Things 3 nails this as well. Open the app and just start typing.
Rather than force you to open the Quick Find modal, Things starts displaying search results when you type anywhere in the app that is not an input. Why not just show people what they need immediately? A pleasure! One has to search to find a piece of functionality that is not available via the keyboard.
And when it comes to design, there is one characteristic of Things that got my attention more than any other. That is…. When I first gave Things 3 a look, this is the feature that sold me. A long time ago, Things was my first task management tool as a new Mac user, but with the slow development times at Cultured Code and a lack of sync support, I made a move to OmniFocus.
For the better part of 5 years, I never gave Things any further consideration. When I first tried Things 3, something clicked for me. I wrote about it in my initial review:. There always needed to be a secondary piece of software required. Things 3 is the first tool that made me think there was a chance I could handle it all in one place. And indeed, a project in Things feels very much like a blank document rather than a rigid checklist.
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There is space for notes and reference information that does not feel like a simple free-form text field that is a second-class citizen in the apps UI. Things, as well as many of the apps in this space, do a good job of making it easy to get stuff into it. Using the Quick Entry dialog, you can quickly type a customizable shortcut and enter in a new task. Most task management apps offer this feature, but what I like about Things is, again, the usability. The form includes all the necessary fields, while also including excellent support for using just the keyboard.
Even better, with the Things Helper, you can create tasks from a currently selected item in other apps. Using this, Things will include a link back to the original item. Using one master inbox for all your inputs becomes a lot more feasible with this type of functionality. One of the aspects of Things that has always been important is how it structures the tasks that make up your life. That allows you to structure your projects, tasks, and checklists according to the various roles you play project managers, designers, and accountants, but parents, volunteers, coaches as well.
It even gets its own icon! This approach to the foundational structure in Things makes it easy to focus on one area at a time. Further down the structure, each project is also given a nice visual treatment. Again, this concept of a blank document works well. This allows you to include any background information or reference materials required at the top of the project. From there, you create the tasks required to complete the project.
If your project has specific categories of tasks or is broken into segments, Things lets you create headers to add structure to the project itself. Further, each task can include notes or documentation, and tasks can be recurring or include a checklist. Add it all up, and you get this beautiful document of what needs to be done. You can set this view up to sit on the side of your screen as you plug away. Another aspect of Things 3 that I admire is the consideration of how to use time. Yes, you can assign a due date for tasks or projects, but you can also specify a time when you want to work on your tasks but they are not necessarily due.
This is how you add items to Today. This implementation in Things is very well thought out. If I have a task I want to complete tomorrow, I set that value in the task itself all from the keyboard, mind you.
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Most other task managers would treat this as an overdue item and give you a glaring read badge. This is a far friendlier way of allowing you to address intention when managing your tasks. Due dates are still there for when needed. For me, hard due dates are rare, so the more relaxed approach to time in Things is welcome. Most task managers give you the option to use tags. Yet I and believe many other Apple users never seem to get around to using them. Not in the file system, and not in my main applications.
However, I really like the way Things handles tags. The basic structure of Things is as mentioned above. You create high-level Areas of Responsibility or high-level projects to Things. From there, areas can include multiple projects and tasks. In this way, Things operates a lot like folders on your file system. Tags are how you can view tasks across the different areas and projects in your life. You can view any given tag by using the high-level keyboard-based navigation.
Simply start typing the name of a tag and then select it from the search modal. The result is a view that looks like a project. Except it can include tasks that are located in different projects, grouped by area. Since there is little ability to create custom views in Things more on that below , this ability to view tags allows you the most flexibility.
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You can even filter your list of tagged tasks by other tags. So meta.
Compared to some of the other options, a lot of people will find it too rigid. Whereas a tool like OmniFocus allows you to configure things in a myriad of ways, Things only gives you a minimal set of options. Nowhere is this more apparent than creating custom views. Where OmniFocus or 2Do allow you to build highly customized and specific views for your tasks, Things has almost no options at all.
