Why does OF provide clipboard support for TaskPaper

Can someone explain why OmniFocus provides a clipboard accomodation for the application TaskPaper? I was curious and looked it up, and it is a todo list app, which seems odd.emphasized text

Aside from the fact that there are users who use both OF & TP for task management, OF can use the format to create a very versatile text based input system; see https://support.omnigroup.com/omnifocus-taskpaper-reference/ and https://rosemaryorchard.com/blog/using-drafts-5-taskpaper-with-omnifocus for an illustrative implementation.

Thanks for the help. I still don’t get why. Does TaskPaper do some things so much better that this was a demand from the OF user base? If so, what things does it do that OF doesn’t or doesn’t do as good?

To clarify, TaskPaper is both an app and a way of expressing projects/tasks in plain text. OmniFocus has the ability to parse TaskPaper text.

You can create TaskPaper text in any text editor and then paste this text into OmniFocus. This is especially helpful for creating project templates.

TaskPaper text can also be used within Siri Shortcuts to help automate project and tasks creation, opening up all kinds of automation possibilities.


Thanks Tim. I’m not familiar with why I would use plain text to express a project or task outside of OmniFocus. Derick above shared some links how TP is used with OF. Are there other sources like a whitepaper or something that would explain why they use both… again, sorry to be slow on this, but I’ve always thought that you should use one tool if at all possible, unless there is a huge advantage to using two or more. I just don’t see the advantages yet.

You’re welcome @tcison. If you Google “TaskPaper OmniFocus” you’ll find lots of great resources, including many use cases that @rosemaryjayne has shared. In a nutshell, TaskPaper text is very useful when automating OmniFocus, especially on iOS.

Ok. Thanks for the Google tip, but you really peaked my interest with the words “automating OmniFocus on IOS” What were you referring to there please?

Re:“automating OmniFocus on IOS”

See the link to Rosemary’s Drafts actions in my post - sending TP text to OF lets you specify the details of tasks etc. to a degree that’s otherwise impossible with the OF URL schemes alone.

I also wrote up my use of TP alongside OF (for reasons totally unrelated to automation) here:

To follow up the link I just posted, I think some of what OF didn’t do so well has been fixed by OF 3, with tags replacing contexts. But I think for large and non-linear writing projects, TP has a speed and flexibility that allow recording and annotating tasks with less friction than OF.

(Again, this is not in re: automation but rather re: why someone would use both).

For a very similar view see

and the linked posts there.

Plain text can be confected by program. That opens up lots of automation / programming possibilities, including fill-in templates.

For example I’ve made a Siri Shortcut for travel that asks the dates of my trip then creates calendar entries, but makes a packing list with quantities of clothes etc to pack and, using Taskpaper format, creates an OF project that includes quantities of socks etc I should pack.

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@tcison Here’s an example of how I use the TaskPaper format with OmniFocus. I publish a magazine with six yearly issues, and many of the features and deadlines are the same each time. So I created a TaskPaper-formatted template in an app called Editorial on iOS.

A few weeks before my final deadline, I tap one button in Editorial and it asks me for the issue number, the final due date, and the names of three people. Then the template creates a few dozen tasks in Omnifocus – all with defer dates and deadlines, and all working backwards from the ultimate final due date. (For example, the names of those three people will be featured in a recurring feature in the magazine. The names change, but the tasks are always the same. Interview them. Write their 1-paragraph article. Get their photo. Insert them onto the page.) Those tasks are set up using taskpaper to only appear when I’m ready for them. Interview the subjects 2 weeks out from deadline. Write their paragraph one week out. Get their photo 6 days out. etc.)

Entering all those things manually would be a nightmare, but once I created the template, it’s super easy.

MacSparky’s OmniFocus Field Guide walks you through the steps of deferring, adding project names, etc., using the script. I used that to help me build it.

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Wow. That is fascinating. I’m slowly reading and YouTubing (verb) about IOS shortcuts and TaskPaper in general. I will definitely look here for help once I get a better understanding of how it all works together.

Thanks for sharing,


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