OmniFocus 4 Reference Manual

Capture Methods

This chapter needs revision, and does not fully reflect the current state of OmniFocus 4.

OmniFocus as a standalone app is an incredibly powerful tool. Beyond what you can do with the app alone, OmniFocus interacts with other apps and services to help you accomplish more, with even greater convenience and efficiency.

This chapter discusses ways that OmniFocus can be used with other software, to achieve your goals.

Related information can be found in the OmniFocus 3 Reference Manual for macOS.

Quick Entry

Please note that this section currently discusses the Mac version of Quick Entry; more information about the iPhone and iPad version can be found at Smart Add & Quick Entry.

With an easily configurable keyboard shortcut, you can use Quick Entry from anywhere on your Mac to add items to your database as long as OmniFocus is running. Make sure the shortcut in OmniFocus General settings is what you want, and it’ll open the Quick Entry window no matter which app you’re viewing in the foreground.

When using Quick Entry, a couple of other keyboard interactions are affected by your Outlining choice in General preferences.

  • If you decide against posting an item with Quick Entry, in Modern mode press Esc to close the window. In Classic mode, use Cancel (Command-.) instead.
  • Press Return in Quick Entry to save the current item and close the window. To add another item before closing the Quick Entry window, hold down Shift and then press Return — twice if in Modern mode, once if in Classic mode.

An icon indicating that this feature is part of OmniFocus Pro. With OmniFocus Pro, the option to customize your outline layout extends to the Quick Entry window as well.

Open the View options with the button in the lower left of the window to choose whether to use the default Layout settings, or customize the layout for Quick Entry.


You may come across an email message, a web page, or some other piece of information that you’d like to turn into an action. You can use the OmniFocus Clippings service to quickly and easily add it in your OmniFocus database.

To clip content from another application:

  • Highlight some text, in any application that supports macOS Services (most native Mac applications support Services).
  • Press your chosen Clippings shortcut, or choose OmniFocus > Services > OmniFocus 4: Send to Inbox.
  • A new item, with the highlighted content (rich text and embedded images) as its note, and a text-only version as the title, lands in the Quick Entry window for you to revise and save.

Setting Up a Clippings Shortcut

At the bottom of General settings in OmniFocus you’ll find a setting for the Clippings shortcut. Click Clippings shortcut to open a window for the Keyboard Shortcuts window of the Keyboard section of System Settings.

Due to the macOS sandboxing security protocol, apps aren’t allowed to customize the keyboard shortcuts for their own services — such as the OmniFocus 4: Send to Inbox service — which is why you need to do the rest of this on your own. In addition, we are no longer able to directly open the Services pane, but we'll get you as close as possible.

In that window, you’ll see two panes: on the left is a list of shortcut categories, and on the right is an outline of items within that category. In the left pane, click on Services, and in the right pane scroll down until you see the group of Text services. If the Text group is collapsed, click the disclosure triangle to show the contents, and scroll down to find the OmniFocus 4: Send to Inbox item. Make sure that the service is enabled using the checkbox on the leading edge, and click into the keyboard shortcut box on the trailing edge (which starts off labeled none) to set a keyboard shortcut.

Email Capture (Mail Drop)

Mail Drop is a feature of the Omni Sync Server that lets you send emails directly to your OmniFocus Inbox. You can create multiple private send-to addresses to give access to third parties, and delete those addresses at any time. In order to use Mail Drop, you’ll need to have an Omni Account (they’re free), and OmniFocus must be configured to actively sync with that account on our server.

If you’re already using Omni Sync Server to sync OmniFocus, you can log in to the Omni Sync Server and create your first Mail Drop address. After logging in, click or tap on Add An Address to automatically generate the email address (a combination of your account name and a random string of characters).

When you send an email message to a Mail Drop address, the subject line of that message becomes the name of the new Inbox item. The body of the message becomes the note, which can contain text and simple HTML; attachments to the email (such as images) are added as attachments to the OmniFocus item as well.

See OmniFocus Mail Drop on the Omni support website for more details on this feature.

OmniFocus for the Web

OmniFocus for the Web is a browser-based companion app that works in tandem with OmniFocus for Mac, iPad, and iPhone to provide access to the core features of OmniFocus from any modern web browser. The app is provided as an optional subscription-based add-on to your existing OmniFocus purchase, or as part of an OmniFocus subscription package.

Learn more about subscribing to OmniFocus for the Web here.