Bug? Creating OF -> local link by 'Alias' creation. Words with Folders but not Files


Dragging a folder from my Mac onto an Omnifocus Action Note field and selecting ‘Alias’ creates a local link.This is really useful for my workflow.

Since then I’ve noticed, a bug/oversight: the same drag-to-create-local-link trick does not work with files, it merely duplicates the file to the local system folder for Omnifocus (which means updates to the file won’t sync, etc—just not as useful).

Assuming that I’m not missing something here, could this be put on the to-do list, please?


Hello! This is a great question.

The default behavior in OmniFocus is to copy files into the database. This is so they’re available anywhere you go — but, as you’ve found, it means updates made to the original don’t appear in OmniFocus.

Aliasing resolves this issue, but is not the default for files. You can change this by holding a modifier key while you drag, though! If you hold down the Control key while dropping the file, you should notice that the cursor gets a small arrow over it; this indicates that the drop will create an alias, instead of copying the file.

Hope that helps, and thanks for using OmniFocus!


Thank you tekl—I will be using this often. Cheers, Jasper

Notes follow, for myself, and anyone else interested in using this handy feature:

So there seems to be a bit of a knack to this—the sequence is important—, and I found that if I don’t release the Alias quickly, I end up with the file being copied to the local file system again. But it does seem to give the local link/Alias for files.

  1. Drag the file onto the Action’s Notes field.
  2. Don’t drop YET.
  3. Hold down ⌃ [Control]
  4. You see the Alias icon on the files, which is quivering above the Notes field.
  5. Drop it QUICKLY (if you’re too slow, you get the file copied. You’ll need to start again).