TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Kool Tools: OmniGraffle Professional 5

Volume Number: 24 (2008)
Issue Number: 07
Column Tag: Kool Tools

Kool Tools: OmniGraffle Professional 5

by Dennis Sellers

If you're having problems with a design project, don't grapple with it: Graffle it. OmniGraffle, that is. The Mac OS X diagramming application from the Omni Group was recently updated to version 5.0, adding Mac OS X 10.5 ("Leopard") compatibility, faster layout speed and new automatic layout options thanks to the addition of the Graphviz layout engine.

OmniGraffle lets you drag and drop to create flow charts, org charts, network diagrams, family trees, project processes, office layouts–pretty much anything you can think of that can be represented by symbols and lines. The Leopard compatibility in version 5.0 means that, among other things, OmniGraffle Pro supports Mac OS X 10.5's Quick Look preview feature. With Leopard's Quick Look, you can view the contents of a file without even opening it. In other words, like many other file types, you can look at OmniGraffle Pro 5 files in Leopard even if the Omni Group software isn't open.

In the latest version several of the standard OmniGraffle tools have been beefed up, including the line tools. OmniGraffle 5 includes Bézier lines, so you can create custom shapes with lines made up of curves, straight lines, and control points. The new version also adds a "mini inspector" that makes the most common inspector controls more accessible. You can change object size, location, fill, stroke and other key attributes right at the top of a document window.

The latest version of OmniGraffle offers support for multiple page ("canvas") documents. You can choose, add, duplicate, and remove canvases using the status bar or the Canvases inspector. Both the status bar and the Canvas inspector depict the various canvases in icon mode; this lets you see which shapes are on which canvases. Canvases can be different sizes, and can be rotated 90 degrees when printed. You can mix landscape and portrait modes.

Outlining has been enhanced in OmniGraffle Pro 5. There's improved integration with the Omni Group's OmniOutliner, which–as you can probably guess from the name–is a tool for creating, collecting and organizing information. You can use OmniGraffle's outline styles as filters if you import OmniOutliner documents, by mapping styles to your OmniOutliner document structure. When you enter text information in OmniGraffle's Outline view, the graphical objects that are created can be styled and restyled in a variety of ways. The software can even associate a different style with each level in your outline.

OmniGraffle Pro 5 has improved import and export options. For example, a vector PICT export format is now available. OmniGraffle can both copy as vector PICT and export to that format; this makes it easier to do things such as copy and paste between OmniGraffle diagrams and applications such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Hyperlinks are supported on export to PDF, as is exporting files with multiple canvases as a single, multiple-page PDF file.

With Smart Guides, when you move a shape, distance markers pop up and tell you when your new shape is going to form an equally-spaced row or column with any other shapes. The Automatic Layout inspector rearranges your diagram according to rules you specify. For example, you can choose "hierarchical" to lay out your document in the familiar "tree" format. Force-directed, radial, and circular layout styles are also available.

With its updated Visio compatibility, OmniGraffle Professional 5 can import Microsoft Visio VSD files directly with continued support for import and export of Visio XML files, as well as import of Visio stencils and templates. In fact, this feature works so well you may consider leaving Visio behind entirely.

OmniGraffle Pro has manual guides to help you in laying out your drawings. Guides can be dragged out onto your canvas from the top, bottom, or side; the shapes snap to the guides that you place.

OmniGraffle has a large community of users that develop and share free stencils. Version 5.0 of the software has new local and online search capabilities in the stencil window that makes it simpler to search, organize and download these stencils. You can retool the shapes from the office layout stencil, as well as stretch and rotate an existing graphic with one of the shape tools. Also, OmniGraffle Pro 5 offers the ability to search Graffletopia, a third-party library of free OmniGraffle stencils.

Overall improvements in version 5 have made the process of drawing and creating in OmniGraffle easier and more intuitive than ever. Anyone who has to diagram anything–from a process chart to a web site mock-up–should download the OmniGraffle 5 demo and see exactly what the software has to offer.

OmniGraffle 5 costs US $99.95. Upgrades from OmniGraffle 4 are available for $39.95. OmniGraffle Professional 5 is available for $199.95 with upgrades from OmniGraffle Professional 4 costing $74.95.

