Transition from Things 3 to Omnifocus 4?

After being an Omnifocus user since 2008, I made the shift to Things in 2021. I guess I had a good reason at the time, but it escapes me now!!

Just loaded OF 4 to all devices, and I’m eager to, at the very least, give the new version a good workout. However, Things doesn’t have export functionality (maybe I should have checked that, back in 2021).

Anyone got any ideas on how to save me a LOT of copy/pasting?


I deleted my prior comment because I found something that looks better.


That was actually exactly what I was going to suggest. I use Taskpaper formatting to create OF projects from Drafts all the time and I would assume that there’s a way to export from Things to Taskpaper (even if it’s just creating a Shortcut or other automation to build the Taskpaper list).

I just went through this process. I stopped using OF 3 for a year to explore using Things and Reminders. Subcribed to OF 4 last week and although I don’t need OF power (now retired) I’m so fond of it I came back. I did the copy paste into Inbox song and dance. I wish I had seen this post earlier.

1 Like

Being a former hard core Things 3 user I made some simple Apple Shortcuts for OF3 at that time. Any specific topic in mind?

On Mac there are maybe options to drag and drop elements from Things 3 to OF4, but I‘m just on iOS/iPadOS.

Drag and drop from Things3 to OmniFocus 4 doesn’t work great. It will pull in the task but it also creates other tasks out of the metadata so would require a lot of cleanup.

Yep, that’s exactly what I’m finding with drag and drop. Lots of cleanup required. Unrelated, I guess, but the iPadOS version of OF4 is hanging/freezing fairly often for me, so I’m putting a potential full transition from Things 3 → OF4 onto the back burner until maybe v4.1. As I find an hour or two to spare, I’ll slowly copy data over, but I’m in no rush.

Just tried a few things with the new Things 3 actions for Apple Shortcuts. Can imagine a solution.

It could look like this:
You select the stuff you want to migrate to OF4 (project or task) in Things 3. Then you run an Apple Shortcut. This would allow you to test it and migrate e.g. area by area.

If you select a project, it would take the project along with its tasks.
If you select a task, it would take the task.

The Apple Shortcut would expect all tags of Things 3 to exist in OF4 as well.


  1. Do you want to map Things 3 Start Date to OF4 defer date?
  2. Do you want to map Things 3 Due Date to OF due date?
  3. I‘m thinking about making a project with its tasks go into the OF4 Inbox. Would this work for you?
  4. The same for tasks. Would this work for you?
  5. I would assume Tags of Things 3 have a representation of a tag in OF4 in exactly the same way. OK?
  6. It would taks notes, but no checklists. Would this be an issue?
  7. To simplify date handling I would assume Things 3 and OF4 are set to English. I won‘t set my iPad to English for this. So there‘s a risk we run into an issue with dates. That‘s another reason why you would need to be able to test it on your device.

Could you please create a test project in OF4, set due and defer dates and then in its contextual choose Edit → Copy as TaskPaper. Then please post the result here. I‘d like to check the date format you have. That’s for me just to make sure I don’t have to do things twice.

@Logan, thank you so much for your interest!

To address your questions…

  1. Yes. Things 3 Start Date = OF4 defer date
  2. Yes. Things 3 Due Date = OF4 due date
  3. Yes. Not a problem - easy for me to then drag project to appropriate folder
  4. Yes. However, I’m not seeing an OF4 equivalent of a Things 3 ‘standalone’ task? IE: OF4 seems to need every task to be within a project of some sort (sequential, parallel or single actions). Am I missing something here?
  5. Yes. I’ve already configured tags in OF4 to exactly match those in Things. Similarly, OF folders exactly mirror Things 3 Areas.
  6. Not a problem. I have very few checklists.
  7. Yes. All devices (MacOS 14.3.1, iPadOS 17.3, iOS 17.3 and WatchOS 10.3) are configured to Language = English, and Region = Australia. IE: default.

Again, thank you…

  • Testing project for Logan (Omni forums) @parallel(false) @autodone(true) @due(2024-02-29 17:00) @defer(2024-02-22 00:01)
    • Task #1 @parallel(false) @autodone(false)
    • Task #2 @parallel(false) @autodone(false)
    • Task #3 @parallel(false) @autodone(false)

This is the v1.1 supporting tasks you‘ve selected in Things 3. They‘ll get created in your OmniFocus 4 Inbox with title, tags, due and defer dates.

