How to Switch from Things 3 To OmniFocus

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been struggling on how to make the switch from Things 3 back to OF.

I had used OF for many years but then the clean interface and lack of pressure from Things 3 lured me out. But then I missed features from OF like location based tags and the Review perspective and I feel I could make OF work for me again. Especially now with Peter Akkies’ “Next” tag.

The problem I’m having is that I have tons of information in Things and a lot of the same tasks still on OF since the first move to Things. Anyone have suggestions on the best way to tackle such a monumental feat?

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That’s a hard one. There is no way I know of that allows you to carry task metadata with you. You can copy it all from things, then parse each line and create a new task, but you will lose most of the data. If you are great at RegEx you could probably at least get the due dates. If a wizard, maybe all of it. I am interested to see if anyone has a solution here.

Are you comfortable with AppleScript? You can script an export between the two. Things provides such a script for OmniFocus to Things on its website, and you could probably edit it to suit:

Don’t do it my friend. That way lies madness. In about 3/4 of a year you’ll get sick of OF and want to go back to Things. Then nine months after that you’ll be back to OF.


Unfortunately, I’m still very unfamiliar with AppleScript. So that route hasn’t helped me. I’ve been thinking more along the lines of separating the projects somehow into categories of Exported and not.

For now I’ve just been jumping between the 2 apps trying to do the current tasks.

Lol. It took me years before plunging into Things from OmniFocus. So the time gaps would probably be much longer for me.

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Can you export to taskpaper from Things 3?
Or drag the items to a textfile?

You can Copy as Text from Things which will give you a Markdown output, but that won’t show Headings from Things, and it’s limited to copying from whatever view you copy from (Anytime and Someday views seem to capture the most…)

Update: Actually it does preserve headings when copying a project but headings won’t show in the Anytime view so the the tradeoff seems to be:

  1. Copy single projects separately and preserve headings
  2. Copy most projects in Anytime view but lose headings

I’ve done the back and forth between OF and Things more than once, sadly. I’m now on Things and likely to stay there as my life simpler.

Perhaps use both. Just move across those tasks and projects that benefit from the extra features of OF (professional stuff) and leave the other stuff (personal) in Things. Or the other way around. Or some other segregation.

I operated that way for about a year where I did all my consulting work stuff in OF with everything else in Things. Worked ok. At first glance may sound complicated, but you are probably knowledgable in both apps.

If I were to switch again, here’s how I’d do it:

  • Add new tasks to OmniFicus.
  • Every morning, copy that day’s tasks from Things to OmniFocus.
    - Or do this step at night
  • When you’re SURE you want to live in OmniFocus now, after at least a week, set aside some time to transfer everything from Things to OmniFocus. To my knowledge, there is no script for this; it’s going to be a lot of cutting-and-pasting and typing and switching between apps.

I think you’re absolutely right Mitch. I’ll try this and try not to get task anxiety. – Thanks

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