"Permission is needed to open attachment"

I have an action with a PDF attached in the Note. When I try to open the PDF I get an OS X File Open dialog saying:
“Permission is needed to open attachment . You can open it now to update the link, or cancel to resolve the problem later.”

What can I do to solve this and/or prevent this from happening in the future?

Looking for the original attachment and then updating the link is in my opinion not a solution as the point is to have this action-related document available with the Action itself.

Also I don’t understand how this is a rights-issue.

Note: this action was created some months ago so it might be an issue with the attachment being ‘archived’ by OF.

Hey there @richardk! Sorry for the trouble here. OmniFocus offers two ways to attach documents:

  • As a link, which only points to the original file somewhere else on your computer, or
  • Embedded, which inserts the actual contents of the file into your OmniFocus database

Links save space in your OmniFocus database (keeping syncs faster!), and it sounds like that’s the kind of attachment you have here. Unfortunately, links encounter these permission issues because of the macOS sandbox: OmniFocus needs to know it has your explicit permission to open linked files, and sometimes (especially over app or OS updates), this permission can get lost.

In the future, if you’d like to force OmniFocus to embed attachments in-database, you can hold down the Option key as you drag files into the database. Your cursor should gain a green plus symbol as you drag, to indicate that the file will be embedded. This will increase the size of your sync database, but should avoid these sandbox problems going forward.

Hope that helps!

Thanks Tim!

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Reviving an old post, considering I have a question regarding this exact issue…

Is the File Open dialog expected to occur everytime after the file is modified?

I have a bunch of actions/projects to which I have linked 2-3 files that regularly get updated. As long as the file doesn’t get modified, the permissions stick and I can open the file from OF without any issues. But if I modify the file and therefore save it (same name, same location etc…), then next time I open it from OF I see the dialog. This happens immediatly, ie. If I try to reopen the same file right after I saved it, I see the dialog, and redardless of where the file resides (Mac, Dropbox, OmniPresence…)

It’s not so bad, as at least it opens the dialog in the right folder, so it’s easy to find the correct file. But it would be much smoother without that extra step. If there is a way to get rid of that I’d love to hear it ;-)


Here is another discussion on the subject and some suggestions how to handle the problem:

Permission is needed to open attachment

Thanks for your reply. I had seen that thread, but the proposed work-around would be much more complicated than it is now… As it stands, it’s more an annoyance than anything else!

The Evernote suggestion seemed complicated – I gave that up myself – but my Launchbar suggestion isn’t. You might not want to spend money just to handle this problem, otherwise I would highly recommend Launchbar, as it has made far more computing tasks than I had imagined much easier, all from calculations to moving files.