Archiving and Backup

When your database grows large, unwieldy, or full of obsolete items, or when you need to refer back to versions of your data from days gone by, the archiving and backup features of OmniFocus for Mac here here to lend a hand.

Creating an Archive

After a while of using OmniFocus every day, your database may become quite large, and especially if you synchronize with a mobile device, things could get quite slow. Most of the items are probably completed or dropped items that you rarely or never need to review, so OmniFocus includes a command to archive those old items to a different file, keeping your main database sprightly and nimble.

To archive your old data, choose Move Old Data to Archive from the File menu. A sheet appears with a date field; any items completed before that date, or dropped items that haven’t been changed since that date, will be moved to the archive.

OmniFocus saves your archive file in the same place as your main database.

  • Omni store version: ~/Library/Containers/com.omnigroup.OmniFocus2/Data/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/

  • Mac App Store version: ~/Library/Containers/com.omnigroup.OmniFocus2.MacAppStore/Data/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/

Where ~ is your home folder. If you ever want to look at your archived data, just choose Open Archive from the File menu; your archive opens in its own window.

To retrieve items from an archive you’re browsing, just drag and drop them into the desired location in your main database (copy and paste works too). In either case, a copy remains behind in the archives; the archived copy can be retained as a record or manually deleted to keep things tidy.

Restoring from a Backup

We’ve made OmniFocus err on the side of obsessive, paranoid data preservation, just in case something bad happens to your database. After all, we’re asking you to put your whole life into this app. OmniFocus automatically backs up your database once every two hours, in the folder:

  • Omni store version: ~/Library/Containers/com.omnigroup.OmniFocus2/Data/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/Backups/

  • Mac App Store version: ~/Library/Containers/com.omnigroup.OmniFocus2.MacAppStore/Data/Library/Application Support/OmniFocus/Backups/

OmniFocus keeps up to 100 backups of your database at a time, which comes to about 2 weeks worth if you run OmniFocus continuously (more for most people, since a backup can’t happen if OmniFocus isn’t open).

To restore a backed-up version of your database, choose Show Backups from the File menu, then double-click to choose a backup file to view. It’ll open in its own separate OmniFocus window so you can browse it and determine if it’s the one you want; if so, choose Revert to this backup in the focus bar and it’ll replace your current database.