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Universal Search In OmniFocus

Sometimes I complete tasks almost unintentionally, in a reactive manner. Someone might call me on the phone, for example, and the conversation takes care of a task that I had previously set up as an action in OmniFocus. I then need to hunt down the action to mark it as complete. If you use the OmniFocus search box, your search would only search the Perspective currently in focus. I wanted to create a quick and easy way to perform a universal search, so I could find my tasks more easily.

I was able to accomplish this through a combination of a new Perspective in OmniFocus, and a Keyboard Maestro recipe. First, I set up an OmniFocus Perspective that included all remaining tasks (whether currently set as “available” or not), as depicted below. I didn’t set that Perspective to display in the sidebar, as I only use it for universal search.

Next, I assigned a keyboard shortcut to that Perspective (in my case, I assigned CONTROL+OPTION+COMMAND+S). I don’t actually ever type that shortcut, but it is used by Keyboard Maestro, as explained below.

OmniFocus Everything Perspective


The next step was setting up a Keyboard Maestro recipe, depicted in the screenshot below. I trigger the recipe with another keyboard shortcut (CONTROL+OPTION+COMMAND+/). That recipe activates OmniFocus if it isn’t already active, brings it to the front, types the shortcut to switch to my “Everything” perspective, and then uses the OmniFocus keyboard shortcut that moves the cursor to the search box.

OmniFocus universal search keystroke


This works really well for me. With one keystroke, regardless of what I’m doing on my Mac, my cursor ends up in the OmniFocus search box, ready to search all of my actions.