OF as catch-all, how do you get reference OUT

I flirted with keeping ref notes in OF, I don’t recommend it! I love how the share-to extension on iOS has ability to add tag and project, and with Omni’s encryption, it makes a great catch-all bucket.

Im using notebooksapp.com for reference and really like it, but getting things out of OF and into Notebooks isn’t so easy. I take dozens of little notes every day, so moving manually isn’t a good option. I wrote a couple iOS shortcuts, spent a few afternoons on it and looking into the desktop scirpts, but they all work “just ok”, not reliable enough.

Anyone else sending everything to OF? How do you get it back out?

Capture away… then process later.

Personally I process reference items using my desktop system during a GTD style review. I do small reviews weekly. Then I do a full system-wide reviews once a quarter or once a year.

Q? Is there anything specifically challenging about your reference items? Do they often have attachments? Do they often have large notes section with markup? Can you describe the friction you are you experiencing?


Thanks for your response. Yes maybe 10% have attachments. I don’t know any way to export those other than manually. I could live with that.

They often have large note sections, but never with markup or formatting.

The iOS shortcut to import to notebooksapp is essentially broken as of now, I talked to the creator of the app and it’s not high on his list to fix. So I’m having to convert in and out of html in my shortcuts, often broken by special characters.

The best, simplest solution I have found is to drag the notes from OF to Notebooks, BUT only on iPadOS! Then they will copy as TaskPaper and include notes, tags, etc. Otherwise on mac, dragging a note just grabs the Name.

I was hoping for something much more automated. Would be great to just push a button, or better yet, not push anything, and just have “All Items Tagged As X” magically go to notebooks. I’ve seen scripts that attempt to do similar on omni forums but none have worked for me. Any “automatic” export would be ideal, something I could work with even if it was going to a CSV or something.

What does your desktop method of processing ref look like?

My method for processing reference items is a manual operation (no automation). I process one OmniFocus item at a time. I visually look for an emboldened notes icon and expand the notes section when needed. In my notes, I use external links often but I also often dump wildly different types of content into OmniFocus and just parse manually.

I understand your desired workflow however and will do some testing with the notebooksapp.


I might also point out that I keep a light “reference” area directly inside my OmniFocus. This isn’t for specific project reference however. Specific project reference is still better handled with external links, screengrabs, and apps like “notebooksapp”, Apple Notes, Taskpaper, MindNode, etc.

I use this light reference area to store OmniFocus project templates, GTD advice to self, Questions to Self, etc.

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