Moving Projects out of Omnifocus and back in Later if needed

Is there any way of exporting projects temporarily out of Omnifocus and then move them back in if needed.

I´m thinking about projects that I have outlined and I don´t want to see anymore but might want to see in the future. I would like to keep my Omnifocus database as current as I can.

Options to put them away inside Omnifocus

  • Put them on hold or dropped
  • Drag them to a one single action list (

Move outside of Omnifocus

  • Omnifocus Local database: Create another local database and drag them there, and then drag them back when needed (bet then you might need to redo some/all of the tagging
  • OmniOutliner: Drag them to an OmniOutliner file

Start the outline elsewhere

  • Mindnode: Start the outline in Mindnode and move the actionable items into OF when needed. The flaw I see with this one is quick capturing ideas. I would either capture with drafts and then send the mindmap actions into a new file and then I would have to move everything to its mindmap file manually. I have also been capturing notes like this in Evernote and then moving it manually to its project plan regularly.
  • OmniOutliner and then move the actions into OmniFocus, but when it comes to this option there is no quick capture option that I know of. So my solution would be to either to capture them in Omnifocus and drag them to OmniOutliner (but my problem with this is I don´t want to capture things to Omnifocus that are far away from being actionable). I could also capture them to Evernote and move them manually to OmniOutliner.

Does anybody have a better option for this? Has there been any other discussion about this that I am not aware of?


I would use the taskpaper format, this makes it very easy to import and export projects with all the trimmings



Thank you Janov, I will look better into task paper.

But if I may ask, do you also manage youre someday maybe lists in taskpaper ?

I don;t but could imagine doing that.

For both iOS and MacOS versions of OF I use a combination of Drafts and Omnifocus to manage projects and lists with taskpaper as the common format.

some help:

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I don’t know if this might be helpful to you, but here is my approach. A little background first. I used to keep a separate list of my someday/maybe projects; I kept a separate list of wishlists; I kept a separate list of incubating ideas. Then, I’d have to remember to periodically review all of those things. Instead, I decided to keep every single thing in OmniFocus. At first I had it wrong and I’d have a billion tasks show up that I did not want to see, they buried my real actionable tasks and made OF basically useless–as you’d imagine.

Then I created an entire project structure that was tagged with an on-hold tag. And everything in this someday/maybe category goes into that structure. I have separate lists for travel ideas, books I want to read, projects I want to pick back up, etc. Best of all is that I never see them unless I specifically search them out with a perspective or browsing that standby project structure. My OmniFocus is configured to surface only the things I can/want to do “now.” It works great. Everything is where I need it to be. OmniFocus is not sluggish and I only have one “key dish” in which to find my keys.

Not sure if this is a solution for you, but thought I’d share it in case you find it helpful. Happy to provide more details if you would like.

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Hi ipersuade and thank you for youre input

Regarding the someday maybe list, I just dont want to put everything into Omnifocus for a few reason

  • I collect A LOT of stuff, I havn´t tested the limits of the omnifocus database but I belive it would become slower if I put everything in there
  • I also like to tag thoose S/M ideas, but I don´t want to clutter my OF tag system with it

I also sent this question to the omnigroup help and they recomended taskpaper for moving projects in and out of Omnifocus (see email at the bottom of post). So I´m going to look better into taskpaper.

Omni Group Answer

If you use OmniFocus for Mac, you already have a feature that can help with this: the Archive. The way to utilize that for this need would be to set the project to Dropped status, and then at a time you would normally archive your completed and dropped tasks and projects, those projects would move over to the Archive file (which is stored locally on a single Mac). The Archive can be opened side-by-side with your normal syncing OmniFocus window, and you can copy and paste things from the Archive window to the main window to get them back in the main database.

Additionally, if you’d rather have the project stored in text format in a syncing service like Evernote or something similar, I would recommend using TaskPaper. To do that, navigate to the project in question in the Projects perspective, and make sure you have it set to View > Remaining so that all tasks are visible. Select all the tasks in the project, including the project header row, and then control+click and select “Copy as TaskPaper”. Paste that content into a note in your other application, and you’re good to go. When you want to use that project in OmniFocus again in the future, simply copy and paste the TaskPaper text into OmniFocus and it will auto-format to the correct project/tags/dates/etc.

Another option is to leave your projects in OmniFocus, set them to “On Hold” status, and push the Review dates out to far future dates so that you don’t have to keep seeing them pop up in your workflows. I do this with projects that I know I won’t get to for a long time–sometimes they have a Next Review date 5 years in the future, because there are other projects that need to be completed first, and I don’t want to have to keep thinking about the far-future ones.

Let me know if you have any questions about the above suggestions, or if there’s anything else I can assist with!

I have a folder Someday/Maybe and that’s where projects for future action go.

I tend to agree that checking a lot of different places potentially just becomes another problem in the making. TaskPaper certainly is very flexible, I keep backups of repeating projects in TP format in Drafts app. I also have moved a lot of repeating checklist type projects (my weekly review for example) to Omni Outliner where I use a template to generate a new outline and keep inline notes during the review. I save these in DT so I have a record. OF then has a single task :Do weekly review" with a link to the OO document.

Generally though I keep projects on hold in OF but just cull them if they sit there too long as they are probably not ever really going to get done. OF for me should be task list not a wish list.

Maybe rather than fleshing out projects you have no intention of doing soon just keep them as a single task/note in a someday/maybe list of ideas, not fully fledged projects. That will certainly ease bloat and make reviewing them much simpler.


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