If you like to focus on one day at a time, the Today view is a good option.
The same is true for viewing an entire area of your life. If you view an area that includes projects and single tasks, you cannot see all the tasks for the entire area. All tasks for a specific project can only be viewed by clicking into the project itself. Apart from the lack of customization which, I should add, some people would see as a positive feature , there are a few other missing features in Things. First, the lack of Markdown support or any other formatting is a bummer. How much more useful would the notes be if you could add headers, bold or italicize text, or even include file attachments?
As well, other apps in this category provide options that some folks will not want to be without:. Last, for hardcore iOS users, the lack of shortcuts on the iPad version of Things 3 was disappointing. The shortcuts are so good on the desktop; it was a shock that there were none available on the iPad when Things 3 launched. That changed in an update in May, but the iPad version still lacks compared to the macOS version compare both.
What’s New in the all-new Things. Your to-do list for Mac & iOS
All things considered, these are small items that do not take away enough from Things. One last item to mention is the different versions of the product. Apple users in are people using more than one device. How does Things shape up on an iPad or iPhone compared to the desktop? Personally, I downsized to two devices over the last three years. Where I used to use all three options, I currently only use a phone and a laptop.
And in my usage, Things is perfect. Where the desktop app allows me to see what I need as I go through my day and throw new stuff into the inbox for later processing, the iPhone app is a wonderful experience for planning. My morning or evening quiet times start with meditation and prayer but often end in review and planning. Things on my phone gives me a very nice view using Areas, Projects, and tags. And where the keyboard navigation is spot on in macOS, the touch-based navigation and accompanying animations on iOS are just as good.
And so too is the support for drag and drop. Things is above all else a very smooth feeling app. As mentioned above, keyboard support on iOS is lacking and is an area where improvement is needed. OmniFocus was one of the first iPad apps to support drag and drop, where you could drag multiple lines of text in from a notes app like Bear and each line becomes its own task. Things, however, takes the dragged text and inserts the text as a note inside a new task. Which method you prefer will really depend on how you work.
Then, drag in your tasks and you have a pre-determined list of tasks. For those looking to use Things as an increasingly complex task manager, this may be the superior form of drag and drop implementation. As part of the upgrade to version 3, OmniFocus 3 has changed in many ways — and for the better. If you were using version 2, there have been very few changes that would force you to change your workflows and setups, but many ways you could likely enhance them.
For those new to OmniFocus 3, it is the same, extremely powerful, task manager with even more flexibility than before. Naturally, there are also buttons to add new inbox tasks inside the app. With the customizable inspector on iOS, you can really set it up to meet your needs. OmniFocus is also integrated into many other apps, which means you can easily capture from a whole host of applications including Drafts, Airmail, Spark, and more! On the Mac, OmniFocus has a powerful quick capture window, allowing you to add one or more tasks, along with tags, dates, notes, and projects as you get on with your work.
OmniFocus will let you configure your system however you like. You can keep it simple with just a few projects as lists, or make it more granular with folders and setting your projects to parallel, sequential, or single action. One feature that sets OmniFocus apart from other task managers is infinite depth. A project contains actions, but by adding sub-tasks to those which can also contain sub tasks, and so on you can create a very complex hierarchy of tasks should you need it.
One of the headline features for OmniFocus 3 is tags. Every task and project can have an unlimited number of tags assigned to it, giving you a very flexible way to view your tasks as needed. Tags can also have a status such as on hold , which is ideal for a dependent task, or dropped if those tasks should all disappear. Tags can also be nested so you can have People as a main tag and Josh , David , and Michaela inside of People if you want. Hand in hand with the tags comes perspectives. You can craft a series of rules and nest them if necessary.
This lets you view a list of all of your available projects ordered by due date, or tasks tagged with errand but not supermarket. You can also set custom icons and colors for each perspective, allowing you to represent your tasks in an iconic fashion. As perspectives can be starred to show in the sidebar on macOS, or added to the toolbar, these icons make sense.
