Using XMind Mind Maps in OmniFocus

Apr 04, 2009

If you’re here for the XMind-OmniFocus import script, click here

I recently purchased a shiny new MacBook, which I’m really enjoying using thus far. This is my first Mac, and so not only do I get to discover lots of interesting new MacOS features, I also get to use a whole range of applications that I’ve never used before.

One such is OmniFocus, a GTD-oriented task manager. I’m only on the 14-day trial at present, and I’m going to use the full 14 days to see if it’s really as useful as I want it to be (regrettably, this is rarely the case with ‘productivity’ applications). But having become a recent convert to the concept of mind-mapping, I also want to be able to create and manage task lists in mind-map format. It’s just a far more intuitive way of creating lists of things than OmniFocus’ outline/list approach.

I use MindJet MindManager at work and, whilst a Mac version is available, I’m not sure that I want another purchase. A quick scan for open source alternatives turned up XMind, an Eclipse-based mind-mapper. XMind (the free version, at least) certainly lacks some of the features of MindManager, but for the core task of creating mind maps it’s just as good, and certainly feels a lot more polished than the other free alternative, FreeMind.

A bit of Googling around led me to this thread on the OmniFocus forums where a user, Udo Gaetke, posted an AppleScript which could parse the XML in XMind files and pipe that through to OmniFocus in the form of tasks. There was only one problem: the script is obviously a bit old and didn’t work with the current version of XMind. Fortunately, AppleScript is incredibly easy to pick up simply by reading the code, so I’ve managed to fix the script for the newest version of XMind. In the hope that others might find it useful, I’ve posted it here (see the link below for the download). To use it, simply open the file in the AppleScript editor and run it. You will also need to create a Group in OmniFocus called “Mindmaps” - this is where all tasks/projects copied from your Mindmaps will appear (you can, of course, move them later). Once the script runs, select your XMind file and wait a few seconds as the tasks are copied across. A Growl notification will appear when the process is complete.

Requirements: XMind, Growl Download: click here <!–break–>