Kinkless FAQs

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Where we're parking frequently asked questions about kGTD.

[Suggested heads follow]


[edit] General Questions

What is Kinkless GTD?
Kinkless GTD (kGTD) is a task management application, designed to be used as a tool for implementing David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology. kGTD allows the user to define projects and actions within those projects as well as assign those actions to various contexts (for a clearer understanding of what that means, please refer to GTD). kGTD also provides some very un-GTD features such as assigning start and completion dates to tasks and allowing the user to create regularly recurring tasks.
More specifically, kGTD is a collection of Applescripts which interact with the software application, OmniOutliner Pro. While the applescripts which comprise kGTD are released for free under a GNU General Public License, OmniOutliner Pro (OOP), is a commercial application which must be licensed for a fee from the developer, The Omni Group.
Additionally, the kGTD task list can be synchronized with iCal or added to with the aid of a Quicksilver action, allowing the user to add new tasks to their task list without actually interacting directly with OOP. By synchronizing with iCal, kGTD is indirectly capable of synchronizing its task list with PDAs or any other device/software that can sync with iCal, though, at the time of this writing, there seem to be some bugs with getting tasks to synchronize correctly in both directions with PDA devices through iCal. This functionality should probably not be relied on too heavily yet as it seems to still be in early beta.
  • kGTD allows you to plan your tasks in projects and review your task list by contexts. Since the software keeps the two in sync with each other, it spares you the difficulty of tracking this yourself. You can modify or view your task list from either the projects or contexts sections, but the ideal workflow seems to be planning your projects and then acting on your tasks based on context.
  • kGTD can keep your project tasks in sequence, regardless of their varying contexts. This spares you the trouble of doing so yourself.
  • Prior to kGTD, there has been no easy way to manage projects without using a larger application like Entourage or other PIM tools. kGTD fills a very specific gap in the functionality of OS X's built-in applications like iCal and Address Book, and allows you to continue using these applications, thereby benefiting from the widespread integration of these programs into other OS X tools and applications.
  • The only other alternatives to full-scale PIM applications are extremely simple options like plain text files. While the benefits of these systems have already been discussed in this wiki at length, they do not integrate well (if at all) with other tools and require the user to be more directly involved with their creation and management. kGTD offers a user-friendly alternative, that integrates well will other applications like iCal and Quicksilver.
  • kGTD allows you to add new tasks to projects and contexts from within Quicksilver through the use of a Quicksilver action (included with the kGTD package). Quicksilver users are probably already drooling as they read this.
  • If you use some, but not all of the elements of a GTD workflow, kGTD still has you covered. You can assign dates (both start and completion) to tasks and you can create tasks that recur at regular intervals. While this is arguably, not a pure GTD implementation, the extra functionality comes in handy for most users.
  • kGTD is open source. If you like most of what it does, but not quite all, you can always modify your copy to behave however you like.
Is this an official product of DavidCo or The Omni Group?
No. Neither company is involved in the development of the kGTD applescripts.
Who created kGTD?
That distinction belongs to Ethan J. A. Schoonover.
Since kGTD is open source, can I contribute to the product?
The Applescripts which make Kinkless GTD run are released under the Gnu Public License (GPL), but at this time, Ethan is the keeper of the source. While you may modify it for your own purposes and make that code available for the community, there is no process in place to include those changes in the base source.

[edit] Requirements

What do I need to use Kinkless?
  • OmniOutliner Pro 3.6 or higher
  • Macintosh OS X "Tiger" 10.4.5 or higher
  • A high tolerance for beta software
You will need the latest stable release of OmniOutliner Pro (OOP), and a computer capable of running it. The standard, non-pro edition of OmniOutliner won't cut it since it lacks certain features kGTD relies upon. Using beta releases of OOP has lost data for some users, so make extra backups before experimenting with OOP betas.
KGTD is definitely beta release software -- if no longer in development -- and bugs do exist. See below.
Is this available for Windows, Linux, and other non-OS X platforms?
No, since kGTD requires both OmniOutliner Pro and applescript to function at all. Neither OOP nor applescript are available on any platform other than Macintosh OS X.

