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Toodledo vs. OmniFocus: Pros and Cons

Omnifocus vs toodledo

I’ve been a big fan of Toodledo ever since I first reviewed it back in 2010. Recently, though, I’ve been unfaithful. I’ve abandoned Toodledo as my task management app of choice, and moved on to OmniFocus. While there are some reasons not to switch, a few compelling reasons helped me to decide to make the move. Here are some reasons to switch, and some reasons to stay put.

This is not intended to be a full review of each app. Instead, this is just a look at the factors that were important to me when deciding whether to make the switch.

 

Advantages of Toodledo

1. It’s a Web App

Depending on your point of view, being a web app might be an advantage or disadvantage of Toodledo. In fact, I’ve hedged my bets and counted it as both an advantage and disadvantage. It is an advantage because being a web app makes Toodledo platform-independent, and available just about anywhere. Even if you don’t have an Internet connection, you can use Toodledo as a back end, and still access your data with several desktop apps, as long as you remembered to sync when you last had a connection. OmniFocus, by contrast, is only available on Mac and iOS, so it isn’t a good choice if Windows is your primary platform.

 

2. It is More Powerful When Slicing and Dicing Your Data

With Toodledo, the ability to parse your data is almost limitless. For an example of some saved searches that I use, check out my post on using Toodledo as a quasi-GTD tool. You can, for example, make a search that returns all entires that you’ve Starred, and that are due within a certain number of day, and that fall within a certain folder and certain context. With OmniFocus, you can set up filters and save them as Perspectives (similar to saved searches), but I’ve found that those filters are much more limiting. For example, a Perspective must be Context-based or Project-based. A single Perspective can’t include both.

 

3. Toodledo is More Customizable

Toodledo is more customizable than OmniFocus. Part of that is due to the power of saved searches, as mentioned above, but there doesn’t seem to be much you can’t change in Toodledo, including the columns and the default view. OmniFocus allows much of this, but the app is so focused on being a GTD app that it doesn’t have quite the flexibility.

 

Advantages of OmniFocus

1. More True to GTD

OmniFocus is a GTD app, and therefore is more true to GTD methodologies. While Toodledo can be customized to become a pretty capable GTD app, it still has some shortcomings. For example, OmniFocus supports implementation of “Next Actions” right out of the box, in a way that is automated, through the use of sequential tasks within a project. Toodledo requires a user to manipulate Next Actions manually.

 

2. OmniFocus is Frictionless

There are several methods for entering tasks into Toodledo, such as via email or via a button that you can add to your toolbar. Still, nothing beats OmniFocus’ task entry. You can be in any app on your Mac, hit a key combination, and a task entry window will pop up. You can still scroll and manipulate the underlying window while you enter your task, without losing the pop-up Window. I’ve found this particular helpful when playing back voicemail audio files in my email inbox. I open an OmniFocus quick entry task box, hit “play” on the audio file in my email inbox, and then enter the task and hit return. The box then disappears. This is further automated with the use of a text expander snippet that types out “Return call of ” for me. OmniFocus also works with the Apple Mail app, allowing you to create a task from a Mail message (and link the task back to the Mail message) with a quick keystroke. For a somewhat comparable way of doing this with Toodledo, check out our writeup on using Mail Act-On for this purpose.

 

3. Toodledo is a Web App. OmniFocus is a Mac App.

As noted above, Toodledo’s status as a web app is both a pro and con. I’ve personally started gravitating back to desktop apps, finding them to be faster and more polished. Toodledo is fast, but there is an almost imperceptible lag to it, as a result of being a web app. OmniFocus is fast, and feels like a Mac app. For many Mac users, that is important.

 

Conclusion

There’s no “better” app here. It really comes down to personal taste. If you want more control and power, than Toodledo could be a better choice for you. If you want an app that is more true to GTD, and feels better on a Mac, then check out OmniFocus.

Do you have a preferred task management app? Let us know in the comments.

 

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About Evan Kline

Evan started 40Tech to write about tech from his perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. When not writing about tech, you might find him with his beautiful wife and baby girl, out on the ski slopes, at his real-life job as a lawyer, over on Google+, or scrounging for followers on his personal Twitter account after years of focusing on the 40Tech account.

8 Responses to Toodledo vs. OmniFocus: Pros and Cons

  1. I agree with the advantages of using a Mac app over a web app. I’ve been using a Windows computer at work and relied heavily on web applications. I recently got a Mac, so now I’m all Mac and iOS and I love being able to use “real” software. On the other hand, I suspect OmniFocus is complicating my life as much as clarifying it.

  2. I really liked Toodledo, but it lacked the group task management features I needed…I’ve moved over to Asana and can’t really say there is anything I miss from Toodledo. :(

    • Hi Dave, I’m considering switching to Asana from Toodledo for my company, largely due to the Toodledo interface. I love it for my use but feel others wouldn’t. Trying Asana, I had issues seeing all tasks for all projects assigned to anyone. Have you noticed that or ever seen it as a draw back?

  3. Toodledo had been testing a new development since January 2012. They called it Offline Support and has been fully tested on Mac Desktop (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera) and a lot off aditional platforms.

    The new mobile website uses HTML5 technology to cache data in your web browser and work offline when necessary. If you allow it, the mobile website will download all of your tasks and permanently store them in your web browser. When you disconnect from the internet, you can continue to read and edit your information. All of the changes will be saved inside the web browser and it will automatically sync the differences when you come back online.

    I’ve been using Toodledo since 2008 and, with no doubt, is the most powerfull task management tool now.

    • Thanks for the update, Joan. That’s the first that I’ve heard of the HTML5 updates to Toodledo. I’m pretty firmly entrenched in OmniFocus right now, but that doesn’t mean that Toodledo isn’t an awesome app.

  4. I have also using Toledo, but I switched to Comindware task management which is more flexible in fact.

  5. Hey,

    In business/ Todo list app, I’d like to recommend a great one which integrated an interesting concept; saving time from your notes.
    This app, Beesy, generates automatically a ToDo list from a smart note taking. Also, the advantage is you can esasily send your minutes by email. I love testing new business/ productivity apps such as Evernote, Penutilmate, Omnifocus, Awesome but it’s the first time I see an app so well done.
    I recommend Beesy for people which often have meetings.

    ( http://www.beesapps.com/beesy-ipad-to-do/ )

    Great post :)

  6. Dear Evan,

    Two of most important Toodledo features that I believe you missed in your post are Multi Tag supporting and Notebook. I’m using OmniFocus by myself but lacks of these two are annoying. In Toodledo you can add several tags to a specific task and it make task track heaven. For example you can add the name of colleagues to several tasks, which somehow are related to him/her. Also the Notebook will give possibility to add detail into a specific project and use them as future reference.

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