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Finding and reducing the size of your OmniFocus database

Finding your Database Size

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 3 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!

If you are an iOS only user, you can click here to see the options that OmniFocus for iOS provides to help reduce database size.

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.

To archive, click 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 iOS. 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. Before deleting attachments you can use the Export button to save them elsewhere on your computer. When ready, just use the Delete button to permanently remove the selected attachments from your database.

Immediately Consolidating and Syncing the Reduced Database

In some cases you may be reducing your database to troubleshoot a sync issue caused by a database that is too large. In these situations, you’ll need to take some additional steps so the reducing you’ve done has an immediate impact.

Due to the mechanism that OmniFocus uses to keep your data in sync between your devices, when you delete something it isn’t actually immediately deleted from your database. Instead, there is a delay, and items won’t be fully removed from your database until a period of time after all of your devices have synced.

Here are the steps to consolidate your database to its smallest size and immediately push it to the server and your other copies of OmniFocus:

On macOS — for OmniFocus versions 3.8 and above

  1. Go to menu: File > Export.
  2. In the Export window, select File Format: Backup Document (OmniFocus).
  3. Click Save.
  4. Find and double-click on the OmniFocus-backup.ofocus file saved in step 3.
  5. Click Revert to This Backup in the upper right hand corner.
  6. Click the Revert button to confirm this step.
  7. Close the OmniFocus Backup window.
  8. On your other device(s), you may be asked to choose a database to keep. If so, please select to keep the server (or sync) database. On those devices, the local database will be replaced.

On macOS — for OmniFocus versions prior to 3.8

  1. Go to OmniFocus > Preferences, and select the Sync tab.
  2. Set the Sync Option to Don’t Sync.
  3. Close the Preferences window.
  4. Select File > Compact Database.
  5. Select File > Export.
  6. Change the File Format to Backup Document (OmniFocus).
  7. Save that file to your Desktop.
  8. Go back to OmniFocus > Preferences > Sync.
  9. Set the sync option back to Omni Sync Server.
  10. Close the Preferences window.
  11. Double-click the OmniFocus.ofocus-backup file on your Desktop to open it.
  12. Click Revert to This Backup in the yellow bar.
  13. Once this finishes, try sync any other copies of OmniFocus that you use. If prompted to “Replace your database and start syncing?”, tap Keep Sync Database on iOS devices, and if on a Mac, click Sync.


OmniFocus for iOS does not have the same ability to archive that is found in the Mac app, but it does allow you to manage your attachments and it also has an option to help you simply delete old completed items.


To view and manage all of your attachments in one place, navigate to the Home Screen in OmniFocus, and go to Settings. Scroll down to the Database section, and tap Attachments.

Where to find Attachments in Settings

At the top of the list of attachments is a toggle you can use to either sort by Date Added or Size, and a button you can use to reverse the sort order.

Controls for sorting the Attachments list

If you want to delete multiple attachments at once, tap Select in the top-right corner, then tap on the attachments you’d like to delete (there is also a Select All button in the bottom-left corner).

You can also tap on individual attachments to see a larger preview of it. You’ll also see what items in your database the attachment belongs to, which you can tap on to jump to those items in your database to see in full.

Bulk Deletion

When you have over 1000 items that have been completed for more than six months, we’ll now prompt you to delete these old items all at once. OmniFocus will show a red dot over the Settings button on the Home Screen to let you know when this option is available:

Alert dot on Home Screen when Clean Database option is available

When this bulk deletion option is available you’ll find an option for Clean Database appear in Settings under the section for Database:

Where to find Clean Database option in Settings

This feature was primarily added for users that don’t have access to the Archive capability on the Mac. If you are syncing with OmniFocus for Mac, the Clean Database option will prompt you to use the Move Old Data to Archive feature in the Mac app instead of offering to delete the old items for you.

Last Modified: Feb 1, 2023

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