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How do I create sub-projects? Am I missing something really obvious?
Originally Posted by Athanasius
How do I create sub-projects? Am I missing something really obvious?
If, by sub-project, you mean to break down a task in a project into smaller "sub-tasks", then one of these should work:

1) Select a parent-to-be task then Structure->Add Child

2) Select a child-to-be task and then Structure->Indent

3) Drag and Drop
Creating structure with children and aunts seem to foster unnecessary complexity. I often am able to take my task list that looks like this:

task last
{indent} task second
{indent}{indent} task first

and just rearrange it to:

tasks first
task 2
task last

and so far that seems to work just fine, but I've only just gotten started with GTD.

How are people using the indentation structure to help GTD?

Originally Posted by eric j
If, by sub-project, you mean to break down a task in a project into smaller "sub-tasks", then one of these should work...
That's helpful Eric, but it doesn't seem to make sense. What I end up with is a task that has sub-tasks, rather than a sub-project (listed at left under the main project).

The functionality is probably the same, but it's not the way it ought to work.
i was also confused by this.

after playing around for a little while, it appears to me that...

1. folders can contain tasks and other folders
2. projects can contain tasks but NOT other projects.
3. tasks can contain other tasks

to add to the complexity/confusion, there are cases when the program will automagically convert a task to a project or a project to a task (e.g., using the indent/outdent commands), but there are also some cases where this will not work as you might expect.

anyone have an idea as to why projects can't nest hierarchically? it seems that only projects can have a "state" (active/on-hold/completed/dropped). so this seems to ensure that every implicitly inherits (at most) one single value state value, but i don't know if that has anything to do with why the limitation exists.
I found it pretty straightforward really.

There seems to be two ways you can work this and they can be combined.

I do the first one: Use the sidebar

The folders in the sidebar can function as Uber-projects, with regular projects functioning as effective sub-projects in them.

You can also nest folders and have further structure. Be as elaborate as you want.

The other method is...

In the main window, you can indent tasks or make child as other posters point out. When that happens, you have to manage it a little, it's more like a straightforward outline, there isn't necessarily a sense of 'projecthood' if you get me. The parent line is made bold to indicate difference, that's good. While you can create any amount of nesting, a true outline, when you check off all the tasks in one subproject, it isn't automatically checked off. So you have to mind it a little.

But between the two ways of working you should be able to do pretty well anything.

But I think that in terms of GTD... and I know that OF wants to be more than just a GTD app... it is good to try to keep it to as simple a structure as possible. I try to keep it to a one level of nesting and the sidebar is definitely the most clean way of doing that.

Last edited by TommyW; 2007-05-24 at 02:53 PM..
1. folders can contain tasks and other folders
2. projects can contain tasks but NOT other projects.
3. tasks can contain other tasks

Well, then I'm confused. The way it looks to me is that folders can containg projects, and folders, but not just tasks. Only a project can hold a task. Thats why there's a need to have a 'singles' project. Other wise I could just stuff single tasks in the folder.

Also, if I remember from the screencast if you take a task under a project and give it sub tasks it makes that first task a sub project now. It's confusing because it looks just like a taks, but it has changed. In the screencast ethan changes the style to make it more obvious.

Course, I could be wrong, but that's what I thought.
I use all the structure constantly.

I'll give an example from my life, of making a SF con costume with my daughter.

Folder: Kids
Sub-Folder: Kid 1
Project: Con Costume
Task: Kid comes up with ideas
Sub-project: Gather Materials
Sub-tasks: list all materials, buy each material
Sub-project: Create Sewing Pattern
etc. (though the pattern should come before the materials, but you get the idea)

Now, I might want to turn Con Costume into a sub-sub-folder -- but I still need all that structure to focus in on this project, or to ignore it. And there's a mix of parallel and sequential tasks here, too.

Sure I could set this up without all the structure -- but the structure matches the way I think and work. If you don't need this level of complexity (you lucky devil) you don't have to use it.

[Hmm ... now why haven't I entered this into OF yet?]

Liz, that sounds pretty compelling, and a lot like what I'd like to do with sub-tasks.

Without embarrassing your kids too much, could you post a screen shot of your main screen, showing all the sub-projectude glory?


The main thing I get from this discussion is the idea of viewing sub-projects in the left-hand pane - probably with a flip-arrow, like tasks and folders.

But when I think about it, I quickly run into some ugly UI. How many levels would you display there? If it displayed all of the outline except for individual tasks, we've pretty much duplicated the entire righthand UI in the column on the left - which isn't useful.

At what point do you distinguish a "sub-project" from a "sub-task?" (Or is that even a meaningful distinction?) Would the feature needed be being able to set as a preference, or by project, how many layers to display in the Project column? Maybe being able to Focus on a parent task in the task outline on the right?

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