Archive - ONLY projects (complete and finished)


I would like to move only completed projects to the Archive - and NOT single actions or grouped actions in projects which are not finished.
I found these three topics from some years ago. So, for this problem is, as I see, no solution available?!


Somewhat. You can mark the project as completed, and then after ~30 days (it actually depends on the dates you choose for the “archive” functionality in OmniFocus) the whole project will be moved to your Archive file, provided you use this functionality.

If you don’t, you could do what I also do which is to have a folder called “Archived” and I move completed projects there, and then set up my perspectives to not show that folder.


Manual archiving is your only option, assuming something radical wasn’t introduced in OF3 (I’m still on 2).


Yes, I assume manual archiving is the only solution (but the project is still in the main database). It is this what I might do so …


To clarify, I mean manually copying the project to the Archive file and then deleting the project from the main database.

One drawback to this method, aside from the obvious manual work involved, is both Mac and iOS versions will pester you to archive if you have long-completed tasks in an uncompleted project.


Oh, now I understand, thanks @aeryn. At the moment my Archive is not available as I have not moved anything to it. I will give it a try when times comes.
Takk :-)


Yeah, I was wondering about that while responding. I think you’ll have to fake out the automatic archiving processing to get it to create the file without messing up your primary database. I used automatic archiving back in the day so I already have the file even though I’ve manually archived for 3+ years now.

I think if you create a dummy task/project and back date the completion date and then set the archive date to completion date +1 it will sweep that item into the newly created Archive file. But you need to be sure that date predates any of your other tasks and projects or they’ll be swept into the archive as well. You can still manually move them back out of the archive and to the primary database, it’s just more manual lifting.

ETA: Or…just let OF run it’s archive process, open the Archive and delete everything, and then restore a backup of your primary database. Voila, empty Archive and preserved primary db.


Since I don’t use OmniFocus archiving, I know I don’t have a full and complete understanding of the Archive functions. (I’d like to use it, but its current incarnation is not helpful to me.) The comments on this post really made me take notice though.

We’re three major versions into the product and on the heels of the newest version, but it sounds like people are still having to find workarounds to kinda sorta partway get Archive to do some of what they want. Archive seems to still not work the way some people need it to work.

Now I get that Archive is probably just fine for some people. I need the ability to Archive Now. I need to be able to select a single project for archiving. And I need to be able to archive and preserve a complete project in its then-current state - including any uncompleted tasks. In my world, some tasks will just never be completed, but I need to know that, and I need to preserve them in that state for future reference. (And yes, I have submitted this as a feature request in the past.)

To get back to my main point though, do many OmniFocus users find that you’re having to work around the way Archive functions?

I’m curious to know if Archiving workarounds are common, or if my use case is just so unique that OmniFocus and/or OmniFocus Archiving are just not the best solution for me.




The “Archive” functionality in OF is pretty simple: It’s a separate database called “Archive.” And it’s offline, so it lives on exactly one Mac (it’s just a file though, so you can copy it elsewhere and open it there. But it doesn’t sync).

The default functionality you get when you select “move to archive” is that it moves items of a certain age (the default is older than “the first of the month previous to the one you’re in”) to the archive folder. You can select the date yourself though so all items completed prior to a certain date in the past are moved.

If you want archive to behave differently (i.e. to just move a project you’re done with), the built in “archive” function, you can still do what you want. Just open your OF database and the “Archive” folder side by side (there’s a menu item to “open archive”) and drag the projects you want to “archive” to the Archive database. It takes a couple seconds.


CatOne - Thank you for the message.

To make sure I’m understanding this drag and drop approach correctly, I can do this with any project, regardless of its completion status? And when I drag it over to the Archive folder, all of the current project and action statuses will remain unchanged so that incomplete projects will remain forever incomplete in the Archive (as I want them to)?

Can I create folders in the Archive to recreate the organizational structure I have in my main database?




@jemjem: “Long time ago” I used the archive function regular to transfer finished tasks to the archive, also finished tasks which were still in unfinished projects. Later I had to change the title of some still running projects/folders - with the result that the archive was a mess. OF created new folders/projects in the Archive because the titles changed. Since then I do not use the Archive function anymore. But I might have to start working with it because it gets too much of finished projects.
What I want to say: Be careful when moving manually. Once you let OF do the achievement again and the project structures are different you might end up in a mess in the Archive.
I thought projects have something like a unique ID but it seems not to be the case.
Maybe it changed with OF3. What I described above was when I used OF2. But for the moment it seems to me that the Archive functions is very similar to the one in OF2.


@claus : Thanks for the warning. I’ve read several posts over the years in which people discussed the complexities of trying to manually manage the Archive. I’ve always been reluctant to delve into it because of that. To me the manual approach still sounds like a workaround.

To borrow an example from someone else, suppose I have a physical folder on my desk with a stack of documents in it. When I decide I’m finished with it, I can store it away in the filing cabinet regardless of whether the actions or project are finished or not. I can move the entire folder on-demand, and everything will keep its current state. That’s really all I want OmniFocus archiving to do. I absolutely do not want it to split up a long duration project by moving completed actions out to the Archive while leaving the rest of the project in the main database.

I guess I’ll have to keep reading and researching.

Thanks again,



I use archive and I’d like options to set archive to be say completed projects done since X date or all things including actions or to flag only certain projects to be archived. I’ll go add this to a request in OF.


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