Just a short bit about a few apps and iOS 8

by Derek R. on September 12, 2014

It’s been a few months since we pulled OmniFocus for iPad and OmniGraffle for iPad from the App Store, but we’re less than a week away from the big iOS 8 launch.

What are we doing, and where are the apps?

Well, we’re very happy to share that OmniFocus 2 for iPad and OmniGraffle 2 for iPad have been submitted to Apple for review. And they’re both incredible. OmniGraffle 2 is super fast. And there’s a lot that’s new: inspectors, drawing tools, AirDrop support, shape combinations, Visio support, and more.

OmniGraffle for iPad

OmniFocus 2 for iPad has some great new features and a brand new look. We’ve added a few useful extensions, too, like Sharing and a Today view. You can even create perspectives in Pro.

OmniFocus for iPad

And finally. Expect each of those extensions in OmniFocus 2 for iPad in OmniFocus 2 for iPhone. As a free update, of course.

We’re really excited to get this stuff out there to you!

Oh: shout out to my friend OmniGraffle 6.1 for Mac. Dangerously close to a Public Test!

Online Stencil Search Returns to OmniGraffle

by Dave on April 2, 2014

Starting with the release of OmniGraffle 5 in 2008, we partnered with Graffletopia to provide in-app search for their free online stencil repository. Last year, Graffletopia became a subscription service, which meant that any stencils hosted there were no longer available in OmniGraffle.

We still feel it’s important for the OmniGraffle community to have a free library of user-submitted stencils, and we still want it to be easy to search for stencils from that library from within OmniGraffle. Since Graffletopia no longer offers that service, we’ve created a free Omni Library which can be searched by OmniGraffle 5 and 6 (starting with v6.0.5, released today) and OmniGraffle for iPad. We’ve already seeded the library with stencils that we used to host on our own OmniGraffle Extras page, but we would love for you to submit your own stencils as well.

We will never charge for access to these stencils; that’s not a business we’re interested in pursuing. We’re only interested in offering stencils which our customers can download and use for free, so we’re asking for submissions of stencils that are Creative Commons 0, public domain, or otherwise freely distributable.

We look forward to your submissions!

Looking back at Omni’s 2013, and looking ahead to 2014

by Ken Case on January 8, 2014

One year ago, I talked about our plans for 2013. Whenever I do this, I worry—particularly about the stress I’m putting on our team. They know better than anyone that these plans can and will change, sometimes causing trouble for customers who were making their own plans based on what we previously shared. But if I don’t ever talk about where we’re headed, it’s difficult for you all to know whether you want to join us on that journey.

So, here I am talking about our plans again, and I hope you’ll understand that this is a statement of direction—not a prediction of exactly when we will get to each milestone along the way!

Let’s start by reviewing those plans from last year: OmniFocus 2. OmniOutliner 4. Automatic document syncing. Sandboxing. Accessibility. Visio and Microsoft Project compatibility in our iPad apps. Upgrade pricing from Mac App Store apps. How did 2013 actually play out, compared to those original plans?

In Q1, we posted a first look at OmniFocus 2 and began private testing of OmniFocus 2, as well as testing OmniOutliner 4 and testing OmniPresence. We shipped several hundred test builds of those apps over the next few months, and in May we shipped OmniPresence.

Through June, as you can see, everything was going pretty much according to that original plan. We even managed to slip in a bonus update to OmniFocus for iPhone which added support for location-based background syncing and for emailing actions.

In June, at WWDC, Apple announced the new OS X Mavericks, and went on to announce an entirely new design direction for iOS 7—asking all app developers to rethink their iPhone and iPad apps to fit in with it.

We decided to spend one very focused Q3 building three new apps for iOS 7, with team members canceling their vacations and working late nights and weekends to get things ready in time. And while we had to make some hard decisions along the way (like delaying OmniFocus 2 for Mac and discontinuing OmniGraphSketcher), the end results were that we were ready on iOS 7 launch day near the end of Q3 (September 17) with three apps our team can be quite proud of:

  • OmniOutliner 2 for iPad refreshed the visual design for iOS 7, of course, but also added templates, style themes (with a dark theme mode), external keyboard support with dozens of keyboard shortcuts, folders, background syncing, and export to Word documents.
  • OmniPlan 2 for iPad added support for importing Microsoft Project documents, as planned in our original roadmap, and updated its interface for iOS 7, but we didn’t stop there. We also added support for viewing a task’s scheduling influences, for highlighting the critical path, and for using iOS 7’s AirDrop to share HTML and PDF documents with nearby devices.
  • OmniFocus 2 for iPhone added background syncing, but the real story was its complete design refresh, for which it received rave reviews. It was one of the top selling apps during the launch weekend of iOS 7 across all categories, and is considered by Apple to be one of the Best of 2013.

Of course, just because we shipped new version 2 apps didn’t mean that we should just abandon our version 1 apps, so we also quickly shipped free updates for each of those so they would also be compatible with iOS 7.

At this point in the story, those of you who were quite familiar with our iOS app line-up might well have been scratching your head: Why were we shipping major iOS 7 redesigns for OmniFocus, OmniOutliner, and OmniPlan—but not OmniGraffle?

Fortunately, you wouldn’t have had long to wonder about that, because we answered that question the very next week, when we shipped a huge redesign for OmniGraffle for Mac with all kinds of great features. (Briefly: A totally redesigned interface, resource browser, image masking, nondestructive shape combinations, artistic styles, Retina-awareness, Photoshop export… so much stuff!)

