OmniFocus Quick Entry on iOS

OmniFocus Quick Entry on iOS

Quick Entry is very useful with OmniFocus. Using a key command, you can quickly call a window in front of whatever you are doing in any other program, add a thought or two, and then whisk it away just as quickly. Your thoughts then wait patient at the OmniFocus Inbox for when you are ready to process it.

On the iPhone, however, this is not the case. You have to actually go to the program and select a button or two in order to enter your ideas. Meanwhile, there are several snags for attention certainly along the way. Something sitting in the inbox that grabs at you, or maybe while swiping between programs you see a red badge, etc.

Now, however, we can use the iPhone’s AssistiveTouch and Shortcuts apps to create a Quick Entry.  I’ve gently stolen this idea from a Reddit post that had done the same for Todoist, written by u/Gorrunwe.

The end result is that you have a little white dot that stays on your screen, including on your lock screen.  You only need to double tap it and you can enter a thought that will then be added to the Inbox.

Quick Entry on iOS -OmniFocus

What’s neat is that you don’t leave the app you are in.  You just enter your idea, select done and you’re right back where you were.

Set up

First, let’s take care of the Shortcut.

  • Open the Shortcuts app
  • Create a new Shortcut
  • Find the OmniFocus options:
Search for OmniFocus in Shortcuts

Search for OmniFocus in Shortcuts

  • Select Add Item (note: do not select “New Inbox Item”, as the Shortcut will then take you to the OmniFocus application)
Select Add Item

Select Add Item

  • Leave the option as is:
OmniFocus Task Addition option

OmniFocus Task Addition option

  • Select Done
  • Title the Shortcut something like “New Inbox Item”

Now, head over to the System Settings:

Find Settings

iOS Settings app

  • Search for AssistiveTouch:
Search for AssistiveTouch

Search for AssistiveTouch

  • Select AssistiveTouch:
Select Assistive Touch to Turn It On

Select Assistive Touch to Turn It On

  • Turn on AssistiveTouch
  • Under Custom Actions, select “Double-Tap”:
AssistiveTouch Custom Options

AssistiveTouch Custom Options

  • Scroll way down and find the custom Shortcut you named earlier:
Select the new Shortcut option in Assistive Touch

Select the new Shortcut option in Assistive Touch

And you’re good to go!

For extra credit, try assigning the long-press to an action. You may have noticed in a screenshot above that I have set up creating a Due reminder with a long-press. Thank you u/Gorrunwe!

Addendum 2021-01-11:  Brent on Twitter points out that you can add/remove the circle with a quick double-tap on the back of the phone, with this setup from Apple.  I just tried it, and it totally works.  Thanks Brent!

Addendum 2021-01-12: Looks like I misinterpreted Brent’s point – you could also set up the double tap to trigger the shortcut itself!  Well, you’ve got lots of options 🙂

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