Introducing OmniGraffle 3 for iOS!

by Derek Reiff on July 11, 2017

We’re very pleased to announce that OmniGraffle 3 for iOS is now shipping: it’s a great way to start diagramming, creating, wireframing, building, and designing on iPad and iPhone. Version 3 sports a brand new interface, introduces cross-platform JavaScript automation, and adds support for the latest features from our Mac app including artboards, canvas size modes, converting text to shapes, and importing scalable vector graphics (SVG) files.


For those eager to grab the latest copy and start your 14-day trial, download it from the App Store. Continue reading for the highlights of this release, but there’s even more in the release notes.

Starting with the new stuff

When launching OmniGraffle 3 on an iPad, you’ll immediately notice the Big New Thing: Multi-Column Layout. The Unified Sidebar is on the left; a brand new inspector sidebar over on the right.

OmniGraffle 3 for iOS

THE SIDEBAR: We introduced the unified sidebar in OmniGraffle 7—all of the document’s objects, layers, groups, and canvases in one spot. Rearranging, labeling objects, zooming to an object on the canvas you can’t find, and bulk-selection are all easy from the contextual menu on each object (long tap).

THE INSPECTOR: We redesigned the popover—the inspectors from OmniGraffle 2 that required an extra tap for every use—to be a static sidebar with more common settings visible and less common, hidden. That means that when you want to specify the exact horizontal padding of your text block, you can—but those controls don’t get in your way when all you want to do is switch from centered to aligned left.

You can show or hide the new inspector and sidebar at any time, too. Tap the inspector icon or the Canvas icon at opposite ends of the toolbar.

THE FLOATING TOOL PALETTE: Tools should always be at the ready, but definitely not in the way. Collapse the new tool palette into a single object to open up the canvas, move it into any of the four corners, and change its direction by bumping the tools into the edge of your screen.

CANVAS SIZE MODES: Choose between three different canvas modes to get just the size you need. There’s Fixed: what you need when you know the exact dimensions. Flexible can expand in any direction you need to go, so just keep on adding objects. With Infinite, you’ll never even see the border of a canvas.

Cross-Platform Automation with JavaScript

We’ve spent a ton of time in the past few years working on Omni Automation, powered by plain old JavaScript, to connect nearly every aspect of what makes OmniGraffle a design-and-diagramming powerhouse. But it’s not just exciting because it’s automation-on-iOS; any script that you use on the Mac will also work on iOS.

We’ve already seen some great scripts that show off its usefulness, and you can learn a lot more about the inner workings at The site was put together by our friend Sal Soghoian, a long-time champion of the power of user automation, who helped us put Omni Automation through its paces. (And if you’ll permit a slight plug, Sal has also put together a great lineup of speakers for his CMD-D automation conference next month, where anyone interested in automation is sure to learn a lot and to make some great connections!)

The rest of the story

We’ll go in-depth on all the new features over at Inside OmniGraffle, but here are a few more of the big ones:

  • Artboard Layers: Use artboards to organize your canvas and quickly move the objects contained within.
  • Hot Keys: Expanded keyboard shortcuts now include tool selection. Selection (v), Shape (s), Line (c), Text (t), Freehand (e), Artboard (a), Action (b).
  • Object Navigation: Use the context menu—long tap on an object or group—to zoom-to-fit in or scroll to your selected object(s).
  • App Lock: Protect your documents with a password and Touch ID.
  • Convert Text to Shape: Convert text to a shape to further tweak the Bézier points on each character.
  • SVG Import & Paste: Paste SVG code directly onto your canvas. SVG objects are automatically imported as native OmniGraffle shapes.

Of course, we’ve also improved a few thousand other things across the board, but we needn’t get too far into the specifics. You can see them all in our release notes.

Free downloads, Free Trials, and Pricing

Download OmniGraffle from the App Store. Then, activate your free trial by tapping a button or two. If you love it 14 days later, just make an In-App Purchase for Standard or Pro.

We’ve always given discounts to customers that own a previous version of OmniGraffle for iOS and we’re not changing! If you own OmniGraffle 1 or 2, make sure either are installed on your device and we’ll be able to verify your ownership. You should see that discount automatically, but we have more info here if you need help.

Thinking about buying OmniGraffle for the first time? Standard is just $49.99. Pro is $99.99.

