Management of Project Support Files/Folders

This is either a feature request or a misunderstanding on my part. Any suggestions for mitigating the situation below, especially applescript based (I do not know applescript) would be very welcome.

I practice GTD and store project support materials and plans in my filesystem, one directory per project, in a directory called “project-support” in my home directory. Since I started using omnifocus, I’ve noticed that I am more willing to change the names of projects and organize them using omnifocus folders. Also, I’ve been using more “fine-grained” projects. This is, overall, a win for my GTD situation.

However, this is awkward and leads to a duplication of effort in my system for tracking project support materials. Use of omnifocus allows me to clarify project names and next actions, but the project support materials don’t follow along and I must update their filesystem storage location manually.

I should not have to do double-entry to maintain a project-support filesystem structure that exactly mirrors my omnifocus structure of projects and directories.

Either I’m missing out on existing functionality, or there should be a feature that allows omnifocus to create and manage a directory of project-support directories in accordance with the projects being tracked inside omnifocus. There should be an “open project support directory in finder” action available on each project. The directory structure should be human-readable.

Note that I’m not talking about bi-directional sync between the filesystem and the omnifocus outline. That would be madness and probably quite annoying to implement. All I want is one-way management of this directory structure from Omnifocus.

While I am wishing for elaborate features, I’d also like the following:

I do not store project plans inside Omnifocus, for me this would be a GTD “type error.” I manage project plans inside the relevant project-support directory in a plain-text file edited with emacs. A fantastic power-user feature on top of what I’ve outlined above would be an “open project plan” button/keyboard shortcut. The user could set the application of choice that they use to manage project plans (byword, emacs, vim, whatever) and a filename (mine would be Omnifocus would go to the corresponding project-support directory and open the file named in emacs (with my settings), or create the relevant directory and a blank file if it did not exist.

Is this a stupid thing to want? I am also new to the mac. Is there another tool that would help me avoid this kind of double-entry nonsense and allow me to get to project support stuff quickly from omnifocus? I’m not unwilling to spend money.

The attachment system seems to not do what I want, because then I can’t get to stuff quickly from emacs…

Thoughts welcome. Cheers.

I would just use Evernote or DevonThink to store project materials. In DevonThink, I create a database for each project.

OmniFocus is meant to hold next actions. Holding project reference materials is probably doable but clumsy at best.

I think what you want is possible via scripting. You may want to check out this thread.

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Thanks for the recommendation, teronel, that’s most of what I want. I’ll try hacking at that until I can get it to work properly. wilsonng, I completely agree that omnifocus is for next actions, not project support: my wall of text was likely unclear. I want to edit project structure in omnifocus only, and see that mirrored in projeject support materials and notes in the filesystem.

Essentially, I want omnifocus to store and manage pointers to a project support folder and plan document, located in the filesystem in a human-readable and other-app-readable way.

An example use case is, I’m doing review and about half the time I want to look at my project plan side-by-side with OF, which is always a text file called ~/project-support/“project-name”/ It would be nice to be able to hit a button or a key and immediately have that pop open. The script linked above looks like it does this.

Would simply keeping a link to your project support folder and/or project plan file in the project’s Note field in OF not accomplish 90% of what you’re after? (It won’t automatically rename files and folders if you rename the project in OF, but I don’t think the script referenced above will do that either.)

Sure, I’ve done that for some of the projects. But the friction involved is more than “keyboard shortcut”, and I can’t seem to get the attachment interface to link automatically instead of copy automatically? I feel like this is clunky and cries out for automation.

I’m modifying the script linked above to go through all projects and give them uniformly named support directories. This will likely take me longer than it should because I don’t know applescript.

Since Jim Harrison, the original author of the script, stated that it “May be used, edited and redistributed without restriction”, I’ve uploaded the version I’m currently using with a couple of my own modifications that you might find useful to Among other things my version adds the file:/// URL of the folder to the Notes field in OF and the omnifocus:/// URL of the project to the filesystem folder’s comments field. There are some hard-coded paths that you’ll want to edit before using it on your own system. It works fine with OF2 on my system but could still stand some refining.

Thanks! There’s also this script, which I missed, which just attaches a project folder. The guy who wrote that also has a similar critique of “no built-in links to project support”, where he explains why this is a desirable feature far better than I could/did. Go here: and scroll down to “Projects,” > “reference material.”

I think the link back to the project in the filesystem folder is cool.

I don’t know what I think of the rest of Chris Sauvé’s complaints, but I do really agree about the project support material and notes stuff. Regardless, I have enough applescript now to get 90% of what I want.