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!

Just released: Presenting with Artboards in OmniGraffle 7.3

by Dan Walker on March 27, 2017

With OmniGraffle 7.3, available now, we’ve added the ability to present your artboards in Presentation Mode. (Plus panning and zooming!)

OmniGraffle’s Presentation Mode has always allowed you to treat each canvas like a slide to showcase them full screen—now you can present individual artboards, too. Presenting your individual designs, isolated from your busy canvas with artboards, only show your content within each boundary shape and above it in your layer hierarchy.

To start a presentation, use the item in the View menu. When presenting, the up and down arrow keys move between canvases while the left and right arrow keys move between artboards. (And, of course, you can use both!) To help with navigation, we’ve simplified the sidebar to minimize accidental clicks—just move the cursor all the way to the left.

OmniGraffle fits your content to the presentation display by default, but in 7.3 you can zoom yourself using gestures, keyboard shortcuts, the View menu, and the zoom tool (hold z to activate). If you’d rather have your zooms defined and prepared ahead of time, try using an artboard. Create an artboard object around the specific area you want to have focus—OmniGraffle takes care of the rest. Your presentation begins with the whole canvas; when you’re ready to cycle through artboards, select it from the sidebar.

Check out the release notes for a full list of improvements—a lot of time went into this release! The next time you’re showcasing work to a client or revising it with a co-worker, OmniGraffle 7.3 with Artboard Presentation Mode is all set for it.

Presentation Mode GIF cycling through Artboards