How to Use OmniFocus and OmniPlan


OmniFocus and OmniPlan are two software programs developed and distributed by the Omni Group, a company that specializes in productivity applications. Both software programs are designed to help organize your life. You can use them to create daily and long term to-do lists, and monitor your progress along the way. As of January 2012, OmniFocus and OmniPlan are compatible only with the Apple operating system.


  • Open the OmniFocus program on your computer. A list of sample projects appears in the left-side column.

  • Create your first project. To do this, click the plus sign located at the bottom of the left-side column. Type a name for your new project in the designated box. The new project will appear in the same column.

  • Click the project name to highlight it and click Add Action from the top toolbar. Enter the actions that are needed to fulfill your project. View the actions as milestones to meet on the way to accomplishing your goal. Repeat this step for each milestone you want to add to your project.

  • Click Context from the top toolbar to add a chronological sequence of events that must occur before your project is complete. Add context notes to stay on track for meeting your project goals.

  • Connect each context note to your action plan. To do this, first click your project name. A context drop-down menu now appears to the right of each action plan. Click the drop-down menu to assign a sequence of events to each action.

  • Assign a due date to each project. To do this, click the project name from the left-side panel. Click Due from the top toolbar to enter a date.

  • Click Inbox from the top toolbar to add future projects for which you are not ready to create an action plan. Think of the inbox as a holding place for your thoughts and creative ideas.

  • Organize related projects into folders. To do this, click the project name. Click the Add Folder option, located at the bottom of the left-side bar. Assign a name to the folder. The new folder appears in the left-side panel. Drag and drop related projects into the folder.


  • Open the OmniPlan program on your computer. Click File and select New to open the new project form.

  • Type the details of your project into the designated form fields. For instance, enter a name for your project, a start date for your project and an end date (deadline).

  • Add milestones to your project. To do this, click the first “View” button to get a big-picture view of your projects. Click the Actions drop-down menu (the gear icon) to add milestones, as well as the date on which you want to accomplish each milestone.

  • Click the Group icon from the top toolbar to group related projects together.

  • Click the third “View” button to see a big-picture view of your calendar. Here you can adjust the hours you want to commit toward working on your project. To adjust a time simply drag the calendar block to reposition it over your desired time slot.

  • Add resources to your projects. These are people and things that are vital to the achievement of your project goals. To add and view resources, click the second “View” button.

  • Click the Catch Up icon from the top toolbar to update your progress. Progress is represented as a percentage of tasks accomplished toward your ultimate goal.


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