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I find that I haven't really understood the idea of an "active context". At first glance, I had thought that the filter for active context would only show those contexts that have some task associated with them, akin to how kGTD only shows those contexts that have tasks, in the utilities drawer.

Marking any given context "active" or not manually seems strange, unless I haven't understood it properly (probably the case).

Again, how is this meant to be used, and in the future will we have a filter in which to only see those contexts which have tasks associated with them?
This probably isn't a feature people will use right away, but it may be very useful over time. We wanted an option to archive contexts that aren't relevant anymore. If you switch jobs, you may want to mark the contexts related to your previous job inactive and create new contexts for your new job.
I think the concept of an active context is whether or not you are in that context. For example, when I get home from work, I set my "home" context to active and my "office" context to inactive. Then if I filter on active contexts, I can see what I can do, and stuff I can't do right now stays hidden.

Edit: Hmm, guess I was doing it wrong. Michelle knows way more than me.

Edit 2: Adding something to test a bug in the forums.

Last edited by Lizard; 2007-05-16 at 02:06 PM..
OK, makes sense now that it's explained. I can see how that might be useful.

Nonetheless: is there any plan to do have a filter that only shows "currently-active" contexts, i.e. only ones that have tasks associated with them, the way kGTD does? I find it helps focus, and reduces unnecessary clutter from the screen. I think that might be a more useful "active" filter on a day to day basis. And thanks for the quick responses! :)

Last edited by talazem; 2007-05-16 at 02:08 PM..
This isn't a feature we had planned, but I don't think it would be very hard to implement. I've added your request to our database. Thanks!
Another way to think about active contexts is in terms of time and day. In Life Balance, which I've used up to now, places (i.e., contexts) can be set to be open or closed (i.e., active or inactive) at certain times of the day and days of the week. For instance, my "office" place could be open 8 to 12 and 1 to 5, Monday to Thursday, and 9 to 4 on Friday. My "home" place could be open 6 to 10 on weekdays (because I don't want to do chores as soon as I get home). A simple checkbox allowed one, in the task list, to toggle between showing all places and showing only open places.

The idea behind this is that, if you wanted, instead of selecting a context yourself, you could have your software select the context you're likely to be in, based on time and day. A simple switch would turn it off, allowing you to select your own context manually. For those of us whose contexts are conceptual, not physical, it's a neat way to ensure that you don't work later than you want, or at least, that your other tasks begin to appear shortly before they become the relevant context. I might have a "research" context active weekdays from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and a "teaching" context active from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so that in the hour from 10 to 11, teaching tasks started to share space with research tasks on my next actions list.

That may be more than OmniFocus wants to be, but it might be nice in 2.0 or 3.0 to have the option.
I don't have a copy of OF yet, but this sounds like a great feature. Especially for projects that come up very rarely that a person has developed special contexts for, but don't need to see for most of the year when that project isn't around.
How do you set a context to active and inactive in the Alpha?

When I untick one it disappears and I can't find a way to bring it back.

if you could set the contexts to open and close as in life balance that would be reallly great. even if its way down the line.

In the current Alpha, you can set contexts as active/inactive using the gear menu at the bottom of the sidebar or by ctrl-clicking on the context to make the context menu appear. If you turn on the filter ribbon (by clicking the filter button in the toolbar) you can then filter your contexts in the sidebar.

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