How to unarchive/remove a project from archive

I am a college professor and I have been using OmniFocus for the Mac to set up to checklist for each of my online courses: one to make sure each weekly lesson is updated and ready to go, and one to close out the lesson and grade all work. I used to just leave all of these checklists in OmniFocus, but I got fancy last spring and decided I would archive them to get them out of the way of my summer courses and COVID-19 prep. I’m ready to restore them for my fall courses, but I can’t seem to find a command that would allow me to bring the checklists back into the active projects. I have changed the folder settings so it is back to active instead of completed, but it is still in the archive folder. I’ve tried dragging and dropping and searching within OmniFocus, and I can’t even figure out if are the correct term is unarchiving or restoring or removing from archive, but in any event I can’t figure out how to make it work.

It’s got a work, right? I mean … what if someone made a mistake in archiving? There’s got to be an undo function.

The archive option was developed supposedly if not explicitly to remove completed tasks so that the sync process can be more efficient (because the database itself is subsequently smaller in size). The archive option was not developed for nor has ever been promoted to do the equivalent of what is truly meant by archiving, especially in the frame of electronic documents.

For an analogy, the next time that you consider “archiving” in OmniFocus, think instead that you are “pruning” your database. All the leaves (tasks) that you are told will be removed from the main database to the archive cannot be put back on the tree (your main database) without significant behind-the-scenes, manual effort on your part. And, you cannot manually choose what to remove, let alone manually remove selective branches (projects) from your database.

The archive function has been this way for about a decade or more. Despite my (infrequent) “rants” about the need for this specific aspect to change, nothing has changed in this period of time. Also, should you manually move projects to the archive (and you can do this), you will have to deal with inconsistencies and duplications of folders throughout the archive database. Also, in some cases, you may find that you cannot just drag+drop things into or out of the “archive” database. Even the copy+paste option will fail you on occasion (e.g. with folders).

In summary, there is no true archive function in OmniFocus to do what you propose. There never has been such a function. And sadly, after a decade or more of commenting about not having one, I have the distinct impression that there never will be such a function.


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Thanks you for your prompt clarification. Looks as though archiving was the wrong way to go, so in the future I will keep all my checklists. As I will have 11 discrete courses per year, that’s going to get pretty messy, even if I reuse them. OF should listen to you! ;)

For me, it usually works to open the archive (which is a separate database), dragging what I want to have back to the ordinary database (to get a copy of it), and in the ordinary database click on the checkbox for the task to change the status from completed to active. But that might work better in simple cases like mine, where I usually only want to restore one or a few individual tasks.

I did try dragging the whole project, but it bounced out. I was able to drag the individual items. Good tip, thanks.

You cannot drag + drop projects (or folders) from the Main into the Archive. You have to copy + paste. I believe the opposite also applies going out of the archive back to the main database. When a project is in a nested folder, you will also get duplicate folders at the root in the Archive going from Main to Archive. I reported these issues many many moons ago to OmniSupport. My report seems likely to have been buried under tickets for other more popular feature requests.

An alternative approach may be to create a second database as a true archive storage. I have never explored this. This forum however has postings about how to manage this approach.