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Apologies for not reading the whole thread, but I wanted to get my vote out here.

My wish for OF of the future is to be able to sync tasks with an Exchange calendar for work. Even if it was only one way, it'd be fantastic to be able to rapid fire create tasks on my work PC through onenote, and then have them sync well with OF on my phone or mac (which often follows me to work anyway.)

Having multiple places for my tasks is a bit frustrating--this sort of sync would be mind-bendingly awesome! :)


Hi, Ken. Since you've asked for use cases and not a list of specific features, here is my answer to your question at a high level.

First, my demographic: I am a brand new OF user -- only a few days into learning the tool. I use a Mac and an iPhone. I have a work calendar which is hosted on Exchange and accessible from both my devices. I don't currently use local iCal calendars and I am not a MobileMe user.

I would like OF to become the single place I visit to get stuff done. To me, a meeting is a task like any other item I need to complete. I'd like such tasks to appear in OF so I can see the totality of what's on my plate at any time.

Often, a meeting is a task I need to prepare for so I'd like to be able to associate other tasks with this meeting in some way.

Meetings are scheduled into my calendar using Outlook or other tools that are customized to my work environment. I have no choice but to use those. Therefore, having a read-only view of my "meeting tasks" in OF would be sufficient.

Ever since I upgraded to MobileMe beta several months ago, I didn't have this functionality, and I thought I would miss it, but after several months, I have to say I don't miss it at all.

I prefer to have my calendar and tasks all in one place in the past for the planning, but now I am not so sure. Given OF in multiple devices, I can have one device showing calendar and another showing OF; so, the need to have everything in one view is not so critical any more.

As far as I'm concerned, the calendar serves a different purpose than a task manager such as OF; so, I wouldn't want to mix two functions into one.

Just want to share my experience.
I did quite a bit of research before settling on OmniFocus and its ability to sync with my mac, my laptop, and my iPhone AND its ability to sync on all three with iCal. Though the process was not completely flawless, and iCal has its limitations, it really solved a lot of issues for me and made my work and personal life easier. That's why I invested with OmniFocus software and the iPhone app instead of other time or project management software products. I tried quite a few, but OmniFocus seemed to offer the best solution. Failing a work around for the iCalDAV - I would love to see a robust calendar function within OmniFocus, or have OmniFocus sync with a more robust (than iCal) calendar. For my needs, calendar + project management system working together = less work.

Great question. I currently use iCal integration to allow me to view OF tasks in a more "holistic setting." I find that in order for me to work effectively, I want to have not only my tasks, but related material available to me as well. So, for a particular project, I want to see related tasks (OF) but also related emails, appointments and files.

I have not settled on a solution, but one I have been playing with is Bento. By synching OF with iCal, I can then have OF tasks available to me in Bento by virtue of the fact that I can see them in iCal (which is accessible directly from Bento).

Hope this helps.
Have you formed any kind of conclusion on this topic yet? It's really interesting and educational to hear of lots of people's workflow and ways of using OF in their work, so this topic has had spin off benefits for me, but I would really like my ical syncing back please! Thanks
Hi Ken,

I use OmniFocus on my iMac, iPhone and iPad. Maintaining a current set of sync'd tasks is important to my workflow. Having these tasks in my calendar (as appointments) is equally important, otherwise time goes by, as it does.

When iCal syncing worked it wasn't that good for my needs anyway.

The challenge for myself (and probably for many) is what do I look at for the day ahead. My calendar or OF? Where do I put a new task that I have to do? Is it part of a project?

My preference is to have OF as my one place to go, to manage and structure my workflow. With the iPad and iPhone versions I am never without it. If I have to open iCal for a calendar view that is fine, but I would like to see OF integrated for tasks. I would also like the ability to access the address book from within OF.

Hope this helps,


I stick with the cannonical GTD approach: I have a subset of certain contexts (i.e. "Errands:Hardscape") that I sync with iCal (although I am a BusyCal user). This way, tasks that must be done on that day are on my calendar. A majority of the time, if it needs to be done that day, I can also assign a time and an alarm to the task (in BusyCal). I evaluate these items during my weekly review.

A disadvantage of this is that these tasks assigned to the subcontext are not sorted with all of the other tasks in the "meta"-context (in this case, the context "Errands"). If I need to modify the task, I need to remember it is "hardscaped".

I have often though that a checkbox in the inspector would be better than a subcontext. This way, if the task needs to be in my calendar, that fact becomes a property of the task, not a context to force the property. I'm not sure how deep you could drive the info into a local calendar or CalDAV. It would be awesome if calendar properties could be applied in the inspector (i.e. alarm, time; maybe even specific calendar in iCal (you could assign the task to the "delegate" calendar in iCal or the "Hardscape" calendar in iCal)).

The other half of this is what happens to the task on the calendar. I send my "hardscaped" tasks to specific calendars. When reviewing my calendar, I delete all the tasks in that calendar (if I need to keep the task on my calendar for some reason, I move it to another calendar). This way, whatever changes I made via Omnifocus are imported to it's proper place without worry of duplicate tasks, etc. Of course, if I could know that I could reliably check a task as "done" in BusyCal, and a sync would modify it correctly in OmniFocus, I would do that. But Sync Services is fragile and I choose the more labor intensive management to avoid the frustration of having to unwind the damage Sync Services had wrought. Obviously, Omni would love Sync Services to be more reliable also. I have often wondered if Omni would benefit from forming a relationship with calendar suppliers (Google, BusyCal) and develop a sync program that runs out of system preferences.

To sum up, I would like to see calendar syncing being driven as a property in the inspector, and would like to see Omni bypass Apple's sync (and attending issues) by developing Omni's own sync service.

Thank you for soliciting feedback on this issue.
Thanks for asking!!! I was just bemoaning the fact that I cannot make my iCal events visible in the Forecast view on the iPad OF app. The Forecast is great to see whether my tasks are distributed ok. In this context it would be great to right there have a chance to see iCal events to see whether my scheduling of tasks and projects might clash with appointments, travel etc that I have logged into my iCal calendars. That option would truly integrate the Forecast view (which I sincerely hope will soon also be available in the OF Mac application!) into my planning! Thanks!!
So here's what I am currently doing using a competing product* via MobileMe.

. Create a Calendar called SharedTasks
. Share it with my Wife
. She accepts my request to Share the Calendar
. She opens the competing app
. Syncs
. Sees the newly Shared Calendar
. Adds a handful of items
. Syncs
. I get an email notifying me that she's added some things
. I open the competing app
. Syncs
. Review the new items
. Accomplish the tasks
. Check them off
. Syncs
. She gets an email that I've finished the tasks
. She opens the competing app
. Syncs
. Sees that they are checked off and that I've added notes to them as well
. Rinse and Repeat

I still don't understand why sharing Tasks is such a burden to accomplish in OmniFocus?????

I want my Tasks to be free and Shareable with my Wife, my Team, and all my collaborators. :)


*The competing product is 2Do on the iOS platform. You guys should really look @ it and see how they elegantly handle the following:
. Sharing
. Deferring
. Editing
. iCal Support
. Emailing

Last edited by policarpo; 2010-12-07 at 04:59 PM..

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