Archive questions

Somehow I have gotten quite confused about archives. I was looking for some notes from a project of a few years ago, and I think I have lost my archives from then, but I’m not sure. And, while I was looking at my archive, I found some other puzzling things.
I just did an archive in late December. I did one earlier in August. (I record my archiving dates in OmniFocus, which is a problem!). I switched from an Intel to an Apple Silicon computer in July, so I did an “install from scratch” to try to avoid cruft that had built up, and I think that I deleted my archives. (Damn, I wish that archives were kept in my Dropbox, so they would just come with any migration.) I do have Time Machine backups, so I should be able to restore, but the question is, how?
So my questions

  1. I can’t figure out how to find the “oldest archived item,” to get an idea of how far back my archive goes. (My plan was to us a perspective that lists all items individually outside of projects, and then find the oldest completion date. But it looks like there aren’t perspectives in an archive window.) Any thoughts?
  2. There is a recipe on this forum for merging two archives, using OmniFocus 1. AFAICT, there is nothing about merging archives since then. Is there a recipe for merging archives for OmniFocus 3 that I haven’t seen?
  3. If I find my archive from before August on a backup (I have to pull out disks from a drawer and mount them physically in a drive, which I haven’t done yet), will I be able to look at my archive?
  4. If I can’t figure out how to merge archives, is my best bet to just keep two copies of my archives in my user files and then copy them physically to ~/Library/Containers/com.omnigroup.OmniFocus3/Data/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/Archive.ofocus-archive/ when I want to look at my current archive or my old archive? Do you see any problems with this (other than it be being at total PITA)?

I believe you are saying this …

  • I migrated to a new computer in July, and I did not transfer my OF archives to my new computer
  • I have a Time Machine backup from the old computer before I made the migration
  • I have made two new archive actions since July, one in August and one in December
  • I want to reclaim the old archive and merge it with the new archive – How??

In such a case, and presuming that your TM backup captured your ~/Library/… OF archive file, you can certainly recover the OF archive from the last TM backup before you migrated to the new computer. You should be able to look at it as an OF archive. You may have to play the game to swap names between the older and newer archives to see one or the other. I cannot vouch for opening two different archive files. The instructions from OF1 on how to merge archives may still apply to OF3.


Your description of the issue is correct.

Regarding your comment “The instructions from OF1 on how to merge archives may still apply to OF3,” I really would like to have a recipe that I know works. There is a question at that post, dated Aug 2015, asking “Can anyone confirm that the above does work on OF2 as well?”

I do wish that someone from the OmniGroup would give a lesson on how to merge archives, since failure to migrate the archive to a new machine is such an easy thing to do.

I answered my own question about how to merge archives, here.

Thanks for your detailed posting!!

FWIW, since Version 1, I’ve not seen evidence that OmniGroup has any serious interest in changing let alone improving the archiving process beyond its original intent to decrease the size of a database file in order to speed up synchronization (e.g. by removing the number of tasks that are synchronized). In such a case, you can appreciate why you will not find a document on how to merge different archive files … archives are considered and treated otherwise as cruft (leftovers) that you want to or are happily willing to exclude from your main database, not as content you will need to recall again later.


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