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Fun with Find and Replace Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I am trying to learn how to use find/replace more effectively within OmniFocus.

I am setting up 10 action groups with the same basic information:

ask @@ to help with the event
-waiting for @@ to respond back
-send @@ materials
- etc, etc @@
I would like to duplicate the above action group ten times using command+D and then select one action group, find @@ and replace with a person's name and then repeat the process for the next action group.

Unfortunately, it seems like find/replace is global and not just for the selected text. Is there a way of finding/replacing just the selected text.

Curt Clifton has an excellent script called "Populate Template Placeholders" found here, but I'm looking for something that I can do on the fly.

Any thoughts?

I think find and replace works with the current view. So, if these were projects instead of action groups, you could select each in turn in the sidebar and do the replace.

I'm not in front of my Mac right now to verify, but I believe the standard Mac OS X search and replace dialog will operate on the current selection if you hold down the Option key. I'm not sure if OmniFocus uses this standard dialog, but I believe this is available in TextEdit and other apps like Yojimbo. It's worth a try anyway.

Thanks guys for the responses.

- Curt, I suppose I can drag them into projects do the find/replace and then drag it back into an action group

- Dennis, the option trick was a good idea, but it doesn't seem to work.

It looks like the fastest thing to do is to use "replace and find" rather than "replace all"
Originally Posted by steve View Post
Dennis, the option trick was a good idea, but it doesn't seem to work.
Yeah, I see what you mean now, Steve. Looks like OmniFocus is using a modified variation of the find dialog to offer regex search, which isn't available in the standard TextEdit-style window.

Now that I look at it more closely, the labels of the three left-most buttons (Replace All, Replace, and Replace & Find) also look slightly misaligned, or at least aligned higher vertically than the Previous and Next buttons. Perhaps they're replacements for the default dialog's buttons, resulting in the loss of the "Replace All/In Selection" toggle via Option key.

Thanks for taking a second look Dennis. At some point, I would like to learn about regex searches.

I decided to keep all of the information in a linked omnioutliner document.

invited|confirmed|materials sent|etc|etc
Peter x
Paul x x
John x

I'm curious, would you try to track something like this in omnifocus or in a spreadsheet?

Nonetheless, it would be nice to be able to a find/replace in a selected area.
Originally Posted by steve View Post
At some point, I would like to learn about regex searches.
Learning regex, even just a little, is extremely useful. And if you dig deeper, you can do some really powerful text manipulation. Even without using a scripting language, you can do some really cool stuff with an app like BBEdit or TextWrangler and a bit of regex.

Here's a nice place to get started:

Originally Posted by steve View Post
I'm curious, would you try to track something like this in omnifocus or in a spreadsheet?
Actually, if it's only a small amount of data, I'd probably make a simple table in a Yojimbo text note and manage it there for quick and easy access.

OmniOutliner is a good choice too, I think. A spread sheet would certainly also do the trick, but I tend to prefer something lighter and quicker for this sort of thing; I only resort to spreadsheets when I need to do calculations or I'm working with large amounts of data.


PS - It just occurred to me that you asked about managing it in OmniFocus, not OmniOutliner. Yeah, I suppose that would work too. You could put it in the note field of your project. But I think I'd still manage it externally and then link it in wherever it'd be useful.

Last edited by Toadling; 2010-08-06 at 12:43 PM.. Reason: Added postscript comment
Thanks for the (as always) excellent advice. Keeping an external list is beginning to make a lot of sense for this particular project. . . less things floating around.

Thanks for the regex link-- I'll have to put it on my list.

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