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"Due Soon" in Project Mode Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Why hello there,

I love OmniFocus, but there is one issue for which I cannot find a final answer or workaround.

I use Project Mode far more often than Context Mode, but it seems that only Context Mode provides the status filter "Due Soon". Am I right in thinking that?

Interestingly, in the following thread from 2009, there is an image that seems to indicate that it is possible. Perhaps it was available in an old version of the software.

If indeed it is not possible, then I am surprised. I do not believe that I am misusing OF by trying to do that. Alternatively, I suppose, is there a way to show project hierarchy in the default "Due" view?


Last edited by Brian; 2012-02-28 at 03:23 PM.. Reason: insert clickable link
It's only available in context mode. Lots of things are only available in context mode, which (along with sync) are 2 of my biggest frustrations with OF.
Thanks for the confirmation. That's very surprising. I would have considered this feature a basic expectation; especially as it seemed to be there in 2009!

What is the problem with sync?
Personally, I would be able to workaround this drawback somewhat by at least being able to highlight those action groups (or groupings; I'm not sure of the difference) that themselves contain due or past-due actions.

For example, I have a project. It contains various actions, and some of those actions are wrapped up in action groups. If an action within a group is coloured red to indicate past-due, then I feel the action group itself should be coloured the same way.

I am experiencing the problem where I have a project that shows a badge of 5 remaining actions, but when all the action groups are collapsed I am unable to identify where the actions belong; I have to open all the groups.
We did have that filter available in Project mode, but there was a disconnect between what the filter did (find projects that were due soon) and what folks would try to use it for (to find actions that were due soon).

The confusion that disconnect caused was a persistent barrier to learning and trusting the app, especially with folks who were just starting out. In version 1.8, we removed that filter as part of a larger re-organization we did of the view bar.

That said, a view like the one you're looking for is easy to set up. Here are the menu selections you need to do so:

View -> Context Mode
View -> Grouping -> Project
View -> Status Filter -> Due Soon

Perspectives -> Save Window As -> New Perspective

Name the perspective whatever you want and from then on, it's accessible from the Perspectives menu. Shows you actions that are due soon, grouped by the projects they're from.

Hope that helps!
I'm going to get kicked out of the Omni fanboy club if I have many more days like today :-)

Originally Posted by Brian View Post
We did have that filter available in Project mode, but there was a disconnect between what the filter did (find projects that were due soon) and what folks would try to use it for (to find actions that were due soon).
Well, no, not exactly. I would have agreed with you that the due soon filter pulled out projects that were due soon, except I dusted off a copy of OF 1.6.1 and tried it. It definitely picks out actions which are due soon, even in project mode. This makes sense, as it was part of the action filter; it would have been truly confusing if some settings of the action filter caused it to filter on project state!
That said, a view like the one you're looking for is easy to set up. Here's how <...> Shows you actions that are due soon, grouped by the projects they're from.
There's a problem with OmniFocus' data model that this approach (and the old due soon filter in project mode) reveals. If you have a sequential group of actions, whether a project, an action group, or just a sequence of actions, OmniFocus doesn't do any reasoning about implicit due dates if some of the actions (or the group) have a due date and others do not.

Clearly, if you have a sequence of actions {A, B, C}, with C having a due date, A and B must also be due at or before the same time C is due, in a well-formed sequence. If you tell OmniFocus that {A, B, C} is an action group, or a project, and you assign a due date to it, then OmniFocus will treat them as if they have a due date which is the earlier of their own explicit due date (if any) or that of the containing group. The trouble comes if you just have the actions without such a container. If you ask OmniFocus to show you all of the actions which are due, or due soon, it will only show you those that have due dates assigned! (C, but not A or B)

For an example, take filing a US Federal income tax return. If your actions are

Collect statements
Fill out forms
Mail return (due: April 15)

and you are relying on the "due soon" filter to show you everything that you need to get done, you're going to have an unpleasant surprise when you discover that the one task of the three that showed up isn't the one where all the work is! If OmniFocus looked at the sequence and worked backward through the chain, assigning implicit due dates to the actions without explicit due dates, some of the surprises wouldn't be as great. Without that reasoning, however, you either need to put due dates on everything, or on the containers, or take a more holistic look at projects, not just actions. To be safe, you should only use a "due soon" or "due" view to identify projects that need your attention.
Thanks to both Brian and whpalmer4 for your replies. It is especially nice to see someone at Omni monitoring these forums.

Brian - your workaround very nearly did the trick! It is sufficient for now. However, on grouping by Project, Context Mode still doesn't expose the full project hierarchy; action groups are not displayed until the group itself has a due date, and even then it appears as a separate item to the subitems (and beneath them at times!)

I believe that whpalmer4's opinion on the data-model is correct, and explains this discrepancy. Action groups seem to be orthogonal to their subitems, and inconsistently so. It is as if they were added at a late stage in the design of OF.
My knee-jerk reaction is that I don't think the action group should be styled as overdue because there is an action within it that is overdue. I don't think it has anything to do with my bit about reasoning due dates, though. You don't style a project as overdue when it contains an overdue action, but on the other hand, you do have the badges to indicate that. Hmm...have to agree that if you're in the habit of making large projects and keeping them collapsed, finding out which group to open isn't very convenient at present!

Here's a wild idea: option-clicking on the badge of a project with one or more overdue actions selects the project and opens whatever groups necessary to reveal all overdue actions and any prerequisite actions.
You had me rushing there for the option key! I wasn't sure whether your idea was wild to this thread or wild to the world :)

For passers-by to the conversation, I yesterday discovered that it is possible to locate a task that is listed in context-mode by right-clicking on it and selecting "Show in Planning Mode". This is one step towards more easily finding any tasks contained in collapsed groups.

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