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tip: pasting in lists of actions Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I frequently encounter lists of things that I want to turn into actions, but I couldn't figure out how to get a bunch of items copied and pasted into OmniFocus, and several times I manually re-typed numerous items that I could have pasted if only Id known how. Turns out it's really easy. But I was so stumped for a while there that I thought I'd submit it to the forum as a tip I cant be the only one. Can I? :-)

All you have to do is NOT be in a text field.

If you're already typing the name of a project or action, pasting a list of CR-delimited items will simply result in a single multi-line action.

But if the action/project is selected (click on the bullet, or slightly to the left of disclosure triangles), then a pasted list will be inserted as a list of new, separate actions.

D'oh. So easy.
 
Heh, yeah, that's one reason why previous experience with OmniOutliner really comes in handy - it works exactly the same way there. :D

And, at least for me, it makes perfect sense once you know what to do. You really end up with the best of both worlds: the ability to create a single, multi-line item and the ability to past multiple items simultaneously.

One difference from OmniOutliner, however, is that OmniFocus doesn't seem to strip leading white space like OmniOutliner does. It's not a big deal, but good to know.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadling View Post
Heh, yeah, that's one reason why previous experience with OmniOutliner really comes in handy - it works exactly the same way there. :D
It actually figured it out while messing about in OO! Don't have much experience with that application, but stumbled on the behaviour I wanted in OF and figured there was a good chance they'd work the same way, and they do!


Quote:
One difference from OmniOutliner, however, is that OmniFocus doesn't seem to strip leading white space like OmniOutliner does. It's not a big deal, but good to know.
Thanks for pointing that out.

Now we just need some way to prepend text to selected actions. Often we want actions to be verbified. The title of a book is the title of a book, but stick "read " in front of it and now it's an action. But there's no convenient way to do this sort of thing to a selection of many actions. I grep it in BBEdit ... ;-) (Geeeeeeeek.)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigcloits View Post
Now we just need some way to prepend text to selected actions. Often we want actions to be verbified. The title of a book is the title of a book, but stick "read " in front of it and now it's an action. But there's no convenient way to do this sort of thing to a selection of many actions. I grep it in BBEdit ... ;-) (Geeeeeeeek.)
Ah, but we do have a way! Have you tried a Regular Expression search and replace in OmniFocus?

Try to isolate the items you want to change by either focusing on the project, doing a filter with the Search field in the toolbar, placing the items in a separate folder, etc. This isn't strictly necessary, but it helps contain your changes (the search and replace dialog seems to act only on the items currently displayed in the content area).

Then hit Command-F to bring up the Find window and set it like this:

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I think the "Replace" and "Replace All" buttons only work on currently selected text in edit mode (handy, but not what we want here). So use the Next button to test what items match your search expression. Each click of the button takes you to the next matching record and puts it into edit mode with the matching string highlighted. You can then use the "Replace & Find" button to systematically step through the matching records to apply the change.

Note that using the "Replace & Find" button will also operate on text in the note field. So if you don't want your change to be applied there, skip them by hitting the "Next" button instead.

Also note that OmniFocus crashed once when I was trying various regular expression patterns. I'm not sure what the problem was and submitted a crash report. YMMV, but it's probably a good a idea to backup your database ahead of time just in case.

OmniFocus' Find window isn't as powerful as BBEdit's Grep search and replace, but it's still quite useful.

Last edited by Toadling; 2008-05-29 at 09:42 AM.. Reason: fixed typos
 
Excellent tips. Thanx...
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadling View Post
Ah, but we do have a way! Have you tried a Regular Expression search and replace in OmniFocus?
I actually did! And after much bashing around, the closest could get was successful pre-pending on a single item, with an inevitable OF crash on the second item. I forget the details. I sent it to the ninjas in the category of crazy stuff users get up to that breaks OF and then decided to get on with my life!

Perhaps Ill revisit it and try following your procedure. But with crash reports coming from both us, Im wary!
 
 


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