Workflow to share: Outlook email to Omnifocus with

I just recently discovered The Hook App from Brett Terpstra’s post on Lifehacker. I’ve often wanted a way to drop a link to an email into the notes section of an Omnifocus task in order to streamline my overall workflow. Hook lets me grab the link and Keyboard Maestro lets me consolidate the whole process down to one keyboard shortcut.

So I thought I’d share it.

Use Case

All of the workflows mentioned here are only available when Outlook is the foreground app. If I come across an email that I want to add to my Omnifocus Inbox, I can invoke the workflow with the keyboard shortcut, type the subject of the action, and then press return to go back to Outlook.

Once this workflow is done and I’m returned to Outlook, I invoke another KBM workflow to mark the email as read and move it to a pre-defined folder. I have 4 of these, mapped to F16-F19:

  • F16 … this workflow
  • F17 … mark read and move to @Waiting folder
  • F18 … mark read and move to @Action folder
  • F19 … mark read and move to Archive

So when I’m at my desk and plugged into my Apple Aluminum keyboard, I can rest 4 fingers on the 4 Fn keys above the keypad and my thumb on the delete key. A quick shift of my thumb gets me to the arrow keys to navigate between emails. I can process quite a few emails without ever having to leave the keyboard or CMD-TAB between windows. And to be honest, it mainly saves me keystrokes, because I could do all of this by keyboard shortcut anyway.

Also, when I’m ready to do work, I have an Applescript from Jesse Hollington called “Goto Links”. I have it pinned to the toolbar as a button and tied to a keyboard shortcut in Keyboard Maestro. Invoking the script then pops open the email in a new window so I can get down to work.

Action Steps

  • Scope limited to when Outlook is active and in the foreground.
    //* Also have to make sure an email is selected before starting; workflow doesn’t check.
  • Triggered via hotkey: CTRL-SHIFT-C OR F16
  • Type keystroke to Invoke Hook via its keyboard shortcut
  • Type keystroke CMD-C to copy as link
  • Type Keystroke to invoke Omnifocus Quick Entry Window
  • Type Keystroke CMD-’ to jump to notes field
  • Type keystroke CMD-V to paste link
  • Type keystroke UP ARROW to jump to task subject field
  • Type keystroke LEFT ARROW 3 times

The workflow leaves off with the cursor in the Task Subject field to type in the action, although that depends on how you have the Quick Entry window set up. I prefer to use a custom setup that mimics the way things were set out in previous versions of OF: Task, Project, Tag, Defer, Due, Note, Flag. You might need to alter the arrow keystrokes at the end of the workflow to account for however you have Quick Entry set up.

Also, I tend to put a “Pause for 0.2 sec” step after anything that invokes a global keyboard shortcut, just so the system has time to respond. I suspect I’m being overly cautious, but 0.2 seconds isn’t that long to wait, so I add it anyway.