[edit] Installation

Where do I get the latest version of Kinkless?
The best place to start is at the kGTD homepage. There you will find the latest release of kGTD as well as step by step instructions on how to install it.

[edit] Setup


[edit] Basic Usage

Where can I find documentation or a user manual for kGTD?
Well, there is this FAQ for starters. The Kinkless homepage has a guide to using the Quicksilver action and an introduction video demonstrating kGTD's installation and basic use. Currently (as of July 21, 2006) there is no other documentation available at Kinkless, but a user guide is said to be forthcoming(don't hold your breath). The forums there also have some tips for use and troubleshooting.
Merlin has posted numerous blog posts on 43Folders about his uses of and experiences with kGTD which may also be helpful.
Recently an attempt has been made to write some basic tutorials for Kinkless on this wiki. The tutorials are currently only partially complete and are very rough around the edges, but you may want to take a look at them to check on their progress (or even contribute).
How does KGTD determine the Next Action for a project?
KGTD, by default, takes the first task with an assigned context in a project as that project's Next Action. This Action will show up on the appropriate context list, and will be highlighted purple. Any other tasks with assigned contexts will also show up on the appropriate context list, but will not be highlighted purple.
How can I have multiple Next Actions? How can I manually select a Next Action?
If you wish to manually select a Next Action, or wish to have multiple Next Actions, you can change KGTD's default behavior. In the "General Settings" section of the KGTD Settings, change "Allow manually selected next actions (slower)" to True. KGTD will then not automatically select a task as the Next Action. In order to specify a task as a Next Action, select the task and assign it "Next Action" OmniOutliner style. You can do this by hitting F4.
(Styles can be seen in the lower section of the Utility Drawer. You may have to drag the little dot to reveal that section of the drawer.)
What do the different colors mean?
Black - Current Action (no start date set)
Turquoise - Current Action (after start date)
Blue - Singleton Action
Purple - Next Action, either the first current action in a project or a current action that you’ve marked with Next Action style
Gray - Inactive, because it doesn’t have a context or has a start date in the future; shows in Projects list, but not in Actions list
Gold - Due today
Red - Overdue
You can change the default colors by selecting the category in the Style menu at the bottom of the Utility drawer (CMD-CTL-T) and changing the text color in the Appearance Inspector (CMD-1).
What does the Context button do?
If you have multiple rows selected, and run the Context button, it will take the assigned context of the first row, and apply it to the rest of the rows. Useful for batch editing, or if you want to clear all the contexts out in one swoop.
What does the Twin button do?
You know how actions with contexts show up in two places after a sync? 1) As a child of a Project, and 2) As a member of a context list. The twin button lets you jump back and forth between them. If your cursor is on an action on the Project list, it will jump you to the corresponding action on your context list. And vice versa.
How do I add new Projects or Sub-projects?
Just add new Projects or subprojects to the Projects section in the kGTD file. Then put at least one action under your new project or sub-project. The next time you Sync, the new Project or subproject will be included in the Project column drop-down menu.
How do I add new Contexts?
Select the whole Context column and invoke the column inspector (CMD-3). Add your new contexts to the list for the drop-down menu. Yes, this is different from how you add new projects, and yes, that is confusing.

