OmniFocus 3 Reference Manual for iOS



An item that’s part of a project, or part of a group within a project.

Action Group

Also referred to as a sub-project, an action group is a set of actions nested hierarchically within a parent action (which itself can be part of a project).


The status for an item that’s planned for completion, or a tag that’s currently in use. Active status can be set on projects and tags using the inspector.


An item state (and view option) that includes items that aren’t blocked, deferred, or on hold. The available state is derived from an item’s defer date, project type, and project or tag status.


The state of an action in a sequential project that comes after the first available action. Blocked isn’t set directly; to unblock an action, either change the project to another type or move the action to the top of the project.


A view width that requires OmniFocus’s multi-pane design to run in a layered stack rather than with the panes side by side (contrast with wide view). iPhone in portrait orientation and iPad in 1/3 split screen are examples of compact views.


The status assigned to an item when you’ve finished it, or finished all the actions that comprise it (in the case of a project or group). Tap an item’s status circle to mark it complete.

Contextual Menu

Since iOS doesn’t have a menu structure similar to macOS, OmniFocus uses contextual menus to provide a method of interacting with the user interface. Where available, contextual menus appear when you tap and hold a row or block of text and then release your finger. Contextual menus appear as a black bar—with menu options specific to the object or interface element you have tapped.


The file that OmniFocus uses to hold all of the information that you add to the app. OmniFocus and its various perspectives act as windows onto your database, interpreting the data there in ways that help you get stuff done. There’s typically no need to interact with your database file directly; there are Settings that can optimize its performance, and you can contact support if it looks like things may be amiss.

Defer Date

A date and time assigned to an item that you don’t want to (or can’t) consider for completion until later. When the defer date is reached, the item becomes available for work. Also referred to as the Defer Until date.

Drag & Drop

Introduced with iOS 11, Drag & Drop is a system-level function that is integrated with OmniFocus and other apps on iOS. You can drag text into OmniFocus from the other apps, reorder items in the outline, and drag rows or selected text from OmniFocus to other apps on your device.


The status for a project, folder, action, or tag that is no longer being considered for completion. Use the inspector to set one of these as dropped.

Due Date

A date and time assigned to an item by which the item must be completed.

Due Soon

A status for items whose due dates are approaching. Items that are due soon are styled in amber for greater visibility. The exact meaning of Due Soon is configurable in OmniFocus Settings.

First Available

A status (and view option) designating a project’s first action as the only one available. First Available status is derived from an action’s position within a project and the project’s type: for sequential and parallel projects, the first available action is the first action in the project list. For single action lists, all actions are equally available.


A mark of privileged, eye-catching status bestowed on an item. What this special status denotes is completely up to you, but it’s a great way to keep important things from falling through the cracks. Items that are flagged are styled in orange for greater visibility.


A collection of items nested hierarchically within another item. Groups created from inbox items are item groups, while groups created within projects are action groups (also sometimes called sub-projects).


An item that exists in your database but isn’t exposed by the view options of your current perspective. Relevant when the app gives notice that you might be deleting something by mistake.


The top level of hierarchy in the sidebar and central navigation hub to all other perspectives in the app. To return Home from another view, tap the chevron in the upper left (or touch and hold it to return home immediately, without passing through each level of the view hierarchy).


The built-in perspective designed to hold tasks and to-dos that you’ve entered into OmniFocus as items, prior to processing them into projects, actions, and groups.


A pane that holds the suite of tools for adding and changing the details of an action, project, or tag. The inspector opens automatically when you tap an item in the outline; in wide views or in Edit mode, tap The Inspector button is an Italic lower-case I to show or hide it.


Items are representations of tasks and to-dos in an OmniFocus database. Types of items include: inbox items, actions, projects, and groups.

Keyboard Shortcut

A set of keys pressed to invoke a menu command, available when a Bluetooth keyboard is paired with your device. Press and hold command (⌘) to see a list of shortcuts available from your current location in the app.

On Hold

A status for projects and tags that aren’t relevant to your plans right now, but may be in the foreseeable future. Use the inspector to set projects and tags on hold.


The place where you see and interact with your items in OmniFocus, usually through a hierarchical view of your database. Specific perspectives (such as Tags and Forecast) have specialized ways of showing your data that eschew or modify the typical project hierarchy.


A status for items whose due dates are past. Items that are overdue are styled in red for greater visibility.


A project or group that doesn’t place particular emphasis on the order in which its actions are completed. All actions are considered available, though the topmost action is still considered the first available action for the purposes of view options.


A view on your OmniFocus database that appears in the sidebar’s perspective list and is detailed in the outline. OmniFocus comes with seven built-in perspectives and two transient reference perspectives (Completed and Changed). Custom perspectives can be created in OmniFocus Pro.

Perspective Editor An icon indicating that this feature is part of OmniFocus Pro.

With OmniFocus Pro, the editor used to create new perspectives or edit existing custom perspectives. To open the Perspective Editor, tap the New Perspectives button in Home bottom bar, or tap View Options in an existing custom perspective.

Plug-In An icon indicating that this feature is part of OmniFocus Pro.

With OmniFocus Pro, Omni Automation Plug-Ins are JavaScript tools for automating various tasks in OmniFocus. See Omni Automation for more information.


A to-do item that’s larger in scope or permanence than a simple action, potentially containing several actions and groups within it that must be completed before the project can be marked complete.


An item state and view option that shows all items that haven’t been completed or dropped. This state is derived from an item’s attributes and not set directly.


An item state that includes all items that have either been completed or dropped.


A project or group whose actions must be completed in a specific order. The first action in the list is the only one available for completion; all later actions are considered blocked.
A pane that holds the Home view and perspective list, and displays additional levels of hierarchy when navigating deeper into Projects, Tags, and Review. The sidebar appears on the left of the outline in wide views; tap The Sidebar button is a sliding pane over the outline to show or hide it.

Single Action List

A project whose actions are equally available regardless of sequence. Unlike other project types where completion is the goal, single action lists persist regardless of whether they contain available actions.


A term synonymous with action group; a group of actions nested hierarchically within a project.

Status Circle

A graphical depiction of an item’s status (due soon, overdue, flagged, or repeating), as well as a target to tap to mark an item completed.

Summary Dots

A row of colored dots shown beneath sidebar entries in the Projects and Tags perspectives, used for an at-a-glance view of the number and urgency of items remaining to be completed within them.


A person, place, thing, state of mind, or other factor relevant to the completion of a given action or project. These exist outside the project hierarchy and represent another axis from which to view the items you’ve accumulated in your database. An item can have as many tags as you find to be useful.


In the context of this manual, a task is something you’d like to accomplish in the real world that you’d capture with OmniFocus (where it would then become an item). To-do is another word with the same meaning.


A region along the top or bottom of the OmniFocus view that contains controls for modifying the contents of that view.


A view width that allows OmniFocus’s multi-pane design to run with the panes side by side rather than in a layered stack (contrast with compact view). Full-width iPad and the largest iPhones in landscape orientation are examples of wide views.