How I Use: Template Scripts in OmniFocus

As you become more invested in OmniFocus, you may well find yourself creating tasks, or projects that are similar in nature. In fact, they will could be exact duplicates at times. I know I find this. If you think about my writing workflow, each post required the same steps to be completed. I need to researchwriteedituploadfinal edit and more. 

I used to write these actions out manually - talk about ineffective! I then hit on the idea of taking a template project, with generic actions completed and then just duplicating this project. So for example I would have:

Research: Blog Post (SUBJECT)

Write: Blog Post (SUBJECT)


written out in OmniFocus and then manually change the (SUBJECT) name to to the topic of the post. This was a little more efficient, however still not optimal. 

I then watched Joe Buhlig’s LearnOmniFocus live session and discovered a script, created by Curt Clifton that could perform this heavy work for me.

Before we download the script, let’s look at the setup of the template you need in OmniFocus. It turns out I was halfway there, so if we use my original example above:


Template Preparation

As you can see from the screenshot above, the project name contains a keyword in placeholder brackets. These brackets can be typed (UK keyboard, unsure about the US equivalent) with *

This same placeholder must be located in the notes field of the project. This is crucial because this field is going to be referenced when the script runs. 

Any action that needs to contain this placeholder is created accordingly. I store this template in a Templates folder that is contained within my Boss Mode folder. 

Script Download

Now to the script. Simply click this link and download the file. Once it’s downloaded:

1) Whilst in OmniFocus, choose Help - Open Scripts Folder

2) Drag the Populate Template Placeholder file into the Scripts folder. 

3) Add the script icon to the toolbar by choosing View - Customise Toolbar. Drag the script icon into the desired location. 


Creating the project is as simple as highlighting the project in the Sidebar and clicking the icon in the toolbar. A popup window will appear, with the Placeholder text and an entry field for the text you wish to substitute. 


Fill in the text and the project will be created at the root of your OmniFocus database.


Massive kudos to Curt for this, it’s a real time saver and I know lots of people in the community are grateful.