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Trouble with dragging files/attachments Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I'm having a very annoying problem in Omnifocus 1.8.2 (Mac OS 10.6.6). I dragged a bunch (~20) PDFs from my local disk onto the Notes field of an
action. I was very careful to do *option* drag, so that the files themselves, not just links, would be put into the database. I saw the little green plus sign, so I know I didn't just forget... They're in there and no error was given. I then go to a different Mac, sync OmniFocus with the server and, double-click on any one of them, and it says it can't find it (and offers to let me browse my local disk for them). It's as if they were only linked to, not actually copied. I did it twice, and same thing, although I have plenty of other attached files that work correctly (are actually in the database, not as links). What do I do?? I really need these files to come with my database when I travel away from this desktop and sync my OmnioFocus on my laptop. Please help!

thanks in advance,

Mike
 
I have multiple files attached in the Notes to an Action. If I select them all and drag them to the desktop, what I find is a text document instead of all my files. What am I doing wrong - what's the way to get the attached files to come out of the task and onto the desktop again (the reverse of when I added them in there in the first place)?

I'm also realizing I can't select more than one file when I do "Attach file" from the Edit menu - is this a known limitation? Why do I have to do one file at a time?

thanks,

Mike

Last edited by mlevin777; 2011-03-11 at 06:09 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlevin777 View Post
I have multiple files attached in the Notes to an Action. If I select them all and drag them to the desktop, what I find is a text document instead of all my files. What am I doing wrong - what's the way to get the attached files to come out of the task and onto the desktop again (the reverse of when I added them in there in the first place)?

I'm also realizing I can't select more than one file when I do "Attach file" from the Edit menu - is this a known limitation? Why do I have to do one file at a time?

thanks,

Mike
OmniFocus' support for dragging files to the desktop is pretty buggy, in my experience. I'm not 100% convinced they even intend for the multiple file drag to work, as you can't make such a selection by shift-clicking on the attachments, only by lassoing the bunch. Even a single file drag will often end up as a text clipping, and work correctly if attempted again after restarting OmniFocus.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mlevin777 View Post
I'm having a very annoying problem in Omnifocus 1.8.2 (Mac OS 10.6.6). I dragged a bunch (~20) PDFs from my local disk onto the Notes field of an
action. I was very careful to do *option* drag, so that the files themselves, not just links, would be put into the database. I saw the little green plus sign, so I know I didn't just forget... They're in there and no error was given. I then go to a different Mac, sync OmniFocus with the server and, double-click on any one of them, and it says it can't find it (and offers to let me browse my local disk for them). It's as if they were only linked to, not actually copied. I did it twice, and same thing, although I have plenty of other attached files that work correctly (are actually in the database, not as links). What do I do?? I really need these files to come with my database when I travel away from this desktop and sync my OmnioFocus on my laptop. Please help!
I'm combining these two posts because my answer to both largely boils down to the same thing: don't do that. Especially if you plan to do anything other than look at the files, the way OmniFocus handles file attachments is likely to present you with an unpleasant surprise sooner or later, unless you are very careful. I would suggest instead that you get yourself a free Dropbox account and use that to store the files you need to move around with you. You can then link to the files so they aren't clogging up your sync database.

I would use the Attachment List window to verify on the original machine that the files did get attached (maybe your finger slipped off the option key at the decisive moment, or maybe there's a bug with embedding multiple files).

Last edited by whpalmer4; 2011-03-11 at 07:55 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
OmniFocus' support for dragging files to the desktop is pretty buggy, in my experience. ... I'm combining these two posts because my answer to both largely boils down to the same thing: don't do that. ... I would suggest instead that you get yourself a free Dropbox account and use that to store the files you need to move around with you. You can then link to the files so they aren't clogging up your sync database.
that's terrible :-( One of the reasons I like Omnifocus is because I need to keep certain information (data sheets etc.) with the task - dumping them all in a Dropbox account (or even on a thumbdrive) defeats the purpose of the organization I have set up with OF...

Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
I would use the Attachment List window to verify on the original machine that the files did get attached (maybe your finger slipped off the option key at the decisive moment, or maybe there's a bug with embedding multiple files).
aha - good idea. It's a flat list though, right - no way to see what's actually attached to a particular action or project?

thanks!

