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Any tricks for reliable use of attachments or links to cloud files? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
This is killing me... I love OF but I have tons of attachments in my Actions - files of info needed to do the action, and I keep my life and my whole research group's activities in OF. I need to be able to see the attachments' contents on whichever device I am opening OF. At first I was simply embedding the whole file in the Actions, but I found that sometimes it would embed a link when it was supposed to embed the actual file (a bug), and there was no built-in way to periodically scan the database for such unintended link attachments. I would find out the hard way, when on the road and needing the attachment, and it wouldn't open (being a broken link to a file that's not on the client machine).

Worse, when it worked correctly and embedded the actual file, the database got too big and corruption would set in during syncs. I talked with the very helpful Ninjas and they told me that OF isn't designed for a lot of embedded files, and links were the way to go. They recommended that I link to Dropbox files, so that I can have my OF database and its links from any client machine. I thought this made sense and transferred all my attachments to links to Dropbox files (mostly PDFs).

Then I encountered a problem. On the same computer where I created the link, when I double-click the attachment, it would sometimes (but not always!) tell me that it can't find the target file but oddly, take me to the right Dropbox folder and even highlight the right file for me in the selection menu. (None of the files had been moved). What's worse, on other machines, the link doesn't work at all, even though the Dropbox folder there is exactly the same as on the other machine, and the files are in the same place.

I asked tech support, and they told me that this is not a high priority feature because not many people ask about this. Is it really possible that people who use OF don't care about having stable attachments in their databases?

The latest suggestion from tech support was:

"My suggestion is to use the links, and in cases where the links fail, to open dropbox on the device and locate/open the file by hand. I understand that's less convenient, but the files should be present on all your devices even if the links don't work."

so, if I understand this correctly, it sounds like there is no reliable and recommended way to attach/link files to Actions that would be available on whichever client was opening the Database. I'm posting here in the hopes that someone has a workaround: has anyone figured out how to do this? Maybe Dropbox isn't the way to go and another cloud service is more compatible. I'm desperate; is there any way to attach files to Actions and have them available from all your OF clients?

thanks in advance,

Mike
 
This is killing me... I love OF but I have tons of attachments in my Actions - files of info needed to do the action, and I keep my life and my whole research group's activities in OF. I need to be able to see the attachments' contents on whichever device I am opening OF. I found that if I embedded the actual files, the database got too big and corruption would set in during syncs. I talked with the very helpful Ninjas and they told me that OF isn't designed for a lot of embedded files, and links were the way to go. They recommended that I link to Dropbox files, so that I can have my OF database and its links from any client machine. I thought this made sense and transferred all my attachments to links to Dropbox files (mostly PDFs).

Then I encountered a problem. On the same computer where I created the link, when I double-click the attachment, it would sometimes (but not always!) tell me that it can't find the target file but oddly, take me to the right Dropbox folder and even highlight the right file for me in the selection menu. (None of the files had been moved). What's worse, on other machines, the link doesn't work at all, even though the Dropbox folder there is exactly the same as on the other machine, and the files are in the same place.

Tech support (always friendly and prompt - much appreciated!) said:

"My suggestion is to use the links, and in cases where the links fail, to open dropbox on the device and locate/open the file by hand. I understand that's less convenient, but the files should be present on all your devices even if the links don't work."

so, if I understand this correctly, it sounds like there is no reliable and recommended way to attach/link files to Actions that would be available on whichever client was opening the Database. I'm posting here in the hopes that someone has a workaround: has anyone figured out how to do this? Maybe Dropbox isn't the way to go and another cloud service is more compatible. I'm desperate; is there any way to attach files to Actions and have them available from all your OF clients that sync to the same database?
 
If the embedded links are not taking you to the right files in Dropbox, then it sounds like the problem is with Dropbox, not with OF. As an alternative, you could try Evernote. Evernote can store both traditional text-based notes as well as files embedded within the note. While in Evernote, you can copy a link to the note and then paste that link in to OF. I've never had an issue with Evernote links not working properly, so I suggest giving it a try.

I understand the wish to store all of your support materials within OF (essentially what David Allen describes as "Reference material and Support information for projects") but realize that OF is a task manager, and not a filing system, document management system or any other sort of long term file storage solution. There are MUCH better systems out there that focus exclusively on document management--you can look into solutions like Evernote (mentioned above), Zengobi's Curio, or DevonThink.
 
How were you attaching your files? I think it is very easy to accidentally create a link instead of embedding the file, but rather unlikely that OF just randomly makes a link instead of embedding. My past experience doing computer support showed me that even very smart people are often not truly aware of what they are doing when it involves a frequent action, and furthermore, they get quite angry when you produce a log file that proves it :-)

That said, I agree that putting many megabytes of attachments in your OF database is not the route to happiness (this said as someone who has many megabytes of attachments in his database!) A little work with the Finder says that I've got 15 MB of attachments, 670 in all, though many of them are undoubtedly graphics from clipped email messages.

