those available in your current context (factor 1 of the four-criteria model for choosing actions in the moment, pp. 192-193).

Sure, if you have decided that project XYZ gets all of your attention today, no matter what the contexts it requires you to occupy, then you can work it out of Project mode, but in such a case you would just work the next action until done.

The settings of the view bar do not alter the data, only its presentation in the current view. Changing the ordering in Project mode via the View bar settings has no influence on Context mode. Only using the Edit->Sort command (or dragging the actions around, or the Sort command in the contextual menu) actually changes the sequence of the actions in the database, which would then be reflected in a Context mode view. The next action shown is always the uppermost unblocked action in Project mode.

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