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Find and reduce the size of your database in OmniFocus 4

If you are finding that OmniFocus has begun to feel a bit sluggish—especially in the time it takes to open or sync—it may be a good to time do some review your database and do some house cleaning. This article provides information on assessing the size of your database and the options you have for reducing that size.

Find your database size

OmniFocus 4 can show you the following statistics for your database, which can be useful data points when trying to identify if the size of your database may be a factor in performance or sync problems you are experiencing:

  • Total Attachment Size
  • Number of Projects
  • Number of Tags
  • Number of Tasks
  • Number of Attachments
  • Number of Folders
  • Database Size (excluding attachments)
  • Number of Perspectives
  • Number of Transactions

While the total attachment size and database size are a good thing to look at first, those numbers alone don’t tell the full picture. For instance, if you find the total attachment size is >1GB, that is pretty easy to spot as a potential problem; however, having a huge number of attachments, even if the total size is reasonable, can also be problematic. A common example of this is someone that uses Mail Drop, and ends up with tons of tiny attachments in their databse from the tiny image files people use in email signatures. Simiarly, having a huge number of tasks can be a source of performance issues, even if the overall size numbers don’t stand out as a problem.

Here is where to find that information:


  1. Choose OmniFocus > Settings… in the menu bar.
  2. Go to the Update or System Info pane.
  3. Click “Learn more about what kind of information is sent”.
  4. In the popover that opens, scroll to the Database Statistics section at the bottom.

iPhone and iPad

  1. In OmniFocus, go to Settings > General > Send Anonymous Data.
  2. Scroll to the bottom, and tap Database Statistics.

Reduce your database size


OmniFocus 4 provides you with a place to see a list of all your attachments, making it easy to find and delete attachments that are bogging down your database. Here is where to this:

  • Mac: Choose Window > Attachment List in the menu bar
  • iPhone and iPad: Go to Settings > Attachments List

Here you can see the size of each attachment, sort by size or date added, and see the items using the attachment. On Mac, you also have the option to export attachments, which can be useful if you want to get the file out of OmniFocus but not lose it entirely.

Archive on Mac

The longer you use OmniFocus the more and more completed items you will build up, and this has the potential to begin negatively impacting performance and syncing. While it can be useful to pull up something you previously completed, it typically isn’t something you need to do all that often for older items. This is why OmniFocus for Mac provides an option to archive old items to a separate, non-syncing archive file, keeping your main database sprightly and nimble.

To archive:

  1. Choose File > Archive Old Items in the menu bar.
  2. Choose a cutoff date.
  3. Click Move to Archive.

First time archiving?

New in OmniFocus 4, the first time you archive you will be asked to choose where to save the archive file, or you can pick an existing archive file to continue adding to. This allows you to store your archive in iCloud Drive, so it can accessed and shared between OmniFocus 4 on more than one Mac.

After archiving, if you’d like to access this data again choose File > Open Archive in the menu bar

Bulk delete on iPhone and iPad

OmniFocus 4 for iPhone and iPad does not have an archive option like the Mac app, but when you have more than 1000 items completed or dropped more than six months ago, OmniFocus 4 iPhone and iPad will present an alert about bulk deleting these old items. Once you’ve seen this alert, you can go to Settings > Delete Old Items. Here you will see an exact count of the number of old items with an option to delete all of the old items at once, or you can review and manually delete items from the Completed perspective.

If you are syncing with a copy of OmniFocus for Mac, you will be directed use the archive feature on the Mac, instead of deleting the items.

Immediately compacting and syncing the reduced database

Due to the mechanism that OmniFocus uses to keep your data in sync between your devices, when you delete something there is a delay before the data for that item is actually removed from database. After deleting something, the data will only be truly removed once all of copies of OmniFocus you are using have synced. This can present an issue when reducing your database size because it is causing sync trouble. In this situation you may need to steps to manually “compact” your database, so that any delete items are immediately and completely removed.

Here are the steps to manually compact your database, then immediately push it to the server:

  1. Choose File > Export in the menu bar.
  2. In the Export dialog, click the File Format pop-up menu, then choose Backup Document (OmniFocus).
  3. Choose where to export this file. (we recommend the Desktop)
  4. Click Save.
  5. In Finder, locate and double-click the exported OmniFocus-backup.ofocus file.
  6. Click Revert to This Backup in the yellow bar.
  7. In the confirmation prompt, click Revert.
  8. Close the OmniFocus Backup window.
  9. Open and sync OmniFocus on your other devices.
  10. You may be asked to choose a database to keep. If so, choose the option to keep the sync or server database.
Last Modified: Dec 13, 2023

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