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I'm having a tough time working with action groups because the "parent" action does not appear in any context views. Thus, while all actions in a project folder will appear in context views with the project itself indicated, if the action is an action group, that action does not appear at all in context views. Instead, only its children appear, and while they do indicate the project in which the action group itself sits in, they do not indicate the action group in which they reside. Since I've been considering the parent action of an action group an action itself, there's no way to assign it a context, and it won't appear at all in context views. So when I'm reviewing actions in a context, I see the child actions of my action groups, but no mention of the action groups themselves. In context views, this is not a problem when working with folders, since my folders are not actions themselves, and it's no problem with projects, since the projects are also not actions themselves. The problem is only with action groups.

For example, in planning mode, if I have a folder named "home" with a project inside named "fix the sink", and in the project I have actions such as "buy plumbing wrench" and "buy replacement parts" and "get wife's selection of new hardware", I can assign all of these their appropriate contexts (such as errands, or home, whatever). But that last action may have several sub-actions, such as "get brochure from home depot" and "find prices of different models". If I make these two sub-actions grouped under "get wife's selection of new hardware", making it an action group, then in context view I no longer can see the action "get wife's selection of new hardware". It's gone! I can get it back only by moving its children into a flat hierarchy with it.

Am I doing something wrong? Am I missing something?
You're not missing something.

I find that if I use an action group, I have to put a short version of the parent task as a prefix to the actions. And in what you're describing, it sounds like the last action in the group would need to repeat the parent.

I've found I'm much more selective about using action groups because of this behavior.
Thank you for confirming this behavior. I suppose what I'm looking for would be the ability to assign a context to the action group parent action itself, so that it appears as an action in context views, and also shows any of its children as indented actions where their context is the same. But if some children actions are a different context, they wouldn't show up there anyway, so maybe it would make sense to show something like "2 in other contexts".

At this point, though, I'm shying away from using action groups, and instead just making a new project which is not itself an action. That way, all its children appear in context views, and identify the project to which they belong.
Another rationale for sub-projects, which is what Action Groups are trying to be...
in the mean-time , Curt's " verify next actions exist " script works a charm for digging out " empty " single action groups .
This lack of context in "Context" view seems to be a major oversight.

I have many actions with the same description (e.g. "Get approval from John") which are grouped with a broader action. Seeing a bunch of those with no CONTEXT while in "Context" view seems a bit silly. It's nested below another action but there's no way to understand what exactly needs approval!

This makes either grouping actions useless or the context view useless. Prefixing all sub-actions with something that gives context seems silly given this IS what the software does should do.

I'm open to suggestions on work around.

Action groups are one of the topics we plan to revisit in future versions of the application, but IMO, naming actions unambiguously is just a good habit to cultivate in general.
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Action groups are one of the topics we plan to revisit in future versions of the application, but IMO, naming actions unambiguously is just a good habit to cultivate in general.
Thanks. It could just be a preference to show a bit of text of the parent action if it's shown out of context (like a breadcrumb trail).

It saves a lot of time to have quick, shortly-worded actions IMO.


- Update Omnifocus context mode
--- Write use case
--- Design wireframe
--- Early usability testing
--- Mock-up
--- Prototype
--- Usability testing
--- Final design

When you have to repeat similar steps as sub-actions to a similar task, the sub-actions are easy to copy and paste. This also makes it harder to scan.

The alternative:

- Update Omnifocus context mode
--- Context mode redesign: Write use case
--- Context mode redesign: Design wireframe
--- Context mode redesign: Early usability testing
--- Context mode redesign: Mock-up
--- Context mode redesign: Prototype
--- Context mode redesign: Usability testing
--- Context mode redesign: Final design


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