Both have their advantages. The Inbox holds all our deferred ideas for processing later. The Quick Entry just lets us add new things while keeping our other deferred ideas aside so we’re not distracted by them. Meanwhile, the Inbox can only be opened while using OmniFocus and Quick Entry can be opened from anywhere using a custom key command.
Sometimes, though, I’d like to get to my Inbox and its list of stuff from anywhere, too.
Enter Keyboard Maestro. I’m a huge fan of Keyboard Maestro as evidenced by the numerous posts I’ve written on its integration with OmniFocus. Check out the list below.
My friend, David Sparks, has just put out another one of his excellent Field Guides, this time specifically on learning and using Keyboard Maestro. (Please note, this may become an affiliate link. But also note, I think his field guides truly are quite solid.)
While watching it, I learned that I could use a combination of a key command and a trackpad stroke to make a combo. So, I’ve rigged a macro to take me to the Inbox by holding Control and swiping up. If you’re interested, this is what it looks like:
Here’s a set of other Keyboard Maestro posts on UsingOmniFocus.com:
Sometimes I want to see all of my options. I want to see the Inspector, the Toolbar, and the Sidebar.
Other times, I don’t. I just want to see a simple list of tasks.
Jumping back and forth between these states normally takes a bit of work. Minimizing the Sidebar, Toolbar, and Inspector, as well as resizing are all little things I don’t want to do.
So, I’ve made a Keyboard Maestro snippet to do all of those with a single keystroke. It’s a bit of work to set up, but once done, it’s done. Using it is simple. I type Option-q to expand everything. I type Option-q again to minimize:
Here’s the macro I’ve put together. Feel free to mess with it. As always, I take no responsibility for any form of wanton destruction that may occur as a result of your messing with your computer. This set up seems to work for me, but for all I know, it will summon rabid kittens from within your computer.
Let’s set it up. In Keyboard Maestro,
Create a Group for OmniFocus:
Create a new group for a specific application in Keyboard Maestro
Select “Available in all applications” and change it to “Available in these applications”.
Select the green + button and select OmniFocus:
You now have a folder that will let you make Keyboard Maestro macros specific to OmniFocus. As an aside, I have numerous folders dedicated to individual applications:
Then, while you are in the Group we just created above, import the macro:
It will import in a disabled state. To enable the macro,
Toggle the X into a checkmark:
You ‘re now ready to go.
Note, there is some wonkiness to the script. If one of the Sidebar, Inspector, or Toolbar are open or closed while the others are not, then the macro stops. In that case, you have to manually set them all in the same state using a menu or key command for it to work again.
Key commands are an excellent means of getting around a program, and Keyboard Maestro brings key commands to the general Mac OS.
Most of the custom perspectives I’ve designed in OmniFocus are assigned a key command. However, the key commands only work when OmniFocus is the front-running program.
Using Keyboard Maestro, I have macros created to immediately call my most commonly requested perspectives, opening OmniFocus when needed, regardless of my present active application.
As an example, I like to view my “laptop core” tasks easily. Usually, I would have to navigate to OmniFocus before calling the perspective with Control-Command-l. In the cases when OmniFocus is not already open, I would then need to open it before going to the perspective.
Now I just type Control-command-l wherever I am and the requested perspective appears. If this sounds appealing to you, read on.
* In creating key commands with Keyboard Maestro, one needs to be wary of creating hotkeys that may interfere with the hotkeys of Mac OS or other applications.
** Keyboard Maestro seems to be one of those programs that really rewards experimentation. I’m still experimenting, so follow along if you dare …
Creating the Folder
When OmniFocus is running, a path to call up a perspective by key command already exists. Rather than risk confusing the system, we need to tell Keyboard Maestro that it is not needed when OmniFocus is the front-running application. To do so, we can create a folder group in Keyboard Maestro with this specific command for all macros listed inside:
Create a Group in Keyboard Maestro by selecting the plus sign in the bottom left corner:
Title it something like, “OmniFocus Perspectives”.
We’ll now create a set of parameters for the folder.
In the editing pane, select “Available in all applications”:
Choose “Available except in the following applications:”:
Leave “Always Activated” as is.
We now have a folder in which we can create our perspectives:
Creating a Perspective Command
To create a new command by which we’ll call up a perspective:
Select the plus sign on the bottom:
Title it the name of the perspective you’d like to call.
Here, I’ll do “Laptop Core Perspective” under which I have only Flagged and Due items in contexts available for the laptop:
Select “New Trigger” and choose “Hot Key Trigger”:
Type the same key command assigned to the perspective in OmniFocus:
Now, we assign actions. We’ll need to open OmniFocus and select the perspective.
Select the area that says “No Action”:
The actions choices appear on the left:
Type the desired command in the left search pane. Here, we’ll use “Open”.
Double click “Open a File, Folder, or Application”:
Select “Unknown” and choose the application “OmniFocus” from your applications.
Again, select “New Action”: (If it does not appear, then it is likely that the actions menus are already open. Skip this step.)
Search for and double-click “Select a Menu Item”:
In the resulting fields,
Type the Menu Title as “Perspectives” and the Menu Item as the exact name of your perspective. In this case, I have written “Laptop Core”:
Select “Current Application” and choose the OmniFocus application:
The completed list appears as:
Select the Edit button on the bottom to close the editing process:
Inserting a Pause (an optional step)
This may be particular to my own system, but adding a pause here allows Keyboard Maestro to open a perspective more reliably. Otherwise, when Omnifocus is closed before executing the macro, the program opens, but the requested perspective does not, (possibly because OmniFocus is still opening when the perspective request is made).
Open the editing process by selecting the editing button on the bottom again.
Select “New action”
Search for and double-click “Pause”:
Drag and drop the Pause between the opening of the application and the selection of the menu:
I find that 0.5 seconds is plenty of time:
Now, when using another application, you can call up the perspective you want without opening or moving to OmniFocus first.
If desired, you can also add the action “Hide Other Applications”. This might be useful with a customized Inbox perspective, for example, where you may want to hide everything from view while entering thoughts.
You can create additional perspective macros easily by duplicating the one already made with Command-D and making the necessary adjustments. A bonus is that since it is already in the dedicated “OmniFocus Perspectives” folder that we first created, the new perspective macro will inherit the same properties.
For further study …
If you really want to start getting into Keyboard Maestro, then consider:
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