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How to reset the OmniFocus database

If you haven’t used OmniFocus in a while, or if you’ve been experimenting with things and need a change of pace, you might have thought about starting all over from scratch. Here’s how to take your OmniFocus database back to square one!

Optional: Saving and setting aside the current database on Mac

If you would like to set aside and keep the current OmniFocus database contents before starting over, follow these steps. If you would like to start completely over without keeping any current data, skip to the next section.

  1. In OmniFocus for Mac, go to Menu Bar ▸ File ▸ Export… to open the Export dialog.
  2. From the File Format menu, choose the OmniFocus Document format.
  3. Customize your filename in the Export As field (if desired), and choose where you’d like to save the current database.
  4. Click Save to save the OmniFocus Document to the specified location.

Going forward, you can double-click this .ofocus file in the Finder to display its contents in a new OmniFocus window, which will be visually distinguished by the filename in the title bar, as well as the OmniFocus Document banner above your outline.

The OmniFocus expectations bar when viewing an OmniFocus Document

This standalone file will not sync with the server, but you can copy and paste data as needed from this window into your primary OmniFocus database.

Next, follow the remaining steps on either your Mac or your iOS device.

Resetting the database on Mac

  1. In OmniFocus 2 for Mac, go to Menu Bar ▸ File ▸ Show Backups.
  2. In the Finder window that appears, go to Menu Bar ▸ Go ▸ Enclosing Folder. This will take you to the folder that contains your OmniFocus database.
  3. Quit OmniFocus.
  4. In the Finder window, move the OmniFocus.ofocus file in this location to the Trash.
  5. Open OmniFocus again. You’ll be greeted by our first-launch experience.
  6. Select the Keep Data Here Only option, then Create a brand new database.
  7. Check or uncheck the option to add the tutorial project, as you prefer. Then, click the purple arrow to finish up. You’re all set at this point if you weren’t syncing. If you were previously syncing, continue to follow the remaining steps.
  8. If you were previously syncing, set sync back up by going to Menu Bar ▸ OmniFocus ▸ Preferences ▸ Synchronization.
  9. Choose your sync option, and enter your Account Name. Then, close the Preferences window without pressing Sync. If you receive a sync prompt alerting you to Replace your database and start syncing, press Cancel.
  10. Select File ▸ Replace Server Database to upload the new blank database to the server.
  11. On any other devices, sync and choose the Keep Sync Database option from the prompt to download the new blank database from the server.

Resetting the database on iOS

  1. In OmniFocus 3 on your iPhone or iPad, navigate to the Home screen and tap the Settings icon. In OmniFocus 2, swipe down on the OmniFocus home screen to reveal the secret bar and tap Settings (on iPhone), or drag down on the home sidebar (iPad and iPhone Plus) to reveal the secret bar, then tap Settings.
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom, and tap [Reset].
  3. Tap Reset Database on the next page, and again in the confirmation prompt to proceed.
  4. You’ll be back at the “Welcome to OmniFocus” screen. Tap Keep Data Here Only to create a new blank local database, then Done. You’re finished at this point if you weren’t syncing, but if you had configured sync previously, follow the remaining steps.
  5. If you were previously syncing, set sync back up by returning to Settings ▸ Sync Method.
  6. Choose your sync option, ensure your Account Name is entered and tap Sync to confirm.
  7. Enter your password, if prompted.
  8. When prompted to Replace your database and start syncing, tap Cancel.
  9. Go back to the OmniFocus Settings, and tap Replace Sync Database, then Replace Database to confirm.
  10. On any other devices where you’re syncing OmniFocus, you’ll see the same prompt the next time a sync occurs. Choose Keep Sync Database to download the new blank database from the server.
Last Modified: May 24, 2018

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