Available from


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

The best GIF making apps
Animated GIFs have exploded in popularity recently which is likely thanks to a combination of Tumblr, our shorter attention spans, and the simple fact they’re a lot of fun. [Read more] | Read more »
The best remote desktop apps for iOS
We've been sifting through the App Store to find the best ways to do computer tasks on a tablet. That gave us a thought - what if we could just do computer tasks from our tablets? Here's a list of the best remote desktop apps to help you use your... | Read more »
Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade guide - How...
Warhammer 40,000: Freebladejust launched in the App Store and it lets you live your childhood dream of blowing up and slashing a bunch of enemies as a massive, hulking Space Marine. It's not easy being a Space Marine though - and particularly if... | Read more »
Gopogo guide - How to bounce like the be...
Nitrome just launched a new game and, as to be expected, it's a lot of addictive fun. It's called Gopogo, and it challenges you to hoparound a bunch of platforms, avoiding enemies and picking up shiny stuff. It's not easy though - just like the... | Read more »
Sago Mini Superhero (Education)
Sago Mini Superhero 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: KAPOW! Jack the rabbit bursts into the sky as the Sago Mini Superhero! Fly with Jack as he lifts impossible weights,... | Read more »
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes guide - How...
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is all about collecting heroes, powering them up, and using them together to defeat your foes. It's pretty straightforward stuff for the most part, but increasing your characters' stats can be a bit confusing because it... | Read more »
The best cooking apps (just in time for...
It’s that time of year again, where you’ll be gathering around the dinner table with your family and a huge feast in front of you. [Read more] | Read more »
Square Rave guide - How to grab those te...
Square Rave is an awesome little music-oriented puzzle game that smacks of games like Lumines, but with its own unique sense of gameplay. To help wrap your head around the game, keep the following tips and tricks in mind. [Read more] | Read more »
Snowboard Party 2 (Games)
Snowboard Party 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Crowned the best snowboarding game available on the market, Snowboard Party is back to fulfill all your adrenaline needs in... | Read more »
One Button Travel (Games)
One Button Travel 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: “To cut a long story short, If you like interactive fiction, just go buy this one.” - “Oozes the polish that... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

Holiday weekend Mac sales roundup: B&H Ph...
B&H Photo continues to have all new Macs on sale for up to $500 off MSRP as part of their Black Friday/Holiday weekend sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina... Read more
iMobie Releases its Ace iOS Cleaner PhoneClea...
iMobie Inc. has announced the new update of PhoneClean 4, its iOS cleaner designed to reclaim wasted space on iPhone/iPad for use and keep the device fast. Alongside, iMobie hosts a 3-day giveaway of... Read more
U.S. Cellular Offering iPad Pro
U.S. Cellular today announced that it is offering the new iPad Pro with Wi-Fi + Cellular, featuring a 12.9-inch Retina display with 5.6 million pixels — the most ever in an iOS device. U.S. Cellular... Read more
Newegg Canada Unveils Black Friday Deals for...
Newegg Canada is offering more than 1,000 deep discounts to Canadian customers this Black Friday, available now through Cyber Monday, with new deals posted throughout the week. “Black Friday is... Read more
Black Friday: Macs on sale for up to $500 off...
BLACK FRIDAY B&H Photo has all new Macs on sale for up to $500 off MSRP as part of their early Black Friday sale including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Black Friday: Up to $125 off iPad Air 2s at B...
BLACK FRIDAY Walmart has the 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available): - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $399, save $... Read more
Black Friday: iPad mini 4s on sale for $100 o...
BLACK FRIDAY Best Buy has iPad mini 4s on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store for Black Friday. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available): - 16GB iPad mini 4 WiFi: $299.... Read more
Black Friday: Apple Watch for up to $100 off...
BLACK FRIDAY Apple resellers are offering discounts and bundles with the purchase of an Apple Watch this Black Friday. Below is a roundup of the deals being offered by authorized Watch resellers:... Read more
Black Friday: Target offers 6th Generation iP...
BLACK FRIDAY Save $40 to $60 on a 6th generation iPod touch at Target with free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: -... Read more
Black Friday: Walmart and Target offer iPod n...
BLACK FRIDAY Walmart has the 16GB iPod nano (various colors) on sale for $119.20 on their online store for a limited time. That’s $30 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Site Security Manager - Apple (Unite...
# Apple Site Security Manager Job Number: 42975010 Culver City, Califo ia, United States Posted: Oct. 2, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Apple Site Read more
WiSE *Apple* Pay Quality Engineer - Apple (...
# WiSE Apple Pay Quality Engineer Job Number: 44313381 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Nov. 13, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Join our Read more
Holiday Retail Associate with *Apple* Knowl...
…and assertive.Someone who can troubleshoot iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) and Apple Mail issues.Someone who can offer solutions.Someone who can work weekends.Someone with Read more
*Apple* Systems Engineer (Mclean, VA and NYC...
Summary:Assist in providing strategic direction and technical leadership within the Apple portfolio, including desktops, laptops, and printing environment. This person Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.