Getting Lazy With OmniFocus, Keyboard Maestro and TextExpander

The Techie Scheky series offers tips and tactics for being more productive and creative through technology (especially with a Mac).

Like most of my techie ideas, this one has essentially been ripped off by work that was already done by Sven Fechner of Simplicity is Bliss (amazing blog for OmniFocus users) and David Sparks of MacSparky.

Sven kicked things off by showing how he uses TextExpander within OmniFocus to track the status of projects he delegates to others. This encouraged David to share several of his own TextExpander shortcuts for speeding up new entries in OmniFocus. Driven by my innate laziness, I decided to see if I could push things one step further. Since they both “threw down with a video,” as David so eloquently put it, I decided to create one of my own to show you how to use Keyboard Maestro to significantly speed up repetitive email clipping.

Getting Even Lazier Keyboard Maestro

I wanted to see if I could clip text from an email, fill in my information and archive the message as quickly as possible. The macros are setup for users of Mailplane, but you could easily adapt it to work with This time there are two versions, the first is for follow up that has the same context, project and due date in OmniFocus. Rather than going through the motions to process the email, this macro will only prompt me for the task name. The second version gives me the added ability to set a single start and due date for deferring these email responses with greater control.

You can download the macros here and customize them to fit your needs. You can even create multiple versions to fit different contexts, projects or start and due dates.

Bonus For You TextExpander Fans

Update: Version 3.41 has been released. The snippet below will now work in Lion. Simply update TextExpander and close and reopen OmniFocus to get this working.

I initially started this project in TextExpander. While it wasn’t able to do everything I wanted, it’s still pretty darn useful. Especially when doing multiple entries through the quick entry box. Here’s the snippet:

%key:tab%Customer Follow%key:tab%Work%key:tab%%key:tab%tom%key:tab%Follow up on

Once I trigger the OmniFocus clipper for email, I evoke this snippet and get the following:

Using text expander snippets in OmniFocus

From there, all you need to do is finish the subject for a task and hit enter to add it into OmniFocus.

You can take the snippet above and change the information between the %key:tab% symbols and adjust this as many ways as you might need.

If, like me, you find yourself consistently creating the same deferred email responses, give these Keyboard Maestro macros and TextExpander snippets a shot. I think you’ll agree that this speeds things up quite nicely.

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