Omnifocus parse syntax on task entry?

Am I correct in thinking that it is not possible for Omnifocus to parse parameters from a single line of input?
e.g. typing a task name out with Taskpaper-like parameters in it?

For me this would be fantastic. One of the things I currently do is capture action lists in amongst an Evernote note of (say) a meeting and have Taskclone throw those over to Omnifocus. If I could have pre-entered due dates, time estimates etc this would be a real boon.

Is there a way to achieve this?

I saw a mechanism to use Hazel to do something similar, but that presumes that the Mac will be the next place the task is viewed, which often it won’t be.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/comments.

Hi TimO,

We support adding items using URLs in OmniFocus for iOS which does parse parameters from a single line of input. This enables some cool template workflows including relative dates. For the Mac, we support the same TaskPaper format, using Copy as TaskPaper (under the Edit menu) to externalize existing items and Paste to bring the items from your favorite text editor back to OmniFocus.

Support reference for TaskPaper on both platforms:


Here is an example of how relative dates work on the Mac. Copy the example below and paste it into OmniFocus to create a new item.

- New item has a note. @parallel(true) @autodone(false) @estimate(2h) @context(Mac : OmniFocus) @due(+ 2 w) @defer(+ 10 d)
	Adding a note to the item which will be deferred for 10 days and due in 2 weeks.


Hi Lanette - thanks for the reply.

re the iOS stuff - I’ve read those articles before and confess that I don’t understand them well enough to see whether it is of use to be - I presume that core functionality is intended for technically-minded people to exploit via other apps and services?

With respect to the Taskpaper support, I was aware of that : pasting the string into Omnifocus itself I see how that works, but I was asking about parsing the one way we have of bringing in a task externally - the task name.

If I understand correctly I cannot use any of that syntax to bring due dates etc over via Taskclone or Drafts action, or can I ?

I cannot use any of that syntax to bring due dates etc over via Taskclone or Drafts action, or can I ?

Yes, this syntax will work from Drafts. I’m not familiar with Taskclone, but if it allows you to edit text, you can use Taskclone for this as well. You can use this syntax from any application that allows you to edit text including URLs.

I do some scripting, but I am not a programmer. Use those links as a reference, but you don’t need to know all of the options to still benefit from reusing projects or actions. For someone learning who doesn’t consider themselves to be deeply technical, it may help to give yourself an example to start from.

On iOS, go into a project or an action group that you want to use, and tap on it. Click the “Share” icon which is a box with an arrow. Select Copy. Go into Drafts, or whatever text editing application you use, and paste. Now you have an example to start from. You can either change the dates in the text editor and paste them in to OmniFocus, or you can create an omnifocus:///add URL using your exact information to create new items. You can do this!


Thanks Lanette - I’ll give it a go and report back


EDIT: It appears the trick is to paste into an existing project or folder, or basically anywhere but the ‘Inbox’. Please add this to your instructions in the Taskpaper help file

Sorry to drag this up again, but I am having trouble moving my tasks from Taskpaper (I tried OmniOutliner first, but that didn’t work reliably either, and so far Omni support hasn’t gotten back to me on that one, so I am trying Taskpaper…). If I paste in the above listed sample into a new task in OmniFocus 3 on Mac all I get is the plain text of that sample task with the rats tail of instructions that don’t get converted. I also tried dragging and dropping from Taskpaper, but that just created a long task instead of an entire hierarchical project, or a single task that didn’t convert pages, due dates etc.

How is this round-tripping supposed to work? I can get the tasks into Taskpaper, but not out of them…help?