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Quick Entry and Clipping - what am I missing? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi everyone,

I'm currently evaluating OmniFocus and while I'm generally pleased with the UI, I have run into an issue I cannot resolve. Hopefully some of you can tell me what I'm doing wrong.

The situation is this:

I'm receiving a new mail, switch to Mail to view it, determine that some action will be required and want to create a task for this future action in OF.

At this point I can use Quick Entry or Clipping to create the new task. If I use QE, I'm left with no context information in the new task and no link between the message and the task. If I use Clipping, nothing happens until I select some text in the Mail view pane first. But I'm not interested in copying anything from the message to the task -- all I want to do is create a new task linked to the message that will basically allow me to find my way back to the message once I get around to dealing with it.

Why do I have to go through the selection process before I can create a new task linked to its origin? It disrupts my flow and makes OF too intrusive.

Safari provides another example -- I come across an interesting page and decide to create a task to remind myself to come back and read the article once I have more time on my hand. So I want a new task which holds the URL of the page ... but I can only get this if I first select some text in Safari ... why?

This kind of functionality is available in the freeware iGTD application; hit F6 and iGTD creates a new task with the "obvious" information from the source application.

Kind regards,
The problem is not OmniFocus’s, but Apple’s. Apple designed the Services only to work effectively when text is selected in a Cocoa application. But all is not lost! The Omni Group have come up with a little plugin for Mail which, when a message is selected, it makes the Services believe that a piece of text is selected and behave accordingly. To install this plugin, go to OmniFocus preferences, choose the Clippings tab, and at the bottom is the option to install their ‘Mail Clip-O-Tron 3000’ plugin. Once the plugin is installed, you can select a message within Mail and choose the ‘OmniFocus: Send to Inbox’ item from the Services menu, or press your OmniFocus Clippings Shortcut (as defined in the Clippings tab of OmniFocus preferences). (You’ll have to close and re-start Mail to see the effect.)

I’m afraid something similar hasn’t (yet?) been done for Safari.

The benefits of this system over the iGTD system is that this is using a system-wide Service which will thus work in all Cocoa applications on your machine. The downside, as you have already seen, is that there are some limiting factors to the Services as provided by Apple. I understand (from earlier forum posts) that the Omni Group have been discussing this whole matter with Apple, so we can only hope that Apple will listen and will make the OS X Services slightly more flexible.

Last edited by Richard Flynn; 2008-01-21 at 05:32 AM.. Reason: Adding information about the effect of the Clip-O-Tron 3000 plugin.
Thanks Richard.

I hope OmniGroup will come up with a workaround instead of waiting for Apple to change the API. I understand the benefits of having a catch-all method that works across all Cocoa applications but at the same time I believe it would be extremely useful if OmniGroup added application specific "handlers" for a selection of core applications such as Mail, Safari and iCal -- these would seem to me to be the primary channels by which new tasks arrive. Perhaps it would even be possible to define a plugin API for this so that others can contribute handlers.
Erm... the point of Richard's post was to let you know that OmniGroup *have* come up with a workaround. Please study his reply a bit more closely...

Fair enough - should have been more clear; I do know about the Clip-O-Tron for Mail. When I talked about a workaround I meant one for the limitations in Apple's Services implementation, one that works for more than one application. The Clip-O-Tron is a nice step in that direction but I am hoping for more.

Last edited by jacobl; 2008-01-21 at 10:01 AM..
Ditto that. How about in FireFox, etc? Arg.
Firefox is actually working towards Services compatibility. They're close — works in a few applications already. (FF 4 beta 7, currently.)

Chromium (Google Chrome dev builds) now support Services as well.

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