Outlook to OmniFocus, take 5

Outlook to OmniFocus, take 5 outlook

Hey this is is it, the long awaited updated version with features to spare.


  • configurable growl notifications (provided by Paul)
  • fix for empty subject lines (provided by Paul and Peter)
  • added mail headers (from, date) to content of the note (provided by Paul)
  • does not rely on a separate jar tool anymore and should therefore be more compatible with older Mac OS versions. (courtesy of someone on the omnifocus forums whos name I forgot unfortunately)
  • configuration options
    • growl enabled
    • delete mail after turning it to an omnifocus task
    • bring omnifocus to the front
    • put cursor into a specific field in the quick entry panel
    • open quick entry panel (or just add the task silently to inbox)

Install instructions:

  1. Double click the zip file to extract it
  2. Copy the contents of the zip file to <userhome>/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Outlook Script Menu Items (you can do this even easier by opening Outlook, selecting the script menu item “About this menu…” and then click “Open Folder”.
  3. that’s it

Note to non-english office users:

Your Outlook Script Menu Items folder is in a different location. Please go the route via “About this menu” explained in point 2!

Usage instructions:

  1. select a mail in outlook
  2. open the script menu and choose  ”Send Outlook to Omnifocus” (see screenshot) or alternatively just press CTRL+O (o, not zero)

Configuration instructions:

So if you want to tweak the settings of the script, bring up the file in the outlook menu items folder and double click it.

This will open AppleScript editor (if it does not, then you can try right click and choose Open with…). In applescript editor you will see a configuration block on the top of the file. Change the values as documented in the script, save it and you should be fine.

Note that a few settings rely on other settings to be configured (i.e. currently omnifocus activation will only be invoked if the quick entry panel is switched on). If you find those restrictions too cumbersome, let me know and I will look into that.



26 Gedanken zu „Outlook to OmniFocus, take 5“

  1. First, God bless you for doing this. Can’t tell you what a joy it’s been to use this little piece of gold.

    I am running into an issue. when i use my keyboard command to create a new OF item i get an error that reads:
    Can’t make name of (<>: “*email address*”) into type Unicode text.

    I don’t even know enough to know what to ask. So, i guess, help?


    1. @Brian, please comment out the following line in the script

      -- delete all the old leftover emails
      do shell script "rm /tmp/OutlookMsg*"

      by placing a — in front of the “do shell script”. Then run it again on the message that is giving you problems and please mail me the file in the /tmp folder. You can navigate to tmp by opening terminal and typing

      open /tmp

      I hope this mail does not contain anything confidental but only with “problem data” can I replicate the problem.

      1. forgive my lack of terminal know-how, but i am lost.

        i do have a bit more info-seems the issue is with emails that come from people outside my org. in other words, anyone with an address that ends in anything but “mydomain”.com generates the error.

        that helpful at all?

        1. Brian, without that file I cannot do much. If you have commented out the line in the script as described before, then you should have some files in the /tmp folder. However, the /tmp folder is not really accessible without the use of Terminal. To open Terminal go to Applications->Utilities->Terminal
          then you get this black window where you can type stuff in. In that window type

          open /tmp

          and confirm with the RETURN key. That should open a finder window where the saved emails are stored (now that you have removed that line that deletes those files). Then just send me the files starting with Outlook. You might want to look at them first to identify the mail that creates the problem in the first place. I dont need any of the others.

          1. I have the same problem. It works for some e-mails, but other e-mails I get the “Can’t make name of (: “*email address*”) into type Unicode text.”

            I commented out the delete line you indicated, but when this error occurs it does not have anything in /tmp. When it doesn’t get this error, it does leave the a file in /tmp.

            So it seems the error is happening well before anything gets written to tmp. I can forward a sample e-mail if that helps debug the problem.. or if you have a script that will log/write more information, I’d be happy to run that in my environment.

            Thanks for the script. I hope you/we can get it working for all e-mails.


  2. @Justin, did you then run the script again. Those eml files will only be created once you rerun the script. By commenting out the deletion line it will prevent the script from deleting those files, however the previous ones are already gone.
    You can also open console and check the output there.

  3. Yes, I followed your instructions and scrutinised the contents of the folder for files that might have appeared after editing the script. Nothing appeared. I repeated this several times. Is the fact that I am not getting the temporary files helpful in and of itself?

  4. Has anyone else found this to all but crash their Outlook? When I select a message, and invoke the script, I get the spinning beachball, and it takes several minutes before I can use Outlook again.

  5. Hi, I’m using Outlook 14.1.2 – and here is the console when I try to use the script:

    7/19/11 11:58:16 AM OmniFocus[31405] saving the file/tmp/OutlookMsg72779.olk14_message
    7/19/11 11:58:17 AM OmniFocus[31405] Warning: couldn’t get PNG data for image <NSImage 0x176b56e0 Size={32, 32} Reps=(
    <NSCGImageSnapshotRep:0x14057e20 cgImage=>
    )>, because it had no cached image representation
    7/19/11 11:58:17 AM OmniFocus[31405] Failed to create thumbnail for wrapper: filename:OutlookMsg72779.olk14_message preferredFilename:OutlookMsg72779.olk14_message
    7/19/11 11:58:17 AM OmniFocus[31405] Warning: couldn’t get PNG data for image <NSImage 0x14057ee0 Size={32, 32} Reps=(
    <NSCGImageSnapshotRep:0x176852f0 cgImage=>
    )>, because it had no cached image representation

    1. @Jesse, and this is when it crashes then? Can you try and open the script in AppleScript Editor, then highlight a message (ideally one without images) in outlook, and then push the run button in the AppleScript Editor? What do you get then? Does Outlook still crash?

      1. Well, Outlook never actually crashed. It just froze. If I’d leave it for 5 minutes or so – it’ll come back up. The task gets added to OF just fine.

        This time, w/ script editor open, it simply timed out.

  6. Dear Rainer: thanks very much.

    This really rocks!!!

    Let me ask you something; could we tweak the script to have simply an alias to the Outlook original message, and therefore not embed it.??

    Database gets too big when starting to embed messages, and performance and sync with iOS devices also suffers a lot!!

    thanks very much and happy 2012!!!


    1. Hi Isidoro
      I tried this a while back and i couldn’t find a reliable solution that worked. If you see some other tool that does something like that via javascript and outlook let me know.

      – Rainer

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