Finding and Reducing the Size of Your OmniFocus Database

Finding your Database Size

Starting with OmniFocus 2.7 for Mac, you can view the size of your database within the OmniFocus Preferences. Navigate to Menu Bar ▸ OmniFocus ▸ Preferences, then switch to the last tab (Update for Omni Store customers, or System Info for Mac App Store Customers). In this window, click the blue underlined text labeled Learn more about what kind of information is sent to bring up a popover containing a variety of statistics. Scroll all the way to the bottom of this popover to locate the Database Statistics section.

Database Statistics in OmniFocus 2.7 for Mac

Reducing your Database Size

There are a couple of methods available using OmniFocus for Mac if you’d like to quickly reduce the size of your database. Let’s go over those options!

Move Old Data to Archive

When you check off and complete a task in OmniFocus, this task doesn’t get deleted — rather, completed items remain in the database until you remove them. This can be handy when you need to go back and evaluate prior accomplishments. What happens if you want to keep something around for your records, but you don’t need to access it often? This is a perfect situation for archiving tasks and projects.

Choose File > Move Old Data to Archive, and specify a cutoff date. Any completed or dropped items from before that date will be removed and placed in a separate non-syncing database. After doing so, the archived tasks won’t be visible from your primary syncing database or OmniFocus for iPhone/iPad. If you’d like to access this data again you can do so at any time from File > Open Archive. You can even drag and drop tasks from the Archive window to your primary window if you’d like to return items to your live syncing database.

Attachment List

Window > Attachment List gives you quick access to all of the files attached to your database. From this window, double-clicking the attachment in the list will reveal its location in your OmniFocus database. To start slimming your database, select attachments and press the Export button to save them elsewhere on your computer, or the Delete button to permanently get rid of attached files.

Pushing your reduced database to the server

After trimming, slimming and getting that database in shape, the most important final step is to manually consolidate the database from your Mac and update the server. This will update all your other devices with the newly-compacted database that you’ve been cleaning up from the Mac:

  1. In OmniFocus 2 for Mac, select File ▸ Replace Server Database. Click Replace to confirm.
  2. Manually sync OmniFocus.
  3. After the sync on this Mac completes, sync your other devices. In some cases you may see a “Replace your database” prompt. If so, choose Keep Sync Database from the message that pops up on your iPhone/iPad, as well as on any other Macs you’ve set up to sync.

Bulk Deletion on iOS

OmniFocus 2.18 added a feature to bulk-delete old items. When you have over 1000 items that have been completed for more than six months, we’ll now prompt you to delete these items all at once. This feature was primarily added for users that don’t have access to the Archive capability on the Mac, so if you do have access to OmniFocus for Mac, we’d still recommend the steps outlined above.

To check and see if the Clean Database option is active, drag down from near the top of the OmniFocus 2 for iOS home screen to reveal the secret bar (on iPhone), or drag down on the home sidebar (iPad and iPhone 6 Plus) to reveal the secret bar. Then, tap Settings. You’ll see several groups of settings on the next screen; scroll down to the Database section. When Clean Database is active, it’ll be the last item in that group, directly beneath the Replace Sync Database item.

Last Modified: Feb 24, 2017

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