Mike
 
OmniFocus' attachment support is basically what Cocoa's Rich Text support gives us; you're going to see similar (and similarly finicky) behavior from TextEdit since they share the same underlying code. If you see differences between OmniFocus and TextEdit, that's a different matter.

If you add a couple of file attachments to a TextEdit document, then add some text, you'll see that you're able to multiply-select files and/or text and then drag it over to OmniFocus' note field. You can do this in the other direction, as well. Both apps are putting the file attachments on the clipboard.

If you drag that same selection from TextEdit and drop it on the Finder, you'll get a clipping that contains the text, but not the files. It appears that the Finder discards file attachments when it finds rich text data on the clipboard.

I'm not sure if the attach-one-file thing is another case where there's an external limitation or not; looks like this is the first request we've gotten for the ability to multiple-select there. I'll file a new feature request. Thanks!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlevin777 View Post
that's terrible :-( One of the reasons I like Omnifocus is because I need to keep certain information (data sheets etc.) with the task - dumping them all in a Dropbox account (or even on a thumbdrive) defeats the purpose of the organization I have set up with OF...
No, it doesn't using Dropbox with the normal settings, your files will have the same pathname on any of your systems, and it will all be transparent to you. Double-click on the link in OmniFocus, and the file will be opened. Dropbox is more aggressive about syncing your changes as soon as possible, too.


Quote:
aha - good idea. It's a flat list though, right - no way to see what's actually attached to a particular action or project?
You can sort the list by clicking on the various column headers. For the purpose I mentioned, sorting by date added is probably the way to go.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
If you drag that same selection from TextEdit and drop it on the Finder, you'll get a clipping that contains the text, but not the files. It appears that the Finder discards file attachments when it finds rich text data on the clipboard.
but I'm seeing this behavior even when the Notes field contains *only* attached files, not any rich text data mixed in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
I'm not sure if the attach-one-file thing is another case where there's an external limitation or not; looks like this is the first request we've gotten for the ability to multiple-select there. I'll file a new feature request. Thanks!
yes please. I don't think it's an external limitation - there are plenty of Apple and 3rd-party applications where I get to select multiple files in an "Open..." dialog window.

thanks,

Mike
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
No, it doesn't using Dropbox with the normal settings, your files will have the same pathname on any of your systems, and it will all be transparent to you. Double-click on the link in OmniFocus, and the file will be opened. Dropbox is more aggressive about syncing your changes as soon as possible, too.
ah! that's pretty good. I guess I didn't know enough about how dropbox works - if it gives me a pathname that can be the same in all systems, that's useful. But I still like some things embedded directly into the OF database in case I don't have internet where I'm working. If I put everything in DropBox, it's still a link that will require network connectivity when I want to see it in Omnifocus, right?

thanks,

Mike
 
When your computer is online, Dropbox will sync along any changes made to files under its care, including those made while offline. It stores the files on your disk as well as on the server, so you have a copy of them while offline. As an added benefit, it stores a copy at Dropbox's provider, so you get an offsite backup, and it also allows you pretty easy access to the previous versions of the file! You also can access your files from nearly any computer with a web browser; you don't have to have the Dropbox software installed to use it. The Dropbox client makes it look like part of the filesystem, which you want for OmniFocus, but not if you just want to grab or add a file to your collection from an arbitrary machine.

You do have to exercise a bit of care with deleting items stored in Dropbox lest you delete the only copy and propagate that to all of the clients, but in my opinion, it is easier than making sure your changes on one machine to a file stored in OmniFocus go everywhere. It is also true that as a solution for files you want to access on iPad or iPhone you lose some convenience with Dropbox, as you won't be able to go directly to them as you can on the Mac, and some extra action needs to be taken (flagging the files as Favorites) to have them cached in the Dropbox app for offline access. For a Mac-only setup, using Dropbox to carry the files around is pretty much a no-brainer; with iOS devices involved, there are some complications of comparable magnitude to the issues you face with doing it within OmniFocus. Much of the friction is due to iOS trying to prevent full access to the filesystem.

In any case, I would recommend some testing both online and offline to make sure you understand the workings of your tools to lessen the risk of the unpleasant surprise at an inconvenient time!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlevin777 View Post
but I'm seeing this behavior even when the Notes field contains *only* attached files, not any rich text data mixed in.
File attachments are a subset of the rich text features. Even if there's no text in there, it's using the rich text frameworks. :-)

(Wrote up the feature request you asked for!)
 
 


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