Paste multiple rows into multiple tasks (e.g. from a spreadsheet)

I’m trying to paste multiple rows (copied from an Excel spreadsheet) into Omnifocus to create individual tasks for each row, but it just pastes as one task with line breaks. Is there a better way to do this?

I’d like this too. Tried it recently myself and was disappointed. I can do this in Apple Reminders, e.g. my partner texts a supermarket list to me, copy and past into Reminders and tap Return and I have a list.

I’d like this too.

Plain text from a textedit file works just fine for me: multiple lines come in as multiple tasks. Text from multiple reminders doesn’t work because apparently the Reminders app formats the copied text with brackets and returns, which OF seems to have difficulty with. I wonder how the Excel data is formatted.

Not sure this is very helpful, but it may be a place to start.

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@davidbrewster, it looks like you will have to take the way over a text editor to transform the spreadsheet data to unformatted text. Paste the data into a text editor, copy it there, and paste it into Omnifocus. Probably not what you were hoping for, but it works.

Thanks @teronel and @Jan_H, but I can’t even get that to work. Pasting the rows into Textedit, then converting to plain text, then copying and pasting into OF I still get one task with multiple lines. Obviously doing something wrong though I’m not sure what.

That was somewhat of a surprise to me. It seems like Textedit in this case doesn’t create normal line breaks. You will be more successful with a text editor that only handles plain text. The trick works as expected with Textwrangler, which is free and available for downloading, but apparently has been discontinued recently. BBEdit from the same company works too. It is not free, but it is amazing for all kinds of plain text editing. There are of course lots of other text editors too.

BBEdit isn’t free for the full feature set, but after the 30 day trial, it downgrades to a ‘free-forever’ feature set similar to that of TextWrangler.

Ah – that’s a nice solution! Highly recommended then!

Just to do a quick check: When you are in Omnifocus and ready to paste, do you have a task selected or are you in edit mode on a task? Also, there might be some TaskPaper parsing going on that is creating a problem. Hopefully someone more expert will chime in.

The Textwrangler approach worked! Thank you. It is fussy though, isn’t it. I’d also tried NVAlt but I think it is using rich text.

It worked when I had a task selected, rather than in edit mode on a task, which I guess is what you would expect.

(Sorry to hear that Textwrangler has been discontinued Jan_H – I’ve been using it for years on and off.)

Thanks for the help folks.

I guess the other option is pasting your list into Reminders on your iOS device and using the OF (iOS) feature to capture reminders. This doesn’t work on a Mac (i.e. Reminders or OF) but works seamlessly on iOS.


I cannot believe that pasting from Excel doesn’t work!

I have a few rows of data, I want to paste into OmniFocus for Mac and get multiple To Do items.

Seems pretty obvious to me!

I’ve found solution in … OmniFocus: Go to Menu “Help” -> OmniFocus Help -> Capture Methods -> Copying from Plain Text:

If you’ve written a list of items elsewhere that you’d like to copy into OmniFocus (say, a grocery list typed up in Notes), OmniFocus can use line breaks to determine where one item ends and the next begins.

Just select the text you’d like to add as items and copy it (Command-C). In OmniFocus, select an item without activating any of its text fields, then paste (Command-V) to add the copied text as a list of items below the one you have selected.

The items will be pasted as peers of the one initially selected, so if you’d like to paste text as a list of actions in a project, you’ll want to select an existing action in the project first (selecting the project results in a pasted list of projects rather than actions).


I made a script that makes OF tasks from a range selected in a Numbers sheet.

tell application "Numbers"
	tell the front document
		tell active sheet
			set the_range to value of every cell of selection range of table 1
		end tell
	end tell
end tell

tell application "OmniFocus"
	tell front document
		tell content of front document window
			set oProject to value of tree 1
		end tell
		repeat with i in the_range
			make new task with properties {name:i} at oProj
		end repeat
	end tell
end tell

I don’t know whether there has been a fix for this recently but it works OK for me now.

I can select a vertical group of text cells in Excel (or any text list from elsewhere) and paste them in as individual tasks.

Note: it is important that you have the full row in Omniplan selected, not be editing the text of the task name, and then if you hit paste the texts will be entered as new tasks underneath.