Is there any way to keep Omnifocus archives in the cloud?

I just got prompted to put old tasks in an archive, I am scared that I will lose these tasks when I move computers, is there any way for me to automatically keep these files in the cloud or change the cloud location?

To see where your Archive file is located, select ‘File > Open Archive’, then press the Option key and select ‘File > Show “Archive.ofocus-archive” in Finder’.

You should include that file in your backup strategy for your local disk. You can also back up all the files in the same folder: the local copy of the synced database and the point-in-time backups created by OmniFocus.

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I guess it would always be backed up in Backblaze. I just don’t really understand why it doesn’t sync on the Omni server? When I switch computer do I drag my archive folder into the other one or do I have to merge them somehow? Seems quite confusing

The idea is to keep the synced database on all your devices at a reasonable size and to put all obsolete completed tasks into a single local archive, including the attachments which could be very large in total.

If you switch to a new Mac you can use the Migration Assistant and this should move over all your apps and their settings/data. You can also manually move over your Archive file into the folder used by OF — just do it before running an archival process on the new Mac.

Ah I see, I didn’t know that about the attachments. It would be cool if we could keep our archives in iCloud Drive or WebDav if we want to. I guess the main thing is I will have to remember to move it over when I change Mac.

P.S. Is there a specific directory where the archive goes?

For the data inside the archive to be reliable and without duplicates, there must be only one instance of OF doing the archive process. That’s why the file is local. You can of course use other tools to make copies of the archive file.

Yes, in the folder from my earlier reply.

Thank you so much :) hopefully I remember

Have to say I agree with @nicolo this should be a cloud based archive. I understand what @MultiDim is saying is correct in that BECAUSE the archive is today designed to be processed locally, it should be processed locally on only one device.

However this is a very circa 2000 software design. Archives should be cloud based. They should be able to be run from any of your sync’d devices (including iOS), and should go to the same cloud destination. And “restore from archive” or “browse archive” should be a feature available on any device. It’s 2020 and software designers can no longer in good conscience require paying customers to remember to browse and move local hard drive archive files when they change devices. I have a dozen+ apps I rely on including Omnifocus, and only Omnifocus and Quicken treat archives as local this way. Given it’s dearth of innovation over the past 25 years, Quicken is sad company to be in.

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Agreed 100% 😁

btw, out of curiosity I followed the instructions and found the file. It’s stored in the following default folder:

Macintosh HD > Users > me > Library > Containers > com.omnigroup.OmniFocus3 > Data > Library > Application Support > Omnifocus > Archive.ofocus-archive

umm… yeah, no way that file is ever making it onto my next Mac. However thorough I may intend to be. Shame on bad software for making that my problem. And, this software design basically tells me the Omni dev team doesn’t really consider Archives to be important, as they’ll obviously disappear in practice. so why pretend to have them at all?

Full disclaimer: I’m a huge Omnifocus user and fan.


If you really want the option of cloud based backups with all the potential security issues it would very easy to create a KB maestro , hazel or shell script to watch the local backup and clone it to a cloud folder

I do agree some form of IOS archiving/restoration To ICloud would be nice, not sure I would trust the likes of Google or Dropbox with anything frankly, but my guess is some backups where images and docs are stored in the task notes get pretty large which also may be an issue if implementing on the cloud

Also this does not make OF “bad software” it makes it a system in some areas you do not like.

When Things from CulturedCode made a task manager that does not IMO handle large numbers of repeating tasks well they call it “opinionated software” that is it does it a certain way. Now for me Things did not fit, that’s not to say it’s bad it’s just bad for me. Big difference!

The point is, as a user, I shouldn’t have to do that work.

Separately, the security argument feels flawed. For example, the Omni Sync Server is already in a cloud, and already has all my data.

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this feels a little personal, and my apologies, I did not intend my comment to be a personal attack.

I love my kids. My kids have some bad study habits. The fact that they have bad habits doesn’t make them bad people.

I stand by the statement. Software that makes people likely to lose data, when software could otherwise eliminate that risk, is bad software. Software that makes people manually manipulate their own internal file structure to mitigate the risk of that data loss, is bad software. Software should do the work.

I also stand by my prior comment: “Full disclaimer: I’m a huge Omnifocus user and fan.” It’s because I’m a huge fan and user that I’d like it to be constantly looking for ways to get even better. Here’s one.

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Ideally, should OF keep your entire history of completed items in the cloud and searchable on every device? Yes!

You must also consider the cost/benefit equation however. Redesigning the archival process, or keeping all data forever in the sync database, would have both development and ongoing storage costs. How valuable to users would this be compared to each of the new capabilities that were delivered in recent years? I would give it a very low priority.

OF is very different from a note-taking or document-storage app, where you accumulate information and you might want to retrieve something you captured 3 years ago.

Instead you manage tasks in OF, so it is very much about a flow of relevant information. Tasks are relevant while they are remaining, and in the synced database. Once you’ve performed them, they are rarely useful (if you’ve completed a project whose structure contains valuable information for the future, I would argue, given how OF works currently, that you should create a template for it in OF or export it to a tool that’s designed to keep reference material).

Yes, it’s a bit inconvenient to have to worry about one local file when you switch to a new Mac. However you should always do backups (with Time Machine or other app) of your entire Mac; in the worst case you can retrieve the OF Archive file from it (and the OF File menu can reveal its location in Finder). And as @TheOldDesigner said, it’s quite easy to make a regular copy of the archive to your cloud storage.

I know what you mean but at the same time, we pay a lot more than people do for most task managers out there and they all seem to keep historical data infinitely. It doesn’t really change my life on a daily basis but it’s frustrating in that one moment where you do need to know what you were doing 2 years ago on this day etc.

As above, I’m a massive OF fan and it basically runs my life but I think we do have to agree that this is a pretty big oversight. I wouldn’t store attachments in the cloud but at least the text would be big. I guess for now I can use a Keyboard Maestro script to back it up every week or something.

I can understand that keeping the entire history synced is valuable to you and respect that, but it’s not for me. I’m sure the Omni team is always trying to use its development budget to provide the best improvements for its entire customer base (and potential new customers).

I agree that attachments are much less important than the text and metadata. I keep very few attachments and my almost 10-year archive is only a few MB large, which is a trivial size (even if it might not be in terms of manipulating items inside the app).

Have you considered deleting old attachments from the Attachments window, and not running the Archival process for a long time? I get the impression, from my own experience and comments of others, that keeping several thousands of items in the synced database (and most are unchanging) is not a problem in terms of performance.

Good point, I keep zero attachments in my OF, I use links to DT items usually. Is there any way to reverse the archive process?

I don’t think you can reverse archival, but you can manually drag-and-drop a project branch from the archive to your main database window. I can’t get that to work with individual items.