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Date Parsing: Natural Language, Relative Date Options Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
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The entering of dates using natural languages is something we've worked on hard for the release of OmniFocus. The ability to quickly enter a date using both exact and inexact notation to get a meaningful date is very important to being able to both trust your system, and record your thoughts and tasks quickly and intuitively. In addition to supporting some common natural language terminology we've also added some very powerful shorthand notation to allow you to be precise relative to the current day.

In OmniFocus you have dates in 2 different places, columns in the main view:

And in the date section of the inspectors:

Clicking on a calender icon:

in any of these fields will pop open the system calendar widget. There is some difference in this action for 10.4 vs 10.5, and we'll fix some of the issue that we don't like with this widget in an upcoming OmniFocus release.

However, this document details text-only entry.

Lets say you have something due tomorrow, so you type "tomorrrow". Well, now lets say you have something due in 2 days... there isn't really a word for that. Lucky for you though you can use a shorthand notation and type in "2d", and you'll get 2 days from now. Keep in mind that this will return an actual date, NOT a duration (unlike the column that has the little clock icon in it).

In general we try to pick the most conservative estimate, so that at worst you'll see something overdue sooner than later, and can deal with it as needed.

You can use any combination that matches the folllowing:


(Hour, Month, Day, Week, Year only supported, minutes are not supported in this format.)


2w - 2 weeks
-1d - yesterday
1m - next month
-1y - last year
1d1w - a day and a week

Recent changes to how we handle "this/next/last/[no modfier]" for weekday names is show in this diagram:

You can also use common names:

[day name]
[month name]
['][2 digit year]
[4 digit year]
[day of month]

And any of these can be used in any order, and with abbreviations

march - next march
tuesday - next tuesday
march 2001 - march 2001
sept '05 - september 2005

Or you can use a short date format:


In the form:
[day]/[month]/[year] (or month/day/year if your system pref is set to that)

(We look at your system date format and determine the order of your month/day/year, so if you're seeing something odd, look at what your date format is.)

And you can do times:


(or just "a" or "p")

As an added bonus, mix and match.


2w sat
4d @ 5p
tues 6a
aug 6 tues 5p

It should be fairly predictable, and I'd love to hear the feedback you have. If you have feed back either post here (will probably be read in a timely fashion) or send it in using Send Feedback (will be read in a timely fashion). And please include what you typed, what you expected, and your date format.

(date format found by going to: System Prefs -> International -> Formats, then click "customize", and copy and paste the blue lozenges. You should get something like "d/MM/yy".)

Last edited by xmas; 2007-12-20 at 12:51 PM.. Reason: Updates to date parser.

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