These four new apps were the first paid upgrades we’d shipped since we started distributing apps through the App Store, and they were huge commercial successes, leading to two months of the highest sales we’ve experienced throughout our 21-year history.

But they brought us right up against one of the App Store’s big limitations: its lack of support for upgrade discounts for people who purchased previous versions of an app. We’d been pointing out this issue for a while, and proposed a solution for the Mac App Store in our 2013 roadmap which we implemented in Q3 when we posted OmniKeyMaster—but within a week we learned that approach wasn’t allowed. This felt discouraging, but we kept exploring alternative ideas and in Q4 we finally found an approach which Apple would approve, letting us offer limited upgrade discounts to OmniGraffle 6 through the Mac App Store.

Building these new apps meant writing a lot of new documentation, which inspired us to think about how to make our documentation more relevant and accessible, and in December we shipped the OmniGraffle 6 User Manual in the iBookstore. Feedback has been very positive with over 2,000 downloads in its first month, so we’re looking forward to continuing to use the iBookstore for more of our manuals in the future.

In the end, 2013 turned out to be quite a great year at Omni, with plenty of critical acclaim and commercial success—even if things didn’t go exactly as we originally planned! (And during our vacations, we even found a little time to update OmniDiskSweeper for Mavericks as well as posting new 64-bit test builds of OmniWeb 6.)

So where does that leave us now? What are we planning to do next?

Well, while we’ve done plenty of testing (with tens of thousands of active testers!), we still haven’t shipped either OmniOutliner 4 or OmniFocus 2 for Mac. We made significant progress with accessibility in 2013 (in OmniOutliner 2 for iPad and OmniFocus 2 for iPhone), but we still have more work to do across the board. And we still have two apps which need to be redesigned for iOS 7: OmniFocus for iPad, and OmniGraffle for iPad. (Right now, they’re both looking rather dated next to the rest of our line-up!)

So, let’s start!

In one week, we’ll be shipping OmniOutliner 4. Stay tuned!

OmniGraffle 6 User Manual, Now Available in the iBookstore

by Chuck on December 4, 2013

At Omni, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve the user experience for our customers, and today we are pleased to announce the release of the OmniGraffle 6 User Manual, freely available on the iBookstore.

We’ve produced the OmniGraffle 6 User Manual using EPUB3, so it can take advantage of everything iBooks for iOS and OS X Mavericks has to offer. Not only is the book free, it’s also DRM-free. By offering the book through the iBookstore, you’ll receive notifications whenever we update the manual, just like you do when we update one of our apps.

EPUB3 makes it easy for us to “version” our documentation, so that when you download an update, all of your notes and annotations aren’t lost. If you’ve enabled iCloud syncing in iBooks on iOS and OS X, the notes you make are available wherever you go.

This release on the iBookstore is part of a new initiative to improve the relevance and accessibility of our documentation. We value your feedback and want to hear from you about what you like, dislike, or would like to see from us in the future. Drop us a line at support@omnigroup.com


  • iBooks:
    • OS X Mavericks: Available for free on the Mac App Store
    • iOS 6 or 7: Check Settings > General > About > Version on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
  • OmniGraffle 6: Available direct from The Omni Group, or the Mac App Store (requires either OS X Mountain Lion or OS X Mavericks).


A Few Nice Things in OmniGraffle 6

by Derek R. on November 14, 2013

OmniGraffle 6 has been out for just over a month now — it’s doing great and we’re really proud of it. Right now we’re hard at work on the next update incorporating a lot of the feedback you’ve given us. Keep it coming.

In the meantime, here are some features we can’t live without. GIFs within.

  • Manual Guides can be copied to other canvases. Just drag-and-drop whatever you have selected and they’ll be copied over to another canvas in the sidebar. To get rid of the originals, just hit Delete.

Copying Manual Guides to another canvas

  • Point the Resource Browser to your Home folder to bring in stencils, templates, and documents to 6. If you’re moving from OmniGraffle 5 to 6, you’re also moving in to a sandbox where we don’t initially have access to your previous work. To bring that stuff in, select “Add Resources to Library” from the Gear menu. OmniGraffle looks in the selected folder—you might just select your Home folder—for anything Graffle-related and adds them to 6. (Visio files excluded.)

Infusing OmniGraffle 6 with resources from 5

  • Fill properties on lines (double-stroke). Set a line’s stroke to double; you’re now able to fill the space between each stroke.

  • Scale Stroke and Font. This is one of those features you won’t be able to do without — it shaves off a lot of time when resizing objects.

Scaling font or stroke when resizing is really easy.

  • Mask an image on canvas. Another great non-destructive option. When manipulating images, just throw in the entire image. You can mask out what you don’t think you need. Re-mask it later if you do!

Non-destructive image masking is here!

  • Graffle in PostScript points, Apple points, or screen pixels. When you’re developing for Retina displays or for the web, set 100% zoom in the Canvas inspector to equal some useful representations.

  • Text on a curve. Easy to use and one of our most popular feature requests ever.

Text following a line’s path.

  • Change zoom level on all selected canvases. Changing the zoom level on any canvas you have selected will apply the setting to each.
  • Export to Photoshop with layers intact. Workflows for a lot of people just got real simple. Made possible by our good friend Gus at Flying Meat! Gus makes Acorn, an image editor.
  • Name stencil objects for reference & search. With our new stencil browser, search got great. And now that search is great, you can name stencil objects to find them easier. To name an object, edit the stencil, select an object, and use the Properties inspector!
  • Import Xcode projects for fun. Drag a folder containing an Xcode project and we’ll show you the stuff inside: frameworks, categories, protocols, variables, and methods. Oldie, but awesome.