OmniGraffle and Photoshop: One Great Taste and One Acceptable Taste that Taste Great Together

by William Van Hecke on December 15, 2009

Did you know that Photoshop files can be dragged straight into OmniGraffle documents? It's super true! I've been taking this for granted, but it was a lovely surprise when I tried it on a whim and it, yeah, “just worked”.

That one discovery pretty drastically improved my interface design workflow. Before that, having to export to PNG for every change to any graphic in a mockup meant that I didn't go into Photoshop very often, and I used OmniGraffle to create graphics whenever I could get away with it. Well, OmniGraffle is a superb diagramming app, and it can even hold its own for a lot of graphics work, but it's not Photoshop. Sometimes you just need those layer styles, shape layers, and masks.

Here's how I've been doing it:

  • Working on a mockup in OmniGraffle, realize I need a graphic.
  • Switch to Photoshop, create the graphic, and save the file.
  • Click and hold on the document icon in the Photoshop window's title bar, then drag it to the OmniGraffle canvas.
  • Take advantage of OmniGraffle's guides, alignment controls, grouping, tables, and other conveniences to arrange things just right.
  • If the graphic needs to change, make the adjustments in Photoshop and save again.
  • Just drag the new version right on top of the existing object on the OmniGraffle canvas to replace it.

The screenshot is an actual in-development inspector design for a future Omni product! (With all of its text replaced by neologisms from Finnegans Wake, of course.)

Photoshop to OmniGraffle