[edit] Advanced Usage

How can I create recurring actions in kGTD?
Put "Recur [number] [time period]" or "Reset [number] [time period]" in the first line of the note under the task (Cmd-‘). Using a week as an example:
“Recur 1 week” creates a new task every 7 days. Like for a class that meets every Wednesday. The new action will have a start date 7 days after the start date of the original action and a due date 7 days after the original action’s due date.
“Reset 1 week” creates a new task 7 days after the prior action that was marked completed. For example, for checking your car's oil a week after the last time you checked it. If it has a due date, then the due date is set the same number of days after the start date as the original had between them.
The time period after recur or reset can be in units of seconds up to years and the number defaults to 1. You can’t use days of the week, “recur every Tuesday” or calendar calculations, like "last Tuesday of the month". The action doesn’t show in the Actions lists until you sync on its start date. If you don’t have a start date, then it shows in the Actions list as soon as you sync after the original is marked completed.
How can I defer a project?
Let's say you have a project with a couple of subtasks with assigned contexts. Those tasks show up weeks after weeks on your context lists, yet you never are able to get to them. You decide to put that project on hold. You don't want to see the tasks on your context lists any more, yet you don't want to delete or unassign their contexts. What do you do?
kGTD has a feature for 'hiding' a project. If the last character of the project name is a "#" (that's a pound sign, without the quotes. AKA, the tic-tac-toe symbol!), KGTD will ignore that project when creating your context lists. Thanks to Merlin for pointing this out.
Warning: This seems to lose data when applied to projects with sub-projects, which themselves have subtasks. It seems to happen when moving tasks or projects between other projects (see bug). Make sure to do backups before testing this out.
How can I defer an action within an active project?
You can defer any action by assigning it to a deferred context. A deferred context is created by adding a "+" character to the end of the context's name. Any tasks that are assigned to this context will be listed in the the Deferred section of kGTD rather than in the Actions section.
For example, you may create a Waiting+ context in which you put all tasks that require you to wait for outside events to occur before you can proceed with them. Any tasks assigned to this context will be listed under the Waiting+ heading in the Deferred section of kGTD.
What other features are activated by using suffixes?
A dive through the source indicates that there are other suffixes available for use in kGTD:
  • Adding an asterisk, "*", to one project name causes all tasks in that project to be styled as Next Actions. (Apparently, using "*" on more than one project prevents any task in those projects from being styled as an NA.)
  • Adding a dash, "-", to a project name prevents actions in that project from being marked as Next Actions.
  • Adding an elipsis, "…", to a project name is tested for in the source code, apparently for a rudimentary form of task dependency. It is not active in the current script.
  • Adding a dash, "-", to the end of a context name prevents its actions from being processed as Next Actions. In prior versions, this would keep actions from being included in the consoldiated NA list, a feature which was removed from version 0.83.
Can I add a column?
Yes, if you add it to the right of the Context and Project columns. kGTD is coded to be Independent of columns you add there. For example, people have reported adding columns for recording: project Time, Costs, Who a task is delegated to or Who a promise is made to or Who an agenda is with, whether a task is Important and/or Urgent.
How can I sync kGTD among all multiple computers?
Users have reported being successful using kGTD on multiple computers by:
1. keeping their kGTD file on a USB keychain drive which they carry to each computer.
2. syncing to a common Web file on a .mac or WebDAV server, using ISync, ChronoSync or Unison
3. storing iCal files on a WebDAV server and creating a symlink from each computer. (Does this only sync Active tasks?)
4. keeping your Home folder on a network drive or on a bus-powered external drive. Note that in this configuration, kGTD must be installed manually, as described here.
Note: If your kGTD setup includes syncing to iCal, then your process for syncing between computers must also sync iCal between computers to prevent tasks from being erased. When kGTD is Synced to iCal and has tasks in it that that aren’t now in iCal, it has to figure out whether they are new tasks in kGTD to be added to iCal or todos that you have erased from iCal that therefore need to be erased from kGTD. So kGTD keeps a separate record of the tasks that were in it at the previous Sync to compare with. If a task is in that record, and not in iCal, the Sync script erases the task from kGTD. So, for example, when you move to your home machine, kGTD has the tasks you added on the work machine in its last sync and finds them ‘missing’ from your home iCal, so it assumes you’ve erased them from iCal and it erases them from kGTD.
How can I sort my actions by due date?
Sorting in kGTD is ridiculously complicated because 3 separate controls effect it: 1) the three "Auto-sort...." settings in kGTD settings, 2) the "Sort Children" checkbox in the OOP Row Inspector, and 3) the selection under "Keep Sorted" in the Reoganize menu. Omni's documentation ignores this, probably out of shame.
I think the procedure is:
1. Set Auto-sort … to “false” under Projects Section Settings, Actions Settings,and Archive & Backup Settings.
2. Open the utility drawer & pull up the dot at the bottom of the drawer to display the styles pane. Select the first item, Whole Document. (There was a bug in OOP that sometimes made Whole Document vanish from the Styles pane. It’s supposedly fixed, but if Whole Document is missing, save your kGTD file, quit OOP and then reopen your file.)
3. Press Cmd-2 to open the Rows Inspector and select the Advanced tab which is the gear wheel. Uncheck Sort children.
4. Now, in Reorganize > Keep Sorted, uncheck Action, A-Z and check Due Date, Earliest to Latest.
5. In the Styles pane in the Utility drawer, choose All level 2 rows.
6. In the Rows Inspector, in the Advanced tab, check Sort Children.
7. Repeat steps 4 & 5 for levels 3 thru 7 and then Sync.