Please give it a try. You can‘t do anything wrong. Start with a few to get a feeling how this works.

Just wanted to share this with you that you have at least something you can use. Selecting projects is not supported in this first version. But I made some tests with projects and know its technically possible to select a project and identify all tasks within it as well.

I‘ve tested some combinations of tags, note lengths and with and without when date and deadlines. Get back to me if you still find any issues.

BTW: Needed the most of the time for the date handling. In Apple Shortcuts that’s just time consuming and I‘m probably not the best Shortcuts expert, yet.

Best wishes from Germany

@Logan Again, thank you very much for your determined efforts working on this challenging issue. I have just downloaded, installed and tested (on MacBook Air only, so far).

Tested import of single Things tasks to OF4, with and without ‘When’ dates, and with and without ‘Deadline’ dates. I also tested utilising multiple selected tasks. In all cases, tasks are appearing as expected in OF4 inbox, with titles, tags and notes (including links) all successfully mapped to OF4 and appearing correctly.

The difficulty, however, is with date handling…

The three Things tasks I imported individually had various ‘When’ dates (11 Feb 24, 13 Feb 24, and 15 Feb 24), but no ‘Deadline’ dates. In all three cases OF4 incorrectly displayed all ‘Defer’ dates as ‘1/2/2024’ (IE: 01 Feb 24). The same incorrect result was evident on importing three other tasks simultaneously (selected by cmd-clicking the tasks in Things ‘Upcoming’ view).

Two of those six test Things tasks had repeat values - no repeat information was displayed in OF4.

I then individually imported two Things tasks that had both ‘When’ (today, and 12 Feb 24) and ‘Deadline’ (today, and 13 Feb 24) dates. In both cases, OF4 incorrectly displayed the ‘Defer’ date as ‘1/2/2024’ and also incorrectly displayed the ‘Due’ date as ‘1/2/2024’, thus overdue.

I then imported one task that had no ‘When’ date, but only a ‘Deadline’ date (16 Feb 24). In this case, OF4 also incorrectly displayed the ‘Due’ date as ‘1/2/2024’, thus overdue.

In summary - on my system, at least, it appears that ALL Things ‘When’ or ‘Deadline’ dates are being mapped to ‘1/2/2024’ on import to OF4.

I am sure that, in particular, successful imports from Things at Project level will be VERY helpful to many, many users. I’m very grateful for your assistance.

1 Like

@albyrne Just looked at the When date issue. This works fine on my device.

Please check the date settings on your device (don’t have a Mac). On iPad I have e.g. set the time format to use 24h. Do you have something similar? I think you posted something about dates before. Need to read that again. I’m confident this can be fixed.

@albyrne Could you please check what are your settings here (screenshot of my iPad).

2nd from the bottom is my date format.

@albyrne Let me get back to you later. The issue is the language dependent date output from Things 3. I‘ll get back to you later.

Thank you. I’ve just tested on iPad Pro (iPadOS 17.3.1) and iPhone 15 Pro (iOS 17.3.1). Definitely seeing the same result. That is: all Things ‘When’ or ‘Deadline’ dates are being mapped to ‘1/2/2024’ on import to OF4.

Yes, I do have 24 hour selected on all devices: Mac, iPad and iPhone.

Please run the following Apple Shortcut with a task selected in Things 3.

It‘s a simplified version of the previous shortcut, that just outputs the Deadline and When dates of a task. Apart from that it doesn‘t do anything.
Then please share the outputs with me.

I‘m quite sure the date representation in Australia output from Things 3 doesn‘t match the German one. (Should have expected that). It could even be your date has even letters. Unfortunately, the solution Shortcut is then not generic anymore. I‘ll do my best to figure out a solution that doesn‘t just help you, but can be used by others as well.

Thank you again. Output, as text, follows:

Deadline date:
2 Mar 2024 at 00:00

When date:
15 Feb 2024 at 00:00

@albyrne That‘s it. My date/time representation doesn’t contain words. Unfortunately, you need to tell me all abbreviations for months that can occur.

Mar, Feb,…