Turning your outlines into diagrams with OmniOutliner and OmniGraffle Pro

by Derek Reiff on May 25, 2017

OmniOutliner 5 is for writing with structure, while OmniGraffle 7 is for designing precise, beautiful graphics like website wireframes, room layouts, process maps, family trees, and more. For those times when it would help to visualize your outline as a hierarchical diagram, you’re in luck: OmniGraffle Pro can make this easy.

Turning an Outliner document into a Graffle document.

To import an OmniOutliner file into OmniGraffle Pro:

  1. Open OmniGraffle Pro and choose File > Open
  2. Select an OmniOutliner file (the extension is .ooutline) and click Open
  3. In the Import Outline dialog that appears, select a themed template such as Circles or Lines

Now you’re outlining with diagrams. Or diagramming with outlines? You probably get the idea.

Bonus Tip: Once your outline is in OmniGraffle, you can still quickly add-to or reorganize your outline: open your Graffle’s Outline Editor with View > Show Contents > Outline. (And don’t forget about customizing your keyboard shortcuts, too!)

OmniOutliner 5 Tip (Pro): Make your own keyboard shortcut sets, share them with the world

by Derek Reiff on April 18, 2017

OmniOutliner for Mac and iOS is a tool for writing, planning, taking notes, hashing out big ideas, or simply collecting information. In OmniOutliner 5 Pro, we introduced a way for you to work faster and make the app more your own: Keyboard Shortcut Sets.

Whether you prefer shortcuts you know from another app or your team needs to work in a specific way, you can customize just about every keyboard shortcut available in OmniOutliner 5 Pro. Plus, you can keep your customizations to yourself, or export them to share within your company or even on the internet.

To access this wonderful and keyboard-ful new power in OmniOutliner 5 Pro:

  • Go to the OmniOutliner menu > Keyboard Shortcuts. A small window opens with a list of every shortcut you can customize
  • Click in any shortcut box
  • Press the key combo you would like to use
  • The shortcut is immediately updated and saved

Keyboard Shortcuts Menu

We hope Keyboard Shortcut Sets help OmniOutliner 5 Pro to feel like even more of a home for your writing, notes, and next great idea.

A few quick tips

There are some key details to note about how all this works:

  • Search is your friend - Use the search box at the top of the window to find the specific command(s) you want to change
  • It’s easy to revert your changes - Have no fear. A back arrow will appear next to every shortcut you change. Click an arrow to revert its shortcut back to the default
  • Know your shortcut sets - As soon as you change your first shortcut, OmniOutliner automatically creates a new set at the top of this window. You can easily revert all your changes at once by clicking the collection menu at the top of the Keyboard Shortcuts window and picking “Default”
  • Managing your sets is easy - To rename, share, or delete your shortcut set, or to import a set shared with you, click the gear icon next to the set menu

Getting Started with OmniOutliner Essentials

by Derek Reiff on April 11, 2017

OmniOutliner Essentials is the starting point for those new to outlining. (Or OmniOutliner!) If you collect information, create lists, explore Big Ideas, or write just about anything, you need Essentials. If you also need an introduction, let’s get to work.

What It’s For

At its core, OmniOutliner Essentials is an app for writing with structure. You can write a novel, take notes, collect ideas, create nested lists, sort tasks, and on and on. What OmniOutliner Essentials brings to the table is a unique set of tools for organizing, visualizing, and styling your writing.


For example, say you’re writing a long blog post or going all the way for a novel. In OmniOutliner, major sections or chapters can be collapsed out of the way as you work on others. You can add notes to headings and each paragraph, then collapse and reveal those when you need them. Instead of just words on a page, your writing becomes components you can manage, and it gets even more powerful from there.


If taking notes or creating lists is more your thing, OmniOutliner Essentials has a strong suite of tools to style and organize your documents. You can indent and outdent as much as you want, apply heading and highlight styles to each line for distinction, and there are ample keyboard shortcuts to let you work as quickly as possible.

When it comes time to organize your list, OmniOutliner Essentials has a wealth of tools for sorting, creating tasks, moving a line throughout the document, adding notes to each individual item, then hiding and revealing everything on command.

How to get started

Well, the short and sweet version is:

Ok, fine, there’s a little more to it than that.

Get acquainted with outlining

Tinker with a few of these key aspects of OmniOutliner to get an idea of what’s possible:

  • Use File > New to create a new OmniOutliner document, then pick from one of the templates available in the Resource Browser
  • Start typing
  • Press Return to create a new row - everything you do in OmniOutliner will be added to a row
  • Use Tab to indent your new row under the previous row
  • Use Shift-Tab to outdent a row one level
  • Use arrow keys to move up and down through your rows
  • When editing a row with child rows (rows that have been indented under it), click View > Collapse Row (or use Command-0) to collapse everything under that row. Now you’re outlining with gas
  • Use the Format menu to style your rows and help them stand out. OmniOutliner Essentials has a good selection of built-in Header and Highlight styles from which to choose

These tips should get you started with the writing and organizational power OmniOutliner Essentials can bring to nearly any project. If you want to learn more, check our extensive Support section with more documents and videos that delve deeper into OmniOutliner’s extensive tools, the differences between OmniOutliner Pro, and our complete, downloadable manual.