[edit] Integration with Other Applications

How do I sync my tasks with iCal?

Set the "Synchronize with iCal" setting in your Kinkless GTD Settings File to "true". Note that there are problems having this setting enabled while using the latest beta (3.6.1) of OmniOutliner Professional.
Syncing anything from iCal to kGTD is new feature in the current kGTD version (prior versions simply posted to iCal). Syncing back to kGTD is limited to tasks, contexts and completion check-offs (which don’t sync back correctly from Palms to iCal even though they appear to). Events, alarms, and priorities do not currently post from iCal to kGTD.

How do I send tasks to Kinkless with Quicksilver?

Install the Send to KGTD action, included with Kinkless GTD. Depending on your Quicksilver setup, you can install this in your ~/Library/Scripts/Applications/OmniOutliner Professional/Kinkless/ folder or in your ~/Library/Application/Application Support/Quicksilver/Actions/ folder. You may need to manually refresh your catalog before it will show up.
If this is a new installation of kGTD, it is important that you Sync kGTD before trying to use the Send to KGTD script from QS.
Activate Quicksilver (typically CMD+Space or CTRL+Space)
Type in the name of the task you wish to create, followed by (optionally) an @ sign and a context and/or an > sign and a project. Example: Mow the Lawn@Home>Yard Work
Tab to the next panel and select the Send to KGTD script/action.
Hit enter.
Alternately, you can use Send to KGTD Advanced, which works much the same way.

How do I send tasks to Kinkless GTD using LaunchBar, Butler or other applications?

Download Send to KGTD Advanced from
Install it according to the provided documentation.
Activate LaunchBar, Quicksilver or whichever launcher you're using.
Select and activate Send to KGTD Advanced
Enter space (Launchbar), tab to the next field and process text (Quicksilver) or just launch the script.
Enter the task/context/project using the expanded version of the above syntax (it's basically the same, but you can add notes). Hit "enter"

How to I Integrate Apple's Mail Application With Kinkless GTD?

Try the Mail to KGTD script. This script lets you send individual emails to Kinkless as tasks or set up rules to automatically process incoming mail as tasks. Nik (the author of this script) describes how he uses MailTags and Mail to KGTD to process his email.

