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By Shelly Brisbin

OmniFocus gains cross-platform voice automation

The latest update to the Omni Group’s OmniFocus task manager has a mild-mannered version number – 3.13 – but it includes one pretty big new feature. You can now control the app (on iPhone, iPad, or Mac) using your voice, with an assist from JavaScript-based Omni Automation features and the Voice Control accessibility feature that’s built into macOS and iOS.

Voice Control is an accessibility feature designed for those with physical disabilities, like motor delays that make it difficult to use gestures or a keyboard. Once Voice Control is enabled, you can control the Mac or iOS interface and dictate and correct text. It goes well beyond what you can do with Siri. Voice Control works inside apps, too, but OmniFocus has beefed up that support with hooks to its own automation scheme.

With Voice Control enabled, and a set of scripts provided by Omni, you can speak commands to create OmniFocus tasks, update or refer them, or hear which tasks are due, among many other options.

You can also create custom commands, or use Voice Control commands to trigger shortcuts.

Omni says Voice Control support is coming to its other apps, beginning later this year. Besides OminFocus, the company’s productivity tools include OmniOutliner, OmniPlan and OmniGraffle.

The OmniFocus 3.1.3 update is free to subscribers. Voice Control requires macOS Monterey or later, or iOS 15 or later. Omni has posted a set of Voice Control automation demo videos.

[Shelly Brisbin is a radio producer, host of the Parallel podcast, and author of the book iOS Access for All. She's the host of Lions, Towers & Shields, a podcast about classic movies, on The Incomparable network.]

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