Open for Testing: OmniGraffle 3 for iOS

by Derek Reiff on March 16, 2017

Earlier this morning we submitted OmniGraffle 3 for iOS to Apple for TestFlight approval. In it, of course, is a whole lot of work: we’ve made several big decisions that we think make OmniGraffle even easier, faster, and more powerful to use on iPad and iPhone.

OmniGraffle 3 for iOS. Ignore the battery percentage, please.

At the core of OmniGraffle are several major concepts users need quick access to: objects, groups, layers, artboards, and canvases. We’ve switched away from popovers and over to flexible sidebars in OmniGraffle 3. You can toggle the sidebar off or on depending on how you’re working, and what you’re working with, so that moving from object to object to make minor changes is much faster than before—less taps to get to the popover, to close it, etc. (And you can select multiple objects, too!)

That’s on the left. The sidebar on the right contains your usual Inspector gadgets. And, again, we’ve made some decisions to give you the most common settings at the top…with the ability to get into the nitty gritty just below it. On devices where sticking sidebars to either edge will completely hide your canvas, they’ll switch back to a popover.

We’ve gotten even closer to parity with OmniGraffle for Mac, too: Artboards, converting text to shapes, the Infinite Canvas, and more, are all set for testing.

Infinite and Fit-to-Canvas Modes

The Infinite Canvas is also a part of what we’re calling Canvas Modes. Something we’re trying—and we hope it works!—is making the distinction between fixed-size canvases, auto-expanding (when needed) canvases, and infinite canvases. We’re hoping to bring the same concept to the Mac, too.

Move the Tool Palette to each corner

The Tool Palette moves freely, too—mostly. It can be oriented either vertically or horizontally in each of the workspace’s four corners.

And there’s more! This is the first release that includes the groundwork for automation. It’s exactly like writing JavaScript—we’re using Apple’s JavaScriptCore framework on both Mac and iOS. As we wrote about earlier, we’ve enlisted Sal Saghoian to put it through its paces. You can learn more about Automation in OmniGraffle over at the website he’s been working on.

Help us test

So, you can help if you’d like! If you use OmniGraffle 2 already, think you could make use of OmniGraffle 3, or just really like testing software, we’d love it if you could help. You can check out the preview page to learn more about the new features, and sign up for our TestFlight.

Over the course of this public test, we’re looking for much of the same feedback we did during the OmniGraffle 7 for Mac test period: How does OmniGraffle accelerate or decelerate your workflows? What could be better? What do you like, but think we should come at from a different angle?

Discounts & Free Upgrades

In Ken’s Looking Ahead post, we shared that from January 24th on, all users purchasing OmniGraffle 2 will get a free upgrade to OmniGraffle 3. For customers that have purchased any version of OmniGraffle 2 before that, appropriate discounts will show up when look—just make sure OmniGraffle 2 for iOS is still installed on that device. Coming soon!

Have a great Thursday!

Touch Bar Support Added in OmniPlan 3.6

by Derek Reiff on December 7, 2016

Hot on the heels of Touch Bar support in OmniGraffle, today we’re happy to announce the same in OmniPlan!

OmniPlan 3.6 is packed with the usual bug fixes and improvements, but made even better with features just for Apple’s brand new MacBook Pro.

Project Planning With the Touch Bar

OmniPlan and Touch Bar

When we first saw the Touch Bar demoed on stage a month or so ago—specifically as a scrubber for Final Cut Pro X—we knew that investigating a Gantt chart control would be worth our time: your entire project, right there above the keyboard as primary input, with dynamic scrubbing.

But as well as being a Gantt Chart scrubber, you can customize the Touch Bar with everything else you’d find in the toolbar: leveling, rescheduling, Publish & Update, and more. When a specific task is selected, scroll through your resources to quickly assign them to said tasks.

Changing Touch Bar configuration

Free Trials on the Mac App Store

So that we can offer free 14-day trials, OmniPlan for Mac is now available as a free download on the Mac App Store. OmniPlan will continue to operate as a read-only viewer when the trial is over, too. (It’s exactly like the free trial that debuted with OmniGraffle 7.)

If you’re downloading OmniPlan 3 from the Mac App Store for the first time, you’ll have 2 weeks to demo, and switch between, Standard and Pro. Once it’s over and you’re ready to purchase, just use the In-App Purchase option via the OmniPlan menu bar. (If you own OmniPlan 2, you’ll be offered discounts; upgrading is quite easy.)

If you choose Standard, you can always upgrade to Pro later for the difference in price.

Plus a little bit more

In addition to Touch Bar Support and free trials through the Mac App Store, we’ve added a new chapter about Touch Bar in OmniPlan’s Help (plus a new chapter on menu commands and more exhaustive explanations all around), cell highlighting to indicate the row you’re currently editing, and new Preference icons! Full release notes here.