I’ve been promising many readers that I would provide some details on my customized OmniFocus setup, so that is what post #8 and the wrap up of the series entitled, An Advanced GTD User’s Paradise, will be all about. If you’ve missed any of the eight-part series, links to each post in the series are available from part 1.
The OmniFocus Toolbar
The toolbar, as in many other Mac applications is the first stop for customizing your GTD interface. You can choose from a variety of commands and features that are already part of the application by following these steps.
- Control+Click (or right-click) any toolbar button.
- Select customize from the menu.
- Drag the commands (icons) from the dialog box to the desired location on the toolbar.
Note that you will see buttons for a variety of default OF commands and perspectives, the perspectives you’ve created and any scripts added to OmniFocus. Here is a screenshot of my customize dialog box. Remember, I’ve added a lot to the default set, so your options will vary.
Most of the buttons in my personal OF toolbar come from customized perspectives. Perspectives are a snapshot of the current view settings, and should be saved for any frequently used views you want to have available from a toobar button.
To setup a new perspective, follow these steps.
- Choose the mode (planning or context).
- Click the View button to turn on the view bar.
- Select the desired sidebar filter, e.g. all, active, remaining, etc.
- Set each of the main view options as desired, i.e. Grouping, Sorting, Status Filter, Estimated Time and Flag.
- Expand or compress notes (Cmd+Option+’ will toggle all notes open and closed).
- Expand or collapse all rows as desired (View | Collapse or Expand All) from the main menu.
To save the new perspective, follow these steps.
- Select Perspectives | Save Window As | New Perspective from the main menu.
- Enter a name that describes the perspective, e.g. “Urgent”.
- Press Enter.
Note that your perspective settings are also available within the Perspectives dialog. You can reach the dialog box shown below by selecting Perspectives | Show Perspectives from the main menu.
Every aspect of the view (perspective) can be changed using the perspective dialog box as pictured above, including the image desired for the toolbar button, quick key, and whether or not a new window is opened when the perspective is used.
Quick Print Tip
Here’s another great tip about using the Show Perspective feature. If you click on the sprocket wheel button under the perspectives sidebar (right next to the + add perspective button), you can choose to print the perspective without even opening it. This is a great way to get a quick printout of a perspective before leaving for a meeting.
You can use any of the limited set of images available in the application for your toolbar buttons, or use your own images using the image settings available in the perspective window.
Follow these steps to select a new button image.
- Open the Perspectives window (Perspectives | Show Perspectives from the main menu).
- Select the perspective in the sidebar.
- Click the list button (arrow) in the lower right corner of the image selector.
- Click on an available image or . . .
- Click the Choose . . . button to select an image previously saved to your computer.
Note that it is best to save images as jpg in 32×32 pixel size. You may need to experiment with the size that works best for you.
Where to Find Images
I have used a variety of sources for my images, some free and some purchased. A google image search using the name of the perspective will often yield good results, e.g. “waiting”. I’ve also found iconfinder.net to be particularly helpful locating GTD images.
Changing the Button Text
The text for perspective buttons is the name of the perspective, so keep that in mind when naming perspectives. The more buttons you want on the toolbar, the shorter the perspective names should be.
Since many have asked about my personal toolbar, I am including a table that details the settings for each of my toolbar buttons in the table below. I have also included a pdf, OF Toolbar Details, for those that might want to download it for easier reading. For a description of the purpose for many of these customized perspectives, see the post entitled, Perspective is Everything with OmniFocus .
So there you have it. Customizing OmniFocus with your own perspectives and scripts, really sets this GTD application apart from all its competition. And one click access to those power features, through the OF toolbar, will make using the advanced features of OF quick and easy, qualifying this app as the Advanced GTD User’s Paradise, that I promised from the start of this series.
I hope you’ve found this series of posts helpful, and thanks again for reading, John