I've recently discovered that I can put documents in my DevonThink database, embed a link to that document in OmniFocus, and wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, the link even works on my iPad and iPod Touch with the DevonThink To Go iOS app, even if I refile the document into a different database after creating the link. The syncing of DevonThink To Go isn't automatic, but I can search my sheaf of documents by name and contents. I've been slowly migrating my larger embedded files over to DTTG to try this system out. My primary OF usage is on my iMac and iPads; I haven't investigated how I would go about syncing a collection of DevonThink databases to another Mac, and lack of a good answer there might well be an issue for someone using multiple Macs (though maybe the answer is that you just park the DevonThink databases in Dropbox).
 
> alternative, you could try Evernote. Evernote can store both traditional
> text-based notes as well as files embedded within the note. While in
> Evernote, you can copy a link to the note and then paste that link in to
> OF. I've never had an issue with Evernote links not working properly, so I
> suggest giving it a try.

this is interesting! I use Evernote. But I'm not sure I understand how to use it as you suggest. I can link to individual notes, but can I link to attachments inside of a note? If not, this means I have to have a separate Note for each attachment, yes?
Also, this doesn't seem to work on the iPad: I open OF, find the Action, and the link to the Evernote note is shown under it as a link (blue, underlined). But when I tap it, it brings up a keyboard and wants me to edit it, rather than follow the link. Is this supposed to work on iPad?

> I understand the wish to store all of your support materials within OF
> (essentially what David Allen describes as "Reference material and
> Support information for projects") but realize that OF is a task manager,
> and not a filing system, document management system or any other sort
> of long term file storage solution. There are MUCH better systems out
> there that focus exclusively on document management--you can look into
> solutions like Evernote (mentioned above), Zengobi's Curio, or
> DevonThink.

the thing is that I really like the nested task management aspect (although I don't use perspectives in the classical GTD sense). I need not only a document management system but the kind of interface OF gives to projects/actions/sub-actions etc. and the "due" (time/date) functions. Do these other systems have anything like that? And: if I do like one of them, is there any way to automatically convert/import my OF database into their format? Can an OF database be exported in any way that they can then import?

thanks!

Mike

Last edited by mlevin777; 2011-12-16 at 02:24 AM..
 
>How were you attaching your files? I think it is very easy to accidentally
> create a link instead of embedding the file, but rather unlikely that OF just

I know what you mean :-) but I assure you, I was going through the menu and selecting the right option (to embed file, not link). The bug was confirmed by the Ninjas over a year ago, but basically they said it was very low on the list because apparently no one cares much about attachments.

> I've recently discovered that I can put documents in my DevonThink
> database, embed a link to that document in OmniFocus, and wonder of
> wonders, miracle of miracles, the link even works on my iPad and iPod
> Touch with the DevonThink To Go iOS app, even if I refile the document

aha! Just what I was hoping for. I don't know DevonThink but I'll check it out - this is precisely what I was looking to do with Dropbox.

thanks,

Mike
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlevin777 View Post
> this is interesting! I use Evernote. But I'm not sure I understand how to use it as you suggest. I can link to individual notes, but can I link to attachments inside of a note? If not, this means I have to have a separate Note for each attachment, yes?
Right, you can link to a note, but not directly to an attachment, so you'd have to have a separate note for each attachment.

As I read through the rest of the responses, it seems that DevonThink is probably the closest existing tool to what you are looking for.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFF View Post
As I read through the rest of the responses, it seems that DevonThink is probably the closest existing tool to what you are looking for.
is there a tutorial somewhere of how to use DevonThink to hold documents that would be linked to OF Actions (and available on multiple clients, including iPad hopefully)?

thanks

Mike
 
It is pretty simple-DEVONthink Pro and Pro Office install a Reminders script to link documents to tasks in OmniFocus. The tasks have a link back to the documents in OmniFocus. If those same documents are synced from DEVONthink Mac to DEVONthink To Go, the links also work from OmniFocus iPad/iPhone.

You can also copy the links to tasks and projects in OmniFocus (Edit menu, copy as link) and paste these links into DEVONthink documents and the same procedure works on the Mac and on iOS-click on the link in the DEVONthink document and the linked task/project will open in OmniFocus.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Jones View Post
It is pretty simple-DEVONthink Pro and Pro Office install a Reminders script to link documents to tasks in OmniFocus. The tasks have a link back to the documents in OmniFocus. If those same documents are synced from DEVONthink Mac to DEVONthink To Go, the links also work from OmniFocus iPad/iPhone.
You can also copy the links to tasks and projects in OmniFocus (Edit menu, copy as link) and paste these links into DEVONthink documents and the same procedure works on the Mac and on iOS-click on the link in the DEVONthink document and the linked task/project will open in OmniFocus.
if I understand correctly, I'm trying to do the opposite: I want to have links in the notes fields of Actions that point to files stored somewhere (e.g., DevonThink) such that they are available no matter which client machine I'm running OF on. When I click on the link in the Action, the file should open up, in whatever app it belongs to (e.g., PDF, Excel, etc.). Is that possible?
 
 


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