Notifications are an important part of every task management system, and OmniFocus has lots of choices for notifications. On top of this, for each task you can add extra notifications such as Latest Start , so if you have an estimated time set for a task it will notify you that amount of time before the due date to get it done.
You can add notifications relative to the due date of a task, so if you want a heads up two days before something is due you can have that happen without needing to set a fake due date — and if you use this with a repeating task, those notifications will repeat with each instance of it. All of these features are incredibly simple and perfectly obvious once you've used them — it is pinch-to-zoom all over again.
Take our word for it: For those to-dos you absolutely cannot miss, adding a reminder will give you peace of mind. There are three ways to set the time. Our new natural language date parser understands time as well. Or you can speak to Siri on your iPhone: Type "Wed 8pm", and you're all set. Or you can speak to Siri to enable this feature. It pushes newly set reminders to all other devices instantly rather than waiting for the next routine push to make sure all devices are up to date.
Introducing Slim Mode! Collapse your sidebar with a two-finger swipe to cut out distractions and focus on the task at hand.
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You can still easily switch lists by clicking the window title — or just use Type Travel! Things provides a wonderfully flexible work environment on macOS. Open multiple projects in their own panes and drag to-dos back and forth between them to organize with ease. Use multiple displays? You can open different lists on each one. Same with desktop spaces and split views — whatever suits your personal setup.
See the progress of your projects at a glance and see just how close you are to achieving your goal. Completely rewritten core layers of the apps are now shared between Mac and iOS for increased reliability. Everything you do in Things is nicely animated for pop. This is achieved with our own, custom built animation toolkit.
Check out our 15 day free trial of Things for Mac. All-New Design The all-new Things sports an all-new design. Beautiful To-Dos Just take a look at the basic building block of Things - its to-dos. Design Is Not an Afterthought It's a way of building apps, and we live by it. Mac iOS. Upcoming Plan your week ahead with the new Upcoming list. Headings Large projects are easier to complete when you can break them up into smaller parts — just add a few Headings!
Magic Plus The new plus button adds some magic to every interaction. Create To-Dos Play Insert a new item right where you want it: Drop to Inbox Play No matter what list you're in, you can send a new to-do straight to your Inbox — with a single, consistent gesture and without ever leaving the list. Quick Find Mac iOS. Quick Indeed To hold its promise, Quick Find needs to be — quick.
Jump Start Mac iOS. Just a Click Away The Jump Start popover helps you make scheduling decisions quickly by putting all the answers in one convenient place. Just a Swipe Away The Jump Start popover helps you make scheduling decisions quickly by putting all the answers in one convenient place. Insert Things Anywhere You've already seen how convenient it is to insert new to-dos anywhere you like with the new Magic Plus button. Drag to Reorder When you have a multi-selected group, just tap and hold. Type Our new natural language date parser understands time as well.
Speak Or you can speak to Siri on your iPhone: Speak Or you can speak to Siri to enable this feature. Slim Mode Introducing Slim Mode! Multiple Windows Things provides a wonderfully flexible work environment on macOS. All the Small Things Progress Pies See the progress of your projects at a glance and see just how close you are to achieving your goal. Sidebar Structure The sidebar neatly groups projects underneath their area for added clarity.
Quick Move Easily move to-dos across projects. Type to filter down the list. Touch Bar Support Convenient access to most-used commands, right at your fingertips. Updated Watch App Now also shows checklists and headings. New Core Completely rewritten core layers of the apps are now shared between Mac and iOS for increased reliability. Beautiful Animations Everything you do in Things is nicely animated for pop. Follow us on Twitter.
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For Mac macOS Apple Apple Design Award. It is simple and easy to use, and it has a beautiful design. While being powerful enough for even the most detailed and organized power user, it is also simple enough for the rest of us. The developers of Things have finally found the perfect balance of easy use and robust features. The design team at Cultured Code have worked their magic all over the app, and every individual bit and pixel has been redesigned and crafted to perfection. It was simply designed with the understanding that real people are going to be using it for real life. What an amazing piece of software.
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