A new bar for our Pro apps on iOS

At the Omni Group, we’ve long been firm believers in the power of iPad as a productivity device: we started building apps for iPad (announcing “iPad or Bust!”) the week iPad was revealed, shipping OmniGraffle 1 as a launch title on the day iPad shipped (with iOS 3.2!). Since that day in 2010, iPad has gotten more and more capable, both in terms of its hardware and its operating system, and we’ve kept pace in OmniGraffle by adding features like cross-platform syncing, a refreshed design, universal iPad/iPhone support, split-screen multi-tasking, and iPad Pro support, with keyboard shortcuts and shape recognition for Apple Pencil.

But when Tim Cook introduced iPad Pro in 2015, we saw even more potential and decided to push ahead to bring even more of the power of the desktop to that transforming piece of glass. One way to do that was to make the apps more efficient to interact with, making better use of iPad’s large touch screen. By replacing some of the popovers in our interface with slide-in panels, their controls can remain just one tap away rather than requiring that you open and close them every time you want to use them. OmniGraffle 3 is the first of our apps to ship with this new design.

But we didn’t stop with just a revamped user interface: a more fundamental way to bring desktop-class power to iOS is add a completely new model of interaction with powerful, user-controlled automation. By integrating Apple’s JavaScript engine with OmniGraffle on both Mac and iOS, we’ve now made it possible for customers to build their own custom automation workflows. These automation scripts can perform their work entirely within OmniGraffle, or they can integrate with other apps such as Workflow or even external web pages.

Finally, as long-time readers of this blog know, we’ve spent a lot of time and energy over the years brainstorming and prototyping all sorts of ideas to try to provide the best possible App Store experience. With OmniGraffle 7 for Mac and now OmniGraffle 3 for iOS, we’ve solved many of the issues that have plagued our customers’ App Store experience over the last nine years: we now offer a free 2-week trial, upgrade discounts for existing customers (50% off!), and free upgrades for recent purchases–so customers who just purchased OmniGraffle 2 last week will get a free upgrade to version 3.

Enjoy the app! We’re already working on OmniGraffle 3.1. Make sure you let us know what you think by emailing, calling, or sending a note on twitter!

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.

OmniOutliner 5 is now available!

by Ken Case on April 5, 2017

We’ve been talking about OmniOutliner 5 since last November, and I’m pleased to announce that the day has finally arrived: OmniOutliner 5 is shipping!

When an app has been in open development for months, it’s easy to wonder what there is to say about it that hasn’t already been said—in our original announcement of the public test, or our annual roadmap update, or in our introduction of OmniOutliner Essentials.

Well, perhaps nothing… but perhaps it’s all worth saying again in one place!

OmniOutliner now comes in two editions: Pro and Essentials. The Pro edition has all the power that we’ve always brought to OmniOutliner, with support for multiple columns, attachments, focus, automation, and so on—and for version 5 we’ve added even more, with advanced filtering, word count, typewriter mode, customizable keyboard shortcuts, and so on. (See the release notes for details!)


For the new Essentials edition, our goal was to introduce the joys and benefits of outlining to a much broader audience than our core Pro customers. Our focus for this edition was on making OmniOutliner much simpler, and much more affordable.


As I said in the blog post which introduced Essentials in February:

With that background, I’d like to introduce you to OmniOutliner Essentials: a svelte, focused, and extremely affordable outlining app. In OmniOutliner’s new Essentials edition, your entire focus is on your own content: there are no distracting sidebars or panels. You can choose to work in a window or in a distraction-free full-screen mode, selecting from a set of beautiful built-in themes. As you write, you’ll be able to see some key statistics about your content so you can track progress towards your goals. But our goal is to help you focus on your content and whatever task you’re working on—not on the tool you’re using.

With the Essentials edition, we’ve lowered OmniOutliner’s entry price from $49.99 to an extremely affordable $9.99. And since we want our upgrade price from Essentials to Pro to be $49.99, the new list price for Pro has been lowered to $59.99:

OmniOutliner 5 pricing chart

As I said before, anyone who upgrades from any previous version of OmniOutliner (even those free copies Apple bundled with all those Macs a decade ago) is eligible for a 50% discount—so you can upgrade to the new Essentials edition for $4.99, or to the new Pro edition for just $29.99. And anyone who purchased OmniOutliner Standard within the last few months will get a free upgrade to OmniOutliner 5 Pro. (If you purchased directly from us, please check your email!)

Thank you all for your support through the years. And welcome to OmniOutliner 5!