[edit] Troubleshooting

Aggh! My kGTD file has stopped working! It is losing tasks/not adding tasks to Context lists/crashing on Sync/not treating me in the style to which I would like to become accustomed. What can I do to recover?
There are several steps that may help:
  1. Turn off iCal syncing and try Sync again. ICal is not always playing nice with some combination of OOP 3.6.1betas, OSX 10.4.6 and/or 10.4.7, & kGTD 0.83; resulting in data corruption for some people.
  2. Rebuild your file from the Projects list. Erasing all the Actions in the Actions and Deferred sections and then Syncing will cause the file to be rebuilt from the Projects data, which KGTD considers to the original source data. This is equivalent to the Rebuild script in prior versions of kGTD.
  3. Copy your project data to a fresh kGTD file This is a little more drastic, because it will lose your settings, but it may cure more problems than rebuilding. The steps to do this are: 1) Open a new document from OOP. 2) Install the Kinkless icons on a document specific toolbar. 3) Save the document. 4) Sync. 5)Copy only the Projects section from your old file and paste it into your new file. 6) Change the kGTD settings to suit your fancy and save your new document.
  4. Abandon kGTD and the hectic life that you thought you needed to manage with it. Tear out your hair, rend your garments, and retreat to a monastery for a life of quiet contemplation and prayer.
What bugs are known in the current version (0.83)?
  • Punctuation in your kGTD filename (or symbols, non-roman characters or letters with diacritical marks) will cause the Sync script to hang, usually with a "There was a problem writing kGTD preferences" error message. For example, Ethan can't name his file "Ethan's kGTD". The workaround is to only use ASCII letters and numerals in the name of your kGTD file.
  • Start Date set on a project or sub-project causes tasks with contexts to disappear on the second Sync after setting the Start Date. The workaround is not to put Start Dates on projects or subprojects.
  • Context set on a project or sub-project causes tasks without contexts to disappear on the Sync after setting the Context. The workaround is not to put Contexts on projects or subprojects.
  • Entering new Tasks directly into a Context list causes a duplicate project to be added to the beginning of the Projects list.
  • Using Missing Sync as conduit to a PDA will not sync tasks checked off as done on the PDA or new tasks added to the PDA back to kGTD. A script which works around this problem is given here.
  • "Auto-sort archive section by archived project name" setting causes all user-created sections to be sorted.
  • URLs or file links in a task synced to iCal can damage iCal's database. ICal (2.0.3) can freeze or attempts to back-up iCal data won't run. Moving URL and links to the task's notes will prevent this problem.
  • 'Too many' todos or calendars in iCal can prevent todos from displaying in iCal. 'Too many' appears to be in the hundreds of todos or dozens of calendars and reducing the number of calendars or todos will workaround this problem in iCal.
  • After Syncing, Archive can contain copies of active tasks. These are in fact copies and do not indicate that active Tasks have been removed from the Projects and Actions lists, but it is worrying when you first discover it.
The Sync script hangs with a "There was a problem writing kGTD preferences" error message. And I already remove the apostrophe in the filename.
Other causes for this message include:
  • not having RW permissions on your preference files at /Users/youruser/Library/Preferences/ and /Users/youruser/Library/Preferences/com.kinkless.kgtd.plist
  • kGTD file is not where the preferences file thinks it is. You need to manually write a new lastpath by opening Terminal and entering
defaults write com.kinkless.kgtd "lastpath" '/User/.../My kGTD.oo3'
where /User/.../My kGTD.oo3 is the full path to your kGTD file.
There may be other causes for this error message.
I synced, and everything became underlined. What happened?
KGTD has a feature to highlight tasks which are over a certain age. This allows the user to view at a glance tasks which may have been ignored for too long. To disable this feature, go to your KGTD Settings section, and under "General Task Settings," change the setting for "Highlight aged tasks" to "false". You can also change the amount of time before the task is considered aged in the settings "First/Second task age to trigger a highlight". To remove all of the aging highlighting:
  1. Open the untility drawer and select the heading for the whole file.
  2. select all (CMD-A). Open the Style Inspector (CMD-5).
  3. The first item in it will say Inherited - multiple selection. Use the selection triangles on the right to open a list of style combinations. Select the one that says only Aged Level 1 and all items that have that style will now be selected.
  4. Now the first item will say Inherited - Aged level 1. Click the X button next to it to remove the style.
  5. repeat 2-4 for Aged level 2.
My list of Next Actions disappeared when I upgraded. How do I get it back?
This feature (apparently popular in prior versions) was not included in version 0.83, perhaps because it does not fit with GTD principles. There is no good workaround.
Why is my Priority ("!") in Chinese??
Fortunately we don't need to know why it happened to fix it. The fix is:
Select the ! column, hit CMD-3 to open the Column Inspector, then open the Special Characters submenu (CMD-OPT-T) under the Edit menu. Set the View dropdown to “Code Tables” and select the Unicode tab. You want to paste unicode characters 2581, 2584, 2588 into the pop-up list in the Column Inspector
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